Protected

Pairing: Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson
 
Category: Action/Adventure, Romance, Smut, Angst, Fluff, Temptation, Alternate Universe
 
Rating: NC17
 
Summary: Political intrigues and threats bring two men into each other's lives.
 
Notes: Thanks to Carla and Amy for cheering and betaing as we went and to my LJ friends who kept encouraging the story.

Jack raised an eyebrow at the butler answering the door, shortly after he'd pushed the doorbell.

"Mr. O'Neill?"

"Yeah." Jack nodded.

"Please step this way." Jack followed the man inside and down the hallway to a pair of dark oaken doors. "Please wait in here, sir."

Jack stayed close to the door, doing what he did in most situations. Threat assessment, surveying the room, he noticed the doors at the other side of the room and the large windows showing him a well-kept garden. Okay, park was more like it. Senator Rogers seemed to have a nice home, and from what Jack knew, the man was well liked. Then again, even good people could have enemies justifying a bodyguard. No one had told Jack what this job was about, but he had weighed pros and cons. The senator was a good man, if rumours were to be believed and the money wasn't bad either. It was a nice supplement to what he was getting in retirement from the Air Force. Jack went to look out the windows, sub-consciously checking out the park. Who was he trying to kid? It paid better than his retirement -- and only occasionally had he had to deal with... difficult customers.

Jack heard the *click* as the far door opened. He stayed where he was, senses good enough to tell him a lot about who had entered. Male. Average to tall, probably ordinarily built, moved through the room feeling at home... trying to sneak up on him?

"I wouldn't try that if I were you," Jack said, voice calm and low. He finally turned around, finding a young man standing there, a mixed look of guilt and curiosity in his blue eyes.

Jack took in the entire sight of... well, he'd have to be dead and six feet under to not appreciate *that* display. In silence, in his mind, because ogling the son of a possible client was definitely a no-no. Short cropped, brown hair with highlights, well-shaped broad shoulders and long legs, encased in dark-grey slacks... The blue shirt wasn't bad either, as it set off the stark blue eyes, watching him, weighing him. Defined cheekbones and a broad, stubborn chin completed the set. It took Jack by surprise that he reacted like that to the man's presence. It had been a hell of a long time since he'd felt any kind of interest in another man. But wow, not bad, not bad at *all*.

The first thought going through Jack's mind as the man introduced himself as Daniel, was that he could get used to a man like that. Second thought was that he could get used to being eyed up and down like that.

"Jack..." he began.

"O'Neill, I know, my father asked me to say he's sorry, he's been delayed, but he's on the phone with his office at the moment... seems someone left a note with the secretary."

"Oh?"

"One of the reasons why my father is interested in your services, Jack."

Jack didn't exactly frown, but the kid saying his first name like that, almost as if he was tasting it? Jack ignored it, wouldn't let the man notice anything. "So what exactly is it your father needs me for, Mr. Rogers?"

The look Daniel gave him, told Jack that he'd have preferred to be on first name basis. 'No can do, kid, just... no.'

"Well, he seems to think *I* need you." The voice was slightly annoyed, but also... Jack did his to ignore the blatant entendre.

The door opened and an older man came in. "If you didn't act like such an open invitation to trouble, it wouldn't be a problem."

Daniel rolled his eyes before turning to his father. "Those are empty threats, Dad."

"You don't know that, Daniel." The senator turned to Jack. "Mr. O'Neill, I'll cut to the chase..."

Jack smiled. He liked the man already.

"My son is going to New York this weekend, to act as honorary speaker at a gathering in Central Park." He sighed deeply. "Only, within the last month, we've received several threats, that if he goes there, he will, to quote the threats, 'be sorry'."

"Dad, please."

"No, I just received a message from Senator Kinsey's office, demanding that I stop you from going."

Daniel blinked in surprise, then began laughing. "How old does he *think* I am?"

Jack realised how much he enjoyed that laughter. Though he wasn't sure what to think of the other man? Either Daniel was courageously standing up to whoever was threatening him, or the man was too stupid to see what it might truly pose as danger to him. "Large gathering?"

The senator nodded. "Very large." He sighed deeply. "It's a gay pride rally -- there are bound to be a lot of homophobes there as well." He shrugged. "They're expecting around 1,000 people, probably twice that number will show."

Jack raised an eyebrow. Gay pride? Definitely reason enough to like both men.

"Tell me, Jack, does that bother you?" Daniel finally spoke up again.

"Does what bother me?" Jack met the stubborn stare.

Daniel quirked a smile. "That it's a gay pride rally."

"No. Why? Should it?"

"I've read your file, Jack. Air Force Colonel, highly decorated..."

"And?" Jack was deliberately baiting the kid. He hated it when people stuck their stupid, clichéd labels on him.

Daniel looked slightly annoyed. "You know exactly what I mean, Jack... don't play dumb."

Raising an eyebrow, Jack shrugged. "No, no problem at all." He tried to ignore the predatory smile spreading on Daniel's face.

"Daniel..." There was a distinctive note of warning to the Senator's voice. "Step outside for a moment?"

They excused themselves and left Jack to his own. They did, however, not make sure that the door was closed, and Jack caught bits of their conversation.

"... please don't do that."

"Dad... only way... see if I can work with him."

"... drove the other three out. *Three* bodyguards... less than two weeks."

"... need to test how... feels about it."

"Daniel..."

"Please trust me, Dad...?"

Jack looked up when Daniel walked back in, alone, closing the door behind him.

"So... Jack," Daniel began, while slowly advancing on him, a small smile playing across the lush lips.

For a moment Jack felt as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room, as his eyes were drawn to the tiny movement of the tip of a pink tongue, flickering out to moist dry lips. He quickly squashed the urge to mirror the movement and got himself under control.

Daniel dipped his head a little and gave him a shy smile as he watched Jack from under lightly lowered lashes.

Shit, this kid was *good*. A light smile spread on Jack's face, feigning innocence. What a fine mess it'd be if Jack couldn't keep up with him.

"Well, Mr. Rogers?"

"Daniel, please, or Dr. Jackson." Daniel's smile was almost scorching in its heat.

Jack raised an eyebrow, allowing the younger man to come a little closer before inconspicuously moving from his place, towards the window. "Jackson?"

"Birth name," Daniel answered, frowning, but following nevertheless. "I was adopted when I was ten -- I kept the name."

Jack nodded to let him know he was listening, but he kept his back halfway turned to him.

"So, it doesn't bother you to be seen at a gay pride gathering?" Daniel took, another step closer.

"No, can't say it does." It took a lot of concentration to keep his own body under control, but even in a situation like this, Spec Ops training came in handy. Breathing techniques specifically.

"I would have thought," Daniel's heated breath hit the back of Jack's neck, "that with military education..."

"It's not as black and white as you seem to think, Dr. Jackson. They didn't come up with the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy just for kicks, ya know." Jack slowly turned around, looking straight into the wide blue eyes... so close to him, that the smallest movement forward would make their bodies touch. He concentrated on his breathing as he turned fully, knowing a moment later that it had worked, as Daniel's breathing pattern changed to match Jack's, without the kid noticing. Oh yeah, Jack could keep that little game going for a *long* time. Time to test the waters... Jack's tongue flickered out, wetting his lips and quiet internal arousal curled around his spine. If the kid was acting, he was *good*.

Daniel focused on Jack's tongue, his own hesitantly mirroring the movement.

Jack could have whooped out loud, but he settled for knowing he still had it in him -- a quiet victory, but a victory nevertheless.

Daniel took a visible effort in continuing, but didn't move away. "So we'll be a couple of days in New York. What about your family? Won't they miss you?"

Innocent inquiry? He hid a smile. Riiight, he'd buy that and Santa Claus, but that was as far as he'd go. "Single." Jack kept the respiratory rhythm and the kid looked like he was about to burst.

"O-oh..." A light flush coloured Daniel's cheeks.

'You're *way* out of your league here, kid.' Jack kept up his innocent facade. "So, when are we leaving?"

"Tomorrow night okay with you?" Daniel forced out.

Jack could have laughed out loud. The tension was almost tangible in the room. "Yes, it's fine by me."

