The Target

First Published: September 16th, 2003
Rating: Adult
Pairing: Jack/Daniel
Word Count: 98kb

Sequal to Just Good Friends

Summary: Nick Pierce teams up with Jack again to capture an escaped criminal who has kidnapped Daniel. But they discover that their adversary is far more dangerous than they had originally thought. Plenty of Whumping to be had. And Daniel stands up for himself!

Dr. Winski let the observation flap close quietly and turned to his assistant with a sigh. "You're right, Angela. I can see a marked degradation. When did he start writing on the walls?"

Dr. Winski's assistant flipped back a few pages in her clipboard and handed it to him. As he scanned the notes, she flipped open the flap again and watched the muscular blonde man crouching in the far corner of the security cell. The marks he was making on the wall could hardly be described as writing, more a random series of lines and scratches. He had begun three days ago, and already there was barely an uncovered patch to be found in the cramped little cell. But it was the mumbling that had her more worried. He kept repeating things like 'the time is nearly upon us' and 'I will grow strong again and you will kneel in my presence'. Dr. Winski closed the chart and handed it back to his assistant. She bit her lip as she glanced at him.

"We tried taking the pen away but he became very agitated. I know how you feel about sedation so I let him keep it. There didn't seem to be any harm in it."

The doctor patted her gently on the arm. "You did the right thing, Angela. Go and fetch some guards and I'll see if I can talk to him."

A few minutes later he was hunkered down beside the frantically scribbling man.

"John? How are we doing today?" The eyes that met his were cold and hard. His patient refused to reply and went back to his labors. Dr. Winski tried again but still got no response. It was very worrying indeed.

This particular patient had been one of the doctor's pet 'projects'. Assigned here a number of years ago after a well-publicized court case, the file notes that accompanied him described the brutal murder of several young gay men and his total lack of remorse in the courtroom. He was a serial killer but would escape the death penalty because he was insane.

Dr. Winski had been working with him over the years and had made several breakthroughs. John was not nearly so remorseless as they had first presumed. He was clearly suffering from advanced Dissociative Identity Disorder, otherwise known as Multiply Personality Disorder.

In the closed therapy sessions Dr. Winski often held with his patient, one of the personalities would sob that he was doing those boys a favor and that other fates waited which were much worse. The doctor had never managed to get his patient to describe the other fates, but he had been sure that with a little time and patience, he could help this man.

Now he wasn't so sure. He had been away for a few weeks and according to the notes, this new and worrying behavior had begun shortly after he had left. Unable to return, he had trusted his patient's psychiatric care to Angela Lewis, his assistant. She had called him when things started to get a lot worse.

"John, do you know who I am?" Dr. Winski asked loudly. The man turned then, baring a row of white teeth.

"You are unimportant. The day draws near when I will be strong. Then you will kneel before me and beg for your life." A shiver went through Dr. Winski at those cold words and he stood, motioning to the three guards standing in the entrance of the cell.

"Take him down to the infirmary, and have him restrained. I want to carry out some tests first, but I think he may be on the verge of a major psychotic interval."

As their patient was dragged kicking and screaming from the cell, Angela laid a comforting hand on the Doctor's shoulder. "I'm sorry Doctor Winski. I really thought we could help this one."

Winski stepped into the cell and stared at the scribbles. They resembled nothing he had ever seen before. He wondered if perhaps he should give the boys at the bureau a call, let them know of this development. It had been a very long time since he'd ever had to admit defeat when it came to a patient, but this case was simply beyond him. He ran his hand over the ink, tracing the edges of what appeared to be a crest or shield of some kind. He decided to make the call, just to be on the safe side.

~~*~~

Nicolas Pierce pulled his collar up around his ears as he made his way along the wind swept street. Although he wished he had been able to park a little closer to Jack's house, the bracing wind was helping to clear away the cobwebs of the night before. He had drunk way too much in the restaurant even before Jack had bolted, then once it became apparent that his friend wasn't coming back, Nick had ordered another bottle and stayed to finish his meal.

He would never know what demon had possessed him when he decided to come round here so early this morning. Hope was a powerful motivator, but there was also the element of childish tom-foolery that was the hallmark of his and Jack's relationship. He had wanted to embarrass the crap out of Jack. And he had succeeded. He couldn't keep the huge grin from splitting his face as he remembered the scene he had just witnessed in his friend's bedroom. Words could not describe the joy in his heart to finally see Jack so happy.

They had been best friends for eight years, through some pretty awful shit. Nick was there when Jack got home from Iraq, when his son died and when his wife walked out. Jack was there when Nick's beloved Drew was killed by a drunk driver. The two men loved each other dearly, and would be friends until the day they died.

And for four years now, Nick had been telling Jack that he was in love with his team-mate, Daniel Jackson. Of course Jack was way too heterosexual to believe him, but in the end, all it had taken was a little touch of jealousy and wham - the sparks had flown!

Nick was over the moon. Not just because he had been proven right. It killed him to see Jack so alone and obviously hurting. Daniel and Jack were made for each other; any fool could see that. Any fools but Daniel and Jack themselves!

He reached his car and hauled open the door, glad to be out of the driving wind. Before starting the engine, he pulled out his cell phone and made a call. "Hey Chief, Pierce here. Yeah, got in last night, Sir. I'm on my way to you now."

The voice on the other end of the line told him to hurry. That was enough to send a cold shiver of fear down his spine. His previous supervisor was one of the coolest customers he knew. The edge in his voice told him that the situation that brought him home was very serious indeed. He put the car into gear and headed onto the highway.

He had told Jack he was coming home because he had some leave due, but in reality, he was on a mission. He had let Jack believe that he had left the FBI to move to South Africa and be with his new lover Ebutu, who was a vet at the Marakele Game Reserve. However Nick had never left the bureau, just transferred over to the SA branch as a weapons training expert.

He and Ebutu were even more deeply in love than they had ever been, but Nick was good enough at his job to know that the transfer offer had been created to keep him with the bureau rather than to fill a genuine vacancy. It allowed him to be with his lover, and to keep his credentials up to date, so he was willing to overlook the lack of fulfillment, for a while at least.

But when he heard through a friend that this case was being reopened, he made a few calls and got himself reassigned in a heartbeat. Because this was the case that had brought him and Jack together eight years ago. He knew that Jack wasn't Special Ops these days, and that whatever he did, it was beyond top secret, but he was hoping that, after talking to his supervisor, there would be a chance that they could work together again. It would be just like old times.

~~*~~

"Are you sure it says I have to do that?" Jack asked incredulously. Daniel stabbed a finger at the book he was balancing on his knees and nodded.

"Yup, its right here, 'preparation is vitally important. The more stretching and kneading you do, the more relaxed the..."

"Daniel, can't we just go and BUY some bread?"

It was nearly dinnertime, and Jack was absolutely starving. This was partly due to the fact that neither one of them had eaten anything yet and partly due to the hours of sustained and sweaty exercise they had both been getting. He could see no reason why Daniel would want to waste time making food when there was a perfectly serviceable deli right on the corner.

He allowed Daniel to sprinkle more flour onto his hands, then clapped them together loudly, smiling widely as a cloud of flour flew up into Daniel's face making him sneeze. If he had been wearing a shirt, Jack would have rolled up his sleeves, but he wasn't wearing a shirt. Actually, he was wearing nothing but a barbecue apron insisting that he was 'the World's Greatest Cook'. Daniel leaned back on the counter and watched Jack attack the bread dough with renewed vigor.

The muscles of his neck and shoulders flexed rhythmically with each movement and Daniel had a sudden flashback to the previous evening's 'main event'.

He still could NOT believe that he and Jack were lovers. Yesterday they had both been straight. Both blissfully happy in their ignorance until the misunderstanding in the Café Noir had made them both see things clearly for the first time. He had been in love with Jack for years, but had pushed his inappropriate feelings and needs to the darkest recesses of his mind and got on with his life, content that the friendship he and Jack shared was all he could have, and all he really needed.

Then he had seen Jack holding hands with Nick in the restaurant. In that split second, he realized that his friend was not so unattainable as he had always thought, and that by not speaking out sooner, he had lost any opportunity to have a closer relationship with him. He had well and truly missed the boat! It had cut him like a knife.

But things were not as they seemed, and before the day was out, Jack and Daniel were once again sitting at opposite poles of a pizza, drinking beer and talking. *Really* talking for once. Daniel was both relieved and strangely disappointed when Jack informed him that he wasn't 'gay' and that the guy in the bar was an old friend and colleague. Relieved, because this meant that Jack wasn't sleeping with anyone, and disappointed because it also meant that he wouldn't be sleeping with Daniel anytime soon. However, it did mean that Daniel could concentrate on going back to being just good friends with Jack.

Which was why what had happened next had come as such a huge shock.

Daniel closed his eyes and his thoughts drifted back to the events of the previous night. He remembered the sound of the rain lashing against the windowpane. Remembered Jack getting up and closing the curtains, leaving the fire as the room's only illumination. He remembered standing up too, and facing his friend. Mumbling something about calling a cab and Jack mumbling about staying in the guest room, but the words had meant nothing. As they spoke, some invisible line pulled tight, and without conscious thought they had stepped closer to each other until barely a hand span separated them.

He remembered having a hard time keeping his breathing steady as he gazed into the brown eyes that sparked and flared with reflected firelight. Remembered gulping nervously and licking his lips. The words he had spoken floated across his consciousness, deep and soft, little more than a whisper.

"And you're not gay?"

"Nope, not gay."

"And neither am I?"

"Wouldn't know about that Daniel."

"I'm telling you that I'm not."

"Fair enough."

"So, why do I have the urge to kiss you?"

And then Jack had gripped him by the waist, pulled him against his chest and kissed him! Daniel had expected to be shocked, maybe a little freaked, but what he actually felt was a sense of homecoming and belonging. It overwhelmed him totally, stripping him of the power to resist, locking him in the moment. Then had come the bolt of desire that shot right from his adrenal gland to all his extremities. He had gasped into the warm mouth devouring his as his knees buckled, but Jack had taken his weight. They stood for what seemed like hours, kissing and moaning, fingertips roaming freely over faces and backs, heat rising between them in waves, engulfing their senses. Daniel had never wanted it to stop.

