default style cream background and navy text

In All But Name 2

prodigal son

Summary: It's time for the guys to go home. To the SGC, and somewhere else. You could say, they go full circle.
Usual thanks to my own little threesome for help; Joy, Fabi and Gary. You be de best, guys.

Daniel lay on the sofa, his feet on Jack's knees, his head on Paul's lap; his loose arm flopped over the side, a half-drunk bottle of beer in his hand. Paul kept threatening to rest his own beer on Daniel's stomach, causing him to crease up from time to time. Jack knew better than to attack Daniel's feet with his own bottle - the beer was too precious to waste. A game was on TV, occasionally drowned out by the noise of builders who were currently erecting an extension to the house which would eventually contain a new bedroom and a spare room which would be the gym. A swimming pool was also being constructed and would hopefully be ready before the summer was out. As Jack said, they had the land, they had the money, they may as well splash out. A pun which caused many a groan.

The holiday had been, in Paul's words, "Divine. Heaven on Earth." Perfect weather, a Caribbean villa to end all Caribbean villas, the bluest sea and the whitest sand. And, as Jack said, the best fishing, in, like... forever.

As a result, all three were relaxed. Paul was back at work and enjoying himself. Daniel was happily snowed under with translations, but allowing himself to be pulled away from them, and when he wasn't watching sport on TV, Jack was up to his armpits in clay. All in all, things were going well.

So when the gate buzzed, they weren't really prepared for their visitor.

"Probably a delivery for the builders," Daniel muttered, swinging his feet onto the floor and strolling to the speaker.

He pressed the button, called out a 'hello', and a voice he hadn't heard for a while called back.

The three men sat on the sofa again, beers in hand, but this time the game was off and they were all sitting up and in a row. On one of the armchairs sat an old friend.

"So General..." Jack started.

"Jack, please. I've been retired nearly as long as you have."

Jack nodded in surrender and started again. "George," he said, his voice quiet and low. "How's things? The family?"

"They're all fine," Hammond drawled. "Just fine. Retirement's suiting me well."

"You look well," Daniel offered.

A slightly awkward silence followed. They all knew that Hammond was there for a reason, but no one wanted to bring up the subject. In the end, Paul felt he had to.

"General," he said, unable to break the habit of a working lifetime. "You know you're welcome here - you have an open invitation. But I get the feeling that you're here for a reason we're not going to like."

Hammond's shoulders dropped a bit and he nodded.

"You're right, son. Actually, I'm here as a favour to the new man at the SGC. General Burwell has asked me to pick your brains in fact."

"Oh?" All three men answered in chorus and sat up in curiosity and interest.

He couldn't help but smile as he looked at them.

"George?" Daniel prompted. "Why couldn't he just pick up the phone? Or email me?"

"I guess he wanted the personal touch for this. Next Friday, he's going to be visited," he emphasised, "by these people." He handed them a piece of paper and Jack took it, keeping it to himself as he ran his eyes down the short list of names. "Leroy Burwell has heard that Kinsey's taking a different track. Instead of trying to shut down the SGC, he wants to negate any good it's doing, get rid of as many civilians as he can and to go purely for weaponry. Leroy is a good man, from what I can see. He's horrified by this idea. I got the impression that now that he knows how the SGC works, he wants to increase the science, to rebuild it."

Daniel nodded. "Yes. He told me that when I saw him on my last trip to the SGC. You're right, he does seem to be one of the good guys. Janet and Sam speak really highly of him, too."

"So, what does he want us to do?" Jack asked, scanning the names.

"He needs some hold over them," Hammond explained. "Something to bring up, either in private, or in public. Something that will make them all back down."

"Okay. Have you got any background information on them?" Jack prompted.

"Just a bit. Harold Smith is a typical politician's right-hand man. One of Kinsey's secret cronies and being sent to the SGC in his stead. It seems that Kinsey's trying to distance himself physically from this, but wanting to keep control at the same time."

"Well, anything we have on Kinsey will keep him quiet," Daniel put in, looking directly at Hammond. "Have you mentioned the disk to Burwell?"

"Not yet. I want to leave that as a last resort thing. I just told him that if the NID started to play up, he was to contact me immediately. I figured it would be better for him if he didn't know anything, if you see what I mean."

"It could be time to at least bring that up," Paul said, knowing what they were talking about. When Jack had joined Daniel and himself, they'd discussed what they had over various highly placed people, just in case they'd got caught.

"I still don't want Burwell to know too much," Hammond sighed. "It's not safe for him and we need the SGC to be run by someone on our side. If he shows overtly that he's against the NID, he might be replaced."

"I can do it," Daniel shrugged.

The others turned to look at him and he shrugged again.

"Look. I'm still officially based at the SGC, and therefore, I'm still officially the most senior civilian scientist there. It wouldn't be a surprise if I was invited to the meeting to discuss matters that would affect my department, would it? Okay, it would be pushing protocol to the limit, but I think that the General would allow it."

"But that could put you in danger," George interrupted.

"George, Kinsey already knows I hate him like poison. He sure as hell knows I know what he's been up to. Nothing I'd say about him would be a surprise. If he wanted me dead, he'd have killed me by now. All I have to do when I get there is inform Smith that the information about Kinsey is somewhere safe, with an unnamed person - not one of these two - who, if something happens to me, will release the information to the press so fast that Kinsey won't know what's hit him."

He stayed silent for a moment and let the others muse over his suggestion. He had a good point, as did Hammond. They did need Burwell in charge and Daniel was in the best position to help out.

"What about the others?" Paul asked, still not having seen the list as Jack was staring at it.

"One of them will be simple enough. The information I have on him would get him kicked out of the Air Force so quick he won't have time to change out of his uniform."

Jack's voice was quiet and cold and attracted the undivided attention of the others.

"Jack?" Daniel's own voice was gentle and concerned. "Who is it?"

"Chase," Jack said, trying to keep his voice equal.

"No." Daniel was firm. "You don't..."

"Daniel! Listen to me. I. Don't. Care. Ya hear? Now, unless it bothers you...?" He looked at the others and they shook their heads.

"No, I just don't want you to get hurt," Daniel soothed.

"Gentlemen? Could you let me in on what you're talking about?" Hammond was quiet, but his voice was firm, just as he had been when he was giving Jack a warning when he was going too far back at the SGC.

"I don't think you'd like what we told you, George," Jack answered. "It may well change your view about us."

George looked shocked by Jack's statement, then he asked, "Does it concern hurting anyone? Breaking the law?"

"No," Daniel answered. "At least we don't hurt anyone. We never have and we never will. We just live our lives... differently. In a way that, well, freaks some people out."

Now George looked very surprised, but as he thought of the men in front of him, and what they'd done, not only for their country but the entire galaxy, and what they'd been prepared to do, he figured that whatever it was they were talking about, it couldn't be that bad.

"Try me," he said quietly.

Daniel looked at the others and got a nod from both of them. They were telling him to handle it in the way he thought best.

"Come with me, George," he said softly, standing up. "And, well, please... don't freak. Ask any questions you like but please don't judge us until you've heard the whole story."

"You have my word," George replied, equally softly - and they knew he meant what he said.

"Thank you. It's this way."

Daniel led him out of the living room and through the kitchen, then down the stairs. When they reached the bottom, Daniel pressed a keypad that Jack had installed on the door before the builders had come, just in case they stumbled across the playroom, and he opened the door.

Hammond was stunned when Daniel switched on the lights and he saw the room in front of him. His eyes roved over the shelves and the furniture, but he couldn't comprehend what was in front of him. He knew what it was, of course, but he didn't get it.

"I must admit, I am shocked," he said apologetically.

Daniel smiled back at him. "I know," he agreed. "And I know how it looks. Tell me, do you want to discuss this here without the others, or upstairs with them?"

"I'm okay," Hammond replied. "Tell me about it."

Daniel moved over to the table and sat on it, indicating to George to sit on the chair across the room.

"Remember how much stress you were under when you were in command of the SGC?" he started.

"I sure do. Having the best people there helped, but knowing I was possibly sending them to their deaths every time they went through the gate... Let's just say, I understand stress."

"I knew you would," Daniel replied, his voice soothing and understanding. "As you can imagine, Paul and Jack were under stress, too. You know that Paul and I were together when we left the SGC," he continued, getting a nod from George. "What you don't know is that we'd been together for two years by then, and..." he took a deep breath, "Jack had been with us for a few months."

He saw a little surprise register on George's face, then a look of understanding, as if he'd suspected something but couldn't figure it out. His mind literally hadn't been able to comprehend a three-way relationship.

"Paul was under a great deal of strain at the Pentagon. Hiding the fact that he was gay was one of the causes, but knowing that I was in constant danger, and later on, Jack, too, added to that strain. Jack, of course, was under great stress. He was permanently worried about me, Sam and Teal'c, as well as worrying about whether he was making the right decisions out in the field. Keeping our relationship secret, of course, didn't help."

"I understand," George replied. "But what has that got to do with this?" he asked as he pointed to the equipment in the room.

Daniel thought for a moment and decided to come clean and explain everything from the start. George Hammond was a man that he held in great respect, a real father figure and someone he loved dearly. He was also someone he could trust.

"When I was eleven years old," he said, trying to keep his voice from cracking, "I was raped by my foster father."

The colour drained from Hammond's face, then it returned in a hurry, anger at what had happened obvious. Daniel said nothing more about what happened then, but continued, "As I'm sure you could imagine, that experience changed me. It made me need to be in constant control over what happened to me."

He got a mute nod from George, who was fighting down the urge to protect Daniel from his past. He was too afraid to say anything out loud in case he lost his own control.

Daniel carried on, explaining - in not too graphic detail - how he learned that he could be in control of his life, and how he became a dom. Then, without taking a break, he explained how he used that to help the others to forget the stress of the job, and how they'd relied on him to keep them sane and how Paul's job currently contained similar strains. He didn't talk about the sexual side of it - that wasn't important - but the psychology behind it. When he'd finished that, George sat silently for a few moments, then he spoke.

"Thank you, Daniel. I do believe I understand why you have all of this. What I don't understand is what it has to do with Alec Chase."

"I was coming to that," Daniel replied. "When Jack was at his first posting, he was in need of someone to take him in hand. You think he was a handful when he was with you," he added with a grin, getting a 'I so do' look back from George. "Well, apparently, he was worse. Chase was there, and he was, he is a 'master'."

Daniel explained how back in the beginning, Chase had helped Jack and how he'd remembered him fondly. And then he explained how Chase had changed, how he seemed dangerous, how his dominance had seemed to have developed to non-consensual sadism. Daniel knew that he was relying mainly on gut feeling when it came to Chase, but he was sure that he was right. The fact that he wasn't prepared to take 'no' for an answer had convinced him. He even told George about the threat he'd made against Chase, making him laugh out loud.

"You're right," he said. "I would have helped you out. No one threatens my people."

"That's why my bluff worked," Daniel answered with a smile. "I knew that."

"So you think that he won't fight you?" George asked.

"Actually, I think he would like to kill me," Daniel replied. "But I want to ask a favour before I go there."

"Ask away."

"I want Jack and Paul to come with me. Not to the meeting, of course," he added. "But... well... there is something I want to do with them and it will mean them coming to the SGC. Having them there will help, I'm sure."

"What is it you want to do, Daniel?"

With a smile, Daniel told him.

Back up in the living room, Jack was pacing up and down.

"Jack, don't worry about it," Paul tried to soothed.

"I'm not..." Jack started, but then he shrugged and sat back down on the sofa. "Ach, you know how it is. There aren't many people in the world whose opinion of me means anything. George is one of the few."

"I know, me too," Paul agreed. "Give him the benefit of the doubt, Jack. Daniel will explain it well enough and Hammond's a smart man. He'll get it."

He wrapped his arm around Jack and pulled him close, dropping a kiss on Jack's cheek when he came close enough.

"What about Chase?" he asked quietly. "Are you sure you're prepared to out him?"

"If it comes to it," Jack answered. "Normally, I'd go nuts about someone outing someone else for gain, but I know that he's stepped over the line. Can't prove it, of course, but my instinct is screaming at me. Besides, if it turns out that he's prepared to put the whole planet in danger just to save his own skin, then as far as I'm concerned, we should use whatever means necessary to protect the SGC."

"Agreed," Paul sighed, still worried more about Jack's reputation than Chase's. "I think we're going to have to trust Daniel to handle this. We'll back him up with whatever he needs us to do, but one thing he's an expert in is reading people. When he gets to the meeting you can guarantee that he'll do his best to convince them that increasing the science base is the safest and best way to go. He'll only use blackmail if he has to."

Jack nodded in agreement, his stomach churning at the thought that Daniel could be putting himself in danger, but knowing that if they didn't save the original directive for the SGC, they could be putting the entire galaxy in danger, let alone Earth or themselves. If they had to make the ultimate sacrifice, they would.

Footsteps alerted them that they'd have company in moments, so Paul withdrew his arm and the two men sat almost rigidly, waiting for the others to rejoin them. As soon as they were in the living room, Jack looked nervously up, only relaxing slightly when he saw Hammond smiling at him.

"Scoot over," Daniel ordered, pushing them apart and sitting in-between them again. "That's better."

George retook his seat on the sofa opposite them and spoke.

"Daniel has explained everything to me," he said gravely. "I can't say that I understand it all, but I do understand enough. Rest assured that I don't think any differently of you than I did before."

That earned him relieved but weak smiles from Jack and Paul, and a much warmer one from Daniel.

"If you believe that using your information about Chase is necessary, then so be it. Now, what about the other two on the list?"

"I don't know them," Jack shrugged.

"Neither do I," added Paul. "Do you have any idea who they are?"

"Not much," George admitted. "Brigadier General Wesley O'Dell is a marine. The only thing I've heard about him is that he's a good man. But then I heard that about Chase," he shrugged.

Paul thought for a moment and then smacked his head.

"O'Dell. Of course. I should have remembered."

They looked at him in surprise, Daniel nudging him to continue.

"You're right. He's got a very good rep. He was still a colonel when I was there which is why his name didn't register for a moment. There was talk about bringing him on board, even sending him to the SGC as a team commander. He's a God-fearing man, but in a good way, if you know what I mean. A proper Christian as opposed to a hypocrite like Kinsey. He's not a bible-thumper, he doesn't shove it down your throat, but he lives by the words. He demands the highest standards from his men but unlike some, he practises what he preaches. He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke and he's been married - as far as we could tell, faithfully - to the same woman for over thirty years. Apparently he doesn't even swear, which is unusual for a marine," he added wryly. "I saw his report when they were investigating him with a view to appointing him to SG-3. They found absolutely nothing to suggest that he wasn't as he appeared."

"Ya know, people like that worry me," Jack drawled. "Too good to be true, if you know what I mean."

"I wouldn't worry about him," Paul countered. "He has a rep for listening to others, learning quickly and taking on board other people's views. He'd have to be quick on the uptake to get to where he is."

"Why?" Daniel asked, settling back against the sofa as he did.

"He's a black man from a poor farming family of the rural deep south, who grew up in the 1960s," Paul shrugged. "He wasn't encouraged to get anything more than a basic education by his teachers. Everything he knows now, he's learned since then. He joined the Marine Corps, used every opportunity he had to further his education, got his degrees... he's got where he has through hard work and sheer determination. Quite frankly, I really hope there isn't anything we can use against him. He's a great advert for both the services and for personal achievement. If the Pentagon had any sense, they'd use him in a recruitment campaign among underprivileged kids."

"You think he'll listen to reason?" Daniel asked.

"I think he's the best chance you've got. Trouble is, the last thing you want to do is come out to him. I'm not saying he's a 'phobe, but somehow I'm not sure he'll understand."

"Okay, that limits how I can act during the meeting," Daniel sighed. "I don't want to alienate him."

"What about the last guy?" Jack asked.

"Senator Keith Petrie," George said. "All I know about him is that he's been brought on board by Kinsey and that he was a captain in the Navy before turning to politics. Like Kinsey, he's an extreme right-winger, but he doesn't spout extremist rhetoric or even anything that would hint at his true views in public, probably because his state, while Republican, is in the north, so it's hard to get anything on him."

"Navy? I wonder..." Daniel stood up and wandered over to the phone, calling out to Paul as he went. "What about your naval friend at the Pentagon?"

"Sure, Daniel. I could call him. He wouldn't ask any questions."

"Good. Hang on a moment and give him a call. Let me..." He broke away, dialling up a number on the phone first.

They watched him eagerly, a little confused by his actions but all of them knowing him well enough to trust that he had an idea. They knew that the phone had been answered when Daniel's face broke from its 'thinking' pose to its 'ah! You're there!' one.

"Mark, it's Daniel. Great, glad to catch you in. Hope I haven't disturbed you?... Good. I've got a favour to ask you. It's a bit of a long shot... Right. I don't suppose you know a guy called Keith Petrie, do you? He was a captain in the Navy and now he's a senator... You think? Great... Actually, I want any gossip you can get. The more dirt the better. Likes, dislikes, nicknames... I knew you'd get it... No, I'm sorry, I can't tell you. You're better off not knowing, anyway... Thanks. I'll need the information by the end of the week. Will that be possible?... I appreciate it. Look, how about you and Frances come over one night soon?... I look forward to it. Take care, and thanks again."

"Mark?" George prompted as he sat back down.

"Mark Vincent, our family doctor. Ex-Navy and part-time gossip," he added with a laugh. "He doesn't know the guy, but he has contacts in many states and retired from many ships and submarines. At a guess, Petrie's going to be of a similar age to him, so hopefully, he'll find out some things. If I know him, he's going to spend the entire weekend on the phone, catching up with his old pals and chattering like an old woman over the garden fence."

"Sounds like a useful guy to know," George replied, amusement painted across his face.

"He is," Daniel agreed with a grin, thinking to other times Mark had come in handy. "Paul? Do you want to call your friend?"

"Yeah. I'll just..." Paul stood up and pointed to the bedroom, getting an understanding nod from Daniel as he did.

When he left the room, Daniel noticed that George looked a little confused.

"George? What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong, Daniel," he replied. "But... well, you asked what I assume will be the same questions on the phone in front of me. Why the secrecy?"

Daniel shrugged. "He's contacting an ex. The guy's still in the Navy at the Pentagon. Whereas he knows you wouldn't drop him in it, Paul wouldn't do anything to even slightly put him at risk."

"I understand. Fortunately, being retired, no one can make me tell them anything." He smiled, picking up the beer he'd left earlier. "Tell me, are you okay about him being in contact with this ex?"

"Sure. It's not as if he's going to run off with him. They weren't crazy about each other, more mutually convenient, if you know what I mean."

Hammond nodded. Despite his never having felt the need for any 'mutual convenience', he was more than well aware that it went on in the services and understood why men and women did that.

"They managed to stay friends, then?"

"Yeah. They got on well, they have similar tastes, similar senses of humour and so on. From what I've heard, the guy has the same political outlook, too."

A noise came from the building site, making the men realise that the builders were packing up.

"I'd better go speak to them," Daniel said. "Um, Jack, I want you and Paul to come to the Springs with me, so we'll need them to be finished by the time we go."

Jack looked surprised, but he was glad that Daniel felt the need for him, so he nodded.