Daniel blinked, making a visible effort to get back in control. "I'll make sure you have the flight plans by tomorrow morning... Mr. O'Neill."

"Good, I'll be waiting." Jack's smile grew.

Daniel drew a deep breath before moving back. "I'll..."

"I can find way out, Dr. Jackson." The kid looked like he needed a little time to... pull himself back together.


The flight was fairly uneventful. Jack wasn't stupid enough to try and pull anything with the good Doctor and besides, Daniel seemed to have regained his composure, keeping up light conversation during the flight. Arriving in New York, a cab ride took them to Greenwich Village. Daniel had explained that since he spent most of his time in New York anyway, he'd bought an apartment there. Jack didn't even comment on the street name, thought the urge to do so was almost overwhelming. Gay St. it would simply have been too easy, and he was fairly sure Daniel was expecting him to -- so Jack was just going to bite his tongue and keep quiet.

It was late and Jack excused himself when Daniel had shown him the guestroom and pointed out the bathroom to him. It wouldn't be all fun and games. It was Thursday, so they had another day before Saturday brought the gathering in Central Park. Well, Jack had been reluctant to admit there might be something behind the threats, until the Senator had arranged for him to receive a copy of the threatening letters, prior to heading to the airport. It wasn't worth the risk to ignore them. The nicest of them were actually from Senator Kinsey's office, and that didn't mean they were exactly *nice*.

Jack slept fairly well and woke at the crack of dawn. The apartment was silent, the noise from the street barely making its way inside. Jack grabbed a pair of jeans and a T-shirt from his bag. Then he pulled out his gun and because it would get too hot for the shoulder holster and jacket, he pulled out the thigh-holster as well.

Nice big bathroom, with both tub and shower. As much as Jack would have loved to soak in the tub, he was unsure how hospitable his employer was. Then again, oddly enough, he felt more at ease there, than he normally did in other people's homes.

Dropping his clothes on a chair by the door and the gun and holster across the back of it, Jack turned on the shower and stepped under the hot spray. Letting the water loosen up his muscles, Jack leaned forward, hands braced on the wall, head down to let the water massage his neck.

If anyone asked him, he wouldn't be able to fully explain why he liked the kid. Kid... not really fair, seeing that Daniel was only around ten years his junior. And he was definitely a man. Jack cracked an eye open, staring down his own body, eyes catching the dog tags swinging back and forth. One of these days he should really take them off and get on with his life. But force of habit had him wearing them. They also reminded him what he could have now, but not then. What could have gotten him court-martialled before, but no longer.

The flirting the day before, when they'd met for the first time, had been an attempt to test Jack, no doubt about it. Jack had found it amusing, but it had been a test -- and nothing else, obviously. Daniel had been distant and, well, not exactly cold, but very... business-like during the flight.

It had been a nice thought, but what the hell would a guy like Daniel ever see in someone like Jack? Jack couldn't lie to himself -- he was definitely interested. Another peek and the slow coil of heat in his belly was more than enough to tell him that his body definitely was in on the game. Then again, Daniel was a client -- and Jack wasn't about to screw up a job like that, especially not literally. Besides, he wasn't into one-night-stands, never had been, never would be. And he liked the other man...

Jack sighed, he had a sinking feeling that it went beyond mere attraction on his part. So he'd just have to push it down and out of mind. And it couldn't be too difficult, if Daniel kept behaving like he'd done on the flight. Polite, all business. No problem.

Finally stepping out of the shower, Jack reached for the towel, then stopped, hand hovering over it. What...? A loud crash had caught his attention. Hand going for the gun instead, Jack was out the door and into the joint kitchen/living room in no time.

The sight that met him was somewhere between hilarious and arousing. In the middle of the kitchen stood Daniel, wearing only a pair of black boxers with... a flaming Superman logo in the front. Jack tore his eyes away and up, noticing the washed out green T-shirt declaring that it was 'Property of the US Army.' The hilarity part came in when he took in the whole picture.

Daniel was staring at the mess at his feet. A broken mug and coffee littered the floorboards. He was muttering under his breath about 'mess' and 'waste of perfectly good coffee.'

Jack wasn't sure if he should be laughing or running away. As amusing as the sight was, seeing a man like Daniel only in silk boxers and a T-shirt, bare feet and long, muscular legs, sleep tousled hair and a pair of glasses perched on his nose...

Suddenly painfully aware of his own lack of clothing, Jack lowered his gun to at least try to cover *something*. Embarrassment hit when Daniel finally looked up, staring at Jack, then at the gun, then back at Jack, blinking in disbelief. The heat of Daniel's gaze travelled from Jack's feet, up his legs, blue eyes widened when it settled on Jack's groin. It took all Jack's control to stop himself from looking down. Eyes fluttering shut for a moment, Daniel licked his lips, before studying Jack's upper body, lingering at the dog tags, and finally meeting Jack's eyes.

Jack made sure to keep the gun and his hands where they'd cover his awakening arousal. "You okay?" His voice was a little rough, his throat feeling as dry as the desert.

"I... ye-yeah, I'm... fine." Daniel kept staring as Jack considered a tactical retreat to the bathroom. He just didn't want to give the kid the benefit of watching him turning tail and running scared. So instead he shook his head and turned, back straight and returned to the bathroom, well aware of the wet trail he was leaving on the floor.

Closing the door and leaning his back against it, Jack let out a breath he hadn't been aware of holding. He wasn't blind, no one could have ignored the tenting of the S on those boxers as Daniel had watched him. And it wasn't as if Jack was immune. An image of waking up next to what he'd seen in the kitchen... well, safe to say, under different circumstances he'd have loved to.

It took a while for Jack to finish up, but when he finally re-entered the kitchen, he found a mug of steaming coffee waiting for him, as Daniel hurried past him, towel slung over his arm, refusing to meet his eyes. Jack quirked a grin as he heard the door to the bathroom lock. At least he hadn't been the only one feeling slightly embarrassed.

Wondering if he should check the fridge for breakfast, Jack decided, that that would be pushing the hospitality, so he settled for the coffee and went to the large window with the wide windowsill. Sitting down on it, Jack drew his bare feet up and watched the street below. The apartment was large and light, taking up two sides of the building on the corner of Gay St. and Waverly St. This early the Village was still fairly deserted. Jack lost himself in watching the people walking along, probably on their way to work.

Speaking of work. If he wasn't careful, he'd get in over his head with this case. No matter how much fun he had messing with the man, it was important that he did his job and kept any personal feelings away from it. He could have Daniel if he wanted to, no doubt about it. And Daniel could... *would* have him, if he wasn't careful. Mixing business and pleasure just didn't do.

A light clearing of throat brought him back, and all his good intentions wavered for a moment and never fully regained their steely resolve. Daniel was leaning against the back of the couch, watching him with a small smile. Dressed in a pair of washed out blue jeans and a blue short sleeved shirt, hair slightly spiked and damp from the shower and topped with a pair of shades pushed up on the head. He looked like something that had broken out of Jack's dreams, making the older man catch his breath.

"Hey kid, what's on the programme for today?" Jack hid his budding infatuation behind a glib facade.

Daniel frowned slightly at the 'kid' comment, but let it go. "I thought we could go grab some breakfast at one of the cafes?"

"Sounds good to me." Jack slid off the sill and went to get socks and shoes. It was already warm enough outside, so he'd stick with the jeans and Tee. As he came back to the kitchen, he eyed the blanket folded neatly on the counter.

"I... eh..." Daniel took the bundle and hugged it to his chest. "I normally buy breakfast at this one little cafe and bring it to the park..." Daniel trailed off, looking a little uncertain.

Jack found himself smiling. God, he had it bad. "Sounds good." Silently he began listing the things he'd have to watch for. They'd be in public, and even if there was nothing behind the threats, he'd still have to watch for the possibility that there *might* be.

The walk to the park didn't take long, even with the stop at a small café. Jack grinned, as Daniel ordered two large cups of coffee to go and an assortment of Danish pastries. He readily took the cups as they were handed to him and let Daniel pay for it. The contract *did* include feeding him as well, so he wasn't complaining.