"Pass the flour, Daniel."

"What? Oh...!"

Dragged out of his warm fuzzy moment, Daniel looked a little confused. This did not escape Jack, who looked highly amused. He wasn't totally without sympathy, though. He had been suffering from a few flashbacks himself. Like the little noises Daniel made when Jack licked his hardening nipples and the way his throat arched when Jack slid his fingers down...!

"There you go."

"Er, thanks."

Daniel surreptitiously adjusted himself through the soft jersey cotton fabric of his borrowed sweatpants. Now, he wished that he had taken a moment to throw on some underwear because without it, it wasn't easy to hide his growing erection. Jack noticed and sauntered over, a deliciously evil glint in his eyes.

"Need any help there?" he crooned, reaching out floury fingers to rest lightly over Daniel's groin. Daniel hissed in pleasure, his hips pushing forward to meet Jack's gently stroking fingers. His own fingers tangled in the soft silver hair, pulling Jack in to a slow, exploratory kiss.

They were still a little hesitant around each other. Last night had been fevered, frantic, all their years of denial and need boiling to the surface and carrying them away on a tide of desire. They had ripped at each other's clothing, bitten and clawed at anything that came close to their mouths. Daniel's throat and neck was a vivid landscape of red marks and Jack's shoulders were not much better off.

Daniel let his hands slip behind Jack and tugged the knot of the apron loose. The cold PVC pressed against his burning flesh felt great but he wanted to feel Jack's skin touching his. There was nothing more erotic than that, and he knew he would never tire of feeling it. Jack smiled into his questing mouth and pulled back a little, not quite letting go of the sensually rocking hips of his lover.

"Easy there, Tiger. Dinner? Food? Hunger? Ringing any bells?"

Daniel pulled the apron off over Jack's head and threw it into a corner. His eyes roamed over the incredible, and now very naked body standing before him. Jack had never had any hang-ups about baring all. That probably came from a lifetime in the service, where privacy was something you didn't get that often. However this was different. Jack was naked, and aroused, and smiling in a predatory way that turned Daniel's blood to magma.

"I remember hunger." The archaeologist growled suggestively.

Jack took a step closer, pinning him against the countertop. He laced their fingers together and leaned in for another kiss, this time pressing his own painfully hard erection into Daniel's belly.

Yes, last night had been their first time and it had been fast and furious. Unsure exactly what to do, they had gone with friction and some tentative fumbling, but both agreed that they should leave the heavy stuff until they were both happy with their new status.

But in the cold light of the day, that agreement was proving very difficult to stick to. Today they had made progress, their questing hands and mouths becoming more confident, more sure of what they were doing, but every time Jack looked at Daniel, he just wanted to bury himself inside the younger man and never emerge.

That vision always got him hard in seconds. Daniel wasn't faring much better. His erotic fantasy involved more kissing and touching than Jack's, but got him just as hard, just as quickly.

Although both men were terrified of getting it wrong, they were also almost incapable of keeping their hands to themselves! It was obvious they were going to have to work on this self-control thing a bit more.

Jack let go of his Daniel's hands and reached down for the waistband of the loose fitting sweat pants but changed his mind and instead began firmly stroking Daniel through the soft material. When he heard Daniel's gasped plea, Jack looked up. His eyes sparkled with desire when he saw his lover leaning heavily on the counter with his head thrown back. Jack growled savagely and closed his bared teeth on the exposed neck.

"Fuck! Oh, that feels good." Daniel croaked.

Jack smiled and licked the reddened flesh better. Another interesting thing he had learned last night was that in the throes of passion, his mild-mannered, peaceful-explorer, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth, archaeologist turned into a foul-mouthed slut. Jack loved it! He ran his tongue up Daniel's neck and began nibbling on the tiny earlobe, another trick he had learned last night.

The phone chose that moment to ring and startled both men into jerking guiltily away from each other. They smiled apologetically at each other. Jack grabbed the phone and cupped the receiver against his ear while reaching for Daniel's groin again.

"Yellow, Jack O'Neill's residence."

"Jack? It's Nick. I need to talk to you."

Jack immediately stopped what he was doing and straightened.

"Nick? What's up, buddy?"

Daniel saw the serious look come over his friend's face and the flirtatious mood left him. He retrieved a robe from the back of the bathroom door and draped it over Jack's shoulders before putting the bread dough into tins, then into the prepared oven. He set the timer and began a coffee brew dripping through the filter. When he heard Jack hang up, he turned and offered an inquiring eyebrow.

"Nick, as in...?"

"Our own sweet cupid, yes. He's in Denver. Seems he went there this morning after he pulled that little 'stunt' on us."

Daniel still blushed at the memory of the huge FBI agent looming over his naked and Jack-draped body first thing this morning. Jack pulled two mugs out of the cupboard and hung around the coffee percolator like a vulture waiting for a goat to die.

"He just found out that a mutual 'acquaintance' of ours is at large in the community, again."

Daniel frowned at that. Jack was looking decidedly unhappy. He leaned in and kissed the frowning forehead. "What does that mean?"

Jack took a moment to pour them both a cup of coffee, almost before the last drop had settled. "You know I told you how Nick and I met? Well the guy that we brought down has been holed up in a high security mental institution for the past eight years. According to Nick, our target's mental state has deteriorated quite badly over the last few weeks. His cell is covered in weird graffiti."

"Drawing on walls is not uncommon for patients with severe mental problems."

"Yeah, but it's WHAT he was drawing that has me a bit worried. Go switch on the PC, Daniel. Nick said he'd send the photos through to me."

Daniel went through to Jack's study and flicked on the PC. Over his shoulder he addressed his friend with a hint of confusion. "I don't understand Jack, Nick isn't even working for the FBI anymore. Why would they let him have access to this case, and why would they allow him to pass information about it to us?"

Jack handed him his coffee as he sat at the desk and opened the e-mail package. "Well, apparently he's still on the payroll and he managed to persuade his boss that he needs my help on this case. Actually, he wants both of us."

"Okay, but why would he think we would be interested in the deranged scribbling of a sick mind?"

Jack watched the incoming mail indicator as it crawled towards completion. "Nick recognized some of this graffiti from a folder he saw lying on my coffee table. You brought some translation notes over here a couple of days ago and I kept forgetting to give them back to you."

"The Goa'uld text from the temple on P4X 1174? I thought I'd left those in my office. Oh shit!" Daniel realized what that meant and turned a funny shade of green, "Damn - I guess that would constitute a security breach...wait - Nick recognized Goa'uld writing in this guy's cell in Denver?"

"The reason he makes such an effective Agent is his observational skills. Nothing gets past Nick Pierce." The mail received alert finally sounded and Jack clicked on the attachment. The screen began to slowly display a digital close up image taken of the cell in question. There was no doubt about it - this was definitely Goa'uld writing. As more of the image displayed, Daniel stiffened and leaned closer to the screen, his finger tracing the emerging graphic as if it were the wall beneath his fingers and not just an image.

"Damn." He whispered under his breath.

"What?"

Daniel watched as more of the image was revealed then shook his head in disbelief. "This seal - it's very familiar. I last saw it adorning the door of a certain cult's lair. You remember?"

Jack leaned over his shoulder and squinted at the circular scrawl.

"Seth?"

"Seth." Daniel confirmed frowning at the screen. "The question is - what the hell would this 'target' of yours know about a Goa'uld system lord, Jack?"

"I have no idea." Jack opened the message that accompanied the image.

//Jack - We have to catch this bastard before he starts killing again. Can you get out here ASAP?//

Daniel gulped down his coffee and headed for the bathroom.

"Dibs on the first shower," he called over his shoulder as Jack carefully deleted the email and attachment. There was no reason to leave any more evidence of security breaches lying around but he knew he would have to tell Hammond. No way could something like this go unreported. He reached for the phone.

~~*~~

They met in a hotel in the heart of Denver and Nick immediately thanked them for coming. When they were seated, he got right to the point. "I have my supervisor's permission to give you any details that will help us nail this bastard once and for all. How about you?"

"I called the general and filled him in. He agreed to let us work with you, but there may be details I can't give you. Sorry."

Nick nodded and leaned forward, not all humor gone from his eyes. "I'll take it, Jack."

"So how'd he get out?" Jack asked without preamble. The older man poured them all a whiskey from the minibar and then picked up a report. Passing it to Daniel, he took a deep slug of the whiskey and answered his friend's question.

"Seems he was undergoing some tests to determine why his mental state was deteriorating when he managed to get hold of a scalpel and apparently tried to kill himself."

"Apparently?" Daniel asked, peering up over the top of his glasses. "You don't stick a scalpel in your stomach unless you intend to kill yourself."

"He had exhibited no suicidal tendencies prior to the attempt, so they think it may have been a deliberate ploy to escape. They don't have the facilities at the Institution to deal with that sort of injury, therefore he was rushed to the nearest hospital. Once away from the security, he took his chance and bolted. We have teams standing by in all of the major hospitals in the area - he's gonna need to have the wound seen to."

Daniel glanced at Jack, unsure how much information they would be allowed to divulge to the FBI agent. He took a sip of the whiskey and coughed. "I'd really like to take a closer look at the cell, Nick. Could you arrange to get me clearance?"

The FBI agent looked at Jack. "Probably. Jack is this tied up in any way with the work you're doing now?"

"Classified." Jack grinned at his old friend. Nick swallowed his whiskey and got to his feet. "Gotcha - Let's go."

~~*~~

Daniel rocked back on his heels and sighed. Jack, who was lying on the cell's single bunk and staring up at the ceiling, turned to look at his friend.

"Something?"

Daniel flopped onto the bunk beside Jack. "Not good. Mostly it seems to be the ravings of a deranged mind at work but there are some disturbing references. The seal of Seth isn't there by accident. It seems your 'target' was actually part of the cult before he was arrested. Did you know?"