Paul had set his friend off on a 'dirt hunt', Daniel had organised things with the builders (they'd have the physical construction done before the men went and would return to finish up when the men came back) and time was passing. Daniel picked up on the fact that George wanted to speak to Jack alone, so he nudged Paul and told the others that they'd go into town to pick up a Chinese meal for them all.

As the door shut and George heard the sound of a car's engine, he looked over at his old friend.

"Daniel told me what happened to him as a kid," he said quietly.

Jack looked at him in sheer surprise.

"You mean..."

"The rape," George confirmed.

"Wow. He's always vowed never to tell anyone. He hasn't even told Sam or Janet. In fact, he's gone out of his way to stop people finding out."

"Why? It's not like he did anything wrong."

Jack let out a humourless laugh. "True. He doesn't think he did, either. I know he's got a thing about blaming himself for everything, but not this. No, it's not that. Uh... how did you feel when he told you?"

"How do you think? Shocked. Angry. Actually, I was damned furious."

"Protective?" Jack pushed.

George nodded. "Of course I did."

"Which is why he doesn't tell anyone. You must not treat him any differently. His biggest fear is that people will start to treat him like he's fragile. That would be the quickest way to break him. He's not going to break, George."

Hammond thought about it and then he nodded.

"I understand. I promise. I take it that it's not up for discussion with Doctor Frasier, then."

"It's not up for discussion, period. He's trusting you, George. You don't talk about it and you don't treat him like a kid. You should be honoured," he added with a grin.

"I am," George confirmed. He'd had enough things happen to him when he was a POW in Vietnam, and he knew how little he wished to speak of them, so he respected Daniel's wishes. That didn't stop him worrying, though. "Does it affect him now?"

Jack got up, waving his empty beer bottle in explanation and getting a nod in agreement. As he went to the kitchen and the fridge to get more beer, Jack thought about how he was going to answer it.

Returning to the living room, he handed a bottle to George, then he sat down and took a swig of his own beer.

"It doesn't effect him on a day-to-day basis," he finally said. "Sometimes it bites him on the ass. He developed what he calls 'coping strategies' when he was a kid and he still uses them."

"What are they?"

"Uh, don't take offence, George, but it's not my place to talk about them. If Daniel wants you to know, he'll tell you himself."

"Fair enough. I'll take heart that he's shared what he has. I meant it when I said I'm honoured," he said sincerely. Then he sat back in his chair and grinned. "You're a dark horse, Jack."


"All this..." he waved in the general direction of the kitchen, and therefore the stairs to the playroom. "I would never have imagined that."

"I take it Daniel explained the reasons?" Jack asked carefully.

"He did. And like I said, I sort of get it. I guess I'm too old and too set in my ways to understand it totally, but one thing I've learned in life is that judging people for their choices in life is rarely a good idea. Sure, some people's ways of life truly upset or disgust me, such as political or religious extremists, who hate what isn't what they are. From what I've gathered from Daniel, your... lifestyle, shall we say, is more accepting of other people's quirks. As Cassandra would say, 'that's cool'," he added with a smile.

Jack sighed, smiling back. "I wish that was completely true," he said sadly. "Unfortunately, the Scene is riddled with cliques; people thinking that their way is the only right and proper way. Straights can find it hard to accept gays, and the other way around. Hardcore S&Mers sometimes think that those who dabble aren't doing it properly..." He shook his head at that thought. "The three of us don't go into some clubs because they freak that we're together. We know of a few, more accepting places, but it's got to the stage that we're in the process of setting up our own, private club."

"Oh? As a moneymaking venture?"

"No. We have a group of friends, they're all kind of weird, I guess, but they're all good, tolerant people. Not all are in the Scene, not all are gay. We just enjoy each other's company, that's all. For example, our doctor, Mark, the one that Daniel called up. He and his wife are in the Scene. She's his domme. During the day, she's his secretary. Now, the five of us like being together, but there are some clubs we couldn't go into. We've got female friends - again, that's something that doesn't go down well in some places. Because Daniel and I are bi and not gay, we get it in the neck from some who say we're sell-outs, as if we want to hide our gay sides. Which is kind of ridiculous if you think about it."

Jack couldn't help but smile at George's laugh at that. He let him quieten then he continued.

"We've got loads of friends on the fringes of their own particular scenes. They don't fit in within the mainstream of whatever they are. So we figured we'd set up our own place. Only people who are nominated by club members will be able to join. The fee will be based on ability to pay, too, so the jobless won't be excluded. Uh, some clubs are really expensive," he added in explanation.

"Tell me about some more of your friends," George urged, curious to see what made the men's criteria for friends these days.

"Okay, there's Arthur. He's an accountant by day."

"And by night?"

"He's Claudia, a femme fatale."

"Ah. Surely there are plenty of men like him?"

"True, but he just doesn't fit in with them. I guess it's a personality thing. Most TVs, um, that's transvestites, are straight, by the way. Arthur is. And most are obviously guys - not all, some are much better than others, but it's usually possible to tell easily. When Claudia comes out though, you couldn't tell that she isn't a she. I mean, she's good. You can spot most TVs a mile off, no matter how they perceive themselves. Their movement is all wrong, a lot of them overdo the make-up, or their dress taste is appalling. They really need a woman to advise them. Arthur had his big sister. Apparently she found him trying on one of her dresses when he was in his teens. She and he had a good chat, then she decided that if he was going to get away with it and stay safe, she'd better help him out and make sure he didn't look like a man dressing up as a woman. He said she made him work hard at it. Hours on high heels so he got the walk right and so on. Because he's so good, he faces a lot of jealousy, so much so, he doesn't really like the company of other TVs as a rule."

"That's sad. Surely they're the only ones that would understand his reasons for needing to dress up?"

"Most likely. I sure as hell don't get it, but what the hell? He's doing no one any harm, so it doesn't bother me. It makes him happy. Arthur's a real stereotypical accountant. Quiet, fairly boring... I think he's really shy, actually. Claudia, on the other hand, is a scream. Literally at times. She's brash, she's bold and lets no one walk over her. I think she's his release, but she's also his mask. When she comes out, it's like Arthur's taking a break from the world and letting the more confident Claudia deal with things for him."

Jack frowned for a moment then he said, "I guess he's not so different from me after all."

"What do you mean, Jack?"

"Oh, when I feel the need for Daniel to take over. He stops me thinking, stops me worrying about whatever is bothering me. I literally shut my mind off and let him protect me physically and mentally. It might only be for a half hour, but when it's over, it's like I've had a long, deep sleep. I 'wake up' feeling refreshed."

George nodded slowly, beginning to understand. He let Jack think on for a while then he leant forward.

"Tell me more, Jack. Who else is there?"

With a smile, Jack told him.

"I'm curious," Hammond said as they all sat around the table eating dinner.

Jack's face had a distinct look of 'what now?' about it, and Paul and Daniel had to hide the smiles that threatened as a result.

Calling on his self-control, Daniel asked, "About what?"

"Those rings you're wearing. They seem to be symbolic, but they're all in different colours."

"Ah, I see," Daniel replied with a smile, silently relieved that it was as simple as that. "This is the triskellion, uh, that's the name given to the yin yang-type design," he stated, removing his ring and handing it to George so he could look closer.

"It's remarkable work," George said in awe.

"A friend of ours made it for us especially," Paul put in. "At Daniel's request and with the aid of his chequebook, of course."

"Of course," came the chuckled reply. "It must mean something, though?"

"It's the symbol adopted by people in the Scene. The three-way design of it represents various aspects of the whole BDSM lifestyle."

"So it doesn't represent your threesome then?"

George was surprised to see the three men wince at his words.

"Please, we prefer to call ourselves a triad. The word threesome has bad porn connotations, and despite what you may think, our relationship is not based on sex," Daniel answered for them all.

"I apologise. Please, go on."

Daniel smiled graciously and continued. "Basically, it's a design which is used to represent BDSM. Some people wear it on a badge to let others know that they're into it. The various parts of it describe different elements within the Scene."

"Do the different colours mean anything?" George pushed.

"They represent us. Uh, please, don't ask," Daniel begged. "I've explained it to them and that threatened to become a really sappy moment. Once is enough."

"I'm boring, Paul's a handful and Daniel's schizoid," Jack snorted, getting a smack up the back of his head from Daniel for his trouble.

"JACK! Behave!" he laughed. Then turning to George, he said, "It's not that. Well, not exactly."

"I won't push you any further," George laughed back. "I don't think I want to know."

He continued eating his meal, the conversation returning to base gossip - a nice, safe and neutral topic for the moment. George couldn't help but observe the interaction between the three men, though. He noted that Jack and Daniel's relationship hadn't changed at all. Jack was still the 'naughty boy' that never seemed to grow up, while Daniel was one moment being the neutralising agent of his wit and the next moment winding him up to be worse. They'd been like that at the SGC, the only difference being that the strain of the job wasn't telling on their tempers.

Paul surprised him though. At the SGC, he'd always been firm, polite and determined to do his job as best he could. George had always respected him there, understanding his mindset and appreciating the honesty with which Paul dealt with him. Compared to some, like the despised Samuels that Paul had replaced, he'd been a breath of fresh air. He was still all of the above, but his sense of humour was much more apparent. When Jack and Daniel were getting a bit silly, he brought them down to earth. When they were quietening, he stoked them back up again, keeping the atmosphere fun, but gentle. He also noticed that Daniel reached out and touched their arms or their backs a lot. It wasn't anything overt, but Daniel had never been physically demonstrative at the SGC, unlike Jack. Here he was like a mother at a dining table full of her kids, quietly and lovingly persuading them to try something new, or comforting if need be. The whole air was one of affection and George couldn't help but smile.

"Tell me about the building," he prompted at one point. "You said you're having some new rooms built on. Why?"

"We're building a new bedroom, it was supposed to be a spare one but it's going to be the new master bedroom," Jack answered. "It'll have a bathroom with it," he added, grinning at the others.

"Have you finished?" Daniel asked, pointing at the remains of the meal.

"Yes, I sure have. Thank you, it was delicious."

"My pleasure. Come on, these two will clean up and I'll show you what's going on."

George noted that the others didn't complain about the order, so he didn't offer to help. Instead he stood up and let Daniel lead him out to the building site.

"I supply the meal, they clean up. It's one of the house rules," Daniel suddenly said as they entered the first new room.

"One of them?"

"I live with two bachelors. What do you think?" Daniel answered wryly.

"Ah. Understood. So, this is the bedroom? It's big."

"It's got to take three of us. We're finding our room a bit cramped. It's big enough, and it'll make a great spare room, but as we've got the money, we figured we may as well make our lives as comfortable as we can. This is the bathroom," he said, leading George to a side room.

"What's that hole in the floor?"

"That's where the bath is going to go."

"A sunken bath?"

"For Jack. On his bad days he finds it hard to climb up over the edge of a normal bath and he needs plenty of space to do his exercises. He finds it easier in hot water. We have a hot tub out the back, but sometimes you don't want to use it. It can take a while to heat it up, leaving Jack in agony in the meantime. This won't take as long to fill. It's big enough and deep enough for me to get in and help him, too."

"It looks big enough for the three of you," George teased.

Daniel grinned. "There is that," he conceded.

Chuckling, George asked, "How are you going to find a bath that big?"

"We're not going to. All of the plumbing, for the faucets and the drain, is built into the fabric of the room. When we come to finish it off, a tiler is going to come and tile the whole thing, a bit like a Roman bath. We've had to buy a double-sized water tank especially for it."

"Impressive. I'll come and see it when it's done."

"Please do that. Anytime. You know you're welcome here," Daniel said sincerely.

"I know. I'm sorry I haven't come here sooner, but to be frank, I'm wondering how I ever found the time to work. Retirement is exhausting!"

Daniel showed him the shower in which Jack would be able to sit if he needed and then he led him out to the next room.

"This will be the gym. We don't always get the chance to work out and none of us want to become unfit."

"That's a good idea. Will you be able to persuade Jack to come in here?"

Daniel grinned, sharing the in-joke about Jack never seeing the inside of a gym at the SGC unless he had an ulterior motive.

"I can get Jack to do most anything. Don't worry about that."

Somehow, George didn't doubt it.

They persuaded him to stay the night as he'd had too much to drink to drive to an hotel. He hadn't booked into one either, so it wasn't hard to make him stay. As he lay in bed that night, George pondered the strange relationship. He'd seen many weird set-ups in his nearly seventy years, but never one like that. But the men were happy; Jack was more relaxed than George had ever seen him, Paul seemed to have emerged from a shell of permanent efficiency (the broom handle'd been taken out of his ass, as an old sergeant he'd once known would have said) and Daniel smiled a lot. That was almost as weird as seeing Teal'c smile. He figured he'd never get it, but he could at least be happy for them. A thought of his wife, just as he had done ever since she'd died, and a quick prayer for his family were the last things he did before he went to sleep.


Too many years in the military had spoiled his chances of ever sleeping in. He woke with the dawn, just as he always did. Daniel had told him to make himself at home if he was up first. He knew where the coffee was kept, knew that he had free rein in the kitchen, so he got up and showered and headed off to get breakfast.

As he approached the men's bedroom (en route to the kitchen), he noticed that the door was open a few inches. Despite having air conditioning, it wasn't run at night because it made a noise. As the current weather was hot and humid, they wanted air to permeate through the house from open windows. Besides, Jack complained if the cold air from the unit got to his joints, so they only ran it when necessary.

George couldn't help but look through the gap, feeling it wasn't a bad thing to do as he could hear at least one of them snoring softly.

He felt a smile creep over his face as he saw the men. Paul was facing the wall, Daniel, despite the heat, was facing his back, an arm under Paul's pillow so it looked like Paul's head was resting on both. Daniel's other arm was wrapped around Paul's waist. Jack, meanwhile, was also facing them, his top arm draped like Daniel's, their fingers entwined loosely. Jack's top leg was between Daniel's legs, Paul's top foot between Daniel's feet. It was like they couldn't stop touching each other, as if the contact was necessary for a peaceful night. They'd all worn boxers, in deference to having a visitor, but the only cover was a cotton sheet, which was currently barely over their legs, their feet sticking out from it as if searching out the cooler air.

When Daniel moved slightly, still asleep but looking like he was nuzzling into Paul's neck as if to start something, George withdrew and entered the kitchen.

As the coffee made, he knew he should be... shocked, or surprised, or disgusted, or... something. But he didn't. He could feel their connection in a way he'd rarely seen in other people's relationships. The nearest he could get was his own marriage. Alice and he had been married for over forty years, childhood sweethearts who had known when they'd started dating as young teens that they'd marry and stick together. They'd known each other so well that they didn't have to ask each other their opinions, knowing precisely how each other would react, and all that by the time their first daughter had been born.

He could feel his throat tightening and his vision blurring a little, so he ruthlessly blinked back the threatening tears. He missed her so much, something he knew that Daniel would understand. The night before, Daniel had told him how much he still missed Shau're, even with the guys right there. George had noticed how they'd supported him quietly; just a touch on his arm and a small smile, so he knew that they encouraged him to remember her. That sort of support couldn't be bought.

George should have known that the smell of coffee brewing would attract Daniel, but he was still surprised to see him enter the kitchen so soon after he'd sat at the table.

"Good morning, Daniel," he said, a little too cheerfully for Daniel's liking.

George couldn't help but notice that Daniel hadn't bothered to get dressed yet, either, and that he'd somehow managed to retain most of the overt signs of fitness his body had carried back at the SGC. He also noticed the ring through one of his nipples and the one on the edge of his navel.

"Hmm," Daniel said as he got to the coffee pot, instinctively pouring himself one without really paying attention to what he was doing. "M'ning."

"I see that not being on the active list hasn't increased your love for mornings," George teased.

With his eyes half open, as if he was squinting at George, Daniel turned and stared at him for a moment, letting the words percolate through his brain. Then he snorted a short laugh and shook his head before knocking back the first coffee and standing stock still as if to let it do its job. A few moments later, he poured another mug and then headed for the table, sitting opposite George.

"Sorry," he croaked. "Had a bit of a rough night. Jack was bad."

"Nightmare?" George asked gently.

"No. Uh, his legs. Sometimes the painkillers wear off in the night, but he's taken his allotted pills for the twenty-four-hour period, so we can't give him any more. It makes him restless. Until he's deeply asleep, he tosses and turns, trying to get comfortable, but..." He shook his head and shrugged. "If I know he's going to have a bad night, I make him take some sleeping pills, but there was no indication yesterday, so he didn't."

"I didn't realise he was still suffering so badly," George murmured.

"It comes and goes. If he's been on his feet all day, you can guarantee it. Other times..." He shrugged again. "There's no rhyme nor reason."

The thud of barefootsteps caught their attention, and Paul stumbled through the door in an almost identical manner to Daniel, heading directly to the coffee pot. When he'd poured his mug, however, he sat directly down, dropping his shoulders and looking up at Daniel.

"I hate you," he growled.

"Why now?"

"I used to drink tea. No coffee. Now I'm addicted to the damned stuff. You're a bad influence."

Daniel couldn't help but laugh as he half-heartedly attempted an apology.

"I'm sorry..." he started.

"No, you're not. It was a concerted effort on your part."

Paul dropped his head totally onto the table and, still chuckling, Daniel patted his back. George couldn't help but laugh at the two of them. The way Paul had announced his hate of Daniel had been so full of love that there was absolutely no chance of misinterpretation.

"When you've had your coffee," Daniel finally said, his voice quiet but firm. Paul looked at him intently and waited for the rest of his instructions. "Go put the hot tub on, then get out my swimming trunks, and Jack's, of course, and the bathrobes. I have a feeling that when Jack wakes up he's going to be in need of a soak."

Paul nodded in understanding. "Anything else?"

"No, that's all. For now," Daniel shrugged. "I'll get his pills ready."

"You know he's going to need them for sure?" George asked.

He was answered by a loud, gruff, "FUCK!" from the bedroom.

"Pretty sure," Daniel answered with a grin.

Paul got up and made his way to the back garden to get things ready out there. Daniel stood up and went straight to the cabinet they stored all the pills in and without really looking at the various bottles, shook two painkillers, a codeine booster tablet and an anti-arthritis pill into his hand.

George marvelled at the way the men worked together. Even on something as simple as this, they were well-oiled, well-practised he figured. George realised that Daniel was guessing at the intensity of Jack's current discomfort based on past observation, but Paul's obvious need to please Daniel by doing precisely what he was told and nothing more or less was almost startling to him.

He shouldn't have been surprised; after all, Daniel had explained the whys and wherefores the night before. And for many years, he'd had people respond to him in the same manner. Perhaps that was it. Paul, and Jack, needed the structure the Air Force had given them, and now Daniel's way replaced what they'd lost. It didn't look wrong, either, though in different circumstances, it would have. He and his wife had had a well-rehearsed way of dealing with the various things life threw at them, including his wife's cancer at the end. Medical regimes were managed without the need for orders to be given and a glance at her often told him if she needed relief from her pain without a word from her. But when dealing with other things, he couldn't imagine an order being given, even in the gentle way Daniel had issued his to Paul. Yet it suited them.