Washington Square Park wasn't extremely big, but it was fairly deserted this time of the morning. Putting down the brown paper bag with their breakfast, Daniel spread out the blanket, and sat down, waiting for Jack to join him. And it was nice. Definitely nice.

Jack handed him one of the cups, and watched with quiet amusement as Daniel savoured the black liquid. The man was obviously addicted to coffee.

Daniel leaned back on the blanket they were sitting on, shades pulled down into place as he enjoyed the heat from the sun. "So, think I'll be safe enough tomorrow?"

Jack stared off into the distance for a moment, before answering. "I'm still not too crazy about such open ground, but I'll do what I can." He looked away. If only the kid wouldn't look at him like that. And if only the sun hadn't been playing like that in the highlights of the brown hair... And if only Jack could get this morning's shower incident out of his system. He just couldn't stop thinking about it. The way Daniel had devoured him whole, in one long lingering look.

Jack had actually thought that the initial flirting had been a test. It had, but it seemed there'd been genuine interest behind it. The look he'd given Jack this morning had definitely been one of interest, if nothing else, then at least a physical attraction.

Now the man was reclining on a blanket next to Jack, soaking in the sun in the middle of Washington Square Park. And Jack couldn't get his mind out of the gutter -- or his pants. Jack adjusted his aviator shades for the umpteenth time and tried to ignore the strip of exposed skin flashed at him, as Daniel stretched out on his back, T-shirt riding up.

Daniel shifted to the side, leaned up a little and looked as if he was about to say something. Then his expression changed and he looked as if he'd tasted something really bad, as he looked over Jack's shoulder.

"Daniel!"

Jack turned and eyed the owner of the enthusiastic voice. And took an instant dislike to the man. Good looking, yes, but the way he was eyeing Daniel up...

"John." Daniel's voice was flat.

"Mind if I join you?"

"Eh," Daniel looked uncertain for a moment. "We're kind. of ...busy here."

"Who's your friend?" John's voice became hostile.

"Jack." Daniel answered and scooted closer to Jack. Close enough for the older man to feel body heat seeping through his thin shirt.

So the kid wanted him to pose as what? A love interest, a lover? Jack decided that playing dirty wasn't below him as he slipped an arm loosely around Daniel's waist.

"It's good to see you again, Daniel." John looked like he wanted to kill Jack.

Daniel didn't answer, he was busy staring at Jack, a small smile on his lips, leaning even closer.

"Are you busy tonight, or could I convince you to go for dinner with me?" John's voice was... impatient.

"I think..." Daniel began. "I'm sorry, I'm... busy tonight."

Something seemed to thoroughly piss John off. "Would you stop this... charade for a moment?"

"What charade?" Daniel finally looked up at him.

John gestured agitatedly at the two of them. "Anyone can see your 'friend' here is straight as a ruler and that the two of you aren't together."

Jack smiled at Daniel, and leaned closer to him, never breaking eye contact. Okay, so it might just be an excuse to actually... Firm lips brushed against Jack's. Huh, so they pretty much had the same idea. Cool. But what had started as a simple act of defiance and a scam, turned into a full-scale mutual oral feast.

Jack was dimly aware of John stomping away at some point, but by then he was so far gone, no one could pull his concentration from Daniel's enthusiastic kiss. Daniel's tongue was sharp when it came to conversation, but he definitely knew how to use it for other means of... communication as well. He was teasing and mapping out every nook and cranny of Jack's mouth, moaning deep in his throat. Not that Jack was less enthusiastic himself. On the contrary, he welcomed the slick heat, sucking on Daniel's tongue, revelling in the sounds escaping the younger man.

Strong fingers laced through Jack's hair, to curl around the back of his head and Daniel tilted their heads to deepen the kiss.

When the two men finally pulled back to catch their bearings, they both seemed a little surprised by the intensity of the kiss, but stayed close nevertheless, eyes never leaving each other.

Jack knew what a bad idea it was, but felt his resolve waver. They couldn't afford him getting distracted with any risk of truth being behind those threats.

They both felt the tension, Jack stayed where he was, sitting still, body tingling. Daniel, on the other hand, seemed to be unable to stay still, and began pulling the pastries out, handing Jack a couple of them, never really taking his eyes off Jack. Hands brushed, eyes met and Jack knew he'd have trouble defending his need to stay professional. He just doubted Daniel... well, that it could be anything more than just... sex. And frankly, Jack felt too old to base a... relationship on that alone. Still, the tension stayed throughout breakfast, as they folded up the blanket, disposed of the Styrofoam cups, and set out to return to the apartment.

As they left the park, however, Jack felt a hand on his arm, stopping him for a moment.

"Mr. O'Neill... Jack..."

Jack shook his head. "Sorry, Doc, won't happen again."

The face before him fell. "Why not?" The normally strong and sure voice was low and... halting.

"Look, Dr. Jackson..." Jack took a deep breath. "I have the responsibility for your safety, and for the sake of us both, I can't afford the distraction, neither can you."

Daniel bit his lower lip for a moment. "So, you're saying that all that's holding you back is the job?"

Jack almost smiled at that. "That and I... don't do casual." With that he side-stepped the younger man and began the walk back. Quick steps behind him assured him that Daniel was with him. The walk was done in silence, Daniel walking next to him, eyes on the street, blanket hugged against his chest and a closed expression on his face.

Jack had pretty much settled for silence for the remainder of the job. To live with the ache of what he could have had, and wouldn't, for the greater good. God, sometimes life truly sucked.

That resolve held until they stepped into the elevator and the doors slid closed. Jack suddenly found himself pressed up against the wall. Damn, Jack hadn't seen that coming. The kid was fast *and* strong.

"What makes you think *I'm* interested in 'casual'?" The voice was low, almost purring.

All Jack's arguments scattered as Daniel's mouth found his, hard and demanding. Jack growled and dug his fingers into Daniel's shoulders, having every intention of pushing him away. However, when the door opened and they tumbled out, past a shocked tenant, Jack's hands had slid down to Daniel's hips, pulling the man hard against him, their lips never parting, tongues duelling for control. Somehow they managed to end up in front of the right door, blanket pressed between them, both fumbling in Daniel's pockets for his keys.

Jack groaned as his fingers closed around the keys and it turned to a mewl, as Daniel's strong counterparts slid over the gun strapped to his thigh to then curl around the bulge in Jack's jeans. Somehow managing to unlock the door, they moved inside, door pushed shut, the blanket dropped and forgotten about. Pressing Daniel back against the door, Jack revelled in the feel of the strong, lean body moving against his and the iron grip on his ass.

A deliberate cough inside the apartment made both of them freeze.

"Dr. Jackson, I presume." It wasn't really a question and it was clear that the owner of the voice was... a little disgusted.

Jack stayed in front of Daniel, turning his head a little. "Who wants to know?"

Two men, bullies dressed up to look like businessmen, heavily built. Now if only Jack could get his hands on his gun...

"And I advise you to keep your hands where they are, Mr. O'Neill."

Dammit, Jack put his hands on the door, one on either side of Daniel's head. Then he met Daniel's blue eyes and he was surprised to see anger and... God, the kid was still turned on. Jack's eyes widened as he felt a hand snaking inside the fly of his jeans and along his cock, making him catch his breath and bite his lip. Jack couldn't help the smile as he felt the gun being loosened from the holster and slowly pulled back up and out of Jack's pants.

One of the guys stepped forward, obviously going for a body search of Jack to find any concealed weapons. He stopped dead just behind Jack, as Daniel raised the gun, resting his hand on Jack's shoulder.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Daniel warned, voice low and controlled -- commanding.

Jack closed his eyes for a moment. There really wasn't room for error here, least of all because the *voice*... Jack steeled himself, indicating to Daniel that he would move to the side and slowly turned around. Still partly shielding Daniel, Jack took the gun, aiming it at the huge man behind them. "Back off, Mister."

Both men did as they were told, walking backwards until they were in the living room. Jack pointed to the table, indicating for the men to leave their weapons there. All the while they were watching Jack, searching for an opportunity to strike back.

"Daniel?" Jack perched on the armrest of the couch.

"Yeah?" The voice was steady enough.