Jack swung his legs off the bed and sat up running a hand through his unruly silver hair. That was definitely news to him "We knew he was a psycho who liked to kill young gay guys but we never proved a link to any cult or other outside influence. As far as we knew, he was just a murdering son of a bitch who needed to be taken down."

"Why did they bring you in? I mean you were Special Ops back then, weren't you?"

"The FBI investigated the target and found out that he was ex-military. It's standard practice to involve the SIB in such cases. But it turned out that that he was also ex-Special Forces, hence the reason I was assigned."

Jack went over to the door and banged on the window. A moment later, Nick pulled open the door and stepped inside.

"Anything?" he asked worriedly. Jack waved vaguely in Daniel's direction.

"We're making progress, but Danny here needs some more background on our boy." Nick sat beside Daniel and gave him what he knew.

"John Leederman was a major in the Marines. While on leave he discovered that his friend's son had been sucked into some weird cult. Unofficially, John decided to go investigate, but it seems that he got sucked in, too. He then went AWOL and later became the prime suspect in the kidnap and murder of several young gay men in the Colorado area.

We had been investigating the case for some time before it became apparent that the suspect might be military. Eventually Jack here was assigned to work undercover with me in the hopes of flushing him out. It was an interesting assignment and a successful one. He was diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder and sent to the Institution where he's been for the past eight years.

His mental state began to deteriorate a couple of weeks ago and his doctor ordered some tests. That's when he made a break for it. I asked for this case personally when I saw what had happened. This guy is pure evil and we really need to get him back under wraps."

Daniel nodded and went over to the wall again.

"Okay. Well, we have a problem. The cult that Major Leederman was affiliated with was raided and disbanded a couple of years ago in a joint operation by the ATI and... a... military team. But according to this writing, at least one of the cult members is still at large, and has been in communication with your target for quite some time."

Jack glanced sideways at Nick then back to Daniel. Nick was no idiot. He had to know that the 'military team' Daniel referred to consisted, at least in part, of the people standing in this room, but like the professional he was, he said nothing. Jack lowered his voice and addressed his next question to Daniel.

"By one of the cult, are we thinking 'ordinary Joe' or hulking great Jaffa?"

Daniel watched the confusion on Nick's face be overtaken by a blank and unreadable mask, which probably meant he was storing the info for future use. "Could be the latter, Jack. The writing mentions Seth's 'glorious army of warriors' and your Major Leederman's part in their recruitment."

Jack nodded and rubbed at his chin, "Makes sense - he was told to recruit from areas where they wouldn't be missed - the transient gay population must have offered some impressive candidates. So why did he start murdering them instead of kidnapping them?"

Daniel turned back to the wall and pointed to a sentence written in English.

"There are fates worse than death from which I will save them."

"He was fighting the conditioning?" Jack asked. Daniel stuffed his hands deeply into his pockets and leaned back on the wall.

"He may have believed that in killing them, he was saving them from a life of slavery. In a sick way, it kind of makes sense."

~~*~~

It was a difficult evening. They ate at the hotel, but Daniel found it a great strain trying to keep the details of their involvement with the cult of Seth out of the conversation and eventually he excused himself to retire for the night. Jack and Nick found a quiet spot in the hotel bar and relaxed with a snifter of brandy each.

Nick was looking at his friend fondly, and Jack found that he caved quicker under the quiet scrutiny than he ever had under the worst kind of torture. "Spit it out Nick. I know you're dying to say it."

"What? That I told you so? I wouldn't sink that low."

Jack took a sip of his Corvousier and settled back into the comfortable armchair. "Sure ya would."

"Okay - I admit I have a smug feeling about this, but it's way outgunned by happiness. God, Jack, you're positively glowing."

"Aw shut the fuck up!" Jack grinned, blushing red from his head to his toes. "I'm going to bed if you insist on this mush."

Nick leaned forward and patted his friend on the knee. "Seriously, Jack - I'm happy for you both."

"Yeah well, thanks for not gloating Nick. I know it took me a while to believe you but it's working out fine now."

Nick looked as if he was about to say more when his mobile phone rang. Pulling it from his pocket, he sat back and flipped open the cover. Jack couldn't hear much of the conversation, but the look on his friend's face told him all he needed to know. As Nick replaced the phone in his pocket, Jack was waiting, perched on the edge of his seat.

"There's been another murder Jack - same MO as before"

"Details?"

"Young, gay, Caucasian male, from the Colorado area found with his throat slit from ear to ear - actually his head was nearly decapitated in what the newspapers will no doubt call a frenzied attack."

Jack swore under his breath and stood up. Nick followed him to the elevator and they traveled in silence to Jack's room. Daniel was still in the shower when they entered, emerging from the bathroom a moment later to take in their worried faces. He threw on a robe and listened quietly as they filled him in.

"Do you have a plan?" he asked Nick. The FBI agent gulped and looked sideways at his friend.

"Actually, I think I do, but you're not going to like it, Jack."

"Spit it out Nick."

"Bait."

Jack frowned and stared at his friend in confusion. Nick glanced sideways at Daniel and shrugged. "Have to admit Jack, he would be perfect...!"

"Oh no - hold up there, Sparky. No way!"

Daniel glowered at his friend. As usual, Jack was leaping into Mother Hen mode at the smallest hint of danger on Daniel's behalf. There were times when it was kind of cute - this was not one of those times.

"Shut up Jack! Nick - what did you have in mind?"

Jack stood up and began pacing the tiny hotel room, interrupting his friend before he could form an answer.

"It's obvious, isn't it, Danny? He wants to use you as bait to draw the target out. That's right, isn't it Nick?"

"Essentially, yes. He can easily be made to look the part, but I'm betting that he's had more hand to hand combat training than most. Not so sweet and innocent or defenseless as he looks."

"Nick - you're far better suited. You're..."

"...53 years old, Jack. Our boy likes them young and whether you want to admit it or not, Danny here could easily pass for a man ten years younger than he actually is. He's perfect."

Nick sighed and decided to give the two men a moment alone to talk it through. He headed towards the bathroom. Jack slumped down into the couch and looked long and hard at Daniel. Damn, but the bastard was right! He sucked in a deep breath and let his gaze fall to his clenched fists.

"It's gonna be dangerous, Danny." Suddenly a pair of gentle hands covered his fists.

"Jack - I once walked, unarmed, onto a Goa'uld mother ship, carrying the dead body of my wife and placed her in the System Lord's own sarcophagus. I know all about danger. Hell, I've worked next to you for the past 4 years, and while I will admit that I got killed a couple of times, I never actually stayed dead. Give me a little credit?"

Jack sighed and crushed the younger man against his chest. "You're right - I'm sorry! I know you can look after yourself, Danny but it's hard for me to let go. Especially when it comes to this guy. I've seen what he's capable of."

The sound of the toilet flushing was Jack's signal to get a grip of himself again. Nick came over to the couch and looked at him questioningly. "Okay - Nick, I want full details of the entire plan from start to finish. Anything happens to Danny, and Ebutu will be find you missing some assets, clear?"

"Ooo - don't you love him when he gets all alpha, Danny?"

Daniel said absolutely nothing, but silently he had to agree.

~~*~~

Daniel was getting really tired of being hit on. He'd been nursing the same drink for over an hour and in that time several of the bar's patrons had come over to offer to buy him another. None of them looked like the photograph Nick had shown him earlier and he had quickly brushed off their chat-ups. He took another small sip and angled his mouth towards the tiny audio pickup hidden in his lapel.

"Don't think he's gonna show guys." He whispered, knowing that the technology was good enough to pick up his quiet voice, even if he wasn't leaning so close to it. He was about to drain his glass when a cultured voice spoke from behind him.

"I've been watching you all night..." the archaeologist spun round on his bar stool and came face to face with the man he had been waiting for. The cold, grey eyes turned his blood to ice. The man was in his early fifties, hair still a sandy blonde color, and skin brown enough to belong to a sailor. He seemed fit and strong and there was no visible evidence of a recent stomach wound. Daniel immediately regretted claiming that he could look after himself. This man was powerful, dangerous and trained to the same standard as Jack O'Neill and there was no way Daniel could take him. He wiped any traces of fear from his face as he pretended to listen to the newcomer's pick-up line.

"...and I decided that you must have quite high standards judging by the amount of admirers you have already refused. My standards are high too."

Daniel let his tongue slip out and wet his bottom lip suggestively. He peered at the man over the top of his glasses in a way that always got Jack panting.

"That's...interesting. I'm Daniel Jackson. Pleased to meet you." Daniel extended his hand, which was immediately enveloped in a strong handshake. When finally it was released, Daniel flexed his fingers a little to try to get the circulation going again. The man was smiling now, a predatory grin that did nothing to put Daniel at ease.

"John Leederman. Listen Danny..." Daniel had to fight to keep the smile plastered on his face at the other man's unauthorized used of his nick-name. "...I believe in coming straight to the point. My apartment is just around the block if you feel like some company?"

Daniel reached out and placed his hand on John's arm and offered the most radiant smile he could manage under the circumstances. "I'd love to, but what did you have in mind?"

John stood up and leaned closer, his mouth so close to Daniel's ear that the surveillance team would be getting it all in glorious Dolby surround sound. "I'm top, no kissing, we use condoms. Do you have a problem with any of that?"

Daniel's mouth had gone dry. Despite receiving extensive instruction from Nick on the finer points of picking up guys and the terminology most commonly used, Daniel was still shocked to hear the words and found it quite distasteful. Never the less, over the years he had learned the value of a good poker face.

"Fine by me. Lead the way."

~~*~~

Jack hauled the receiver out of his ear and threw it on the console angrily. "That's it - call him back right now."

"Jack, you know we need to get him away from the public. Let Daniel do his job."

If there had been room inside the cramped surveillance van, Jack would have been pacing by now. He threw his friend a dirty look.

"He's not cut out for all this cloak and dagger shit, Nick. Sure he's had basic hand to hand training and he's not bad with a P90, but he tends to see the world through rose colored glasses. Where you and I see a psychopathic lunatic, he sees a misunderstood soul in great pain."

Nick swiveled round and grabbed Jack by the shoulders. "Sometimes I wish I could still see the world that way. We see too much killing and hurting in our jobs Jack, but we should consider ourselves lucky to have partners who can still see the good in mankind."