Jack had awoken when he'd realised that the guys weren't there. As he tried to move, his knee throbbed with pain, prompting him to yell out loud. A minute later, as he was struggling to sit up, Daniel was by his side, pills in one hand, a glass of water in the other, all placed on the bedside table so that Daniel could help him sit up against some pillows.

"Stop fussin', will ya?" he snarled.

"Hush! I'm not fussing, just doing what's necessary. Paul's sorting the tub out, it will be warm enough soon. We'll get you into your trunks so you don't scare George," he teased, "then we'll go into it."

When Jack opened his mouth he shook his head. "Do not argue with me, Jack. Or do I have to put your collar on and lead you out there?"

Jack's mouth snapped shut again, his cheeks starting to burn at the thought of George seeing him bound and attached to a dog lead. It was one thing George knowing about them, it was quite another matter for him to see him like that.

Daniel saw the look on his face and spoke quietly, handing him his tablets and the water in a silent order to take them. "Don't worry, I won't do it. Unless you give me a reason to. You won't, will you?"

"No. Sorry, Daniel, I'm just..."

"I know. You're in pain. I do understand, babe. You have to understand, too, that I'm just trying to help you in the only way that I can. If I could take away your pain, I would. But in the meantime, if I have to get hard on your ass, I'll do it."

"I know," Jack echoed. "I guess I'm just a grumpy old man."

"Yeah, you are. But you're my grumpy old man." Daniel's final words were delivered with a smile and Jack couldn't help but reciprocate. "Do you want a coffee?"

"Please," Jack agreed. "I need to wake up a bit. Had a bad night and it makes me feel like I'm hung over."

Daniel didn't point out that he already knew that Jack had had a bad night, unwilling to make Jack feel worse for having kept the others up.

George had gone out to the back garden when the men were in the tub and watched as Daniel helped Jack with his physiotherapy. They'd chatted as if nothing was going on, helping Jack to relax a little in the process. Again George noticed how it had become second nature to them, the exercises being done without either man looking at what they were doing.

Afterwards, and after the four had had a proper breakfast, he'd reluctantly had to say goodbye as he was booked on a late morning flight. The men had made him promise to visit when the house was finished and he had, genuinely determined to come and see them again. He said he'd have words with Burwell about the meeting, setting everything up for them. With heavy hearts, the three men watched him drive away.

"I miss him," Daniel said quietly.

"I know," Jack soothed. "Me too. He was the best general I'd ever worked under. The best CO of any rank, in fact."

Paul knew how much a father figure Hammond was to Daniel, so he changed the subject, trying to take away the sadness.

Slipping his hand into Daniel's, he said enigmatically, "Before he came yesterday, I was going to ask if you would take me somewhere."

"Where?" Daniel asked, ready to grant whatever he wanted.

"Downstairs." Paul's face was almost shy - a bit of an act on his part, but Daniel enjoyed the joke. "If you want to and if you think I've deserved it," he added.

"Hmm," Daniel said, making a show of pondering Paul's words. "Has he been good?" he asked Jack. "Or bad for that matter? If he's been bad, then he might not want to go downstairs."

Jack noticed how Paul's breath hitched at that implied threat and had to smother a grin.

"He was very naughty yesterday," he replied thoughtfully. "After all, he kept attacking you with that cold beer bottle."

"So he did." Daniel's eyes lit up with mischief and Paul was simultaneously filled with excitement and dread. "Are you ready for me?"

"Not yet. With your permission, I'll just go and get ready."

"Be as quick as you can. I'll be waiting for you. Come down in your collar and bands and nothing else. The builders won't be here today as it's Sunday, so we don't have to worry about visitors."

He shooed Paul off to the bathroom and then led Jack to the living room and bade him sit on the sofa.

"You rest here," he ordered. "If you're up for a game of whatever you want later on, let me know."

"Later, maybe," Jack agreed. "But now, I'll just lie here if that's okay."

"It's fine. Do you want anything?"

"No, just the remote, I guess."

Daniel passed him the remote control and then bent down and spent the next few minutes kissing him. Jack lay almost motionless, allowing Daniel to possess him totally. When Daniel broke off, he was seriously turned on, but he said nothing and did what he could to ignore it.

"Later," Daniel whispered against his ear, then he stood up and walked directly to the playroom.

When Paul arrived in the playroom, he wondered just what Daniel had in mind. He hoped it would be something special. There had been something about Hammond's visit that set his nerves tingling and he wasn't sure what it was. Despite the fact that he had been out of the Air Force for a few years, he'd had to fight down the urge to stand up and salute when George had walked into the house. And despite George's invitation, he'd stuck to calling him 'sir' most of the time.

Daniel had noticed that, too, and a little thought niggled him, causing a smile to creep over his face. He wasn't prepared to act the way he thought Paul would like him to, just yet, but that was because he hadn't had time to prepare, not that he wasn't willing to do it. So he figured that this would be a trial scene, to see if his observation was right.

Paul stopped inside the playroom in the position that he always did. A space in-between the cross and the jointed table, above which was the panic hook, allowed Daniel the room to walk around him and 'inspect' him. Daniel didn't have to give him the order, either, it was just done.

As he'd figured Daniel would, he paced around him, looking him up and down.

"Is this appropriate dress, airman?"

Paul was surprised by Daniel's words, but they went straight to his groin.

"No, Sir. I'm sorry, Sir," he gasped.

"So you should be."

Neither said anything about Daniel's state of dress. He'd pulled off the T-shirt he'd put on after the spell in the hot tub and was now standing barefoot and in jeans, the button undone and the zip lowered just enough so that Paul could see the top of his pubic hair sticking out.

"So, what am I going to do?" Daniel asked. Paul figured it was a rhetorical question. In the playroom, unless he prompted them for an answer, his questions always were. "I think you need to be punished."

Paul's cock, already half-hard, stood to attention, just like the rest of him. Daniel noted Paul's physical response and realised that his initial observation seemed to be correct.

"How am I going to punish someone who's obviously so bad?" he purred. "I know. Over here, airman."

He put his hand on Paul's arm and led him to the paddling bench. Without another instruction, Paul knelt on the lower part, awaiting his orders.

"Hands behind your back."

Paul did as he was told and soon felt Daniel attaching his wrist bands together tightly.

"Put your forehead on the top bench."

Awkwardly, Paul did as he was told, dropping his head down, the action tightening the skin across the top of his back. It was a difficult position to hold and he had to concentrate hard to hold it. Daniel, meanwhile, picked up his latest acquisition, a long, thin leather strap, which he could use for many different purposes.

"I think you need ten of these. At least to begin with," he said. "Count them out."

Paul tried to brace himself, but the position he was in made it difficult. He felt the strap as it landed on his right shoulder, neatly missing his face. Daniel practised with a paper 'target' that he pinned to the various items of furniture in the playroom, making sure that wherever he decided to hit, he never, ever missed. He was now extremely skilled, even if he still didn't really like it.

"One, Sir!" Paul called out.

Daniel placed the next one on his left shoulder, changing his own position to make sure he got it right.

"Two, Sir!"

Every stroke hit somewhere new, leaving a long, red mark in its wake. Paul's responses were starting to sound strangled by the time they got to seven and Daniel had to force himself to continue, knowing that Paul would stop him continuing if it was too much for him.

The final two strokes were placed across Paul's ass cheeks, one on each, making Paul feel desperate to come, but he knew he couldn't.

Daniel was relieved when he heard, "Ten, Sir!" and put the strap back on the shelf.

"Head up," he ordered, watching Paul for any sign of real discomfort or difficulty. Paul managed to kneel back up. Just.

"Well, airman. Have you learned your lesson?" he taunted.

He detected a flash of disappointment over Paul's eyes and he knew that he wasn't ready to end it just then.

"Perhaps not," he answered for him, much to Paul's relief as he hadn't known how to answer.

He thought for a moment and then undid his zip all the way, letting his cock fall out, but leaving his jeans up.

"Do you want this?" he asked. "You may answer."

"Yes, Sir. Please, Sir."

"I think you have to earn it. This isn't a punishment, it's a reward. Now, what can you do for me that will make me that happy?"

Paul's eyes pleaded for him to be allowed to answer and Daniel nodded assent.

"Anything, Sir. I'll do anything."

"I'll bet you will. I've heard about you, airman. You're a slut, aren't you?"

"Yes, Sir."

"You'll do anything to get off, won't you?"

"Yes, Sir."

Daniel moved behind him and Paul felt his wrist bands being detached from each other, but left on him.

"Come here," Daniel ordered, starting to walk away from the bench.

When Paul started to stand up, he barked, "On your knees!"

Daniel was hitting one of Paul's darkest kinks, one he never gave voice to, but one that Daniel knew about nonetheless. His posh upbringing, with a nanny, a butler, a cook and maids, followed by his quick rise through the ranks of the Air Force had meant he'd usually been treated respectfully, but held at arm's length by those of lower social or military rank than himself. Treating him like this evened things out in Paul's mind, but it was something that actually made him feel a little ashamed to think about. When Daniel made him crawl, made him do things he wouldn't usually do, it gave him the excuse to throw off that shame. One thing that Paul appreciated was that Daniel only did this at home, and rarely when Jack was there, as if he knew that it was a private kink.

He crawled, his cock hard and leaking, the tip occasionally touching the floor as he moved. It only took him a few crawled steps to reach Daniel, who was standing under the hook in the ceiling. He didn't rise but instinct told him how to behave and he dropped his head onto the floor at Daniel's feet.

"That's better. I'm glad to see you're learning your place around here."

Despite Daniel's harsh words, his voice was still gentle and firm, as if he needed to be like that to mitigate what he was saying.

"Before you get your reward, you need to work for it. Clean my feet."

Paul physically shuddered at the thought and went to work with enthusiasm. He licked the tops of Daniel's feet, covering both of them with his tongue. When he'd completed his task, he looked up.

"Speak," Daniel ordered, seeing a question in Paul's eyes.

"Could you lift one of your feet up, please, Sir?"

With a smile, Daniel reached out to hold onto the nearby cross to steady himself and raised one of his feet. Paul returned to his work, taking each of Daniel's toes into his mouth in turn and sucking on them as if he was sucking his cock.

"Do you want me to do the underside, Sir?" he asked. "I don't want to tickle you."

"No, what you're doing is just fine. Do the other one."

Daniel had to fight down the laugh that threatened at Paul's question. He was notoriously ticklish on his feet and he appreciated Paul's not wanting to reduce the scene to hysteria. Maybe he'd allow him to do that later, in bed, but not now.

Besides, Paul was working hard on his toes and he was loving every second of it. When Paul's tongue curled around his big toe, he let out a pleasured moan.

"Enough!" he gasped. "Enough. Your reputation isn't even close," he purred. "That mouth of yours is very talented. I think it's time to see what else you can do with it."

Paul knelt up, his eyes open wide with anticipation. He didn't know why, it wasn't as if he hadn't sucked Daniel off on hundreds of occasions, but he couldn't wait to wrap his lips around the hard, red cock that was right in front of him.

"Now, where do I want you?" Daniel pondered. "Here."

Paul crawled to the table as ordered and when he got the nod, he stood up at its side.

"Face down."

Paul winced as he lay face down on it, but said nothing. His own cock was hard, and it was unbound, so there was no assistance to stop him coming, but now it was trapped between him and the table and just one or two movements would send him over the edge, no matter what he did to try not to come. As Daniel raised Paul's hands and attached them to the table, he noticed sweat breaking out on Paul's brow, guessing what was causing it. As soon as the hands were done, he went down the other side and attached his feet to the table, then undid the latch which held the two bottom parts of the table together and pushed them as far as they could go without damaging Paul. His cock dropped into the gap and Paul let out a sigh of relief. He regretted that straight away as Daniel heard it and the next thing he knew, Paul's ass was being spanked, hard.

Despite his actions, Daniel didn't say anything. He moved to the head of the table and unlatched that, opening Paul out so that he was in an X shape. Then he tilted the table upwards so that Paul's head was near his groin.

Paul didn't do anything, waiting for his permission. Daniel stood for a moment in front of him, taunting him with his cock, holding it in front of his face and slowly stroking it, making out that he was going to jerk off on Paul's face. He didn't know he'd done it, but Paul's mouth opened and his tongue licked his lips in anticipation. Again, Daniel had to force down a laugh at the sight. Instead, he leant down and put his mouth next to Paul's ear.

"You want it, don't you?" he whispered. "You can't wait for it. If it wasn't for the fact that you're so fucking hot, I'd make you wait."

He broke off, stood up, and the next thing Paul knew was that Daniel's cock was being wiped over his lips and then pushed into his mouth.

Paul shut his eyes, ignored the aching throb of his own groin and concentrated on the task. He ran his tongue up and down Daniel's shaft, curling it around and stroking, urging Daniel to move, to fuck his mouth. Daniel remained still, though, so Paul moved his own head as much as he could within the confines of his bindings. He wanted it all, wanted to take him down his throat as far as he could go, but his position made it hard. Frustration grew and he sucked harder and harder, hollowing his cheeks, licking frantically...

Daniel saw his desperation and took pity on him. Letting go of his own control, he allowed himself to feel every sensation at its best. He couldn't last, not under that assault. Paul felt the first spurt hit the back of his throat and he eagerly sucked again, wanting more. He got everything Daniel had to give him in a few more thrusts and he took it willingly.

When Daniel had got his breath back, he pulled away, letting his limp dick drop down, ignoring it and concentrating on Paul instead. He flattened the table again, wandered over to the shelf, picked something off it that Paul didn't see and was soon standing in-between his legs again.

Paul gasped when he felt Daniel's finger push inside him, lubing him up, obviously preparing him for something. This time, Daniel didn't punish him for the noise, concentrating as he was on making this good for him. He felt something push inside him and he forced himself to relax, to accept it. He had no idea what it was; some dildo or other, he figured, but seeing as Daniel had a whole load of them, each with its own individual 'character', anything could happen.

It seemed to take forever to get it inside him, it was wide and long. His urgency to come diminished as he struggled to allow the invader in.

"Nearly there, pet," Daniel said quietly. "Just relax."

He tensed, then relaxed, relieved when Daniel finally said, "It's all in. Well done."

He was sweating hard, the moisture dripping down his face and pooling on his back. Daniel bent down and kissed his shoulder blades and then trailed a few kisses down his spine. Just before he reached the sensitive small of Paul's back, Daniel stopped, then he stood back and took hold of the huge dildo and started to twist it around, pulling it slowly back and forth. Paul figured he knew which one it was, a total monster that Daniel had bought, mainly for Jack's use, and nearly the size of a fist. It was ribbed and he groaned as the ridges rubbed over his prostate. It took greater and greater effort to hold back from coming but Daniel was watching him, reading his body language. When he knew that Paul could take no more, he bent down again and dropped a kiss on the small of Paul's back, his cue to come.

His hand on the dildo, Daniel felt it when Paul started to shoot all over the floor, he saw it as even with limited movement, Paul jerked on the table violently. He kept hold of the dildo rigidly, so as Paul moved, he fucked himself on it, intensifying the sensation by orders of magnitude. Paul couldn't keep quiet and he yelled out loud, wanting yet more than he'd already got. Daniel was amazed, but he was in a position to give it to him. He doubted he'd have much in the way of semen, but he was most definitely hard again. As soon as Paul calmed, he slowly drew the dildo out, put it on the side table next to them, greased himself up and plunged his cock inside him.

"Oh God," Paul groaned, clamping his ass muscles together as best he could to hold Daniel in place when he was all the way in.

"You okay?" Daniel asked, concerned by his action.


Yet again, Daniel fought a laugh. Paul's definite answer left him in no doubt that he was holding him there because he wanted him.

"Okay. Hold on, pet."

Standing where he was, he was in the perfect position to drive deeply into his lover and he made the most of it, fucking Paul hard and fast, not even building up to it but letting loose straight away. Paul moaned and groaned all the way through it, but he never once called out for Daniel to slow down or stop. Daniel didn't let up, he pounded Paul's prostate, almost cruelly, forcing Paul to climax again, this time dry. The cry of Paul when he came combined with the actions of his muscles milked Daniel for all he had left.


They were both still feeling the after-effects when Daniel unstrapped Paul. The table was reconnected and Daniel sat on it, pulling Paul into his arms and holding him closely.

"You okay, pet?" he asked.

"Hell yeah," Paul replied. "Fucked."

This time Daniel allowed himself a little chuckle, hugging Paul tighter.

"How did you know?" Paul asked, his voice not more than a whisper.

"I didn't. I just guessed. You miss the Air Force, don't you?"

"In a way," Paul sighed. "I wouldn't go back, that's not what I mean. And I wouldn't swap this life we have for anything, but..."

"It's okay, I understand. I miss archaeology, but if I'm given the choice between that and you guys, well, there's no contest. I'd miss you more. I just make the most of enjoying the time I spend on the linguistics side of things, just as you do with your job."

Paul nodded, saying nothing more.

"Come on," Daniel finally said. "Clean yourself up, clean up in here, then meet me upstairs."

"Shall I get dressed?"

"Hell, no," Daniel laughed. "I'm enjoying the view."

Paul was exhausted when they landed in Colorado Springs on the Thursday night. He'd rearranged his working hours so that he'd put in five days' work into three and a half. They wouldn't be back in San Francisco until the following Wednesday and he'd promised to work the weekend shift and straight through the next week to make up for it. By the time the cab pulled up at Sam and Janet's place (Sam had moved in when Cassie had moved out "so they could keep each other company and share bills and so on," as they'd explained it to the General), he was almost asleep.

"Wake up, sleepyhead," Daniel teased. "Come on, you can go straight to bed when we're in."

"I'm sorry," he yawned. "I'll be fine."

"Don't be. The girls will understand."

Janet came out to welcome them in and all three stumbled out of the car; Paul because he was tired, Jack because he was stiff and Daniel because he tripped over the sill of the cab. She ushered them in, directing them to the dining table where a meal was waiting for them.

As they ate, they discussed what was going to happen the following day. The plan was that while Daniel was in the meeting, Jack and Paul would 'visit' the ladies and some other old friends. Jack's relationship with the others still wasn't known outside their small group of friends in the Springs, and Jack pondered whether to let on.

"Jack, it's up to you," Daniel said. "If you want to, then say it. It's not like it's anyone else's business, but I don't have a problem with them knowing."

"Are you sure? After all, you're the one that has to go there from time to time. I doubt they'd say anything to you while Paul and I are there, but if you're on your own... Well, you know what they're like up there."

"Jack, they know I'm with Paul, and apart from the odd jerk making the odd stupid comment, I don't get any problems. It's not as if I have to work with them on a daily basis, is it? I just go in for a few hours, sort out what's going on and then get out of there. My department doesn't seem to care one way or the other, and most of the teams are just grateful that I'm translating the things they need to do their jobs."

Jack considered his words and then shrugged. No doubt, some would have already guessed at the relationship.

"Jack, if you don't want to come..." Daniel started.

"No! It's fine. I'm fine. Besides," he added with a grin. "I want to know what it is you've got up your sleeve."

"Who me?" Daniel asked, blinking his eyes and looking innocent.

"Yeah, you."

"Wait and see," came the reply. "You'll love it."