"Go to my room, dig into the bag and get the 9MM Beretta in there, come give it to me and then call the cops. Oh, and take their guns with you."

Daniel didn't answer, but made his way to the guestroom.

Jack kept his stare firm on the two intruders. "You gentlemen just stay put and keep your hands where I can see them."

"So... O'Neill, what's the kid like in bed?" the other guy, Jack dubbed him goon #2, asked.

Ah, they were down to baiting. "Do I look like I'd tell you?"

Suddenly Goon #1 launched himself at Jack, exactly as Jack had expected. He could have used one of their own guns instead of the Beretta, but he'd wanted Daniel out of the room, so he wouldn't have to worry about him. Jack moved quickly, swiftly going forward, raising his knee to connect with the man's throat and collarbone, feeling the windpipe give at the force and the Goon was down and out.

Jack didn't check him. He was as good as dead, suffocating in a matter of minutes. Besides, Goon #2 was advancing, suddenly very careful. Jack moved too fast for him, decking the man in one swift blow.

A rustle behind him had Jack spinning around to catch Daniel watching him, mouth slightly agape, cordless phone in one hand and the Beretta in the other. Jack returned his attention to the two goons, checking the first one, confirming that he was pretty much dead. He then checked on to the other one, who was still breathing, but down for the count.

"Did ya call the cops?"

"I... eh." Daniel shook his head. "I'm on hold."

"On hold?!" Jack rolled his eyes and took the phone from Daniel, and when there was no one at the other end but a tinny voice asking him to 'please hold', Jack disconnected and re-dialled. When he got through, he quickly explained what had happened, giving the woman at the other end Daniel's address. He advised her that when the police officers arrived, they'd find him holding a gun. He wasn't about to risk their lives at the hands of a couple of law enforcement officers because of a misunderstanding.

Jack asked Daniel to unlock the door. "You don't want them to kick it in, do you?"

Daniel shook his head and unlocked the front door, before retreating to the doorway of the guestroom.

Jack frowned. The kid might have held his ground during the situation, but he looked like he was pretty high-strung at the moment. "Daniel?"

"Mmmm?"

"You okay?"

"I'm... fine."

Jack raised an eyebrow. Right, that was why he was hugging himself like that -- abso-fucking-lutely fine. Not! He'd have to do some damage control when the cops had picked these guys up.

The encounter with the law went surprisingly well. Jack willingly handed over his gun and license. The only little thing was that Daniel almost forgot to hand over the piece he had absentmindedly stuffed into his pocket. Jack had scrunched his eyes shut when one of the cops had asked Daniel if 'it was a gun in his pocket.' Now just wasn't the time to let the first thing that came to mind fly out of his mouth. So Jack kept his mouth shut and played along. Although Daniel's absolutely devastating blush was kinda endearing.

They were separated at the station, but there was really nothing to worry about. Daniel would tell the truth, and... truth, right. Jack sighed deeply, wondering how much detail the kid would go into. Jack's description of the events were short and precise. That they'd come home, Daniel had managed to get Jack's gun while they were busy watching Jack -- yadda, yadda, yadda. Topping it with the threats that had been against Daniel, the cops willingly believed him. And why shouldn't they? He was co-operative, had a clean sheet and was a highly decorated, retired USAF Colonel.

Daniel was waiting for him at the front desk, merrily chatting with a couple of the officers there.

"Mr. O'Neill?"

Jack turned his attention to the man coming towards him. "Yes?"

"You are aware of that we must ask you to not leave the city of New York until this is all wrapped up?"

Jack nodded. "I am."

The man continued. "We'll need an address at which we can reach you, sir."

Jack frowned, right. "I'll be at the current address for only another couple of days -- then I'll find a hotel."

They turned around as Daniel interrupted, a wide smile on his face. "That won't be necessary, Officer." He went to stand next to Jack... actually, very far into Jack's personal space. "He'll be staying at my address for as long as this takes."

Jack opened his mouth to protest, but Daniel wouldn't let him get in one word.

"Mr. O'Neill is employed by my father, and since this is directly linked to said job, we will of course accommodate him for as long as necessary." Daniel's twinkling eyes belied the firm, serious composure of his voice.

'Wha...?' Jack blinked in confusion.

"You could even, if necessary, release him into my... custody." Daniel shot the officer a wide, innocent smile.

"Now *wait* a minute," Jack sputtered, heat rising to his face.

The officer looked sorely tempted, but finally took pity on Jack. "That won't be necessary, Dr. Jackson." He gave the young man an encouraging smile. "Though we have to ask you to stay here as well, until the case is closed."

Daniel's blue eyes almost sparkled with joy and mischief. "Oh, I will Officer, I'm not going anywhere." The smile he shot Jack was positively evil.

The officer exchanged knowing smiles with the woman at the desk. "We've arrange for your transport back to the apartment." With that, they were led outside and into a patrol car.

Jack didn't say a word all the way back, simply quietly seething. He hadn't missed the looks they'd received. Once they'd left the station, no one would doubt that Jack was a kept man already. Apart from that he had a lot on his mind. And obviously on his hands -- or thigh, as Daniel's fingers kept straying to it.

After a rather incinerating glare from Jack, Daniel finally kept his hand to himself, but his lips stayed curved in the same small smile during the whole trip and Jack was painfully aware of the snickering from within the patrol car as they got out and went into the building.

Jack marched into the elevator, taking up a very defensive stance, arms crossed and a stern look on his face.

"Jack?" Daniel leaned against the wall, looking very much like he wanted to continue where they'd left off earlier.

"No, Daniel..." Jack drew a deep breath. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, shouldn't I be?"

"Daniel..." Jack hesitated. "I killed a man in your apartment."

"You were protecting me," Daniel pointed out, cocking his head.

"You... looked pretty shaken when we were waiting for the police." Jack followed Daniel out the elevator when it stopped at their floor.

"I... the guns, I think, the fact that I was running high on adrenaline." Daniel turned around, his key in the lock. He licked his lips while watching Jack in silence, as he opened the door.

Jack shook his head, pushing the other man inside and closing the door. He turned around coming face to face with Daniel, who was close enough to touch.

Daniel held his gaze while he trailed a finger from Jack's neck down over his chest. "Jack...?" Daniel gave him a heavy-lidded look, biting his lip while he leaned forward.

Jack swallowed hard, putting a restraining hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Look, Daniel, this is exactly what I meant this morning when I said *we* couldn't afford me being distracted by anything." Jack checked his watch. "You better call a locksmith and have them change the lock."

With that, Jack stepped around the dazed man, making his way towards the guestroom. Closing the door behind him, Jack leaned his back against the door. He was... caught, trapped. Trapped with a man who kept going Alpha on him when he least expected it. Complicated man, strange personality, easy to talk to... Jack closed his eyes and squashed the other thoughts that came to him, how it had felt to kiss Daniel, feel him move against...

Checking his watch again, Jack sighed. At least they'd been fed at the station while they'd been waiting. Now, all Jack wanted was a shower or... there was that nice tub out there. Grabbing what he'd need, Jack went back out, keeping an eye on Daniel, who was sulking on the couch, eyeing Jack over the edge of a pair of reading glasses.

"Mind if I hi-jack the tub for a while?" Jack kept his voice quiet and calm. He'd really not wanted to hurt the kid, but eventually even Daniel would have to see that it was for the best. It was all fun and games until someone broke a nail.

"No, by all means, make yourself at home," came the acid reply.

Jack shook his head. Well, Mr. Pissy-Pants could just stay put and sulk, that would at least ensure Jack's safety during the bath. "Locksmith?" he asked over his shoulder as he made his way to the bathroom.

"Will be here shortly."

Jack shrugged and closed the door behind him. The kid was going to drive him crazy with his mood swings. Well, as long as Daniel kept his hands to himself, nothing would happen, and Jack was sure they'd get through the following day and the rally without any problems, as long as he could stay focused.

Filling the tub, Jack surveyed the bottles on the shelf above it. Testing the scents one by one, he finally found one that wasn't too strong, filling the room with a light smell of musk. Finally turning off the water, Jack slipped into the wet warmth, letting out a sigh, feeling his muscles slowly giving into the heat, relaxing.