Jack sighed and stuffed the discarded receiver back into his ear. He gave Nick one final searching look before turning back to the bank of monitors lining the wall.

~~*~~

"Nice place," said Daniel glancing quickly around the lavishly appointed room. He was doing a threat assessment, as instructed by Jack. He noted the positions of all the windows and doors, identified objects that he could hide behind in a fire fight, and checked out anything that could be used as a makeshift weapon.

John slipped out of his jacket and stretched out a hand for Daniel's. Once the coats were dealt with, he offered to pour Daniel a drink. Daniel nodded and took the opportunity to glance out of the window, his heart beginning to beat again when he saw the black Transit van pulling up to the curb, and he sighed in relief.

He and John had walked here from the bar so it hadn't been possible for Jack and Nick to follow them right away. A huge black transit van slowly curb crawling behind them would have been a little too obvious. Daniel assumed that they must have used the tiny homing device sewn into his shirt collar to locate him, but he imagined that Jack must have gotten quite 'jumpy' when he had been force to let the two men get out of his line of sight.

All the way here, Daniel had been waiting for the older man to haul him into an alley way at knife-point. But it hadn't happened. All the other murders had been committed in secluded alleys or in deserted fields and one in a forest. None of the bodies had been moved from another location so this was a new tactic that, quite honestly, had Daniel a little worried. Was it possible that this guy really wasn't the one they should be looking for?

John cleared his throat and held out the glass of whiskey. Daniel turned from the window and took the drink tossing it back quickly, hoping that the fiery liquid would give him a shot of Dutch courage. The older man raised his eyebrow in surprise but mirrored Daniel's actions, then took the glass from his shaking fingers and placed them both on the table. He took a step closer and ran his thumb over Daniel's lower lip.

"You're quite the most beautiful man I've ever seen."

Daniel tried to smile beguilingly but he decided he was just coming off as bloody terrified!

~~*~~

Jack's fingers clenched around the binoculars and he swore loudly. Nick glanced at him questioningly. Nothing he had heard so far suggested that it was time to go in, but Jack seemed to be on the verge of leaping out of the van, without requesting backup. The FBI agent squinted across at the two silhouettes in the window and saw why Jack was upset. He laid a restraining hand on his friend's shoulder and squeezed.

"Easy Jack. The teams are getting into position."

Now that they had his location pinpointed, two SWAT teams were closing in, surrounding the house to ensure that the target would not escape. Jack knew the value of sticking to a carefully crafted plan, but watching him paw Daniel was almost too much for him to bear. He nodded tensely and raised the binoculars again.

~~*~~

"You're trembling, Daniel. I'd like to take credit for that but I get the feeling you're more afraid than turned on by me."

Daniel gulped. The guy had him pegged all right, but somehow he had to keep this going until the teams were in place. He took a step closer, bringing himself right up close and personal. Even before they had become lovers, Daniel had discovered that the right combination of eye and lip action could get Jack doing pretty much anything he wanted. Time to see if it worked on anyone else.

"I AM frightened, John. I don't do this very often, you see. Back at the bar it seemed like the most natural thing in the world, but now that I'm actually here..." Daniel trailed off letting his eyes fall, his long lashes sweeping across his cheeks. Then he gazed up at John through those lashes and smiled a little lopsidedly. So it wasn't just Jack that this worked on. John actually gasped and drew him into the circle of his arms.

"Hey, don't be scared. I won't do anything you don't want me to do."

Daniel let his breath out in an exaggerated sigh and leaned his forehead against John's chin. The older man inhaled the smell of Daniel's hair and sighed. Outwardly, Daniel gave the impression that he was relaxing, but inwardly he was shaking. The feel of John's hands on his back made him shiver with fear. It felt wrong and he wanted to pull back, to scream 'get your hands off me', to kick him hard in the balls. Anything that would make John stop touching him. The fingers that slid into his hair were gentle enough, but it all just felt so wrong to Daniel. He felt himself grow rigid and fought to remain pliant. John was crooning in his ear, the warm puffs of air making Daniel cringe.

He never knew what hit him. One moment, he was being held by the deceptively gentle man; and the next he was lying on the floor with John towering over him and a tranquilizer dart sticking out of his thigh. John sneered, his eyes flashing with light and Daniel closed his eyes against the sight. It was their worst-case scenario and frankly, the one they had both thought the most likely. John was now host to whatever symbiote the missing Jaffa had carried. It explained the change of tack too. Now completely controlled by his Goa'uld master, John could no longer kill his victims to save them from their fate. Daniel was about to become the latest Jaffa recruit to the new Goa'uld army!

~~*~~

Jack saw Daniel go down and his feet hit the sidewalk running. Nick was right behind him, shouting into his radio for the other teams to back them up, but Jack didn't even stop to check on their position. He slammed through the door and took the stairs two at a time. Nick opted for the elevator, knowing that Jack would still beat him to the top floor. He had a couple of years on the Special Forces Officer and more than a few extra pounds. He wanted to have some breath left to fight with.

Jack reached the top floor and spilled out of the stairwell and into the long corridor that lead to Daniel. His lungs burned from the unaccustomed exercise but he ignored the pain in his legs and knees, pounding along the hallway with one goal in mind... Saving Daniel.

He was dimly aware of the lift doors opening behind him as he ran. Time seemed to slow down to a crawl, the door to the target's apartment never getting any nearer. It was like a nightmare. He heard Nick shout out his name but continued to run, lifting his foot and planting it firmly on the door's surface, his momentum shattering the wood. He literally fell into the dimly lit room.

Daniel was on the floor, their target standing over him with a look of mild amusement on his face. But it was his eyes that caught Jack's attention. They glowed with an inner fire that the colonel knew only too well. So, they were too late to help John Leederman. He was beyond redemption.

Jack got painfully to his feet, one eye fixed on Daniel, trying to work out if he was alive or dead, the other on their target who seemed to be totally unconcerned by Jack's ungraceful entrance. The reason for that became apparent a moment later when the Goa'uld lifted his hand to reveal a ribbon device that crackled with contained energy. He pointed it at Jack and smiled coldly.

"I know you," he said almost pleasantly. Taking a step away from the prone archaeologist, the Goa'uld approached Jack slowly, "You and your team were the ones responsible for the death of my father, were you not?"

Jack took a second to glance down at Daniel, noting with relief that the younger man was still breathing, but seemed to have a trank dart sticking out of this thigh. Then he snapped glittering brown eyes back to impale Seth's progeny.

"Its possible. Taken down a fair number of System Lords in my time."

"Do not waste your breath on false bravado. I know who and what you are. My Father's First Prime has kept me informed." Jack ran his tongue over his front teeth and winced. Exactly how much information had the Jaffa been party to when at large? Had he managed to get inside the Project? Had their security been that badly breached? There was no way of knowing. It was standard procedure to change the Iris Codes on a weekly basis, so at least that information would not be valuable for long.

The Goa'uld's eyes flicked over Jack's shoulder and he spoke to whomever had just peered around the door. Wisely, Jack kept his eyes front. He had been caught by that tactic before.

"Come no closer. I will kill them both if you do so."

"Jack, what's the situation?" Nick's voice had Jack sighing with relief. He was beginning to wonder if the other teams had taken a wrong turn somewhere.

"Daniel's been darted - unconscious but alive. John here has been Goa'ulded and has a ri..." Jack got no further. The Goa'uld raised his beribboned hand and a beam shot out, engulfing his head. Jack went down hard.

"Silence!" bellowed the Goa'uld in a voice that could strip paint off the walls. Jack clutched at his head, absently wondering how Daniel could have survived so many encounters with this device. The pain lancing through his body was like nothing he had ever experienced. Glancing once again at Daniel to make sure he was okay, Jack tried to get to his feet but the Goa'uld sunk his free hand into Jack's hair and forced him onto his knees. It didn't hurt quite as much as the ribbon device, but it was painful enough to make him yelp.

Nick stood frozen in the doorway. Why hadn't he held Jack back, made him stick to the plan? He knew that Jack had been acting out of fear for his lover's life and had therefore thrown caution to the wind. Now his friend was in the hands of a very dangerous killer, a man who had cold-bloodedly murdered several people. John Leederman seemed so different now, stronger and far more deadly than he had all those years ago, but Nick concentrated his attention now on keeping his friend alive.

"Okay John, what is it that you want?"

The Goa'uld sneered as he twisted Jack's head from the left to the right, examining his jaw line from every angle and seemingly ignoring the FBI man's question. Finally, eyes flashing, he turned to stare at Nick.

"The one you knew as John Leederman is gone. Nothing of the host survives. You will address me as Lord Setesh, and I want your obedience and servitude. If you cannot comply, I will kill you."

Jack's eyes told Nick to go along with the lunatic. Nick quietly dismissed the team standing behind him and nodded. The grip in Jack's hair lessened but did not release him. Setesh was grinning widely.

"You are a fine specimen. I will take you as my First Prime. This one..." he nudged Daniel with his foot, "...will be my Lotar."

The sudden movement took everyone in the room by surprise. Daniel's foot whipped out and took the Goa'uld's legs out from under him. As he went down, Jack heard Daniel muttering,

"I don't think so!"

Both Jack and Nick were well enough trained to take advantage of any situation, and where the Goa'uld had a strength and weapon advantage, like most Goa'uld, he also had a glass jaw. Jack backhanded him as he toppled, sending him sprawling across the floor. In an instant, he was at Daniel's side.

"How are you doin', big guy?" he asked as gentle fingers examined Daniel for injury. The younger man allowed the touch, flinching slightly when Jack pulled the trank dart from his thigh. He grinned, as Jack caressed the slightly raised puncture wound beneath Daniel's jeans with his fingers. Then an amused voice from behind him pulled Jack back to the mission.

"Touching guys, but we have a psychopathic lunatic to bag here?"

Jack grinned as he reached into his vest to pull out a nylon cuff. Nick helped Daniel to his feet while Jack dealt with the unconscious ex-marine. As he bent to cuff him, Jack had a moment to realize that he had once again underestimated the Goa'uld, before he was slammed against the apartment wall with enough force to knock him out cold.