The ladies had two spare rooms now Cassie wasn't living there full-time, one containing a normal-sized double bed (which was used as 'Sam's' bedroom if they had visitors) and the other with a single. Jack announced that he'd take the single on the grounds that he was aching. The double would just be too damned cramped for all three. Of course, the others offered (rather vehemently), but he insisted. Daniel, in turn, insisted on him taking sufficient pills to give him a good night's sleep.

Janet and Sam couldn't help but watch with huge smiles on their faces as Daniel fussed over both Jack and the still very sleepy Paul. It wasn't late, but he sent them to bed, taking time to massage Jack's legs before kissing him goodnight. He went back out to the living room for a few minutes more, only to see Sam kiss Janet goodnight.

"It's been a long day," she yawned, leaning over and kissing his cheek. "See you in the morning."

"Night, Sam," he returned, then looked at Janet quizzically.

All evening, she'd been flagging 'I want to talk to you' looks, which was why he was staying up and not going to bed with Paul. She stood up and headed over to the cupboard in which resided the whisky, then signalled that he should join her out on the back porch.

"What's up?" he asked, taking the drink she offered.

She laughed hollowly then leant close to him.

"I need help," she whispered, afraid that her words would carry indoors if she spoke louder.

"With what?"


He sat back with the shock and drank some of his whisky. Thinking back to the behaviour of the women that evening, he couldn't see what was wrong. They seemed happy. He took another sip and then leant forward again.

"What's wrong?"

"I don't know how to put it," she started, frustration in her voice. Seeing a 'well, try' look in his eyes, she tried again. "Sam's not exactly taking to the 'gay experience' as well as I'd hoped."

"Oh? I thought your relationship was great."

"It is! We're as close, if not closer than we ever were. I love living with her. It's just... well, she's not exactly very adventurous, if you get my drift."

He grinned sympathetically as he replied. "Jan, just because she's a bit on the vanilla side..."

"It's way worse than that," she interrupted.

"Wow. Tell me more."

"She'll let me do some things to her, but reciprocation is very limited. It's like she's holding back, you know?" She didn't wait for him to answer but continued. "I go down on her, hell, I love going down on her..."

"But she won't do it for you?"

"She's got close to it. When she's been a bit drunk, she's got around the right area, but as soon as it looks like she's going to do it, she pulls back."

"Hmm," Daniel mused. "What about toys?"

"Forget it. I showed her one of my dildos and she fell over laughing. When I suggested she use it on me, she nearly freaked."


"Yeah. Don't get me wrong, Daniel. I love Sam and it's not going to change that. Sex isn't everything and I know it. But she won't even try. If she gave a few things a go and decided that she didn't like them, then I'd be able to accept that. I'm beginning to doubt her, Daniel. I know I shouldn't. I know she's taken a huge step - and a huge chance - being with me. I appreciate that more than words can say. It's just I'm beginning to think that she said 'yes' that night to please me, maybe she got caught up in the atmosphere of the club, I don't know. It's easy to do that. And now, I don't know what to think."

Daniel thought for a moment before answering, then he spoke.

"I doubt she said 'yes' just to please you. Sam isn't the sort of person to do something on impulse; at least she's not going to do something so serious and life-changing as entering a gay relationship without meaning it. So, I think it's something else."

"Oh? Any ideas what it is?"

"Um, yeah. Despite Jacob's current easy-going nature, Sam was brought up in a very... I was going to say 'intolerant' household, but I don't mean that. It's just she wasn't brought up to see lives outside her own. All she knew as a kid, and then as an adult, was the strictly regimented Air Force life. There was a 'norm'. That was a husband, wife, some kids, maybe a pet. Sex was done missionary style and anything else wasn't 'normal'. Remember how she reacted to the news about Jack and me? To her, what we had then was 'disgusting' and 'wrong'. It was what she'd been brought up to believe, I think. She's come on in leaps and bounds since then, but it's going to be hard work to get her to break down her remaining barriers. It's not her fault, Jan. Look, you said that she gets more adventurous when she's had a few drinks, didn't you?"

"Yes, she does. But I'm not prepared to get her drunk, Daniel. That would just be plain wrong."

"No, I'm not even going to suggest that. But putting that with her life in the Air Force..." He sat back and took a deep drink. "Jan, Sam's a sub."

"You're kidding!"

"No, I'm not." He leant close again so that they could speak even quieter than they had been, even though nobody could have overheard a word. Then he made her promise not to say a word about what he was about to tell her, and when he got that promise, he told her about Paul's reaction to Hammond's visit. When it was over, he said, "So you see? She couldn't imagine her life outside of the military. She needs the structure, the orders. Despite being a major for a number of years, she's not command material and she knows it. Unless she's in her lab, working with the techs, how often do you hear her give orders to her subordinates?"

Janet thought for a moment and then shook her head in amazement.

"Rarely. And it costs her to do it. Damn, Daniel, I didn't notice. So you think I should tell her this?"

"Forget that," he shook his head. "Not here. You need to bring her to us. To be honest, I think she'd be more willing to listen to me, and besides, if she reacts badly to the news, it wouldn't be as big a tragedy if she were to take it out on me than if she were to take it out on you. I also think she'd be more willing to listen when she was away from the military atmosphere of this town. We need to get her relaxed, then we need to kind of ambush her."


"Yeah. I did that to Jack, but he was more au fait with the idea to start with. You can't discuss this with Sam, Janet. She won't accept the possibility that she has needs. Also, I think she needs to be told to do things, like go down on you. Some people are ashamed of their desires, especially if they've been brought up to believe they're wrong. The only way they can act on those desires are on the orders of someone else."

"I get that. So, what are we going to do?"

"Come stay with us. Do you think you guys can get leave when Cassie is due back in college?"

"We've already got it arranged. I was going to ask you guys tonight, but I forgot."

"Then come stay. As soon as Cassie's settled in, we'll go to work on Sam. By the way," he said, a little louder. "How is Cassie, and where is she?"

"At my mom's, having a great time last I heard."

The conversation drifted to more mundane things until tiredness took over and they went to bed, both thinking and planning for a few weeks down the line.

"Whoo, momma," Janet drawled as Daniel emerged from the bedroom. He was wearing a new, dark-blue suit, with a white shirt and sapphire-blue tie. His hair had been cut before he'd left home and he wasn't wearing any jewellery - at least none that was visible - except his ring. That he kept on deliberately. The impression he wanted to give was that of a sober, intelligent professional man, feeling the need to impress General O'Dell. The rest of the 'visitors' he had different plans for.

Jack and Paul were already in the kitchen eating breakfast. They were both dressed in smart-casual attire, again without earrings but with their finger rings. Jack was nervous, but he hid that. Daniel was nervous, too, but he wasn't quite as successful in hiding it.

"Danny, you'll be fine," Jack soothed.

"I don't know, Jack. Somehow, I've got to ambush three men while appearing to be reasonable to a fourth. Sure, I've got enough information to get what I want, but I think that getting O'Dell on the SGC's side is going to be important."

"You'll do it," Paul encouraged. "We've got faith in you."

Daniel didn't tell them that they obviously had a lot more faith in him than he had in himself, but he didn't have to.

Paul had an idea and he stood up, poured Daniel a coffee and said, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

His tone of voice was that of when he was being submissive and it surprised the others.

"Um, no, that'll be fine, thank you," Daniel replied.

Paul nodded, then he stood behind him as if waiting for his orders. After drinking some of his coffee, Daniel got the message. If Doctor Jackson didn't feel like he could do this, then Master Daniel most certainly could. He stood up, turned around and kissed Paul deeply.

"Thank you," he whispered into Paul's ear. "I get it. Now, loosen up or I will be extremely uncomfortable soon."

Paul grinned and winked at him, then urged him to eat something.


All five went to the mountain in Sam's car, but Jack and Paul were confused as to Daniel's reasons for taking the bags they'd brought their clothes and things in. Of course, Daniel being Daniel wouldn't let on.

"I'm not entirely sure if what I have planned is possible," he said enigmatically. "I'm not going to say, just in case it isn't."

By the time they reached the mountain, Daniel's stomach was churning. Sure, he was going to allow his control to take over in a way he hadn't done at the SGC before, but even that 'mask' wasn't enough. If he failed in his attempt to persuade the visitors over to the SGC's side, it literally could be disastrous for the entire planet.

When he'd received the information about Petrie, it had dawned on him just why that man had been hand picked by Kinsey. One thing he also realised was why O'Dell had been picked, and he didn't like it. It made him all the more determined to win this, to damage Kinsey. If he had to play nasty to win, he would.


"Doctor Jackson. It's good to see you again," General Burwell called out as he met the men when they stepped out of the lift.

Jack, especially, had been greeted warmly by the guards and it had taken them a little longer than planned to get down to where they needed to be.

"General, glad to be here. Uh, I should introduce you. Colonel Jack O'Neill..."

"Retired," Jack put in. "Oh, so retired." He held his hand out and Burwell shook it enthusiastically.

"...And Major Paul Davis," Daniel continued as if he hadn't been interrupted.

"Ditto," grinned Paul, fighting his urge to salute and stand to attention and forcing himself to shake hands instead.

"You are most welcome, gentlemen. Of course, I have no need to tell you that you need to be accompanied while you're here, do I? I know you know more than I do about the SGC, but..."

"But new things have happened and they're classified. Trust me, General, we get it," Jack soothed. "Daniel doesn't talk about his translations at home and even though I could get in to see what he's up to, I never look. To be frank, ignorance is bliss. I don't want to know what's going on these days."

Burwell laughed as he nodded back.

"I take it Major Carter is going to stick with you?"

"Just like old times," Jack replied. "Carter? You still got that old coffee machine in your lab?"

"Nope, got a new one," she replied smugly.

"Great! The last one was crappy. Lead on."

Daniel watched as Jack and Paul were dutifully lead by Sam to her lab (where secrecy could still be maintained on the grounds that the guys wouldn't have a clue what she was up to in there, anyway) and then turned on his heel and marched alongside the general.

"Are you sure about doing this, Doctor?" Burwell's voice was quiet and conspiratorial, making Daniel smile a little.

"Sure? Well..." He shrugged. "It's got to be done, General. If it means that I get fired, that's way better than you getting fired."

"How could you say that?" Burwell asked in surprise.

"Um, simply. I'd get my job back later on when they realised that no one else on Earth can read or speak Goa'uld, and if you were out of here, we might end up with an NID plant. Oh no, I'm way safer than you are to do this."

"If you put it like that," Burwell laughed. "Let's go get them! What's your plan?"

"It's probably better for you not to know that," Daniel sighed. "But to start with, I'm going to be very reasonable and try to convince them that Kinsey's wrong. If that doesn't work, then I'll have to beat him at his own game."

"Could be dangerous. Do you have the ammunition?"

This time Daniel laughed out loud, but it wasn't a laugh that Burwell liked.

"Oh yeah. More than enough."

Daniel had to bite down a nasty smile when General Chase saw him enter the room. Instead, he stared into the other man's eyes with an 'I so own your ass' look and watched as the colour started to drain from him.

To his left was Senator Petrie. This man had no idea who Daniel was at that moment and he wasn't sure why Daniel managed to convey a similar look to him, and a look of pure loathing.

To Chase's right was General O'Dell. He got a much warmer smile and a nod in greeting from Daniel.

To O'Dell's right was Harold Smith, who sat in confusion as Daniel gave him a look of wry pity - something that the Goa'uld had often seen, just before they'd died at the hands of SG-1.

General Burwell sat next to Daniel on the opposite side of the table to the others, thinking that they were outnumbered, two to one. He didn't know Daniel well enough to realise that it was quite the opposite case.

"General Burwell, could you please explain who this is?" Smith asked, a look of distaste aimed at Daniel but apparently completely washing over him.

"This is Doctor Daniel Jackson," Burwell announced. "He's here at my request. Having been here at the start of the whole project, there is no one around that knows more about it. And as he was instrumental in getting presidential approval for the building up of the science base here, I felt we owed him an explanation as to why you want to get rid of it."

O'Dell spoke before the others could say anything - or rather, before Smith could. If Daniel's assumption was correct, the other two were really only making up the numbers.

"But we are here to assess the expenditure on science," he stated. "Not to simply get rid of it."

His words confirmed something in Daniel's mind and he smiled at him again.

"General O'Dell," he said, surprising the man as they hadn't been introduced. "I'm glad to see you live up to your reputation of having an open mind and being prepared to listen to all sides."

"Forgive me for asking, Doctor, but what would you know of my reputation?"

Daniel smiled more broadly now. "Let's just say it precedes you. In your case, that is not such a bad thing."

O'Dell grinned at him, unable to resist Daniel's most diplomatic tone. He waved his hand in a 'please, go on' manner, so Daniel did.

"I am well aware as to the reasons behind this little inquisition," he started, staring at Smith as he did. "And I am also aware of how Senator Kinsey thinks he's going to achieve it." This time he looked at the men on O'Dell's other side, and who looked surprised at his mentioning of Kinsey. "But let me speak up for the science departments here. He wants weaponry; if he gets his own way, that's all the SGC will do. However, without the so-called 'soft' scientists here, that ambition will fail before it even starts. Let me give you an example."

He picked up his briefcase and put it on the table, opened it and looked for some papers. During the days before the meeting, he'd been wondering how he was going to deal with it and had come up with a few ideas. He took out some sheets of paper, five copies of the same thing. On each one was a printout of Goa'uld writing.

"What is this, Doctor?" Smith asked, barely looking at it.

"Now, that's the question, isn't it?" Daniel taunted. "The writing was discovered on a tablet next to a piece of Goa'uld technical equipment that was found by SG-14 a few weeks ago. The Air Force engineers were reluctant to take the machinery apart because it had a naquada power source, which, if it was handled incorrectly, could explode, taking out not only the engineers, but the labs and probably half the SGC - or Area 51 if it went there. They asked me to translate this to tell them whether it was connected to the device or not."

"And is it?"

Daniel shrugged, not letting on.

"But, Mr. Smith, Senator Kinsey doesn't want me here, or anyone like me. So, how will you find out? Um, don't think that by setting an Air Force linguist on it, armed with the work that I have already done will help. It's a dialect that I haven't even started to document. There are many dialects. And neither will the Tok'ra or Jaffa help you out. The senator's attachment to the NID is well-known to all of our alien allies, and they are also well aware of how dangerous past NID actions have been. With Teal'c in charge of the Jaffa rebellion, I can assure you that you won't have any assistance from them. In fact, if Teal'c were to get hold of the not so good senator... Well, let's just say the phrase, 'It's a Jaffa revenge thing' and leave it at that, shall we? I don't think we want to go into any gory details. Oh, and of course, if the SGC is not going out to find allies, you won't find anyone that will ever be able to translate it, either."

As Daniel paused, O'Dell spoke up again, sensing somehow that Smith was about to bluster about Kinsey and the NID and wanting more information before it happened.

"Who are the NID?" he asked, surprising Daniel until he remembered that only the SGC had any dealings with them.

"An unlawful shadow organisation, technically attached to the Air Force, but which the average, law-abiding airman of any rank detests with a passion. It's so secret that it's funded by... less than legal means, shall we say?"

"If that is the case, what is Senator Kinsey doing with them?" O'Dell demanded.

"Getting funded for his run at the presidency," Daniel replied calmly.

"This is an outrageous accusation!" Smith exclaimed.

"Oh, is it? Surely you know about the proof we have? Taken from the Senator's own computer? Here, if you don't believe me..."

He passed out more pieces of paper to each of the men opposite. On it was the first item on the disk, the contents of which, George had emailed to him a few days before.

"There is a lot more. This, of course, is just a copy. The disk it came off is somewhere very safe."

"O'Neill," Smith spat.

"No. Jack has nothing to do with its current whereabouts. Don't think that I'd be that stupid, Mr. Smith. My name isn't 'Kinsey'."

He sat back in his chair and continued.

"During this week, after the information was passed to me, the disk itself was put somewhere you won't find it. It is not with any one of my friends, but it is also somewhere that should something happen to either myself or my friends... something untoward, for example... it will end up on the front page of all the newspapers in the country before you know what has hit you. And the television news stations, the radio stations, the Internet..." He stopped there, letting the threat sink into Smith's mind as they read the information in front of them.

"This is a lie!" Smith finally stated.

"Believe that if you will," Daniel answered calmly. "But like I said, there is a lot more proof where that came from. I'm sure that when the Senator is impeached, he'll get the chance to speak for himself."

Daniel stopped there. He hadn't intended bringing the NID up so soon, wanting to get O'Dell on his side before he did his character assassination. Carefully, he looked at Chase, then at Petrie.

Chase's face was a picture of agony and Daniel considered what was going on in his mind. A broad grin took over his face when he realised what was going on. Petrie, however, was coming out fighting.

"I most certainly don't believe it," he barked. "And so far, you haven't shown me any evidence that your department is needed in any way, shape or form. Perhaps some linguists, but what of the others?"

"You mean the archaeologists?" Daniel prompted sweetly. Too damned sweetly. Burwell picked up on his tone of voice and settled back. Hammond had forewarned him of Daniel's 'too nice' temperament and decided to enjoy what was going to come.

"P7X- 5JT," Daniel suddenly announced. "An archaeological team, which I headed, discovered a cache of alien weaponry which enabled us to defend the Alpha site against attack. P32-891; an archaeological team headed by Doctor Andrew Halstead discovered a tablet on which were the directions to a Goa'uld stronghold, which, if my memory serves, was taken out by SGs 3, 6 and 12, leading to the release of over a thousand human men, women and children. And what of the anthropologists? Working with SG-8, Doctor Maria N'kose made contact with and studied a subspecies of human who had developed telepathic communications. Her incredible scientific work has lead to greater understanding of how the human brain works, especially in relation to electrical fields. This in turn is being put into use in the study of electronic shielding - um, don't ask how that works, I really don't know. These are just a few examples, of course," he stated. "There are many more, which I am more than prepared to go through with you if necessary." Again, there was the sweetness, but this time Petrie was starting to realise it wasn't real.

"And of the other scientists, of any discipline." Daniel's voice was now hard but calm, just as he was at home. It demanded attention and Daniel couldn't help but notice that Chase looked right at him as his voice changed. "Without the geologists, for example, detecting whether a naquada deposit is worth mining would be impossible."

He made it look like an idea had just struck him and he turned to the furious Smith.

"This is being made to look like it's a financial exercise," he stated. "Yet again, Kinsey can't see past his nose. Despite our government's apparent ostrich-like tendency to bury its head in the sand where power sources and global warming are concerned, we are running out of fossil fuels on this planet and we are heating the damned planet up to the point where it's going to be too late to fix what we've screwed up. Major Carter and her team are working on the naquada generator, to scale it up to power the SGC to start with, followed by NORAD and then, when the SGC becomes public knowledge, the whole planet. Once the generators are built, we're talking almost free, clean power for all. No radiation. No dirty smoke belching out of chimneys. We wouldn't even need the other 'friendly' power sources so no windmills or solar panels."

Again, he leant forward, placing his elbows on the table and joining his fingers at the tips before continuing.

"But, without the anthropologists, the linguists, the diplomats, the only way to get at the naquada would be to go to war. War costs, Mr. Smith. Not just financially, but in lives."