Jack allowed his eyes to fall shut, soaking in the heat of the water. Hooking his arms up on the edge of the tub, he allowed his mind to drift. This job was really getting more to him than he let on. Under different circumstances... yes, under different circumstances he'd have loved to be with someone like Daniel. In less than two days Jack felt more for Daniel than he had for anyone in years. And if the man was serious? If he was looking for more than just casual... sex. Maybe... but Jack wouldn't know, not now, probably not ever. As long as he was working for the man it was a definite no-no and they would be parting ways once this was over.

Still, it had been a nice thought, that Daniel could be attracted to him, if fleetingly. Feeling sleepy, Jack drifted. Mmm, pieces of sense-memory drifted through his mind. Strong hands gripping him, lean body pressing against him, moving...


Jack cracked open an eye. Something had woken him. He was still in the tub, the water still relatively warm, so it couldn't be that much later. Reaching over, he turned the warm water on again, and let some of the cold out. Ah well, he couldn't stay like that all night. Shutting off the water he leaned back, closing his eyes for a moment. He felt nicely loosened, relaxed. Feeling slightly dazed, Jack kept his eyes shut.

His eyes flew open as the door to the bathroom swung open and Daniel slipped inside, closing it behind him, leaning back against the door. "Jack..."

Jack stared at him. The blue eyes were wide with wonder as they surveyed their prey. That was exactly how it made Jack feel. Not that Jack could hide his reaction too well. Daniel was only dressed in a pair of worn out jeans, upper body and feet bare. That was all Jack noticed before the man slipped into the tub, straddling Jack's thighs, water sloshing around and over the edge of the tub.

"Daniel, what the hell...?" Whatever Jack had wanted to say had been cut efficiently off in no time, as Daniel's mouth closed over his, strength and demand drove the kiss and Jack couldn't do anything but hang on for the ride.

Jack knew he should try to push the other man away, but somehow his agenda changed as his hands closed around Daniel's shoulders. Smooth, warm skin and Jack couldn't keep himself from touching. He *needed* to touch as much as possible, and the encouraging noises from Daniel only increased that need.

Daniel squirmed on top of him, making sure to touch as much of Jack as possible, only, the wet jeans were torture on Jack's naked skin, sliding roughly against his cock with every movement. "Off," Jack growled, fighting a losing battle with the button, under water and wet, it just wouldn't budge.

Daniel chuckled and pulled away, squirmed out of Jack's grasp and stood up.

"Hey!" Jack exclaimed indignantly. The man had jumped him, made him all hot and bothered, and now this? "Get back down here."

"Relax, Jack." Daniel stood still for a moment, fighting to keep his balance. "Just let me get these off."

Jack ran his hands up over the wet denim, feeling the trembling muscles under it. Holding onto Daniel's thighs, he steadied the man who was fighting hard to wrestle the metal button out of the hole. A battle he was losing, Jack noticed.

"Look, hang on." Jack waited for Daniel's hands to still, then find their purchase against the wall over Jack's head, before he let go and moved on to his new mission.

After what seemed like an eternity, Jack finally managed to unbutton the jeans and slowly eased the zipper down. His eyes widened a bit. "Commando, Dr. Jackson?"

"Se-seemed easier."

"Easy sums it up nicely, Dr. Jackson -- you're not exactly playing hard to get."

Daniel sniggered breathlessly. "You were playing hard enough to get for the both of us."

Jack shook his head. There was no way he could stand to his principles with Daniel jumping him like this. Still, he had to... "Daniel... I meant what I said, I'm compromising my integrity here."

Daniel stilled the small thrusts of his hips, looking down at Jack, a suspiciously sappy smile on his face. "I know, Jack, but I trust you, you're a pro, you won't let me get hurt."

Jack swallowed hard, the look of trust in those blue eyes seemed to envelop him, touch him and urge him to accept what was offered. Jack bit his lower lip and began slowly easing the jeans down. The skin underneath was already showing signs of mild chafing. Wet denim just wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but Jack would be damned if the sight of it on Daniel's lean body wasn't one of the hottest things he'd ever seen.

Easing the jeans slowly down over the slim hips, Jack struggled to get up onto his knees for better purchase. Pausing midway, his fingers strayed softly across the soft skin where thigh and hip met. Jack felt the body shiver above him and as he looked up, he found Daniel watching him with unbridled desire.

Daniel's hands stopped him for a moment, as the man fumbled in the pocket of the jeans, pulling out a condom. "You...?" He looked unsure for a moment.

Jack gave him a small smile. "Yeah." Leaning forward, he placed a light kiss on the tip of the cock bopping in front of him.

A shiver ran through Daniel's body and Jack continued to pull the jeans off him. Once off, Daniel tugged at Jack's hair, wanting him to stand. Rising up out of the water, Jack revelled in the feeling of Daniel chasing droplets down his chest with his fingertips.

A long, slow kiss later, Jack found them pressed as close as possible, Daniel's hands roaming his back and Jack's own clamped possessively on Daniel's ass. Rocking gently against one another, they kissed again, slow and exploring. Jack slid a finger down the cleft and to his surprise his finger slipped easily inside the slick heat.

"Prepared, huh?" Jack chuckled breathlessly.

Daniel smiled against his lips.

"Won't it wash off, when we...?" Jack gestured with one hand, then put it back where it belonged, next to the other.

Daniel shook his head, then continued to apply small bites along Jack's jaw. "Silicone based."

Jack grinned. "Boy scout."

Daniel laughed and pulled his head back a little, studying Jack's face. "Back then, when I took you gun out..."

Jack chuckled. "I know, you weren't the only one turned on."

"I was afraid of making a mistake and grabbing the wrong... gun."

Jack stole another kiss, still grinning, their bodies still moving lightly, swaying.

"This one about to go off?" Daniel pushed his hips a little harder against Jack's, causing their cocks to glide against each other.

Jack growled deep in his throat, but couldn't stop the honest to god laugh from escaping him. "Mmm, close, better put the safety on."

Daniel rolled his eyes, but couldn't help laughing. It turned to a quirky grin as he dropped to his knees.

Jack braced a hand on the tiled wall, groaning as Daniel swallowed him down without warning, while working furiously to free the condom of its wrapping. The wet heat disappeared, leaving Jack feeling bereft, until pressure indicated that Daniel was rolling the latex cover onto him.

Daniel's hand on his hip guided Jack back down into the water. Bracing his hands on the edge of the tub, Daniel lifted up until Jack was firmly seated beneath him. Lowering himself down, Daniel leaned forward a little, reaching behind him to curl his strong fingers around Jack's erection, to guide him inside. "Shall we put the gun away safely, Colonel?"

Jack would have laughed if he'd had the breath for it, or rather, if he hadn't been holding it. Slowly, so agonisingly slowly, Daniel slid down the length of Jack's cock, until he was firmly seated in the man's lap, head thrown back, mouth slightly agape, but no sound coming out.

The moment Daniel found his voice, a long pleasure-filled moan left his lips and Jack let out his breath explosively, finally relaxing a little.

"Jack... oh God..." Daniel finally looked at him again, eyes wide with naked want.

Jack didn't answer, *couldn't* answer as he simply didn't trust his voice. Jack pulled his knees up a little, pressing his thighs against Daniel's back for support. Daniel took it, slowly leaning back, arms extended over his head, as he stretched his body, changing the angle slightly, making sure that he'd taken all of Jack.

Jack's hands shook a little when he placed them on Daniel's hips, rubbing his thumbs lightly over the taught abdomen feeling the muscles moving under them. What had he ever done to deserve this? To be so lucky? Slowly letting his hand slide up over Daniel's chest, he brushed his fingers against a nipple, feeling as much as hearing the groan it elicited. One hand still caressing Daniel's hip, Jack slid the other up to rest against Daniel's collarbone, urging him to sit back up.

"Ja-Jack?" Daniel's eyes hardly had a trace of blue left in them, most of it eclipsed by the black of the pupils and his body was trembling with restrained energy, the urge to move, though still caught up in the need to truly feel.

Jack cupped Daniel's cheek, thumb brushing lightly across the lush lower lip. "Beautiful, you're so..." Jack lacked the words for how he felt, settling instead for slowly and carefully drawing the face down to lightly run his tongue across the mouth, asking for entrance and having it granted.