~~*~~

Jack had no idea how long he was unconscious, but when he came around, both Setesh and Daniel were gone. Nick was recovering on the floor behind him and the SWAT teams were in the process of searching the room. He groggily got to his knees and asked the room at large, "What the hell happened?"

The SWAT team leader reached for Jack's arm and helped him to a standing position as he delivered his sit rep. "We withdrew to the end of the corridor and covered the target's escape route. We heard sounds of a scuffle then the target emerged, holding a weapon to Dr. Jackson's head. The sniper didn't think he could get a clear line of fire, so we allowed him to leave the building. He then hijacked one of our vehicles and escaped."

"Dr. Jackson?" Jack asked through tight lips.

"Took him sir."

Jack staggered over to Nick and hauled him up to his feet. "Ya hear that?"

"We can track the car Jack. They all come with homing devices as standard. Come on."

The two men hurried down the corridor towards the elevator, bouncing off the walls as they went. If Jack had been worried before, he was absolutely fucking terrified now. Daniel was one of the most diplomatic men he knew, except when it came to dealing with Goa'uld System Lords. There was no doubt in his mind that Daniel was in a great deal of trouble.

~~*~~

Daniel drifted back to consciousness, slowly becoming aware of his surroundings through his sense of smell first. Wherever he was, it smelt like urine and alcohol. His nose crinkled at the distasteful aroma. Then his hearing returned and he realized for the first time that he was outside. There was the roar of traffic and the sounds of people going about their business but the sounds were muffled, as if they were coming from a long way away.

He tried to open his eyes, even as he felt a lurch, and realized that he was being carried, slung over someone's shoulder and that his wrists and ankles were bound. He could taste the faint tang of blood in his mouth and remembered being thrown against the wall.

No wait - it had been Jack sailing through the air to impact with the wall with a bone-shattering crunch! Then the Goa'uld had used his ribbon device to slam Nick into the wall. Daniel had still been more than a little groggy from the tranquilizer dart and it had taken little effort from Setesh to knock him senseless again with the back of his hand. Daniel had no idea how the Goa'uld had gotten them both out of the building past two armed SWAT teams, but somehow he had.

Daniel made sure his body remained limp and he tried to assess where he was. They seemed to be going down a dark alleyway between two clubs; he could hear the splash of Setesh's feet in the puddles and hear the tinny sound of music blasting from the side doors. He still couldn't see anything but blackness and wondered if he had also been blindfolded?

Then he was being lowered to the ground. He risked moving his bound hands up towards his face and felt the smooth fabric that covered his eyes. Felt like a woolen scarf. He had been wearing one when he entered John's apartment. He pushed the soft wool a little up his face so that he could peek underneath.

Setesh was unlocking a door at the end of the alleyway. Daniel peered down the alley, hoping that there might be some way of escape but saw nothing but endless brick walls and the occasional yellow dumpster. No way could he outrun the Goa'uld even when not suffering from the after effects of a trank and a backhand. He let his hands go limp again just as Setesh finished his task.

Daniel felt himself being roughly hauled back over the Goa'uld's shoulder and the scarf slipped back down over his eyes, blinding him again. He knew he was probably being taken to a unused warehouse or store room but he had no idea how far away from John's apartment they had traveled. He concentrated on listening for any auditory clues that might come in handy and hoped like hell that Setesh still wanted him alive.

~~*~~

"They found the car abandoned five blocks from here." Nick pulled the receiver from his ear and waited for Jack to jump up into the van. The rest of the team were beside the transit, waiting for orders, and Jack had been harassing them royally, trying to find out how the hell one man could get a hostage past 15 armed FBI agents? Not for the first time since this had begun, he was wishing that he had the rest of his team here.

"Daniel?" he asked quietly.

"An eye witness stated that our target stole her car and threw an unconscious man into the back seat before driving off at high speed towards the inner city"

Jack stared out of the darkened window at the men waiting for direction. He had to remember that these guys were good, but they had never come up against a Goa'uld before. SG teams were specially trained to deal with it and often even they came off the worse for wear. Those fucking ribbon things were deadly! Jack still possessed the mother and father of all headaches after his recent brief encounter with the device and his subsequent impact with the wall. There was going to be a huge lump on the back of his head tomorrow.

None of this really registered with him as he grabbed Nick by the sleeve and dragged him out of the van. He was so angry now that Nick wasn't even sure he could be calmed down.

"That fucking rat bastard knew the car was bugged didn't he?"

Nick tried to slow Jack's headlong dash but found himself being dragged forcefully along the street. Giving up, he jogged along beside his friend.

"He was Special Forces, Jack, remember? Anything you know, he does too. He's a clever bastard. I'm sorry!"

They both knew that he was apologizing for involving Daniel in the fiasco. Jack didn't want to get into that right now. He just wanted to find Daniel and have him back in one piece. They reached the end of the street and Jack finally floundered. What the hell was he supposed to do now? His eyes sought out Nick's. The FBI man leaned forward, hands braced on his thighs as he fought to regain his breath. He straightened and tugged at Jack's sleeve.

"We go after him. I have a description on the car he stole and Daniel is still bugged. When we get close enough, I can pick up the trace."

Nick ran back to the parked cars and someone tossed him a set of keys. He rolled them across the roof of the car to Jack and went to talk to the team. Jack hauled open the driver's door of the black sedan and drummed his fingers impatiently on the wheel while Nick collected a weapon and the tracing equipment from his team. His mind was racing. Images of Daniel dying pounded against his mental defenses until he thought he would go insane with worry. He knew he had to focus, to concentrate on the mission. He knew that. But he couldn't do it. Never before had Jack O'Neill so thoroughly lost sight of his mission objective. Impartiality fled, leaving him with a deep burning anger that threatened to swamp him at any moment and he didn't care! The door had barely shut behind Nick when Jack threw the car into gear and tore off for the center of town.

~~*~~

Daniel's other four senses were on overtime because he was still trying to function without sight. He had tracked the Goa'uld's movement around the huge echoing warehouse from the sound of his footsteps and knew that he had been operating some kind of machinery, although what it was he had no idea. The rough Hessian material under his cheek smelt of dog pee and mold but it was between him and the cold stone floor, which was a blessing in itself.

He had been left for unconscious, so had not moved a muscle in the last ten minutes. When he heard his captor's footsteps moving away, he reached up and pushed the woolen blindfold further up his face.

He was right. It was indeed a huge warehouse of some sort, with boxes and machinery piled all around. There was a bank of gauges blinking from a panel set into the wall to his left, and a computer screen was running through what appeared to be a diagnostic program over on the desk. Setesh was setting up a piece of machinery at the other end of the room that looked faintly familiar to Daniel. He scoured his memory to try and remember where he would have seen the huge metal bathtub before.

Then it came flooding back in a deluge of embarrassment and revulsion. Hathor!

Setesh was setting up an incubator, which meant that somewhere close, there had to be a female Goa'uld. His queen. It all became disturbingly clear. Setesh was planning to raise an army of Jaffa to carry his offspring and eventually, when the symbiotes matured, he would have a whole planet of human begins to act as unwilling hosts.

Daniel wondered just how many of Seth's original followers had managed escape like John Leederman and gone into hiding after the raid. SG1 had thought they had put a lid on the situation, but in reality, they had only succeeded in ending Seth's reign and leaving the way open for his son to take over. There really was no telling how many other Jaffa were out there but it made sense that they would rally around the next Goa'uld in the chain of succession.

John had been chosen to host Setesh and so the Jaffa carrying the symbiote had sought him out, helped him plan and execute his escape from the Mental Facility, and finally handed over the symbiote he had carried for years so that Setesh could take John as a host. Daniel wondered about the female symbiote. Was she already in a host body, or still in her Jaffa?

As he lay there on the uncomfortable sacking, Daniel wondered how long it would take Jack to find him. He was worried about his friend. Always prone to bouts of over protectiveness, Jack would be beyond reason by now. He hoped that Nick knew ways of keeping the Colonel calm.

~~*~~

"Take a left here, Jack" Nick pointed to yet another side street in the maze that was central Colorado Springs. It was nearly 4 am now and the streets were quiet. Even the rowdiest of clubs had long ago closed their doors and those few hardies still on their feet at this time in the morning were staggering home, oblivious to everything.

Jack took the turn sharply and slowed the engine. This street looked much the same as the last two in the vicinity that they had investigated. But this is where the tracer showed a tiny blinking red light that was almost certainly Daniel. If he had been separated from his shirt, they could be in trouble, but Jack refused to follow that line of thinking. This had to be it.

The side street was a dead end, but to Jack's infinite relief there was a red Corvette abandoned at its end. He flipped off the Sedan's headlights and rolled her forward cautiously. There appeared to be no one in the red car.

Nudging on the parking brake, Jack slipped out of the door, reaching for his sidearm as he did so. On the other side of the car, Nick was doing the same, holding his gun at arm's length, pointed towards the Corvette but his eyes were scanning the buildings that surrounded them on three sides. His FBI training told him this was classic ambush territory, but he knew that Jack was going to go in regardless, so he did his best to cover his friend's ass.

Jack reached the Corvette first and tried the driver side door. He tugged it open, sweeping the inside with his gun. Nick checked out the back seat then the trunk while Jack kept an eye on the alleyway behind them.

"Clean." Reported the FBI agent tersely. Jack nodded. He hadn't expected to find anything either. The two men began to slowly creep up the alley, backs pressed to opposite walls. A cat leapt down from a yellow dumpster and yowled at them. Jack narrowed his eyes at the fuzzy brown creature and it trotted away, tail held high in the air.

Jack passed several locked doorways as he slipped along the wall, testing them all briefly as he went. He noticed that Nick was making similar checks and the two men arrived at the top of the alley at the same time. Nick glanced down at the hand held scanner and nodded. This was definitely it. He mouthed 'backup?' to Jack. The Colonel shook his head and ignored the restraining hand on his arm as he pushed open the last remaining door.