Daniel knew he almost had O'Dell on his side, he could see it in his eyes. He looked into the dark-brown eyes of the marine and used his own to plead for support. He got a 'Carry on. I'm listening' look. So he used his next argument, showing how the botanists along with the anthropologists were bringing back new cures for diseases and that when the members of the biochemistry department were able to synthesise the various properties of the plants, they'd be able to release cures for cancers and other physical and mental ailments and financially benefit from it, as after all, the drug market was worth billions of dollars annually - more than the SGC actually cost to run.


It went on. Every time Daniel came up with a logical argument, showing just how the research and development done at the SGC was starting to actually pay off, Petrie and Smith spoke up with a less-than-well-thought-out argument to counter it. O'Dell kept his mouth shut, listening to the others as they spoke with the same intensity as he listened to Daniel. He also noticed that Daniel was slowly but surely losing his temper, but was impressed by the way he actually remained calm.

In the end, Daniel's temper snapped, but he didn't raise his voice. If anything, he spoke more quietly, but in a voice that demanded attention.

"I didn't want to do this," he said, almost sadly, "but your pigheadedness has left me with no choice in the matter. I have been here since the beginning. Unlike you, I know what is out there, waiting for us, whether we use the gate again or not. I have died on more than one occasion to save this godforsaken planet. I think that gives me the right to speak up for the SGC as it stands, and to do what is necessary to protect it."

He stood up and walked to the window and stared at the gate for a few minutes before speaking again. Smith and Petrie opened their mouths to speak, but Burwell glared at them and they shut them again. Chase wasn't looking anywhere but at Daniel's back, wondering what he was going to say.

Eventually, Daniel turned around and looked at them all.

"I know why you're all here," he said quietly. "And it's not why Generals O'Dell or Burwell think. What I mean is, I know why you specifically are all here. Mr. Smith is Senator Kinsey's right-hand man. He knows full well of Kinsey's NID involvement, despite what he says. If he doesn't do what he's been ordered to do, to wit, shutting down all non-military departments and firing as many civilians as he can, he'll probably lose his job... or worse. Kinsey's not above using lethal force if necessary."

Smith went pale and suddenly couldn't look at anyone else.

"General Chase, I take it he has something on you," he stated calmly. "I won't explain it to the others unless it becomes necessary. By the way, Jack's here," he added with a nasty smile. "He might not be as forgiving. I will keep him quiet... for now."

Chase went paler than Smith, if that were possible. He opened his mouth to complain, but Daniel shut him down.

"You have a choice. Resign your commission now or else," he ordered. "If you go now, and I mean now, you get to keep your reputation and your pension. If you don't, either Kinsey or I will make sure you don't get to keep them. I know he's holding it over your head. So am I. It's your choice."

Chase said nothing, then he stood up and marched to the door, stopping to turn as he reached it.

"If you try to find Jack, I will hunt you down," Daniel stated. "You should be grateful to me, Alec. Kinsey wouldn't have given you the option - and you know it."

Again, Chase said nothing but he nodded curtly and left, never having said a word throughout the entire meeting.

The only defiant look on any face in the room was that of Petrie, and that was about to be wiped off, but not just yet.

"General O'Dell," Daniel said next. "I'm afraid you're being used - and, I dare say, underestimated. You see, his plan was to say that he'd sent four different people of differing backgrounds to investigate here, and he was counting on the others railroading you into agreeing with them as to his plans. As I said, I know you have a reputation for fairness. If you were to go back to the committee and say, 'Shut 'em down', they would. Unfortunately for Kinsey, I also believe you are intelligent enough to know that every word I have spoken is the truth."

"I am inclined to believe that," O'Dell said. "I've always managed to keep out of political shenanigans in the past, and this little foray into it only proves to me that I'm not suited to that world."

"Maybe not. But maybe politics needs someone like you," Daniel soothed. Then he turned to Petrie and his next words were not as soothing.

"Senator Petrie," he said. "I suppose you think I know nothing of you. After all, you're ex-Navy, not Air Force, aren't you?"

Petrie looked pleased with himself. For a moment.

"Unfortunately for you, I do have contacts in the Navy. Most interesting ones. Did you know that Petrie's father was titled?" Daniel spat, looking at the others. They shook their heads slowly, wondering what Daniel was up to. Petrie was mirroring Smith in his facial tone.

"Oh yes. You see, Arthur Petrie was known as Grand Wizard Petrie. Keith here is one of three children. The others are Kenneth and Kay. K, K and K Petrie. I'll bet old Arthur thought that was amusing. I certainly don't. And neither would Petrie's constituents. Oh, they know he's right-wing. What they don't know is that Keith was in line for the title at one point, until he realised that membership of the Klan wouldn't be good for his career. They also don't know what a total bastard he was to non-WASP crewmen on his ship. I on the other hand, do. And I have access to written affidavits which will be made public, just before the next election. If you run again, you will fall, Petrie."

O'Dell looked furious. His own family had suffered badly when he was young at the hands of the Klan. Daniel's words made sense, though. Petrie had found an excuse to not shake his hand, had made sure that Chase was sitting in-between them... little things that individually didn't mean anything, but altogether emphasised his political views.

"The game's up, Smith. Go back to your handler and tell him that if he so much as tries to take down the SGC, I will take him down. And all of his lapdogs."

Generals Burwell and O'Dell sat astounded as Smith and Petrie beat a hasty retreat. Burwell was the quickest to recover and he sent word to the security forces to round up Chase, Petrie and Smith and 'escort' them firmly off the premises.

"I'm sorry it had to come to that," Daniel said quietly when he came back. "I really had hoped to let the SGC's record stand for itself."

"If it's any comfort, Doctor Jackson," O'Dell said. "I most certainly was convinced by your arguments." He stood up and wandered to the window that Daniel had been standing by before and looked at the gate.

"It's an amazing thing, isn't it?" he said.

"Would you like to go through it?" Burwell asked.

O'Dell turned his head and looked in shock. "Could I?"

"I don't see why not. Doctor Jackson here has made a request of me and I intend to grant it. Perhaps you could accompany him and his companions, at least for a short visit?"

He looked at Daniel who nodded enthusiastically.

"That would be great. Uh, I hope you don't mind the heat," he added with a shrug.

"How hot?" drawled O'Dell.

"Um... Saharan."

"Whoo. Well, if I can stay as long as I feel comfortable," he replied. "I'm getting too damned old to be subjecting my body to extremes."


A few minutes later, Daniel was standing outside Sam's lab with the generals in tow. He knocked on the door, getting a confused look from O'Dell.

"If the guys aren't in here and Sam's working..." Daniel explained, "'s just safer to knock."

"I take it you speak from experience?"

"All too much."

The door clicked open and Daniel heard Jack laughing inside, so he motioned to the generals to step in.

"General O'Dell. This is, er, very retired Colonel Jack O'Neill, and not quite so retired Major Paul Davis. Over there, hiding under the reactor, is the apparently active Major Sam Carter."

"I'm not hiding," Sam squeaked. "I'm stuck!"

"JACK! What have you been doing?" Daniel scolded.

"HEY! Who said it was me?"

"Nobody needed to," Daniel sighed, going to extricate Sam from where she was stuck.

Jack, ignoring that, greeted the generals and then asked, "So, General. What's it that Daniel's got up his sleeve? I know he's planning something, but he won't let on."

"I told you, Jack," Daniel's voice came from under the table, "I didn't know if I'd get permission."

"Well? Have you?"

"Um, yeah. And General O'Dell's coming along for the ride - at least for a while."

His head popped up above the table and he saw surprise on Jack's face.

"But where are we going?" he demanded.

"Wait and see. And stop nagging, Jack!" With that, he stood up and pulled Sam up from the floor, then bent down and handed her the wires she'd been entangled in. Daniel shook his head as he looked at Jack prompting Jack to cry out, "It was Paul! He did it!"

Paul denied everything, managing to look totally innocent to the generals, but Daniel knew him better.

Sotto voce, Daniel said to Sam, "Don't worry, I'll get them back for you. When I get them home."

She blushed slightly then winked at him.

"With your permission, General, I'd like us to get ready," he asked.

"Of course. When you're ready, just go down to the gate room. General O'Dell, if you'll come with me, I'll find you a set of BDUs to wear. They'll be a lot more comfortable than what you have on."

"Thank you," O'Dell replied, unsure of what to make of the men in the room.

As the lab door shut behind them, Burwell said, "O'Neill, Jackson and Carter were on the same team and Davis was the Pentagon liaison. When O'Neill was injured in the line of duty, Jackson and Davis decided to take care of him. Apparently they were pretty inseparable before the injury. The team's reputation before that date was awesome, so they were granted some leeway with their behaviour towards one another. It took me some time to get used to it, but that's pretty much the way most teams are here."

"Oh? How?"

"Family. When they say this base is one, big family, they mean it. I tell you, Wesley, this is not like other bases. When you get back, I'll give you the grand tour. If nothing else, it will help underline everything Doctor Jackson said in the meeting."

"We're going to Abydos?" Jack asked when they were getting changed in what had been SG-1's locker room. A spare locker had been found for their bags, what they needed for when they were there being transferred into a standard kitbag for convenience.

Jack only guessed at the destination because Daniel pulled his old robes out and started to put them on. He'd handed Paul and Jack some cool cotton clothes, suitable for the planet. Something inside him didn't want either man near a uniform inside the SGC. It was just too close for comfort.

"Yeah," he replied, not looking at them. "I figured it was time I took you to meet the folks, so to speak."


The word came from Paul and they looked at him in confusion.

"Does this mean...?"

"Paul, I want you to meet Kasuf and Skarra and my other in-laws. I want them to meet you. It's important to me. I guess I also need to say goodbye to them."

"Daniel? What do you mean? You go there whenever you get the chance. It's why meetings at the SGC aren't greeted with more moans than we'd expect," Jack said.

Daniel shrugged. "I'd be very surprised if I've still got my job by the end of today. Kinsey's going to try to fire me and I know it. This could be my last chance to go to Abydos. Hell, any chance I get might be that. I wanted you guys here today because I needed the moral support. Just having you in the same complex helped. But I also wanted you here so that you'd go with me. I need to tell Kasuf about you."

"Whoa. That's big, Daniel. Will he understand?"

Daniel shrugged. "I don't know. I think so."

"But if O'Dell's coming with..." Paul started.

"We'll take him through the gate, show him the pyramid and a bit of desert, then we'll send him back. We'll be coming back on Tuesday morning - unless Kasuf sends us back sooner." Then he stopped. "Of course, if you don't want to go..."

"We want to," Jack spoke for them both.


"I want to, too."

Daniel smiled in gratitude, then made sure they were both ready. He double-checked the kitbags, making sure that he had Jack's pills and a few gifts for Kasuf and Skarra, then he ushered them out of the locker room and towards the gate.

O'Dell was already in the gate room when they turned up, Burwell by his side. When they got there, an airman handed Daniel a GDO and a piece of paper with the code on it. He committed it to memory and then handed it back. Then he was given a radio and they were all given zats - just in case.

"Are you ready?" he asked O'Dell.

"As I'll ever be. General Burwell has been telling me that this is the first place you ever went to."

"Abydos, yes," Daniel answered. "I'm going home to see my in-laws."

"Yes, he explained. I'm sorry to hear of your loss," he said gently.

"Thank you."

Daniel's voice was quiet and Jack got a clue as to one of the reasons Daniel needed to go. He wanted to 'see' Shau're again.

The gate started to dial up and they watched it intently. Daniel had been through a few times since they'd moved away; as Jack had said, he popped over to Abydos whenever he was allowed to, but it was only for a few hours as a rule. This time it would be for a few days. Neither Jack nor Paul had stepped through it since the mission where Jack was injured and as the gate burst into life, both Paul and Daniel stepped either side of him, Daniel reaching out and putting his hand on Jack's shoulder.

"You okay, Jack?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied, not looking at Daniel as he spoke.

Internally, he was nervous, his stomach churning. He realised why Daniel hadn't mentioned a trip through the gate until the last moment, so he wouldn't get worked up about it. Shaking himself, as soon as the wormhole had settled, he strode up the ramp as well as his still painful legs would allow. Paul and Daniel looked at each other and rolled their eyes before following him up.

"Come on, General," Daniel called out. "We've got a wormhole to catch."

O'Dell walked up by his side, like Jack, nervous on the inside, but doing his best not to show it. As Jack disappeared into the event horizon, he took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"It's a piece of cake," Daniel encouraged. "Just..." he waved his hand. "Step on through."

He watched as Paul walked into the shining blue 'water' and then decided to follow him, Daniel remaining behind him, his hand on his zat.

Daniel emerged to a celebration going on. Skarra was there, waiting for him, as Burwell had contacted them earlier to ask permission for the visit. He saw Jack and Skarra hugging tightly, smiling fit to burst.

"Um, General, this is Skarra, my brother-in-law," he explained. "He and Jack have known each other since the first mission."

"Of course. I'm pleased to meet you," he said, his voice filled with awe as he looked around the pyramid's gate room.

"You are most welcome, General," Skarra greeted him, his Abydonian tones making his English sound strange.

"Let's show you around before you cook," Daniel suggested, getting a slightly bewildered nod from O'Dell.


Daniel spent the next hour or so showing him around the pyramid, telling him about the first mission and then about his life on Abydos. Then he took him out to the cartouche room, showing him the importance of being able to read the glyphs so that they could get the addresses of new planets to visit. With every new bit of information, O'Dell understood more and more of the way the SGC worked, and more to the point, why.

When it came time for O'Dell to return, Daniel guided him back across the dune and into the pyramid, showing the two Abydonian suns to him first.

"See, General? This really is an alien world," he said, his voice quiet and full of wonder.

"Thank you," came the reply. "I must admit to not really taking it all in until I visited this place. Let me assure you of something, Doctor Jackson. You, and the SGC, have a friend at the Pentagon. I will do everything in my power to assist you. Just what that will be, is anyone's guess. But you've convinced me of the need to build up the science again and I will most definitely be passing on my recommendation. With your damning indictment of the other committee members, somehow, I don't think that I will have too many problems getting them through. I'll emphasise just how the SGC will start to pay for itself and more if it continues with the R&D. Given the state of the budget at the moment, I can't see how they can deny the benefit."

"If we're allowed to release our discoveries into the commercial market, we'll literally be able to pay for the country, let alone the SGC, General. But not only that, we could afford to let Third World countries have access to the drugs and technologies cheaply. Over the last couple of years, our people have been making giant strides. It took us about five or six years to get to this stage, where we were in the initial processes of discovery. Now we have the knowledge, we're starting to be able to use it. Go back to the SGC and look at what they're doing, then if you have to proselytise on our behalf, you can do it knowing that you'll benefit all of mankind."

He appealed to the man's true Christian calling, something he'd found out more about as they'd been talking. Despite Daniel's natural suspicion of people like him, he'd realised that Paul's words were true, that despite being a military man, O'Dell would literally turn the other cheek. He'd explained about the Abydonian religion, only to be surprised (and pleasantly) when O'Dell asked questions, truly fascinated by it and not in the slightest bit condescending. If someone like Kinsey had been there, he'd known he'd have got a totally different reaction.


O'Dell was a breath of fresh air for Daniel, and as he waved him goodbye as the man stepped through the gate again, he felt positive on behalf of the SGC for the first time in ages. He could only hope that it would last. Then he turned around and said hello to Skarra properly.

Paul and Jack watched as they greeted each other, dropping quickly into Abydonian and speaking energetically within moments.

While Daniel had been showing O'Dell around, Jack had introduced Paul to Skarra and some of the Abydonian youths he'd already known, and Skarra in turn had introduced the rest of the 'boys' on duty in the gate room.

"Daniel had them trained up, believe it or not," Jack had said, a touch of awe in his voice.

"Trained up? What do you mean?"

"We left them all of our weapons and in the year that I was back on Earth, Daniel had them trained in how to use the guns - don't ask me how, he couldn't have hit a barn from ten feet away on that first mission..." He grinned and shrugged, "Well, he wasn't that bad, but he wasn't exactly pro-weaponry if you get my drift. Anyway, when I returned, I damned near got ambushed by the boys. They were hiding around the gate room and you couldn't see a single one until they wanted you to. Mind, that's not the only thing he taught them."

"I heard about the moonshine. Daniel said it was smooth," Paul had teased.

"Yeah. Real smooth."

As soon as Daniel's conversation was apparently over, he made his way to his lovers with a big grin.

"You guys okay?" he asked.

"We're fine, Dan," Paul replied. "Can't wait to get going, though."

"I know, I'm sorry... I had to..."

"It's okay, Daniel. We know. You handled O'Dell well. He seems like a nice guy."

"He is. Paul was right. He listened to the facts and made up his own mind. Can't argue with someone who does that. Anyway, come on. I've got a father-in-law to talk to."


They made their way to the town, across dune after dune. Daniel kept his hand on Jack's arm, steadying him across the sand. He'd offered to get one of the youths to fetch one of the pack animals to ride, but Jack refused, saying that he'd rather walk than stink like one of those hairy beasts. It took quite a while, memories of the first mission assailing both Daniel and Jack as they saw Nagada seeming to appear out of nowhere as the shimmering heat haze cleared as they neared the town. Paul had never been to Abydos and he gasped as the sandstone walls were suddenly there in front of him.

"That's Nagada," Daniel said. "It's the town all the clans share, though we all had our particular areas of desert where we lived at different times of the year."

"Why? Surely that would lead to a difficult life."

"It did, in a way. But there were reasons for it. We followed the animals and the clean water, harvested what grain there was and so on."

"I see. Semi-nomadic, then?"

"Yeah," puffed Daniel, the hard trudge getting to him. He was so out of practise.

Jack was saying nothing as they made their way over the dunes, it took all of his strength just to keep going at a reasonable pace. Skarra was with them and he noticed that Jack was quiet, so he called out to Daniel in Abydonian, "Dan'yel. What is wrong with O'Neill?"

Jack picked up his name, but nothing else, so he looked at Daniel and tried to guess what he was talking about.

"He's fine, Skarra. Well, maybe not fine. He still has pain from his injuries."

"Why doesn't he let us get him a beast?"

"Because his pride would hurt more than his legs."

"He is an old fool," Skarra laughed.

"He is. But that won't change his mind."

When they stopped talking, Jack looked at Daniel but got nothing from him except a smile.

"Good Son, you have returned."

"Thank you for receiving me, Good Father. I have brought some friends."

"I see O'Neill, but who is the other one?"

"This is Paul, my other friend," Daniel started, unsure as to how much he should give away just yet.

"Your good friend?"

"Along with Jack, he's my best friend."

"Then he is welcome, as is O'Neill. We shall celebrate!"

"Celebrate? Why?"

Kasuf looked at Daniel and put his hands out, taking Daniel's in his.

"Because my son has come home."

The three men were given their own tent to crawl into when the celebrations had become too much. Daniel had noticed how Kasuf hadn't taken his eyes off the men, watching their interaction and obviously trying to work something out in his head. He had said nothing about their relationship, but had ushered them to the tent which was pitched on the land outside of Kasuf's small stone house. Daniel knew the significance of it, but he didn't enlighten the men. There was always the possibility that he was reading too much into it and that Kasuf may have just been keeping the friends together.

"How're you doing?" Jack asked, a little drunkenly.

"I'm fine," Daniel answered, trying to keep his eyes open. "You?"