Slow slide of tongue against tongue told more than words and when they finally pulled apart, they were both gasping for air.

"Need to... Jack, please..." Daniel moaned deep in his throat.

"I know, I know." Jack slid his hands down to Daniel's hips again, waiting for Daniel to put his hands on the edge of the tub, then tightened his grip, steadying Daniel as the man slowly rose up on his knees.

Daniel stayed still for a moment, only the head of Jack's cock inside, his back arched and breathing laboured. And Jack couldn't help himself, tilting his head to kiss the dip of Daniel's navel. Somehow it helped Daniel relax a little, and a deep contented sigh escaped him, as he slowly slid back down.

No more words were exchanged as they found each other again in a long kiss, Daniel keeping a steady rhythm of rising and falling, Jack aiding him, steadying him. Daniel shifted his grip from the tub to Jack's shoulders, strong fingers digging into flesh and muscles, hard enough to leave bruises. Neither man cared as the movements quickened and Jack felt Daniel tightening around his cock, the heat almost unbearable, but still not something Jack wanted to be without, ever.

Daniel's arms slipped around Jack's neck and the kiss became almost frantic as Jack did his best to meet Daniel's movements with his own. Jack slipped a hand in between their bodies, finding Daniel's straining erection. As he tightened his grip on it, countering Daniel's up and down movement, the other man became more and more audible. Finally Daniel broke the kiss, spine taut, head thrown back and he came with a long heartfelt, incoherent shout of joy.

Jack followed him as there was no way he could fight the clenching around his cock as Daniel's orgasm coursed through the body above him. Collapsing against Jack, Daniel buried his face against Jack's neck.

Some time later -- it could have been minutes, hours, neither man could tell, Daniel finally pulled back with a sated moan. "Jack?"

Jack forced his eyes open. "Yeah?" God, he hadn't felt this good in ages. Nor this spent.

Daniel was chewing on his lower lip again, looking uncertain -- all his earlier bravado seemed to have vanished.

"Out with it," Jack ordered with a light smile, belying the worry inside of him. Even if Daniel had claimed he didn't want 'casual'...

"Come... come to bed?" Daniel looked even younger than he was.

Jack nodded immediately, blushing a little for seeming so eager. Man, he had it bad. Daniel didn't say anything, at least with words, but the smile spreading on his face put Jack's worries to shame.

Carefully, Jack assisted Daniel as the man... his lover, stood, and Jack couldn't help feeling the loss as he slipped out of Daniel. He obviously wasn't the only one, judging from the sound escaping Daniel. The smile Daniel gave him, as he reached down to give Jack a hand getting up and out of the tub, was almost shy.

The condom was discarded of and they towelled each other dry, hands straying, touching and exploring without restraint. They tumbled sleepily into Daniel's bedroom, slipping under the sheets. For a moment, they both seemed unsure of what the other wanted, until Jack gave in and pulled Daniel into his arms, feeling the other man relax with the knowledge that cuddling was okay. Well, more than okay, really. Another long, sweet kiss was exchanged before they settled down to sleep.


Jack woke to an unaccustomed warmth and feeling of sated contentment -- and the need to go to the bathroom. Gently he pushed out from under the weight of the long, lean body.

Mumbled broken sentences were his reward -- none of them too nice. Jack grinned as he went for the door. Dr. Jackson definitely wasn't a morning person. Jack's smile faltered when he turned around to shoot the other man one last look before starting his morning. Holy... lust curled white hot around his spine as he watched the display of pure sin arranged on the bed.

Sprawled out on top of the covers, taking up half of the bed, was Daniel, flat on his stomach and naked as the day he'd been born.

Jack suddenly found it hard to breathe. So much bare skin, such easy, relaxed muscles, such an open invitation to just... Jack backed out of the bedroom. Who'd have thought Jack would feel so much, so fast. Too much, too fast, maybe. A part of him was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Shower, a shower would help him clear his mind. Even with all the worries, Jack found himself smiling, as he turned on the shower, eyes straying to the tub. It felt good, physically, because God knew, Jack O'Neill had had more sex the previous night than he'd had in *years* -- since Daniel had dragged him out of sated sleep, insisting on a second round.

Standing under the spray for several minutes, letting the water poured down on his shoulders, Jack let his mind wander and his body soon followed. When Daniel wanted his attention, he'd damned well get it. Daniel was pushy as it was, but it was nothing compared to what he was like in bed. The thought alone made Jack moan.

The sound of the door opening didn't escape Jack. "Trying to sneak up on me again?" Jack asked with a laugh. The glass door of the shower stall was pulled open, and long arms were wrapped around Jack's waist, a hard body pressed against his back.

"Mmm, missed you," Daniel mumbled against Jack's neck, tongue flickering out to tease Jack's ear.

"Possessive, Dr. Jackson?" Jack leaned forward, bracing his hands on the tiled wall.

Daniel growled and pushed a fairly impressive erection against Jack's ass. "Think I need to re-stake my claim?" Daniel let go of him, working with something behind Jack's back.

"By all means," gasped Jack, "stake away." Bowing his head, he closed his eyes, allowing his other senses to take over.

Daniel chuckled. "Don't mind if I do." Daniel leaned into the open invitation and bit lightly into the back of Jack's neck, drawing a moan from him. A slick finger pushed inside Jack, making him gasp. "Daniel, we..." It was difficult to think with Daniel biting down a little harder, letting go for a moment to kiss the same spot he'd just bitten. The roughness of the tongue over the sore skin drew another long groan from Jack.

"Taken care of," was all the answer he got before the finger became two, working to open him up even more, the light sensation of burn and stretch quickly becoming an entirely different kind of heat, of anticipation.

"One... one track minded boy scout," Jack laughed breathlessly. "I was referring to getting a condom..."

"So was I." With that, Daniel pressed into him. Resting his head on Jack's shoulder, Daniel sighed deeply and slowly rocked the rest of the way in. "I like this..." A little wriggle had them both gasping and Jack couldn't have forced his eyes open for anything.

Jack drew in a sharp breath of air at the intrusion, but his body quickly adjusted to the feeling. Daniel *had* woken him in the middle of the night, wanting more sex, and Jack was still a little slick inside from that encounter, and nicely relaxed from the warm water running down over his body. Daniel's fingers kneading his abs weren't exactly counterproductive either.

This was it, Jack thought. This was how life should be. Hot and sweet sex, with a man he'd learned to trust with his body in no time at all. Amazing thing, Daniel had shown Jack how much he trusted him and through that, Jack had finally allowed himself to do the same.

Their movements quickened and Daniel's hand slipped from Jack's hip to his cock, stroking it with the same rhythm. Jack finally came with a low growl, ass clenching around Daniel. The younger man wasn't exactly holding back, voice loud and coarse, close to yelling Jack's name at the top of his lungs.

Daniel collapsed against him. Both men were out of breath and no words were exchanged; the room was filled with quiet contentment.

Jack flexed his arms, feeling Daniel snuggle even closer. "I'd hate to disappoint you, Doc, but we can't stay like this forever."

"Wanna..." mumbled Daniel. Still, he obliged, and pulled carefully back.

Jack found himself spun around, back to the tiled wall and Daniel trying to climb inside him through a deep, scorching kiss. Losing himself in the heat of Daniel's mouth, the insistent slide of his tongue, Jack wrapped his arms around the younger man and drew him as close as possible.

Finally resurfacing for some much needed deep breaths, they stayed embraced for a little longer. Jack rubbed his stubbly chin against Daniel's shoulder. "Don't shave just yet," Daniel whispered.

Jack pulled back enough to look into the blue eyes. "Why not?"

Daniel blushed little. "I kinda like you this way..." Biting into his lower lip before continuing, the blush deepened. "Besides..."

"Yeah?" Jack quirked an eyebrow. This puzzled him a little -- he'd never met anyone who actually *liked* the scratchy stuff.

"I... eh... I wanna do it." Daniel moved in for another deep kiss.

The answer startled an honest laugh out of Jack. "You want me to do you too?" This was... different.