"Jack!" Nick hissed urgently. This was lunacy. The bastard had gotten past 15 armed men. That he was dangerous was not in any question. How the hell Jack O'Neill planned on the two of them taking him out alone was the question.

Jack's eyes narrowed and Nick could see the need for vengeance mirrored in their smoky depths. He understood that feeling well. The day he had stood up in court and watched the drunk driver that had killed his beloved Drew sentenced to only 2 years in jail, he had wanted nothing more than to leap over the barrier and break his god dammed neck. But Jack had been standing right there beside him, offering support and quiet friendship. Jack had been there for him then and he would be here for Jack now. He would help get his friend through this nightmare. He sighed and nodded once, indicating that they should go in on three.

~~*~~

Setesh finished fiddling with his machine and sauntered over to Daniel. The archaeologist knew that there was no point in pretending to be unconscious any longer. He needed to get some facts and the Goa'uld standing over him was his only source. He shuffled onto his side and pushed himself to a sitting position. His wrists felt raw where they had been rubbing against the nylon cuffs.

Setesh towered over him, a satisfied leer on his cold face. He reached down, pulled away the woolen scarf, then stroked his ribboned fingers through Daniel's hair. It took every nerve Daniel possessed not to flinch away.

"Your friends are coming" he stated coldly, fixing dead grey eyes onto Daniel. "Their misguided attempt to rescue you will fail." Daniel's eyes, now completely uncovered, darted around the room trying to see what weapon the Goa'uld possessed that could make him so sure of himself. He saw no Jaffa guards, no surveillance cameras, nothing but the incubator and the diagnostic screen on the computer. Suddenly the fingers tangled in his hair tightened and he was forced to his feet.

"You will become my Lotar and serve me well."

Never able to keep his mouth shut when a Goa'uld was attempting to intimidate him, Daniel cleared his throat.

"Your Lotar? Not Jaffa? I thought you were a little short on the 'glorious Jaffa army' front."

His impudence earned him another backhander, and unable to break his fall with his bound hands, Daniel hit the stone floor hard enough to make him see stars. He shook his head to clear it, determined to stay conscious long enough to learn something useful.

"Jaffa must be both strong and docile, you are neither of these things. You are, however in possession of a remarkably beautiful face and body, which I intend to explore in great detail at a later date."

Daniel shuddered and drew his knees up to shield his body from Setesh's roaming eyes. Now that his needs were revealed, Daniel could at least work out which strategy he needed to use to distract the Goa'uld.

Setesh grabbed another handful of his hair and Daniel hastily got to his feet, trying to make himself appear a little more docile. It was difficult for Daniel to make himself appear frightened when he looked at the Goa'uld, difficult to push back the hatred and loathing that bubbled close to the surface when he had to deal with these creatures. He schooled his featured into in impassive mask and stared at the floor intently. Setesh just laughed.

"You would have me believe you are beaten, Daniel Jackson? I think not." He was pulled roughly against the Goa'uld's chest and looked up in time to see the trademark flash of gold light. Then his attention was drawn to a tiny movement over Setesh's left shoulder, as the door slowly swung open. The flash from the barrel of a hand gun alerted Daniel to his would-be rescue and he knew that this would be a good time to make sure Setesh did not see what was coming.

"You'll never break me you fucking snake head" Daniel yelled, spitting into the outraged face as he brought his knee up to connect sharply with the Goa'uld's groin.

"Get your symbiote to heal THAT," he hissed as the larger man went down hard still clutching Daniel's hair tightly. They both landed in a tangle on the floor but Setesh recovered quickly. Daniel saw the hand as it swung round and a moment later, the full force of the ribbon device pounded into his skull, feeling like it was splitting his head in half, burning like acid against his brain. Damn, but that hurt.

In this position, he couldn't see what was happening, but he was sure that Jack was right now sneaking up behind Setesh, ready to break the man's neck with his bare hands if necessary. But it was Nick's face that appeared over the Goa'uld's shoulder. Nick pressed the barrel of his handgun against Setesh's temple and spoke softly.

"Stop, or I'll kill you."

Unfortunately Goa'ulds were in possession of remarkable reflexes, and Setesh swung his arm round, knocking the gun away and refocusing the ribbon's beam onto Nick. Although Daniel desperately wanted to help, but he knew he couldn't just get up and walk away from the full force of that weapon. His legs would not begin to work again for quite some time. He searched for the gun but it had skidded too far away.

Then he saw what he had failed to notice before. The computer screen had finished running its diagnostic and was now showing the exterior of the building where two large men were engaged in a slugging match with Jack O'Neill. Either he was the unfortunate recipient of a mugging, or these were two of Setesh's elusive Jaffa Army. Jack was doing okay but he would never get in here quickly enough to save Nick. Daniel tried to crawl towards the gun.

~~*~~

Jack was extremely pissed! They had almost made it into the building when the two guards had come up from behind and had jumped them. Or more accurately they had jumped Jack. Nick was already inside when the guards wrestled Jack to the ground. Although Nick started to come to his aid, Jack had waved him away shouting, "Help Danny - I can deal with these two."

Nick could clearly see that Jack was at a serious weight disadvantage, but knew that wasn't necessarily a handicap to a well-trained Special Forces Operative. He nodded and continued into the warehouse wondering where the hell the two guards had been hiding.

Jack managed to incapacitate one guard quite quickly with a numbing kick to the groin. The big guy went down and stayed down. The other one was not so easy. He was a little lighter on his feet and had managed to keep Jack off balance. That was when he heard the gunshot. He hated hearing the sound of a gun echoing in an enclosed space. It never failed to bring back a whole raft of memories that he had worked hard to repress over the years. This time, he hoped the sound meant that Nick had shot the rat bastard Goa'uld. He leapt for the guard's face and whipped his head round, breaking his neck quickly and painlessly.

Then he headed into the building at a dead run. The scene within the warehouse was not the one he had hoped for. Nick lay on the ground, blood pooling from a gunshot wound in his chest. From this distance, it was hard to tell, but Jack had seen enough death to recognize the stillness and unnatural angle of his body meant that his friend was almost certainly dead.

Daniel was also down and he was holding a gun in trembling fingers. Setesh lunged forward and kicked it from his hand. Daniel seemed to be in shock. It appeared that he had been the one that had shot Nick, but Jack didn't have time to figure out why. He had no weapon of his own now, his sidearm having been lost in the fight with the two guards. Armed with only his own burning fury, he began running across the vast expanse of floor, his vision focused only on the Goa'uld towering over Daniel.

//Not getting him you fucking bastard!//

Setesh turned at the sound of Jack's feet pounding the floor and braced himself to absorb the impact. Jack saw the flash of the beam as it lanced across the space dividing them and threw himself to the side. But the beam caught him in its nimbus and lifted him off his feet. He seemed to fly trough the air for an eternity before the warehouse wall stopped him. He felt bone snap as he impacted and slid down the wall, pain exploding from his arm and hip.

Setesh growled and advanced on him angrily.

"Kneel before your God and beg for mercy!" the voice boomed and echoed in the vast chamber. Jack coughed and spat out blood. He hoped it came from a burst lip and not internal damage. Even if he had been capable of movement right now, he would never kneel before this ass hole. Setesh raised his hand again, the ribbon device crackling with contained energy. Jack knew he wouldn't survive a second hit.

"Kneel before me or you will DIE!"

"No - YOU will die!"

At the sound of that familiar voice, Jack tore his gaze from the Goa'uld to fix onto Daniel's hate filled face. He stood on shaky legs a few feet away, Nick's gun braced in hands that were suddenly steady as a rock. His voice was cold and almost inhuman as his eyes dared the Goa'uld to call him on this one. Setesh made the mistake of thinking he could beat Daniel to the killing shot. He was wrong.

He took three bullets to the head before he dropped like a stone. Daniel kept advancing on the fallen Goa'uld, emptying the entire clip into his lifeless body. He stopped when the gun ran out of bullets and he stood over the dead Goa'uld, chest heaving, and eyes glittering in the subdued light.

Jack laid a hand on his leg. "I think you got him, Sparky."

Daniel's eyes were huge and haunted. Jack wanted to tell him that he'd done a great job. That he was proud of him and that he had saved his life. He wanted to tell him he loved him but knew that he would not hear any of that right now. Daniel did not react well to killing. It would take weeks for him to get over this. He would take any action rather than resorting to killing but this time, he had done it to save his lover, to save Jack. That would not make it any easier to justify in the younger man's guilt laden mind.

A low moan from the other end of the warehouse made them break their silent communication. Daniel had to half carry Jack over to where Nick was lying. Jack flopped onto the floor and reached for his friend's hand, "Nick, buddy, talk to me."

Nick opened his eyes and smiled up at his friend through a haze of pain. He squeezed the hand held in his own and coughed.

"Jack...I think Daniel is worried I'm trying to steal you! Tell him...tell him he didn't have to fucking shoot me!" he wheezed. Despite the pain in his chest, arm, and the whole of his left side, Jack laughed.

Daniel dropped to his knees and grabbed Nick's other hand.

"I'm sorry Nick, he must have sensed that I was about to shoot and he used you as a shield. I'd already squeezed the trigger...!"

Nick doubled up in pain and Jack quickly reached inside his jacket and pulled up his radio. Tossing it to Daniel, he checked out the wound. "Call in the team, Danny, and get them to send in an ambulance."

Daniel did as he was told, never releasing the hand clutching his own. Jack peeled off his shirt, barely acknowledging the agony it must have cost him to do so, and wadded the material tightly against his friend's chest. There had been a great deal of blood lost and even if the lung wasn't punctured, Nick's life still hung in the balance.

Both men knelt beside Nick as his grip on consciousness began to fade. Jack took hold of his face and shook him gently.

"Don't you die on me Nicolas Pierce - do you hear me? I'll be dammed if I'll lose you now. You were gonna give me some tips on keeping a demanding male lover under control, remember?"

Daniel gasped and his mouth fell open. Nick blinked and gurgled something incoherent then passed out. The bubbles forming at the corner of his mouth were tinged with red. Jack's eyes locked with Daniel's, his pain and grief clearly displayed.