"Horny. Not sure what they put in that drink, but I'm sure in need of a bit of relief," he replied with a silly grin.

"Horny, eh?" Daniel shifted so he lay on his side, propping his head up on one hand. "Paul? How about you?"

Paul was feeling a bit flushed; the drink had got to him along with the whole celebration. Men and women had been dancing, in separate groups but with the same intent. The normally well-covered women had had fewer clothes on - still covering their modesty but the dance movements had only one possible motive. Seduction. The men, dancing in their own group, had been answering the women, their hips swaying to the music suggestively, and Paul had found himself drawn to a couple of particularly good-looking young men, who'd been in turn, watching him closely and smiling at him. If he'd been single, he thought...

"Uh, yeah," he said, his voice a little strangled.

"You're horny all right," Daniel teased. "I saw you watching Bahti and Farrak."

Paul blushed furiously, opening his mouth to protest, but he saw that Daniel was laughing at him, then felt Daniel's hand as it reached out and grabbed him, pulling him until he was lying on top of him.

"I saw you," Daniel accused, his voice full of amusement. "It's okay. I know those two, you've got to watch them. They'll fuck anything that moves given a chance. Maybe I should invite them in," he murmured. "Somehow I think that watching you with them would be hot."

Paul swallowed hard. Part of him felt scandalised at the thought, his loyalty and love for Daniel completely negating any thought of ever going with another man. Yet the other part of him felt seriously turned on by the prospect, an image of one of the guys fucking him as the other one sucked him flashing through his mind.

"You like that idea, don't you?" Daniel whispered, one hand holding Paul locked down on top of him, the other one snaking in-between them both and undoing the waistband button on Paul's trousers. "What do you think, Jack? Should we share Paul with them? Hmm?"

Jack was torn. Like Paul - like Daniel - he thought there was something incredibly hot about the idea of watching the young men do whatever they wanted with Paul. Preferably, Jack thought, while Daniel's dick was up his ass, Daniel's hand on his cock...

He let loose a strangled squeak in reply, totally incapable of making another sound.

"I'm not going to cheat on you," Paul whispered harshly.

"It wouldn't be cheating if we were here and okayed it, though, would it?" Daniel pushed, somehow needing to know if Paul really did want this or if it was just a fantasy. He undid the zip on Paul's trousers and slid his hand inside Paul's briefs, taking Paul's diamond hard cock and running his palm up and down it.

"Oh God," Paul moaned. "I... I couldn't. Please don't make me." He had to beg Daniel not to do that as he knew there was no way he could say 'no' if Daniel asked.

"I wouldn't make you do a thing and you know it. I'm just saying that if you want to play, we won't consider it cheating. This isn't the same as you going into the back room of one of the clubs and getting fucked by a stranger without my permission, is it?"

Paul shuddered violently at the thought. Like for the others, before they'd got together, anonymous fucks had scratched many an itch for him and they all enjoyed the idea of no names, no commitment.

Jack started to join in, picking up on Daniel's thread, but much as he liked the idea, no way was he really going to share with anyone. He spoke into Paul's ear, describing what he'd like to see happen; Paul being held down and fucked by one of the youths then another, followed by him, then Daniel. Only as they knew, Daniel would get over-possessive if it happened and Paul would get fucked by him. Owned. Nailed into the ground, unable to get up.

Paul started to beg again, unsure of what he was begging for but needing something.

As they spoke, Daniel and Jack pulled Paul's clothes off him, kicking their own shoes off at the same time. Paul wasn't really aware of what was going on, a mixture of booze, hormones and the heady atmosphere sending him almost into his sub-space, that wonderful place in his mind where the only things he knew were the sensations assailing his body. When his body became floppy in Daniel's arm, Daniel knew what was happening in his head and he nudged Jack to pay attention. They rolled Paul off Daniel and onto his side, finished stripping him but never stopping talking to him or stroking his body, keeping him on the brink of orgasm but never letting him go over the edge.

"Jack, lie there," Daniel indicated towards a large fur rug that lay on the floor.

Now naked, Jack, did as he was told, opening his legs and waiting for Daniel's next instruction. Daniel urged Paul to move, leading him to kneel between Jack's legs and telling him to bend over. Paul did as he was told, not really aware of what was going on. It was as if he'd been blindfolded, his hands tied behind his back... sound reached him as if it was coming through water. All he could do was obey Daniel's words, the only thing he could hear with crystal clarity.

The party outside was still going on, the native drumming seeming to get louder with each beat. Paul started to feel it, as if the sound waves were stopping on his chest. His heartbeat responded, getting faster, stronger. He was so wrapped up in it that he didn't notice Daniel pushing his head down until his mouth reached Jack's cock. Instinctively, he opened his mouth when he felt the moist head brush his lips and he took more of the shaft in, moaning as he started to work.

Jack lay flat on his back, staring at the roof of the tent, trying to take his mind off the sensation so that he wouldn't come too soon. His fingers dug into the rug, his knuckles whitening with the strength of his grip.

Daniel, meanwhile, had retrieved the lube that he'd brought and was currently covering himself up, getting in position to fuck Paul as hard as he could.

The talk had stopped, but the images conjured up were still in his head. Daniel couldn't believe it but part of him really wanted to whore Paul out to allcomers - and maybe even Jack. The thought of watching others use them went straight to his groin and he had to use all of his self-control not to just come over the ass he couldn't take his eyes off. As soon as he was ready, he pushed Paul's legs apart, knelt between them, and holding his cock firmly, he pushed it smoothly inside Paul.

Jack nearly howled when Daniel did that as Paul had moaned even louder, the vibrations going straight through his groin. Then Paul had responded by sucking hard, more desperately, as if he was trying to concentrate on blowing Jack so that he could take his mind off his own state of excitement. His whole body moved as Daniel slammed into him, raising his head to the top of Jack's shaft and then dropping it, taking the whole of Jack's cock into his mouth, the head thumping on the back of his throat.

Daniel held onto Paul's hips and worked hard, concentrating only on fucking Paul so hard he wouldn't be able to sit the next day. Despite his new fantasy, Daniel knew that he was just too damned possessive and there was no way it was going to happen. He drew his cock almost all the way out of Paul and then slammed back inside him, all the way up to the hilt. He did it again, angling his hips so that he would hit Paul's gland. He changed his angle with each thrust, never letting Paul know where he was going.

It was getting to be too much. The alcohol, the mouth on his cock, the excitement of the past day all took their toll on Jack. As Paul dropped his head once more, he reached up and grabbed his hair, holding him still and then thrusting his hips up as he started to pour down Paul's throat. As he grunted, announcing his climax, Daniel looked at Jack's face and it did for him too. A last, desperate 'bang' into Paul's ass and he pumped everything he had out of his balls.

Paul was also desperate, he hadn't come yet, his state of mind holding him right on the edge.

"Dan!" he cried out. "Please."

Daniel pulled out of him, flipped Paul onto his back, dipped his head down and as soon as his lips enclosed Paul's cock, he felt a jet of semen hit the back of his throat. He took as much of the pulsing cock inside his mouth as soon as he could, milking it with his lips and tongue until Paul, in a much quieter voice, begged him to stop.

He knelt back up, wiping the side of his mouth with the back of his hand, panting hard as he fought to regain some breath. Paul was out of it, totally. He lay on his back, staring at the roof of the tent but not seeing it. Jack was trying to move, to speak, to do something, but failing. In the end, all Daniel could do was lift Paul until he was laying next to Jack, then looking to see where the largest remaining part of the rug was, he lay next to Paul, pulled up another fur and covered the three of them, and after reaching across Paul's body to take one of Jack's hands in his, he shut his eyes.

"How're you feeling now?" Daniel asked of Paul as they ate their breakfast; some bread and dried fruit accompanied by something which Daniel called Abydonian coffee, but which tasted like cinnamon.

Paul ducked his head and then turned it, looking up at Daniel a little shyly.

"I'm great. You?"

"Oh yeah," Daniel replied, waggling his eyebrows. "Jack?"

"Ready to go get 'em," Jack answered. "Not sure who they are, but I'll get 'em for you."

Kasuf watched them, just as he had done the night before. He'd given them the tent he'd supplied for Daniel's proper wedding night to Shau're for a reason, thinking that Daniel would not have accepted its use if the men hadn't meant at least as much to him as she did. Daniel had looked at him curiously when he'd made the offer, then he'd thanked him. However, the men were not acting as lovers would. Kasuf had seen how demonstrative Daniel had been with Shau're, no one being left in any doubt as to his feelings for her. Whether Daniel had been sent by the gods or not, and despite what happened to her later, Kasuf had also not been in any doubt that no one could have loved her more and his decision to give his only daughter to the stranger had been the best he'd ever made.

During the year that Daniel had lived with them, Kasuf had discovered that Daniel's sexual taste was not exclusively towards women - something that was not uncommon on Abydos, either. In fact, it was perfectly acceptable for married men to 'play' together and that it wasn't considered adultery, but a relief for the wives to stop them being pestered too much. Daniel, however, had refused the attentions of the other young men, so Kasuf had questioned him. Complete heterosexuality, while rare, was not unknown there (Kasuf being a case in point - he found no attraction in men, though he had no problems with those that did. In an open society such as that, homophobia was completely unknown.), so he wanted to see if Daniel required him to tell the men to stay away. Daniel had admitted to his bisexuality, but had said that he couldn't be with someone else as long as he had Shau're.

Not even if she sends you to them? Kasuf had teased.

Daniel had shrugged back. Probably not. Maybe in a few years, when she's really fed up of me...

They hadn't had the chance to find out.

But his relationship with the men was confusing Kasuf and he knew that he would have to find out what was going on. Daniel wouldn't have brought them there if he hadn't had a reason. In the few visits Daniel had made to Abydos since leaving SG-1, Daniel had spoken of them as friends, but hadn't mentioned anything else. In previous discussions, Kasuf had discovered how social taboos on Earth forbade two men from marrying, but Daniel had never mentioned a relationship of three, so he had no idea what taboos they were breaking. He also knew that if Daniel was breaking a taboo, it would be for a very good reason, as he was very sensitive to social laws and mores as a rule.

"My son, we need to speak," he suddenly announced, standing up and walking away from the meal which was being eaten by the whole clan.

"Yes, father," Daniel replied, a little confused but without dread. Daniel knew Kasuf far too well to fear his reaction to pretty much anything, though he was worried about stepping over any line.

He stood up and shook his head at the others when they both indicated that they'd go with them. Skarra moved into Daniel's seat and started to talk to them instead; keeping them occupied, Daniel thought. His heart beating a little faster than normal, he followed his father-in-law away from the crowd.

When they were on their own, Kasuf sat on a boulder of sandstone, Daniel sitting at his feet.

"Good son, your friends seem to be good men," Kasuf started. "Of course, I already knew that of O'Neill, but your other friend seems also to be like him."

"He is," Daniel replied. "He is honest, hardworking, fun..."

"And he loves you?" Kasuf prodded gently.

Daniel ducked his head in the same way that Paul had done over breakfast then looked up at Kasuf with a smile.

"Yes, he does."

"And you love him?"

"I do."

"What of O'Neill?"

Daniel took a deep breath and said, "We feel the same way about him."

Kasuf remained silent for a while, then asked, "Is this not forbidden on your planet?"

This time, it was Daniel's turn to remain silent as he formatted his thoughts. "It isn't forbidden," he started. "However, marriage between two people of the same sex is not allowed and in some societies, physical relationships are also illegal. However, in ours, it is not illegal, but in some places it is not accepted so easily. Where we live it is accepted and more people are working to make it easier to love someone of your own gender. Having said that, a relationship like ours, with more than two, is extremely unusual. Like I said, it's not illegal, but it's not encouraged, either. When Jack and Paul were in the Air Force, it was illegal, but now they are retired from it, they are free to love whom they choose."

"And they chose you."


"How do you really feel about that?"

Daniel beamed at him as he answered that. "Loved. Safe. They take care of me and I take care of them. I know that others find it hard to accept us, and I pray that you will give us the chance to prove that this is not just for fun. I will never look anywhere else, Good Father. If they are taken from me, I will never love again. They were there for me when I lost my Shau're. They comforted me, as friends only, while we looked for her. When she was finally gone, quite some time after, they comforted me as lovers. Paul first, then a few years later, Jack too. He was my best and closest friend and I loved him so much. Paul and I grew on each other as friends, growing to love each other deeply. Paul loved me so much that he encouraged me to bring Jack into our 'family'. It wasn't as if I would have stopped loving Jack if he'd just been my friend so he wasn't jealous. They love each other dearly now and wouldn't be apart."

"There really is no jealousy?"

"None. There is no place for jealousy in our home."

"And what of Shau're? Does she still hold a place in your heart?"

Daniel reached down and drew a circle in the sand.

"My heart," he said. Then he split it into three equal parts and pointed to them in turn. "Jack, Paul, and this one is Shau're. And will always be Shau're. She may be gone in the physical world, Kasuf, but she is still here." This time he pointed to his heart. In response, Kasuf nodded.

"You cannot marry on Earth?"


"Then you should join here. It is unusual for two men to join, but it is not forbidden and it is not unknown. An ancestor of mine once did that. He, too, had been married and his dear wife had died in childbirth. During his marriage, and long before it, he had only one male lover, a man that he had known all his life and whom he loved more than his own brother. His friend, and his friend's wife, helped him raise the child who had survived. Then Ra came and the remaining wife was taken, a demon placed inside her. There was no way to get her back. The two men raised the child together and after a few years, went through the joining ceremony, stating that there was no one else who could take the place of their beloved wives. They lived together until my ancestor died of old age."

"I'm not sure if that story is sad or happy," Daniel sighed. "I feel for them." Then he looked at Kasuf and asked, "How long ago did it happen?"

"My ancestor's wife died sixty summers ago."


"She was my mother, Dan'yel."

Daniel looked at Kasuf in surprise. He'd known Kasuf's mother was dead, but he hadn't thought anything of it in the sense that many people on Abydos had died before their time under the rule of Ra. He hadn't wanted to bring up the subject, either, out of fear of stirring up pain. Kasuf's father was also dead when Daniel had moved to the planet, but now he thought about it, there was an old man that Kasuf had been extremely close to and who Daniel had thought of as his uncle.

"Khai. The man I thought was your uncle. He was your father's lover?"

"He was. I thought of him as a second father, my son."

Khai had died a few months after Daniel's marriage and Kasuf had been desperately upset. It had taken a long time for him to get over it, despite his 'life must go on' attitude.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he whispered. "I know I couldn't have taken away your pain, but maybe..."

"You could have done nothing, Dan'yel. Nothing beyond what you did. I still miss him as much as I miss my father and as much as I miss Shau're and her mother. Just as you do. No words will ever soften the blow of losing someone so dear."

"No, you're right. I'm just so sorry."

"There is no need. He is with the gods. The real gods."

Kasuf smiled gently and Daniel couldn't help but return the smile.

"I want to go to Shau're," Daniel suddenly said.

Kasuf stared at him and then nodded.

"Speak with her, Dan'yel. Then we will speak to your men. I do not see any objections to the three of you going through the ceremony, as we can all see how you feel for each other."

When Kasuf returned to the clan, Jack noticed straight away that Daniel wasn't with him.

"Kasuf? Where is he?"

Paul turned his head and realised the same thing and like Jack, he was curious.

"Dan'yel is speaking to his wife," Kasuf said gently. "He should be left alone."

Jack fought down his natural tendency to run after Daniel and waited for Kasuf to sit.

"Does he do that a lot?" Paul asked. "I mean, whenever he comes here."

"Yes, he does. He spends a time speaking to the stones that cover her. I sometimes wonder if she speaks to him."

"In a way she does," Paul replied, getting curious looks from the others. "He knew her well, knew how she would react to a given situation. When he voices his worries, he can hear in his mind how she would speak to him if she was there. So in a way, she is speaking to him."

Kasuf nodded slowly as understanding grew in his own mind, and then he asked, "Do you mind that he speaks to her?"

"Why should I?" Paul asked, genuinely surprised by the question. "Shau're was, is a part of him."

He turned and looked at Jack who shrugged. "Kasuf, your daughter was smart, beautiful and funny. She also had Daniel in an iron grip around his balls." All the men at the table laughed at that, as first Jack used actions to illustrate his phrase and then Kasuf translated his words, especially Shau're's little brother, Skarra, who knew all too well how bossy she had been. "She's the one he still cries out to in his sleep. So no, I don't mind that she brings him comfort. I only wish she was still here for him."

"But then he would not be there for you," Kasuf replied, his words telling both men that he knew about their relationship.

"In his own way, he would be," Jack replied. "Not in the same way, but he'd still be my best friend. The only real regret I'd have would be that Paul and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to be so close, but in that case, it's you can't miss what you haven't had." He looked at Paul for confirmation and got it.

"Dan'yel said that you both love him as much as she did. I see now that he was right." Kasuf stood up and made an announcement. "I was not going to say anything until Dan'yel returned to us, but now I feel is the right time. I give you my blessing, O'Neill... Paul..." he said, looking at each in turn. "Today I welcome you to my family."

"Wow. Thank you," Paul gasped. "I'm deeply honoured."

"Me, too," agreed Jack.

Kasuf smiled at them and then said something in Abydonian which they didn't understand which raised cheers and laughter from the clan. Before the men knew what was going on, the crowd got up and seemed to melt away, not without patting them on the back and making what seemed like lurid suggestions.

"Kasuf? What did you tell them?" Paul prompted when they'd gone.

"Tonight, we will have another celebration. You will go through the joining ceremony."

"We're getting married?" Paul asked in surprise.

"It is not exactly the same, although you will make a vow to each other and will take on the same responsibilities for each other as you would in a marriage. It is recognised for what it is. An emotional and legal binding between you equal to that of a marriage," Kasuf replied. "Our marriage ceremonies specifically pray for the birth of many children, the fertility of the parents and their ability to provide for their offspring. Unless things are different on your planet, men do not give birth." He started laughing and the others couldn't help but join in.

"Well, we have made great leaps in medicine," Jack finally said, "but we haven't gone that far. Technically, two of us, if we were registered as a couple in our state, could adopt a child whose parents couldn't look after it, for whatever reason, but none of us want kids."

"Not even Dan'yel?" Kasuf asked.

"No," Jack shook his head. "He was prepared to try to make Shau're happy, but he had no desire for kids himself."

"He hid that well," Kasuf announced.

"Yeah, well, he was crazy about Shau're," Jack shrugged. "He'd literally do anything to make her happy. Oh, he'd have loved the kids if they'd come, he'd have moved heaven and earth to protect them, but he just had no wish to have them in the first place."

"Um, so what does this joining ceremony entail?" Paul asked, changing the subject quickly, not wanting to upset Kasuf.

"You will make a vow to stay with each other, to love and cherish each other and to take all the familial responsibilities that you each bring into your new family... and then we will celebrate!" Kasuf said, his eyes bright.

Daniel had explained to the men that any excuse whatsoever to party was grabbed with both hands on Abydos. Thousands of years of slavery hadn't given them many chances to celebrate but now they made the most of every chance they got. Paul got the feeling it was going to be a long night.