Daniel shook his head. "Not necessarily... unless you... you want to?"

Jack shrugged. "It's your... what? Fetish?"

"Mmm," Daniel buried his face in Jack's neck, tongue flicking out to taste. "Yeah, you have any I need to know about?"

Jack laughed out loud, running his hands caressingly up and down Daniel's back. "I'll let you know if one comes up?"

Daniel pulled back, a wide grin on his face. "Deal."

Jack was aware of the stupid smile making his lips curve, but he couldn't really be bothered by that right now. The next few minutes were spent soaping up and trying to get clean. Although, to tell the truth, it was just as much a game of trying to touch as much skin as possible. Not that Jack was complaining. He liked touching -- more by the minute.

Finally washing the soap off, Jack managed to get out of Daniel's grip. Very much to Daniel's extremely audible displeasure. "Ja-ack, come back here," he scolded, as he made another grab for the man.

"No way, Daniel," Jack smirked, as he swatted at the man with his towel. "We'll never get out of here if I let you have it your way." Jack wrapped the towel around his waist. "And stop pouting -- it won't get you anywhere."

"Aw, Jack, you're such a spoil sport." Daniel pointed with a scowl at the towel. "No fair covering up the good bits."

Jack laughed and escaped to the safety of the living room, hearing the younger man throw several words of mock-anger after him. Shaking his head, Jack went to the kitchen counter, dug out the coffee and started the machine. Wouldn't hurt to have something to negotiate with.

Making a little trip to the guestroom, Jack put on a pair of jeans and pulled one of his shirts on, leaving it unbuttoned as he returned to the kitchen. Pouring a cup of coffee for himself, Jack went to look out the window, trying to somehow grasp what had happened in such short time.

His musings were interrupted by a knock on the door. Jack frowned and picked up the gun he'd brought with him to the kitchen, before making his way to the front door. Safety off the gun, safety chain on the door checked, he put his hand on the door handle, slowly drawing it down to let the door glide open.

Looking carefully out through the narrow opening, Jack cleared his throat. "Who's there?"

"Mr. O'Neill." A shadow moved into the light, revealing a very worried Senator Rogers.

"You alone, sir?" Jack cocked and eyebrow. He wasn't taking any chances, that was for sure, not after the previous day.

"I only have my own security guard with me," the Senator answered, looking a little impatient. "May we come in?"

Jack drew a deep breath and nodded, closing the door to unhook the security chain, before opening it again and letting the two men step inside.

"Where is my son, Mr. O'Neill?" Senator Rogers looked around the apartment, not finding what he was looking for.

"He's in the bathroom, sir." Jack tried to ignore the small hysterical voice in the back of his head, telling him that he was facing the father of the man with whom he'd had sex three times already.

"Is he...?" Senator Rogers took a deep breath to steady himself. "I heard what happened."

"He's fine, sir." Jack squirmed a little, but finally tucked the gun down into the back of his jeans. "I'll go tell him you're here." Jack fled the living room, slipping into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

He resurfaced half a minute later, gasping for breath. "Daniel, dammit, don't... not *now*!"

The younger man pulled back, a hurt expression on his face.

Jack's anger disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. He wasn't really angry with Daniel, at least no more than he was with himself. There was no way they could keep what had happened between them a secret, if neither could behave themselves. Reaching out to caress Daniel's smooth, freshly shaved cheek, Jack's voice was soft when he continued. "You have a guest."

"Who?" Daniel looked a little worried.

"Your father." Jack watched with fascination how emotions flickered over the expressive face, settling on worry.

"Oh shit." Daniel bit his lower lip.

Jack licked his own lips, forcing himself to *not* react. "Daniel?"

"I forgot to call him, and tell him about the attack yesterday."

Jack drew a deep breath and shook his head in disbelief. "How the hell could you forget to call your family and let them know you were okay?"

Daniel shot him an annoyed glare. "I was *busy*, Colonel, as you very well know."

Jack grinned involuntarily. "Yeah, plotting and scheming against me."

Daniel snorted as he took a step back, straightening his clothes. As if it would help. One look at the kiss bruised lips and no one could deny the fact of what they'd been doing. "I didn't hear you complaining."

"Well, no, of course not," Jack whispered into his ear, as Daniel opened the door. "Kinda hard to argue with your tongue down my throat."

Daniel stumbled into the living room, obviously trying hard to fight the rising blush on his face.

Senator Rogers walked quickly over to his son. "Daniel, are you okay?"

Daniel squirmed a little at the scrutiny he was put under. "I'm fine, Dad."

Shaking his head in disbelief, the Senator grabbed Daniel's shoulders. "You didn't call to tell us about it, Daniel, we were told about it through so many different channels, we weren't sure what to believe and what not to." The old man sighed deeply. "You had your mother and I worried sick."

Daniel hung his head, looking for all the world like a little kid being told off for doing something bad. Jack knew they should have thought about it the day before, but he also understood Daniel. He hadn't known the man for very long, but he knew Daniel was headstrong and independent.

"Are you sure you're okay, Son?" Senator Rogers shook his son lightly. "You look flushed."

Daniel's face turned, if possible, even redder. Oh how Jack wished the earth would just open up and swallow him. Thank God, the men seemed to be ignoring him.

"The heat from the shower, Dad, I'm really okay." Daniel's expression softened, turned worried. "I'm sorry I was inconsiderate and didn't call you about it." Daniel ran his fingers through his hair, not daring to look up at Jack. "It was all a little confusing -- I never expected the threats to be... this real."

Rogers took a deep breath. "I guess I can't convince you to cancel the speech this afternoon?"

Daniel shook his head, finally looking up, eyes burning with determination. "No, that would be the same as to letting them win, admitting defeat."

The Senator nodded. "Well, just keep O'Neill close to you, Son."

Jack looked up quickly, meeting the man's eyes. Uh-oh.

Rogers nodded briskly. "I hate to consider what might have happened if you hadn't been here, Mr. O'Neill."

Jack swallowed hard. "It's what you hired me for, sir." 'No sir, I'm *not* screwing your son... or letting him screw me.' Jack sighed with relief, inwardly, as the Senator returned his attention to his very wide-eyed son.

Biting his lip, Jack just *knew* it was going to be a long day -- and he wasn't even thinking about the rally. Pfff, that would be *nothing* compared to facing Daniel's father.


*Somehow* they managed to get through breakfast without any incidents. They had no trouble convincing the Senator that they should stay in and simply order something from a nearby deli or cafe. The old man wasn't too keen on having his newly assaulted son walking around in the open. Jack couldn't agree more.

The only problem was, what the hell was he supposed to do with Daniel now? Normally, functioning as a bodyguard, he'd just fall back, fade into the background, stay close but not too close to the client. And he could've pulled it off, if not for Daniel.

When Jack had instantly kept his distance, Daniel had seemed to understand. Now, an hour and a half later, Jack was sure the Senator would eventually call them on it, as Daniel's eyes kept drifting towards Jack, who did what he could to keep a straight face. And Daniel seemed to take it personally, as a hurt expression flickered across his face. God knew Jack wanted nothing more than to slide down on the couch next to the man, and even if it did seem... sappy, hold his hand, put an arm around his shoulder, kiss him.

Had anyone asked afterwards how they had made it through without giving everything away, Jack honestly had no idea. The Senator was a busy man, so once breakfast was over, he pulled Daniel aside, holding a whispered conversation with him for several minutes. Then he waved Jack over. The few yards across the room felt to Jack as if he was walking to his own execution.

"I can not stress this enough, Mr. O'Neill, I will do anything to keep my only son alive." Taking a deep breath, the man put a hand on Jack's shoulder. "I expect nothing less of you."

Jack nodded briskly. Damn, did he know? Did he at least *suspect*? Or was he just being a little... emotional from nearly losing his son? Damned if Jack knew, but he did what he could to keep a certain physical distance to Daniel, who in turn seemed to, unconsciously, seek nearness instead, which led to a strange shuffling pattern of moving around the apartment.

Before Daniel's father left, he shot Daniel a warning look, only slightly ruined by the softening around his eyes, as he embraced his son.

"Just remember what I said, Daniel," his father warned him.