"Danny...!"

"God, Jack, I'm so sorry!"

Then the door flew open and the SWAT team barreled in. Jack leapt up and pointed to his fallen comrade.

"Get the medics in here NOW!" he screamed.

~~*~~
Daniel thanked the pretty nurse for being so gentle as she completed the job of bandaging his wrists. In the bed next to him, Jack was not being quite so gracious. His arm was in plaster and the painkillers they had given him had obviously worn off. He was swearing at the doctor trying to clean the huge scrape that ran down the length of his left leg.

Daniel sighed and jumped down from the bed. "Jack, be nice or Doctor Benson won't let us visit with Nick."

Jack's eyes narrowed but he remained silent while the grateful doctor finished disinfecting the graze abrasion. Both Daniel and Jack had refused to have their own injuries treated until they knew how Nick was doing. Word had reached them that the FBI agent had survived his operation and been taken down to the recovery ward. Now they were impatient to go see for themselves that their friend was all right.

The doctor handed Jack a surgical gown and then left, pulling the curtains around the two beds. Daniel grinned and pointed at the blue gown.

"Need some help there?"

Jack looked down at himself. His Blood-soaked shirt had been discarded at the warehouse and his trousers had been cut from him in the ambulance when they suspected that he had ruptured an artery. That had turned out to be Nick's blood too, but it left Jack with two options. Put on the gown or sit here in his boxers. He slipped his plastered hand into the first armhole and struggled with the second.

"Next time Daniel, I want to be the bait okay?"

"What?" asked the bemused archaeologist, coming over to offer his assistance. Jack stood and obediently allowed Daniel to fasten the three ties at the back of the gown, noting that the younger man's fingers lingered a little longer than strictly necessary on his butt as he did so.

"No really - The bait gets off with a couple of scraped wrists and a headache, while the guys in the van get a broken arm and a collapsed lung. Where is the justice in THAT?"

The nurse came back in pushing a wheelchair and Jack shook his head.

"Oh no - I'm not getting into that. Forget it."

She shrugged her shoulders and tugged open the curtains to their full extent. "Suit yourself Colonel but Dr. Benton said you travel in this or not at all."

Jack glared at her retreating back and then flopped into the chair.

"Do all nurses get trained in the Dr. Janet Fraiser School of bedside manners or is it just me?"

"Just you, Jack" Daniel sighed as he grasped the wheelchair's handles and propelled Jack though the double doors using his knees as a battering ram.

~~*~~

Nick looked like shit. He had monitors and tubes connected to every part of him, and was as white as the sheets his hands rested on. Jack wanted to take hold of his hand but there were drips attached to both of them. He settled for wiggling the end of Nick's nose. The big FBI agent snorted and his eyes flickered open.

"J'k?" he croaked, his voice still dry from the anesthetic used in the life saving surgery. It had been touch and go for several hours there, but he had pulled though. He would be holed up in hospital for some time, but at least his life no longer hung in the balance.

"Yeah, Nicky, it's me. How are ya feeling, big guy?"

"Like shit!"

Jack grinned. If Nick's sense of humor was back, then he must be on the road to recovery. He looked over his shoulder to where Daniel was hovering in the background. Nick followed his gaze and smiled at Daniel fondly.

"Danny, c'mere will ya."

Once Daniel was perched on the side of the bed, Nick sighed and shook his head.

"Back in 83, I shot a 14 year old kid. I was aiming for a guy that had just tried to rob a bank but he grabbed the kid and used him as a shield. I wish I could have taken that shot back, but it hit him square in the middle of the head and killed him stone dead. Took me months of counseling to get over it. Truth is, I never really did get over it, but I learned to deal with it. You did what you had to do Danny. Sure you shot me - but I'm alive."

Daniel hung his head; unable to maintain eye contact when he heard the words 'you shot me'. But Nick wasn't finished yet.

"What I'm trying to say is that if the situation was reversed, I would have shot you too - only difference is that I've been trained to go for the 'head shot' so you would be dead right now."

Daniel dragged his huge blue eyes up to meet the kind regard of his lover's best friend.

"Please, don't get hung up over this, Danny. In our line of work, we have to live for the moment, and at this moment - we're all alive and that's all that really matters, okay?"

Daniel smiled and nodded, unable to bring himself to speak. The nurse came in then and shooed the two men out, insisting that Nick needed to get some sleep. Daniel wheeled Jack back to their room and helped get him into the bed.

"I wish I didn't have to kill him, Jack. Inside him there was a man who used to be a Special Forces Op, just like you."

Jack realized that Daniel was now focusing his guilt on John Leederman, instead of Nick. "Listen Daniel - that was the way it had to go down. He was damaged by what had happened to him. Even if we could have separated the man from the Goa'uld, he would have spent the rest of his life in a mental institution. If it was me, I know which way I would have wanted it."

He reached over and drew Daniel into the warmth of his embrace. "You did the right thing, I'm proud of you and I love you."

Daniel hugged him fiercely forgetting the pain his lover was suffering until Jack winced and he drew back quickly.

"God, sorry, Jack!"

"For cryin' out loud, Danny. Go lie down and get some sleep. And if that little Hitler of a nurse comes back in here, try to get more Tylenol from her. She wouldn't give me any more."

Daniel climbed into the narrow bed and flicked off the overhead lamp. As he lay quietly, listening to Jack's soft snores, he wondered what would happen about The Goa'uld queen. An extensive search of the premises had revealed nothing, so the possibility that she was still at large was very real. But they had nothing to go on. For all they knew, there were a hundred Jaffa still on Earth. He sighed and slipped into a disturbed sleep, haunted by the faces of all the people he had ever seen die.

~~*~~

Six Weeks Later

The cast was finally off and Jack was frantically scratching at the dry flaky skin of his forearm. Apart form a dull ache deep inside the newly knitted bone, he was feeling a whole lot better. His euphoria was helped along by the twin delights of hearing from Ebutu that Nick was out of hospital, and seeing Daniel begin to smile again after six weeks of depression brought on by having to kill John Leederman.

Daniel had refused counseling, preferring to drag himself though the minefield that was his conscience by himself. It was getting easier to do after four years of working for the military, but he doubted he could ever be as sanguine as Jack or Nick about the necessity of killing. He could never separate his spirit from his logical brain, or compartmentalize his morality into convenient pockets that said 'deserving', and 'not deserving'. But through it all, Jack had been there, letting him talk, never trying to tell him that he was wrong or weak to think that way.

Their physical relationship had more of less been on hold recently due to Jack's cast and Daniel's depression, but now armed with Nick's continuous list of recommended reading material and web addresses, Daniel had decided he had more than enough theoretical knowledge to take the final step. He had called to tell Jack that tonight he intended to seduce his Colonel into making love to him. His Colonel had absolutely no problem with that. Well actually - one problem.

Last night at the hospital, he and Nick had discussed the thorny issue of 'top and bottom'. Jack wasn't quite sure he understood the concept that the bottom was the one with all the power until Nick had tried to explain it in terms of man/woman.

"Think back to when you were married, Jack. When you and Sarah made love, you tried to please her, do the things she liked, you let her set the pace?"

"Sure, I was stronger and bigger than she was, so I was careful never to push too hard. I was always scared I'd hurt her."

"That's the power that the bottom has. The person being breached is giving themselves completely to the other, trusting them implicitly with their very soul. The person on top has to be so very careful to respect that trust."

"I think I see what you mean," said Jack in genuine surprise. He had never thought of it in those terms before.

"But try to remember, too, that you're in a relationship with a guy now - he isn't some fragile flower that you have to be gentle with. He'll probably want it a bit rougher than you're used to."

Jack sighed and shook his head. "Wait, wait now I'm confused - rough or gentle - which?"

"Let Daniel be the one to tell you that!" laughed his friend sinking back down into his pillows. That was the sign that he was tired and Jack patted him on the hand as he stood to leave. Nick captured his arm. "Seriously, Jack, when the time comes, you'll be fine. Trust me."

Jack had left the hospital with a great deal to think about. He had always assumed that he would be what Nick referred to as 'top' and could not have imagined anything else. He had been infinitely relieved to hear that Daniel thought along the same lines, but after his conversation with Nick, he was starting to see things a little differently. He had always had a hard time explaining to Daniel how much he cared about him, how much he trusted the younger man. Words were not his forte, and often he relied on his actions to speak for him. And so as he headed for his truck, he began to make a new plan.

~~*~~

The candles had guttered out and the wine bottles were empty. The detritus of the great meal Jack had cooked lay scattered and forgotten in the dining room, as did the majority of Jack's and Daniel's clothing.

They lay sprawled on Jack's bed, touching, kissing and caressing every inch of each other's skin. Jack rolled onto his back and pulled Daniel on top of him.

"Make love to me, Danny," he whispered into the hot and kiss-swollen mouth. Daniel gasped and drew back, his eyes reflecting the moonlight filtering through the thin drapes.

"Jack?" he asked, confusion evident in his knitted brows and slightly tilted face.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing, I... well I always assumed that..."

"What?"

"I assumed that I would be - you know - 'bottom'. I mean, it never occurred to me that you would want to... oh shit! I'm babbling aren't I?"

"Daniel, I love you and I trust you. I can't think of any better way of proving that to you. And no, I have absolutely no idea what I'm letting myself in for. I tried to do some research on this but got a little freaked. I figure as an anthropologist and scholar, you must know what to do. Make love to me, Danny. Please."

"You know, for a hard assed flyboy, you say the nicest things. But seriously Jack, you never even asked Nick about this stuff?"

Jack rolled onto his side, bringing Daniel with him, held tight in his arms. "Sure I did. He said that if he gave me the mechanics, it would probably put me off for life and I should just relax and let it happen naturally."

"He has a point, I suppose."

Daniel, unlike Jack, had devoured every piece of reference material he could find on this subject and knew exactly how to proceed. He had never imagined that Jack would let him do this, and was determined to make it the best sex of his life. He took a deep breath and nodded.

He gently pushed Jack backwards onto the bed and began kissing and licking everything he could reach. They had done this much before, and Daniel had quickly become an expert at rendering his lover speechless. By the time he had slowly worked his way down to Jack's cock, the colonel was almost incoherent with need.