"I miss you," Daniel whispered to the cairn that protected Shau're's grave. "Every day, I miss you. Oh, I love the guys, don't get me wrong. They mean as much to me as you do, but I still miss you."

He lay in the sand on his side, facing the pile of stones as if he was laying in bed with her, talking to her before they dropped off to sleep, just as they had done on many nights.

"I wish you could tell me that being with them was okay by you. I have to guess that it is. They're not replacing you, baby. I love them in their own right. No one could replace you. I know you'd want me to be happy, too, and I am. They make me really happy. They take care of me, just like you did. They make sure that I eat and sleep, taking me away from my work when I get too involved."

He reached out and touched one of the stones, but in his mind he was stroking her bare bronze-skinned arm. He could see her there, looking at him as if he was going crazy, just as she often had. In his mind he heard her, telling him that she still loved him and she wanted him to be with them, but a part of his mind wouldn't let him believe it. Kasuf's reaction had helped him a little, allowed him to accept that she might have been okay with it, but he wasn't there yet.

After thinking for a while, he continued talking to her, completely unaware of the tears running down his face.

"He's been gone too long," Jack suddenly said. "Kasuf, where is he? I need to go to him now."

Paul stood up, unwilling to be left behind.

Kasuf thought for a moment, as if considering whether he'd allow them to go or not and then he nodded.

"Come with me."

He led them out of the town walls and pointed over a dune. As Jack reached the top of it, he remembered Shau're's funeral, the place seeming a little more familiar. The trouble with a desert was that the landscape changed with nearly every sandstorm and if you didn't live there all the time, it would be so easy to become disoriented.

"Do you think he's okay?" Paul asked as they walked down the dune, trying to keep upright and not slide down the loose sand.

Kasuf wasn't with them now, and it was up to the two of them to take care of Daniel at the time that he'd be feeling most vulnerable.

"I don't know," Jack answered warily. "Did he bring his knife?"

Jack's question sent cold blood down Paul's spine as the implications became quickly clear.

"I don't think so. It would have been difficult to get it onto the plane, wouldn't it?"

His voice sounded a little desperate and he ignored the possibility that Daniel might have put it in his luggage rather than in his carry-on bag.

"Yeah," Jack replied, but he wasn't convinced.

They saw him lying in the sand and for a moment, it looked like he was either dead or sleeping. Without saying anything, they quickened their pace, unwilling to voice their initial thoughts about his physical state. Only when they got closer and saw him moving a little did they slow down again.


Jack called out but he got no response.

"Dan!" Paul tried, a bit louder.

Daniel heard something, but it sounded like it was miles away to him, lost in thought as he was. Slowly, he turned to look at what was making the noise and he was surprised to see the men only fifty feet away from him. As they neared him, he stood up, wiping the sand off his robes as he straightened.

"Uh, guys? Why are you here?"

"Oh, I don't know," Jack said, quieter now as he was much closer. "Maybe we were worried?"

"About what? Ra's gone. Apophis ain't coming back," Daniel drawled.

Jack took his cue and replied, "Yeah, but there are loads more snakeheads out there, Daniel. And you are such a trouble magnet. There could be only one in this sector of the galaxy and we could guarantee that he'd find you. Of course, then we could guarantee that you'd start with the snake-baiting..." They were right next to him then and Jack saw that Daniel had a wry grin on his face. "You know how it goes, Daniel."

"Yeah, I know. Trouble, that's me," he said.

"No, I wouldn't say that you are trouble, just that it seems to find you." Now Jack's voice was gentle and he reached out to take Daniel in his arms. He'd seen the dried tear streaks down Daniel's face and his heart was breaking.

Daniel found himself engulfed in Jack's arms, then Paul stood behind him, pressing up against his back and reaching around to Jack.

"What does she say?" Jack asked quietly. "Do you think that she'd accept us?"

Daniel didn't know how to answer, so they felt him shrug.

"Kasuf has accepted us," Paul said. "He told us that we're getting married or something. It seems a bit rushed to me," he teased. "You sure you're not pregnant?"

Daniel froze at the joke and then he started to laugh, setting the others off. They let go of him and he dropped to sit on the sand, the others joining him in moments. Then the laughter turned to tears and they held him again.

"Let it out, Daniel," Jack whispered. "Let it all out."

"I'm sorry," Daniel sniffed. "It's been so long. I shouldn't."

"Shouldn't what, Dan?"

"Miss her so much."

"Don't worry about it. I miss my dad and it's been longer. Jack misses Charlie just as much. It's okay to miss her."

They let him cry himself out, then Jack turned to the cairn and spoke.

"Hey, Shau're," he started, his voice a bit choked but trying to sound like his usual, boisterous self. "Paul and me, well, we hope you're okay with us being with Daniel. I also suppose you've noticed that it takes two of us to do your job."

Daniel couldn't help but laugh a little at that.

"Jack's right," Paul added. "We just want you to know that we're going to do everything we can to take care of him in your stead."

"You do," Daniel whispered. "You take great care of me."

They sat in silence for a moment, then Jack stood up and took Daniel's hand, pulling him up and holding him for a moment.

"Come on. We've got a party to get ready for."

Daniel let the others start back, knelt back down by the stones and whispered some words in Abydonian that they wouldn't have understood even if they could have heard him. Then he bent down, kissed one of the stones, stood up and marched in the direction of the men as well as the sand would allow him. He didn't look back.

On their return, Daniel had called Kasuf and Skarra into the tent and handed them both a gift.

"I should have given you these yesterday," he said apologetically. "They're nothing much, but I hope you'll like them."

He gave Kasuf a bottle of spirits - Jack Daniel's. Telling him the name that was written on the side, he explained what it was and how Jack and Daniel had made it 'their' drink early on in their friendship.

"There is not a drink called 'Paul'?" Kasuf teased.

"Unfortunately not," Daniel laughed. "But you can pretend that his name is there. Think of us when you drink it. I think you'll find it a bit smoother than the local spirit."

Jack muttered, "You can say that again," getting a grin from Skarra as he did.

"And Skarra, this is something you can use." He passed him a box which confused Skarra - packaging being thin on the ground on a planet with no consumer driven economy. "Open the box," he prompted.

Skarra looked over the box and found the loose flap, pulled at it and saw that there was something inside. He reached in and pulled it out.

"It's what we call a Swiss army knife, named after a country on our planet. They've been around for many years and there are many different versions. If you lift this..." he pointed to a notch in one blade and Skarra pulled at it and opened it. "You'll see that bit's a knife. There's a smaller blade here. Um, this is a corkscrew, not really something you'll use for its original purpose, but I think that you'll find something to use it for. We open wine bottles with it."

He continued like that, explaining each attachment, telling Skarra of their original purposes but knowing that Skarra, an incredibly adaptable young man, would find a use on the desert planet.

Skarra was delighted with it and thanked him profusely. Kasuf promised to treasure the drink and to remember his son and his new sons-in-law whenever he took a sip. Then he excused himself, saying that he had to prepare for that night.

"I will bring you some clothes," Skarra finally said after chatting with the men for a while longer. "You cannot be joined looking like that."

"Daniel? What did he mean by that?" Paul asked as Skarra left the tent.

"Oh, don't worry. They'll lend us some robes, coloured ones. Dyed clothes are rare and expensive here and they're used almost exclusively for weddings and such ceremonies. Each family has its own set and they are passed down through the generations. The set that Kasuf has is a few hundred years old. They're kept in a cool, dark store, along with the robes of other clans, so that the colour doesn't fade and the planet's insect life doesn't damage them."

"Did you wear them for your wedding?" Jack asked.

"Oh yeah. About a week after you went, we had the proper wedding ceremony. I wasn't allowed to sleep with Shau're until that night - when Kasuf had given her to me that first night was more an engagement really. We didn't actually become married until we'd slept together again; that was the final part of the ceremony."

"You didn't really sleep with her on that first night, did you?"

"No. I couldn't. Jack, you should have seen her face. The poor girl looked scared stiff. We had to pretend or else the others would have thought that I'd rejected her. That would have been a death sentence for her."

"When did you really fall in love with her?" Paul prompted.

"I did it twice," Daniel laughed. "I know that sounds odd, but it happened in two parts. The first part was when she took the chance and showed me the glyph that she wasn't supposed to know. She was being so incredibly brave that I couldn't help but fall for her."

"And the second?"

"When she was killed," he whispered. "I knew I had to save her. That if I didn't, I'd hate myself for the rest of my life and not only that, I'd regret that I wasn't with her."

"So you took the chance, risked your own life and took her up onto Ra's ship," Jack sighed. "You know, looking back, I should have realised then that knowing you would get me into a whole load of trouble."

His voice was teasing and as he spoke, Jack lay on the rug and reaching up, he grabbed hold of Daniel's hand and pulled him to lie with him. Paul joined them and in moments, Daniel was on his back with Jack and Paul lying with their heads on his chest as if they were in bed at home.

"When did you fall in love with Daniel?" Paul asked Jack.

"Same thing for me," Jack sighed. "It happened in parts. But the first part was when Daniel stepped in front of the staff weapon blast and saved my life. It was over in moments, but my heart was screaming out that I'd just lost someone who, if we'd been given the chance, would have become extremely special to me."

Daniel squeezed him tightly, unable to speak. He remembered that moment, remembered the lost man that Jack had been. He hadn't thought when he'd seen the Jaffa lift the weapon and point it at Jack, he'd just reacted. It was something that he'd do a lot of later on.

They lay in silence and soon the three fell asleep, the heat of the air making them drowsy, the need for a nap before the celebrations of the night consuming them.

Jack had no idea what he'd just vowed to do. Kasuf had been speaking in Abydonian, Daniel whispering a few English words in the men's direction when he could. Daniel had told them how to answer the questions that Kasuf would pose them, a short phrase, the nearest English equivalent being 'I will'. He hadn't told them what 'they would' though, but, Jack figured, it probably wouldn't be that different from a wedding at home. To be honest, true, faithful... Not a problem.

Because wedding robes were usually limited to one male and one female, Kasuf had had to borrow two male robes from two other clans. Each clan had its own colours, so Paul was in mainly purple, with gold embroidery, Jack in green, again with gold, and Daniel was in red, but the embroidery was in a mix of metallic threads, gold, silver, a shimmering blue... The material was similar to cotton, again it was extremely expensive in itself, which was why the robes were only ever brought out into the sun whenever there was a wedding and protected as best they could be in-between. Because the Tauri had helped out all of the clans on Abydos, none of the clan heads had turned down Kasuf's request when he'd approached them. In fact, Paul and Jack had been temporarily adopted by the two clans that were lending the robes, the heads symbolically "giving them away" to Kasuf's clan during the ceremony.

There was no exchanging of rings or anything like that. It was just one clan handing over a member to another. Because Daniel officially belonged to Kasuf's clan, and because of his position on Abydos, Jack and Paul found themselves being given to him. They had to hide their amusement at that thought.

And then it was over and the party started. Unlike the previous night's, however, Daniel felt more able to be as demonstrative as he would like to be. To protect the beautiful robes, Daniel insisted that they go to their tent to get changed, so they did, to jeers, whistles and knowing looks.

He called out to the crowd, "We'll be back soon! We're only going to get changed!" but they didn't believe him.

Inside the tent, the men carefully took off the robes and folded them neatly, Daniel taking them to the entrance of the tent and calling over one of the women that was nearby.

"Shani, could you please give these back to the clan heads? Thank you."

"You really are only getting changed?" she teased.

"Really." Then he winked. "For now."

She laughed out loud and took them off him, much to his relief. The age and delicacy of them had scared him, just in case something went wrong.

"What should we put on?" Paul asked, looking at the limited pile of clothes that they'd brought.

"Something comfortable," Daniel advised. "It's going to be pretty raucous out there."

They pulled on some cotton trousers and T-shirts, Daniel too, which was unusual as he normally put his robes on when he was there.

"Daniel? No robes?" Jack asked.

He shrugged. "Guess I think we should all look the same," he said with a small smile.

"I get it. Come on, let's get ready," Jack encouraged. "We're missing the party."

"And that would never do," Paul teased.


When they crawled into bed, many hours later, they were way too drunk to do anything except drop and sleep. Kasuf had watched them all night with great pleasure, thinking that if nothing else - and he was sure that there was a lot more than at first appeared - Jack and Paul were bringing great comfort to his good son. Daniel had been letting his hair down a lot more, especially as the liquor flowed in his direction. The men had come in for a great deal of extremely kind teasing when they'd exchanged kisses and hugs. Not that they'd let that stop them, either. If anything, they'd revelled in being in a society that treasured love, irrespective of who was doing the loving. Having lived so long under a regime of hate, it wasn't really surprising that the Abydonians were like that. As he went to bed, he couldn't help but smile. His good son was happy again.

They'd been home for nearly two weeks and Paul had spent hardly any time with them. Making up for his long weekend away so soon after his month off, he'd worked every day since he'd returned. Mercifully, he was due to take the weekend off and Daniel was determined to send him back to work on the Monday, rested and peaceful.

During the time since they'd returned from Abydos, Daniel had been planning something special with Jack's help. He knew he was going to feel a little self-conscious when he started it, but he also knew that after the events of the past weeks, it would be worth it. Jack was going to assist him this time, his ability to switch coming in very handy. He'd had to get a very special costume made for himself, one which put a wry grin on Jack's face when he'd seen it. It was something he'd never expected Daniel to ever wear willingly.

The new extension was finished, too, and they were in the process of decorating it and getting ready to move the furniture in. The gym equipment would turn up the next week and both Jack and Paul were really looking forward to watching Daniel get hot and sweaty as he lifted weights.

The news from the SGC was also good. O'Dell had done as he'd promised and had gone back to the committee, damning Kinsey's lapdogs and condemning the senator outright. Given his reputation for fairness and honesty, the other committee members had listened intently, and with Chase's 'retirement' and with Petrie stepping down, saying that he 'wanted to spend more time with his family' as the euphemism went, he had no opposition. Smith had disappeared, probably in hiding from Kinsey's henchmen. Undoubtedly he'd try to hit back again in the future, but O'Dell and Burwell were waiting for him. Daniel had been asked to recommend more civilian scientists for his department, Sam and Janet likewise, and the commercial development of alien technology was now part of the plan for the SGC's future. The President was apparently extremely pleased with Daniel for his part in bringing down the opposition and had guaranteed him his job there as long as he wanted it.

They were waiting in the kitchen for Paul to come home, almost nervously fingering the labels of the beer bottles they held.

"Are you sure this is going to work for him?" Daniel asked.

"Absolutely. You said your improvised scene worked, and seeing as he just spent time in the SGC..." Jack said. "Look, when you were in the meeting, we were visited by some of the old guys there. You know, they came in to say 'hi' and to see how I was and so on. Despite us being retired, they still called me 'colonel' and him 'major'. He was revelling in it, no matter what he says. Hell, so was I, I guess. You can't just shut off an adult lifetime of that sort of structure. I saw him holding his hand down so that he didn't salute the generals!"

"I know that," Daniel sighed, "but this is me, Jack."

"And this is someone he respects even more," Jack soothed. "You'll do fine, Daniel. I've always said you'd have made a wonderful officer. Now you get a chance to prove it."

Daniel took a deep breath and sighed. "I hope so."

He reached up and fingered the dog tags he had around his neck - they, at least, were genuine. He'd had to wear those when he was on SG-1. Jack grinned as he did the same thing, thinking that he'd actually missed them. They heard Paul's car pulling up on the drive and Daniel stood up, his Air Force 'uniform' with the colonel's pips looking slightly odd on him, but (and not surprisingly) very hot. Jack had wondered why he hadn't gone for a general's uniform, to outrank him, too, but Daniel had shaken his head, saying he didn't want to get ideas above his station. Besides, he'd needed to give a uniform to a costume maker friend of theirs to copy, and Jack's class Bs had been what they'd had to hand.

Paul walked into the kitchen as soon as he entered the house and he looked shattered. It had been a week fraught with difficult cases and he knew that Monday held a potentially nasty encounter for one of his clients in court. All he could hope was that Daniel would help him relax on the weekend. What he wasn't expecting was to see two Air Force colonels standing in front of him.

He did a double take and then looked closer, realising that it was Jack - and Daniel! In uniform? His mind ran riot and then he remembered the last scene that he and Daniel had had and he couldn't help but shudder with excitement.

Jack spoke.

"About time, too, airman," he growled, his colonel's voice ringing through the kitchen. "Do you call this a uniform?" he asked, pacing towards Paul and fingering his suit. "Who do you think you are? Simmons?"

"Sir, no, Sir!" Paul replied. "I'm sorry, Sir!"

Jack walked behind the rigid Paul who was standing to attention, his briefcase still in his right hand, his car keys in his left, both being gripped so hard that his hands were turning white. From behind him, Jack spoke lowly into his ear.

"I think you had better do something about this, airman," he said. "Follow me."

Jack turned on his heel and marched to the bedroom. Stunned - but incredibly horny - Paul followed him.

Throughout, Daniel had said nothing, just stared at the two of them. He couldn't get over how damned sexy Jack was when he was like this. He'd somehow forgotten how he'd been turned on by it back at the SGC, when Jack was dressing down an errant airman. It was a feeling that confused him as he had no desire at all to be dominated in that way, and when he'd imagined himself in the place of the airman, it had only upset him. So it was just watching Jack be dominant that he liked. Maybe sharing that position with him. Whilst he waited for Jack to get Paul ready, he ran a few scenarios through his mind, remembering events from past missions.

On one, SG-1 had captured a minor Goa'uld. They were in a hurry to extract some information from him, so while Sam did her thing with some technology and Teal'c held onto the snakehead, he and Jack had taken it in turns to question him. They did the 'good cop, bad cop' routine really well - a device that the snakes hadn't seemed to learn and one which was still very effective on them. Jack was totally dominant in the worst possible fashion. Nasty, violent (he didn't actually hurt the snake, though he was tempted, but his manner was implying that he would), he scared the Goa'uld witless. Then Daniel had taken over. Initially, he'd sounded calm, reasonable, the snake relaxing a bit in his presence. That had been his mistake as then Daniel went cold, calculating, threatening worse things than Jack had managed to do, yet all the time using his 'dom' voice on the snake.

The snake hadn't stood a chance.

Daniel couldn't help but smile as he remembered Jack's reaction to him dominating the snake. He'd noticed the tenting of the loose fitting BDU trousers and it was what had given him the first clue to Jack's submissive nature. Over the next few missions, whenever he'd got the chance, Daniel had used 'the voice' and had noted Jack's response. Then he'd taken the chance and persuaded him to come on that training mission, the one where he'd finally ambushed him.


In the bedroom, Jack was waiting for Paul to come out of the bathroom, having sent him in there to prepare himself. He was under orders to shave completely, as well as the usual preparations. Jack had already done all of that and he was loving the sensation of the uniform on his bare skin. All he had on were his pants, his shirt and his jacket - no underwear, no undershirt, no socks. The uniform may be staying on for a while, but they were making it easy to take it off. Daniel had surprised him with this idea, but he was already turned on by the prospect. Ever since he'd faced up to his own dominant side, 'playtime' had become a bit more interesting. When they did decide to play in these roles, Paul got a hell of a lot out of having two men dominate him and Jack had loved watching him melt under their control.

Another surprise from Daniel was that today - for the first time - he'd asked Jack to shave him. He wanted to know how good it felt. Daniel had found out pretty soon and soon after, Jack had discovered just how much he liked it. By the time Jack had finished shaving him, Daniel was ready to come. Without Daniel saying a word, Jack had taken him inside his mouth, eagerly sucking him hard. By the time Daniel had regained his wits, he was feeling turned on again and he'd pulled Jack on top of him, wrapped one leg around Jack's waist, placed the other on Jack's shoulder, thrown the lube out from under the pillow and demanded that Jack fuck him into the mattress. Jack had obliged - more than willingly.

Despite the afternoon's diversion, or possibly because of it, Daniel was as ready for the evening's play as Jack was and though he knew some of what Daniel had in mind, he didn't know it all. What he did know was that he was going to assist Daniel in turning Paul to jelly and he was so looking forward to it.

The noise of the shower stopped and Jack mentally shook himself. A few minutes later, Paul emerged, naked, his hair still damp but basically dry enough to continue.

Paul's mind had been running riot in the bathroom and he'd been fighting down the urge to jerk off. He was so excited that he'd nearly cut himself when he was shaving. His body hair was permanently shaved these days, so it was just a quick job to go over it, removing any remains of stubble. It surprised him that he hadn't come when he'd just touched his cock as he tried to shave; he felt like he was on a hair trigger, he was that worked up.

He walked awkwardly into the bedroom, his dick pointing skyward and bobbing about. Trying to ignore it, he stared at Jack. It didn't help when Jack undid his fly buttons and exposed his own hard penis.

"On your knees, airman."

Paul dropped like a stone.

"Hands behind your back. Here, take it. But don't you dare make me come yet."

Jack put his fingers into Paul's hair. It was a touch longer than it had been when he was in the Air Force - just long enough for fingers to tangle up in it. He really got off on being 'made' to suck the guys off like that and they knew it.

As best he could, he worked Jack's cock with his tongue, trying hard not to go too far but desperately wanting Jack to come down his throat right now.

"Enough." Jack needed to stop him or else his own self-control was going to go right out of the window. Daniel had told him to work Paul up, to bring him to the edge and hold him there, but under no circumstances were either of them allowed to come. "Stand up."

Paul did as he was told without a word, staring at the wall in front of him as he did. Jack picked up the things that Daniel had told him he wanted used on Paul and started to prepare him for their master.

"Bend over," he ordered and Paul did, putting his hands on the bed, parting his legs as he waited for Jack's next move.

Jack greased up a couple of his fingers and soon after, they were inside him, stretching him and getting him ready for the plug that lay on the bed in front of Paul. It was there on purpose, so he would know what was going inside him. It was big, too. Long, thick, ribbed... Paul knew that just walking would wind him up. Without a word, Jack picked it up and put some lube on it, then slowly pushed it inside him until it was all the way in. Then he picked up a leather sheath and Paul stood back up, bracing himself for what was about to happen.

Only half-sorry, Jack squeezed his balls, gently at first but then more firmly until he collapsed Paul's erection. Then he fixed the sheath on him, snapping the sides together and holding it in place. A small D ring at the end had a chain running through it, the end nearest Paul's body had the beginning of the chain attached. Jack wound that bit of chain around each ball in turn, holding them out away from his body, then he took the loose end and pulled it between Paul's legs, arranging Paul's cock so that it was almost pointing backwards, then he attached it to the D ring on the base of the plug. No matter how turned on he was now, no way could Paul become erect. Then Jack put on Paul's collar, wrist, ankle and waist bands, pulling Paul's hands behind his back and attaching the wrist bands together. All of this was done without a word being said and Paul was starting to feel like he was a prisoner in his own home. As soon as he was finished, Jack detected the tension in Paul's body and standing behind him, he dropped a kiss on his shoulder. Immediately, Paul relaxed.

With his hand on Paul's shoulder, Jack pushed him towards the door. Paul tried to shut his mind down but he couldn't help but wonder just what Daniel had in mind.


Daniel was in the playroom, waiting fairly patiently for them. He knew more or less what he was going to do, but he also knew that his plans sometimes went awry. If it went according to plan, Paul wouldn't be able to think for the entire weekend and quite possibly, wouldn't be able to sit for most of the week to come.

"Here he is, Sir," Jack announced as he propelled Paul through the door. "I hope he's more suitably attired for you."

Daniel looked him up and down as if he was thinking about it. He picked up the riding crop that he'd put to hand and ran the end of it over Paul's cock and ball bindings.

"That's more like it," he purred. "Thank you, Colonel."

Paul swallowed hard at the use of Jack's rank. He couldn't help it but it really got to him, big time.

"And you," Daniel continued, staring into Paul's eyes. "Just what am I going to do with you? Turning up in my house, looking like that man..." The distaste in his voice was genuine. He hadn't expected Jack to mention Simmons, but in a way, he was grateful. He needed a real reason to 'punish' Paul and that was as good as any.

"I'm sorry, Sir," Paul tried, but it was only half-hearted. A little part of his brain, the bit that wasn't yet playing the game, was screaming 'and just what was I supposed to wear?', but he kept that to himself. He knew what Daniel was trying to do, and he didn't want to spoil it.

"You will be." Daniel's words were spoken so softly that it actually scared Paul. He was extremely close to calling out his safe word, but as soon as that thought came to his mind, he calmed. It was still his option. He could stop it. Right now. No hard feelings. Instead, he worked harder at shutting down his mind.

Daniel picked up two long metal extender bars and showed them to Paul. He knew that he was going to be completely at the other men's mercy now. Looking back up at Daniel, he saw a question in his lover's eyes. "Do you want to continue?" It wasn't spoken out loud, it wasn't necessary. Paul knew he could call an end to this, but if he didn't, he would be allowing them free rein with his body.

His cock twitched painfully at that thought and he responded by shutting his eyes and keeping his mouth tightly closed.

"Colonel, if you would be so kind," Daniel spoke after a few moments' silence.

Paul felt himself being led to the jointed table, next to which was a pile of soft rope. Jack guided him to lay face down, helping him as his hands were still tied behind his back. When he was there, Daniel undid the wrist bands, leaving them on but unlatching his hands. Then he ordered Paul to raise them, holding them apart. One of the metal spreaders was attached to the rings on his wrist bands, another being attached by Jack to Paul's ankle bands, forcing his legs apart. Then they opened the table so that his arms and legs rested on it.

Daniel picked up one of the ropes and handed it to Jack, picking another for himself. It took a while to complete, but in the end, Paul found himself completely bound, from head to foot. Each arm and leg muscle was made to stand proud, each leather binding having a rope attached to it, which in turn was attached to the table. Paul couldn't move, even if he wanted to.

"I'm going to blindfold you now," Daniel whispered in his ear, allowing Paul the option to say no. He kept quiet and soon found his world had gone black. "Now ear plugs." Before he put them in, though, he put in one of Paul's hands the small ball with the bell inside it and that told Paul that he'd be gagged at some point soon. It didn't take long for the cloth gag to come and all his senses except smell had been compromised or taken away from him. He had no idea what was going to happen now but somehow, he didn't care.

The next thing he knew was absolute nothingness. Daniel wasn't doing anything and neither was Jack. He tried to imagine how he looked, tried to visualise what the men were up to. All he could imagine was that they were looking at him and either fucking or jerking off. He tried to banish that thought, it was distinctly uncomfortable.

It came as a great surprise when all of a sudden, he felt a hand land on his right ass cheek, swiftly followed by another smack.

Jack couldn't believe how hot it was, spanking Paul as he lay helpless. Daniel had prompted him to do it and he saw out of the corner of his eye how Daniel was almost transfixed by the scene. He did his best to make Paul tingle but not hurt, thinking that if it hurt his own hand, it would be hurting Paul more. Every smack landed somewhere different on Paul's ass, spreading the red glow that was appearing.

"Stop," Daniel said after about seven or eight spanks. "Wait there."

Jack stood to one side and watched as Daniel picked up the fur glove, put it on and then stroked Paul's burning ass. Paul let out a moan of pleasure which didn't get him into trouble. Daniel had decided that he could react as and how he needed to. Paul moaned louder when Daniel stroked the fur over his stuffed asshole, tugging on the chain that bound his balls and cock at the same time. He had to hold back a groan of disappointment when it was taken away.

His ass took some more punishment a few moments later when the crop came down on it. All Paul knew was the sting that it left behind and all of the hassle of the weeks before started to fade from his memory.


The 'torture' went on for the best part of an hour. Jack and Daniel took it in turns to either spank him or soothe him, working him up and bringing him back down again. Halfway through, Daniel unhooked the chain from the butt plug, allowing his cock some relief. It pointed outwards again, down to the floor, but it was squashed tightly into the sheath and as he got hard, so the pain softened him again.

"Onto his back, Jack," Daniel ordered, and Paul felt four hands on him, turning him over. He didn't wonder what was going on, he was past caring. For some time, he had gone to his own world in his mind, a world seemingly padded with cotton wool. "I think it's time to bring part one to an end."

With those words, Daniel removed the ear plugs, gag and blindfold, then stood at Paul's head, stroking his hair.

"How're you doing, pet?" he asked quietly.

"'Mfine," Paul slurred. "So good."

"Good," he replied, then his voice changed back to the harder tone again. "Undo the bar, Jack."

Jack removed the bar between his legs as Daniel did the same to the other one. Then Daniel undid the ropes, drawing his fingers along the marks left on his skin.

"Hmm, I like the idea of you being marked for me, airman. I just wish everyone could see it, to know you belong to me. And you, Colonel. I would so like to mark you."

Paul was unable to move or to answer him, just too out of it to respond. Jack shuddered at the thought, surprising himself as he had never thought of being branded in any way.

"Time to sit up, airman," Daniel announced, slipping his arm under Paul's shoulder and assisting him as he struggled to regain any strength. Seeing Paul so floppy in his arms Daniel tutted. "It would seem that today's Air Force needs more discipline, more training. I've never seen it so weak."

Lifting Paul off the table, he turned to Jack.

"Colonel. How strong are you, I wonder?"

Having checked that Jack was having a particularly good day, Daniel felt like he could push him a little further than normal, so he was going to make the most of it. First, he led Paul to the cross and got him to stand on the stirrup at the bottom, facing out, then attaching him to it by his arms, legs and waist. Then he returned to Jack and led him to the manacles on the wall. Paul could see him, facing as he was in Jack's direction.

"Look here, airman. Watch your superior officer deal with what I give him."

Jack felt his wrists being caught up in the shackles. He looked directly into Paul's eyes, not looking at anything that Daniel was doing. He had been warned beforehand to not make a single sound, no matter what. Daniel stood in front of him and undid his jacket, his shirt and then his pants, exposing his cock and his chest to them all. Sweat broke out on Jack's brow and he wished that he could take off the jacket to cool himself down. Daniel walked away then returned with the leather strap. He had to be extremely careful and he knew it so he concentrated hard, letting his mind slip into a particular zone where he knew he would not make a mistake. He stood back, an arm's length plus the majority of the strap away from Jack. Knowing that whipping someone was as much a psychological game as a physical one, he raised his arm and let loose the strap, making it crack in the air and the tip of it only land on one of Jack's legs a split second after the crack. To the observer, it looked like the crack came when the strap made contact. Jack didn't wince, he barely even blinked. Another crack rent the air, but he kept his eyes locked on Paul's, unmoving.

Daniel stepped a few inches back and the next crack sounded, the very end of the strap landing on Jack's balls. It tingled, but it didn't hurt. That wasn't the intention.

Paul's breathing started to speed up, his cock throbbing with need. Each time the crack sounded, it jumped and Daniel saw out of the corner of his eye that Paul was squirming under his bonds.

"Now, airman," he growled. "That is what I call a well-trained soldier. Do you think that you could be that well trained?"

Paul nearly didn't answer, so wrapped was he in looking at Jack that he almost missed the question. Just in time, he answered.

"I'll try, Sir," he gasped.

"Good boy. Now, I don't know about you, but I think that Colonel O'Neill deserves a reward. You will give it to him."

"Yes, Sir!"

Daniel took Jack down from the manacles, winking at him secretly as he did. Jack had to hide a grin. Instead, when he was down, he shucked his jacket and shirt and stood in front of Paul, only his trousers on but his cock still sticking out.

"What reward may I have, Sir?" Jack asked, facing Paul and staring into his eyes.

"Whatever you want. He's yours to do with as you will."

Paul screwed his eyes shut and swallowed hard.

"Thank you," Jack murmured. "I think I'll have some fun with this one."


Daniel was both amused and highly charged by the scene in front of him. Jack was aiming to get off before too long and Paul was enjoying the hell out of being used like this.

Jack had taken him down off the cross and made Paul suck him again, right up to the point where he knew he'd have to stop or come. Then he'd grabbed his arm and led him to the table, making Paul put his hands on it as he bent over.

"May I?" Jack asked, holding the plug in Paul's ass and wiggling it about, making Paul squirm again.

"Be my guest," Daniel replied, trying to sound bored.

Paul couldn't believe it, but Daniel's laissez-faire attitude towards him was extremely hot. Just like on Abydos, he fantasised about being used by others, under Daniel's direction, of course. He couldn't imagine Daniel not being there. Even though his mind wasn't really running on all cylinders, he was able to imagine that Jack was just one of those faceless senior officers whose path he'd crossed on many occasions.

Jack was getting kind of desperate by now and all he wanted was to get off. Paul's bright-red ass looked so damned inviting. He forced himself to remove the plug slowly, taking care not to hurt Paul, then reversed his actions, greasing himself up and slamming inside Paul with no hesitation.

Although he was trying to be as stoic as Jack had been, Paul cried out with pain and pleasure. His ass was sore, inside and outside, his cock was throbbing and all he wanted was for Jack to finish with him and let him come.

Daniel sat on his hands. It was either that or he'd lose all self-control and jack off. He had other plans. This was only the first part of the weekend. Paul wasn't going to be allowed to think of a thing until Monday morning. He hoped Paul wouldn't mind but he was going to put the dog lead on him, attaching it to his collar, and he would lead him around the house. There were no visitors expected, they weren't planning on going anywhere, it would just be around the house. Daniel knew that Paul liked to be made to crawl in front of him, but he still wasn't sure if he'd accept it for so long, and with Jack around all the time. He could try, he thought, relying on his ability to read Paul's body language to tell him if he'd stepped over the line.

But he was still getting really worked up and watching Jack fuck the living daylights out of Paul wasn't helping. Somehow, he was reluctant to take over after Jack, thinking that Paul's ass was probably going to be a bit tender. He could make him suck him off... or, of course, he could just take Jack. Even though Jack was in his alpha mood, there was something delicious about taking him when he was like that. Something dangerous.

Jack grunted, announcing his climax. Paul was still not allowed to even get hard. Daniel wondered if he should feel sorry for him, but he didn't. He knew that Paul got a kick out of being held back, even for a few days. He wasn't due to come until the game was over.

As Jack made to move away from the table, he felt Daniel standing behind him.

"Nuh huh, Colonel. You don't get away from me that easily."

He pushed Jack until he was in the same position as Paul, covered his cock with lube and made himself at home. Jack wasn't wearing his dress uniform, but the class B's were close enough. Daniel didn't see why he couldn't live out a fantasy now and then.

Paul was incredibly frustrated. It was Sunday night and he still hadn't come. Daniel had spent the weekend hitting every single damned kink he had, right on the head. He'd been Airman Davis on Friday, a slave on Saturday. Today, he'd been bound for most of the day, tied up, his body wrapped up in so many ropes he was nearly mummified. He should have felt ill at ease, should have felt vulnerable, but instead he'd felt safe. But he was still frustrated. Two whole days of being held on the brink of orgasm without being let go. If Daniel didn't allow him to come tonight, he was going on strike.

"Come on," Daniel said after a couple of hours of evening TV. "It's bedtime."

Paul, of course, couldn't move. He was kneeling at Daniel's feet, his hands and feet tied together. Throughout the evening, Daniel had been casually leaning over, palming his cock until it was rock hard, or twisting his nipples until he cried out. Each time he'd thought he could relax, Daniel had either done that or pushed him towards Jack, who took his turn.

He shivered when he felt the ropes being loosened, then he was urged to stand up. It wasn't easy and he winced as the blood ran back into his abused limbs and his legs buckled. Daniel caught him, lifted him and carried him straight to the bathroom. Once in there, Daniel removed his bands, all of the various bindings he wore and then encouraged him to get ready for bed. Paul was stunned. Was that it?

Numbly, he got ready as directed, dodging the others as they took their turns at washing and so on. When he got into bed, he was feeling pretty low.

"What's up, pet?" Daniel asked on seeing his face.

"Oh, um, it's nothing."

He was more than annoyed to see Daniel laughing.

"Oh, poor baby. You thought I'd leave you hanging, didn't you?"

His voice was incredibly condescending, and if it wasn't for the fact that Daniel was reaching for the lube and handing it to him, he would have been pretty pissed off.


Daniel answered him by turning onto his stomach and then getting up on his hands and knees.

"Jack, why don't you lie here?" Daniel prompted, indicating the space underneath him.

As Jack started to move, Daniel knelt up and then said, "The other way around."

Paul nearly melted. He watched as Jack lay with his feet up on the headboard, his head near Daniel's groin. Daniel bent back down, got into position then looked over his shoulder at a stunned Paul.

"Well," he drawled. "What are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?"

With that, he waggled his ass in Paul's direction and then ducked his head, taking Jack's cock in his mouth straight away.

Paul didn't need a second opinion, he knelt in-between Daniel's legs and got them both ready, crying out when Jack reached up, took the lube off him, greased his own finger up and pushed it inside of him. It was just a quick tease, urging him to move, so he did.

He wasn't often allowed to fuck Daniel - hell, he wasn't often allowed to fuck Jack. It was cool by him, they had a nice balance at home. He was about 90% bottom, Jack was fifty-fifty and Daniel was 90% top. It worked well. But when he did top, he made the most of it.

Daniel's ass was tight and hot, his cock nearly exploded when he got all the way in. Paul knew that going gently wasn't going to go down well with Daniel, so he went as hard and as fast as he could straight away. His movements knocked Daniel's dick further into Jack's mouth and made him take more of Jack's cock in his own. The noises the men made went straight to Paul's groin, but the self-control he'd learned over the years with Daniel allowed him to make the most of this. No way was he going to come until they had.

He held onto Daniel's hips in the same way Daniel had held his, gripping so hard he was leaving fingertip-sized bruises. Not that Daniel would care, just in the same way he never did. He wore any mark he was left with like a badge of honour.

Surprisingly, Daniel was the first to come. Surprisingly because he usually held out, but, Paul should have realised, not so surprisingly because he was being sucked hard and fucked harder. As his sperm hit the back of Jack's throat, it triggered Jack's climax. Paul held out as long as he could, but Daniel's ass wrung him violently and eventually, he too had to give up and come.

They lay panting on the bed, Jack still upside down. Paul was somewhere else - on the bed physically, but his mind was elsewhere. Somehow he knew that the game was over, that Daniel's surprise reversal of roles had been his way of telling him. Part of him was relieved. The weekend had been tough. The other part of him was disappointed. There wouldn't be any more.

Until the next time.