"Goddamnit Danny, quit teasing me!" he gasped.

"Not teasing," Daniel whispered as his tongue flicked out and ran up the long vein on the underside of Jack's cock.

"Ah God!"

"Deadly serious here" he hesitated for a fraction of a second, lips parted and poised over the weeping head. This was something he had been fantasizing about for weeks, but had never had the courage to try before. He closed his eyes and sunk down slowly until he had as much of Jack in his mouth as he could manage.

"Danny!" Jack hissed, his back arched and his legs began to tremble with the effort of keeping his ass firmly on the bed. Daniel was doing wicked things to him and it would be very rude to choke him to death as payment.

Jack was thrumming with anticipation. He tried to relax back onto the bed and let Daniel do his magic but the sensations pooling in the pit of his stomach were difficult to ignore. Despite his best efforts, his hips were rocking in time to the swirling tongue and scraping teeth. Daniel pulled back slightly and grinned up at Jack around his mouthful. Jack propped himself up on his elbows to watch and saw Daniel gazing up at him.

"You're fucking amazing. You know that?"

Daniel gave Jack one more gentle lick and raised his head, smiling.

"Why?"

"The way you launch yourself into new situations without any fear. You just throw all your enthusiasm into it and somehow, it all works out right. I should have known you would be the same in bed."

Daniel ran his hand lightly up Jack's inside thigh and grinned as the colonel gasped.

"I need lube, Jack."

"Lube?"

"As in lubricant."

"Oh - right!"

Jack pulled open the bedside drawer and tossed a small bottle to Daniel. It was a well-known brand and Daniel wondered briefly if Jack had bought it especially. This was not the sort of thing you just had lying around. He popped the cap and squeezed a little onto his fingers, rubbing it thoughtfully between finger and thumb. It had an interesting consistency, reminding him a little of royal jelly.

"Jesus, Daniel, you look like your conducting an experiment, not making love!"

Daniel blushed and got himself comfortable, kissing the course hairy leg from kneecap to inner thigh. He became distracted when he discovered that he could make the colonel squirm and writhe wantonly when he gently sucked one of his balls into his mouth. It was an incredible turn on to have this power over Jack and he drew the moment out until Jack was begging him to stop. He once again enveloped Jack in his mouth, finding that he could manage less this time, as Jack was now fully erect and more than a little engorged. He applied a little suction and felt Jack's growl vibrating through him.

"Awww Christ!... Not gonna last... Danny!" The colonel panted.

Daniel shifted position ever so slightly and squeezed the base of Jack's cock in strong fingers. He smiled as he listened to the litany of curses.

"Fuck, fuck, FUCK! Man that was close."

When he was sure that Jack was back in control, Daniel reached for the bottle of lube again, this time squeezing out enough to coat his palm and fingers liberally.

"Daniel, I swear my heart can't take this ... OH!"

A long, cool and very slick finger gently rubbed between his butt cheeks at the same time as Daniel bent and applied full suction. Jack's eyes shot open in shock and as hoped, he was rendered speechless. Daniel stroked his finger back and forth, willing Jack to relax. When he felt the tight muscles of Jack's inner thighs and buttocks begin to loosen, he quickly slid his finger right in before Jack could tense up again.

"Jeezus!" Jack whispered as his eyes fluttered closed. He began to push back against the finger, his muscles clamping tightly around the intruder while at the same time, trying to take it in further. Daniel felt the sweat begin to trickle down his back with his efforts to stay in control. It was the most incredibly erotic thing he had ever done. Jack's moans and occasional plea had him as hard as nails.

When he felt Jack's thighs trembling, Daniel knew the other man was about to lose control. He drew his hand back, quickly adding another digit to the sweet torture. This was rewarded by a string of guttural curses, and Jack nearly breaking his goddamned fingers in his enthusiasm. He was crying out Daniel's name as he screwed himself down on those talented fingers.

"Christ, Danny, stop, before I... oh GOD!"

Daniel worked a third finger in and let his teeth graze down Jack's cock. The older man howled something unintelligible, arched right off the bed, lifting Daniel with him. The veins on his neck bulged as he came. Daniel wished he could see his face but form this angle, he could only see Jack's stomach and chest heaving as he fought to get more oxygen into his lungs. The hot seminal fluid hitting the back of his throat made him want to gag, at first, but he fought the reflex and gulping several times, managed to swallow everything Jack gave him. It was unbearably erotic, and coupled with the hoarse cries and gasps escaping Jack's lips, it was a miracle that Daniel didn't come from the sounds alone.

He felt incredibly pleased with himself for being able to do this for Jack. He had wondered if he could manage it, and how it would feel, and what it would taste like. A sudden wave of hysteria made him giggle around Jack's rapidly softening cock. Jack collapsed with a grunt back onto the covers and moaned once more. He thought he heard Daniel mumble something about 'tastes just like chicken' but he chose to ignore that, because it was possible that he was actually dead right now, in which case it hardly mattered.

"Am I dead?" he asked raggedly, voice deep and passion roughened. Daniel crawled up and flopped down beside him.

"I hope not 'cos I'm not nearly finished. Turn over for me Jack."

Eyes as black as coal fixed on Daniel and glittered in the semi darkened bedroom. Daniel gazed back, he wasn't sure if he was seeing uncertainty or desire in Jack's eyes. But before he could voice his doubts, Jack maneuvered himself underneath him and wrapped long legs tightly around Daniel's back.

"Wanna see your eyes, Danny."

The position forced Daniel's cock into direct contact with its ultimate target and it was all he could do not to ram it home with one long surge forward. His intention had been to make long, slow, lingering love to Jack, but they were both too turned on for that. He doubted he would more than a minute, especially as Jack was gently rocking himself against Daniel in a way that was driving the archaeologist out of his mind.

Jack snagged the lube and waved it provocatively in front of his friend. "Can I help you with this?"

Daniel pushed himself up onto hands and knees and sitting back, he held Jack by the thighs, pulling him so that his ass came up onto Daniel's lap. He grabbed a pillow and used it to support the portion of Jack's lower back that wasn't in contact with the bed anymore, then roughly snatched the lube from Jack's unresisting fingers.

Before Jack could drop his hand though, Daniel grabbed him by the wrist and squeezed a handful of the lube into his palm. "Thought you wanted to help?" he growled softly. Jack smiled and reached between their bodies to smear the lube liberally over Daniel's cock. Daniel gasped at the exquisite sensation and found that his body was moving without any help from his brain. Jack settled himself back on the bed and smiled up at him, love shining out from his eyes like a beacon.

Daniel's breaths came in short sharp pants as he moved himself into position then leaned forward to place the palms of his hand flat on the bed on either side of Jack's head. This brought him to exactly where he needed to be but still he hesitated, fighting the desire threatening to strip away his reason out of concern for Jack. But the Colonel had anticipated his reticence and clamping firm hands onto Daniel's hips, thrust upwards, forcing Daniel inside.

"JACK!" he cried, trying to pull back a little, sure that the look he was seeing on his friend's face was pain. Jack's hands slammed down onto the bed, his fingers twisting in the sheets as he pushed up again, but now there was no resistance at all and Daniel slid completely inside.

"Oh my god!" Jack breathed, his eyes glued to Daniel's in awe. "It feels... incredible!"

The love and need shining out of Jack's eyes was Daniel's undoing. Suddenly his control snapped completely and he thrust down, gasping as Jack let out a low moan of sheer pleasure. Again he pulled back, feeling the unstoppable tingling begin in his balls as his orgasm built. He thrust again and Jack cried out "Yes, Danny, GOD yes!"

Daniel's arms were shaking so much that he could barely keep them braced on the bed. He groaned and screwed his eyes tight shut, letting the incredible sensations wash over him, and listening to the tiny noises Jack made as he pounded him into the bed. Three short sharp thrusts, slam, slam, slam, the last one shattering his control completely, and Daniel buried himself as deep as he could go, coming with the full force of a need denied way too long.

"Jack! Oh Jaaaack!" he cried into the salty sweat drenched shoulder swimming before his dazed eyes. Jack arched his body against him, crying out his name in amazement as he came for a second time.

"Love you." The last words whispered into his lover's mouth as they collapsed back onto the bed in a heap. They lay tangled in each other and the bedclothes, listening to each other's hearts slowly returning to normal, letting the cool air of the bedroom dry the sweat that pooled on their still trembling bodies.

The phone on the nightstand chose that exact moment to ring. Daniel was still gasping for breath and couldn't even raise his head to look as Jack fumbled the receiver to his ear.

"J... Jack O'Neill sp...speaking!" he panted. There was a look of confusion on his face which was quickly replaced by annoyance as the colonel reached over and switched to speakerphone. A familiar voice brought Daniel upright in a flash.

"...and don't tell me you ran all the way from the garage to answer the phone 'cos it only rang once. You horny little devils!"

"Nick - is nothing fucking sacred?" Jack yelled angrily.

"Hey - I just called to tell you that Ebutu and I are flying home tomorrow evening, but I'll stop by and pick up the surveillance footage before I go. Sounds like its gonna be one hell of a show."

And the line went dead. Jack stared at the receiver in his hand like it was a snake. Daniel frowned and took it from him, replacing it on the base unit.

"What the hell was he talking about Jack?"

"That fucking bastard planted a camera in here!" Jack spluttered indignantly as he leaped butt-naked out of the bed and started searching the room for said camera while his highly amused best friend howled with laughter.

"Oh God! I can just see him and Ebutu sitting up in bed with a bowl of popcorn and the video remote control..."

Jack was frantically unscrewing the light bulb but managed to toss over his shoulder. "Yeah sure - laugh it up Mr. JackOhJack! But you'll be laughing on the other side of your face when the footage of the last half hour shows up on 'America's Most Wanted'!"

Daniel stopped laughing, his face suddenly deadly serious and leapt out of bed too. "Need any help?"

"Oh yeah. But, put some goddamned pants on or they'll be watching the sequel too."

They never did find a hidden camera!

 

 

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