Daniel's face lit with the blush as he refused to meet his father's eyes for a moment. The he looked up, defiance burning in his eyes. "I will, Dad, don't worry."

The door was finally closed and Daniel leaned back against it, eyes closed. "One and a half hours..." he muttered.

Jack sighed with relief. Somehow, against all odds, they'd managed to get through the visit without...

"One and a half *hours*, Jack."

Jack looked away from the window and carefully watched his lover push away from the door. "One and a half fucking hours." Daniel suddenly moved, fast, across the room, vaulting over the back of the low couch, aiming for Jack, who stood frozen to the spot for a moment, but then it was already too late. He didn't make it more than a few steps across the elevated part of the floor, in front of the floor to ceiling window, before Daniel tackled him.

They hit the floor a little harder than intended, but neither man seemed to care. Daniel's one-track-mind had got Jack out of his shirt in no time, and Jack tore until he found enough bare skin to satisfy him at least for a little while.

Jack laughed breathlessly as Daniel worked his jeans open and down around Jack's thighs, then with a growl Jack returned the favour. Rolling over, Jack pinned Daniel to the floor, looking down into the dark eyes of his lover. "Mine," he whispered, before swooping in for a bruising kiss.

Jack's obvious control seemed to only make Daniel hotter, breathing becoming laboured, body arching and somehow they couldn't spare a thought as to what they were doing, both caught up in the moment. Pressing against each other, they began moving, adjusting their rhythm until they moved in perfect unison, bodies sliding against each other, cocks trapped between them, skin slick with sweat. Lips seemingly glued together, they rocked against each other, Daniel finally tearing away, letting go of Jack, slamming his fists into the floorboards, screaming Jack's name as he came.

Even though Jack was caught up in the moment, the impact of Daniel's orgasm, and the whispered words of love beneath him stunned him back to reality. He slowed his movements, gentling the tremors running through Daniel. He was close to the edge himself, but it wasn't important.

Kissing Daniel's lips softly, he stilled their movement. "Daniel?" he whispered in a low voice.

"Ye-yeah?" sighed the man.

"You okay?" Jack was a little taken aback, tasting salty wetness as he kissed Daniel's face.

"I just... Jack, I..." Daniel's voice was thick with emotion. "Please understand, this isn't just some insane need for... for sex." Daniel closed his eyes for a moment before continuing, barely audible. "I think... no, I *know* I love you."

Jack's breath caught in his throat. How he wanted to believe those words. But how could he? They'd hardly know each other for more than a couple of days, and with someone as passionate as Daniel, how could Jack be sure? Oh, sure, Daniel may think he meant it, but what if...? Jack swallowed his doubts and leaned down to claim the slightly swollen lips in a soft kiss, not truly ready to say it himself, he knew he had to ease Daniel's mind, that he felt the same way.

"J-Jack?" Daniel gasped when they pulled apart.

"Me too, kid, me too." Jack hated himself for a moment -- for not being able to voice his feelings, for letting the doubt spread like some dark disease inside him.

Daniel seemed to be content with that much at least, and Jack was pulled back down for another searing kiss. He rolled them around, pushing Jack down on his back. Daniel stayed, sitting on his knees, one hand braced on the floor, the other possessively spread on Jack's abs.

With a quiet grin, Daniel leaned forward, hand still on Jack, and swiped his tongue over the head of Jack's cock.

Moaning deep in his throat, Jack leaned his head back and closed his eyes. The sensation of the hot, wet mouth, slowly sliding down over him was enough, at least for a while, to silence his doubts. Jack gasped as Daniel's tongue pressed against his cock and Daniel began sucking harder.

Without giving it a second thought, Jack opened his eyes and found Daniel's body, curled up next to him. Reaching out, Jack coaxed the other man into lying on his side, allowing Jack access to Daniel's bared groin. Already a mess from his first orgasm and sticky with come, the heated skin beckoned for Jack to taste, to run his tongue over it.

Daniel's breathing became laboured, and Jack licked a little more. It wasn't the worst he'd ever tasted. A little bitter maybe, perhaps from the insane amounts of coffee Daniel consumed. Licking his lips, Jack decided he rather liked it.

The moan Daniel made sent vibrations through Jack's cock and for a moment Jack wasn't sure he could hold back for much longer. Biting his lip, Jack fought the sensation, wanting it to last for as long as possible. Forcing his concentration back to his lover, Jack began licking Daniel clean, feeling the shivers running through Daniel's body. Nuzzling the base of Daniel's cock, Jack couldn't believe that the guy was already semi-erect again. A little more nuzzling and mouthing of the tip filled the erection fully and Jack could feel the blood pumping below the tight skin.

Burying his face again, Jack wrapped an arm around Daniel's hip, holding him closer, holding him still. He knew his stubble had to be chafing the delicate skin, but Daniel didn't seem to mind. If anything, he pushed lightly against Jack as if he really liked it.

Jack finally pulled back a little before swallowing Daniel down. After only a moment, they seemed to find a perfect rhythm, and for a little while they lost all connection to the real world. Jack felt heat coiling at the base of his spine and wanted to warn Daniel, but the younger man simply tightened his grip on Jack's hips and when Jack found his release, Daniel willingly swallowed it and kept it up until Jack couldn't give more. Then Daniel let him slip from his lips and buried his face in Jack's groin, letting out a soft moan.

Meanwhile Jack worked at riding out the waves of pleasure coursing through him and he wouldn't give less than he got, so he reached out and ran a finger across Daniel's thigh, feeling the muscles tremble under it. The bitter substance filling his mouth forced Jack to swallow as fast as possible. Breathlessly Jack mirrored his lover, and buried his face in the heat of Daniel's body.

"Shower?" rasped Jack. He could hardly recognise his own voice, raw with emotion and he felt the heat pressing behind his eyes, but he refused to give into it. It was ridiculous. He had to enjoy this while it lasted. He couldn't let the feeling that they would have a hell of a lot of obstacles to tackle if they continued their relationship go entirely.

Daniel mumbled his agreement before getting to his feet, offering Jack a hand up. Jack took it and allowed himself to fall into the sated look of the blue eyes.

Cleaning each other off, lazily exploring one another, the shower took some time. Still, Jack felt a sting of longing, as he felt it was over far too soon. Then again, Daniel took his shoulders and gently manoeuvred Jack over to the tub, folding up a towel on the edge and seating Jack on it.

"What...?" Jack's voice trailed off as Daniel slowly and sensually lathered up Jack's face, waving the shaver under his nose. "Told you I wanted to do this." Pushing Jack's thighs apart to stand closer, Daniel put a finger under Jack's chin and tilted his head back a little. "Now shush, enjoy it."

The slow strokes of the blade lulled Jack into a state in between. His senses picked up only one thing. Daniel. The scent, the feel of him standing in front of Jack, the loving touches, fingers moving reverently across Jack's skin. And if Daniel picked up on the tears escaping Jack's closed eyes, he didn't say anything -- and for that Jack was more than grateful. Wrapping his arms loosely around Daniel's waist, Jack finally allowed himself the luxury of believing, if for a start, only a little bit. Maybe, just maybe he could really have this. Maybe he owed that to himself and to Daniel.


"Daniel, dammit, we're gonna be late!" Jack zipped his jeans after having made sure the gun was in place in the thigh-holster.

"We'll be there in good time, Jack," Daniel answered, his reply muffled as he pulled his shirt down over his head.

Jack rolled his eyes and tried to stay annoyed without much success. He knew very well what a silly grin he was sprouting. Daniel looked *good* in those slacks and the tight Tee. "Mine," he mock-growled as he grabbed a handful of ass passing his younger lover. Seriously, he'd have liked to be at the park in good time to survey the lay of the land, so to speak.

"Ja-ack," Daniel pouted. "Don't start something we haven't got the time to finish."

"Aw, come on, Daniel, I have to behave and keep my hands to myself for the rest of the afternoon." Jack still felt a pang of worry, but squashed it ruthlessly. He'd promised himself he'd make an effort.

"Well, I have to keep my hands to myself as well, Jack." Daniel grinned widely as he grabbed his keys and followed Jack out the door. Slipping his hands down into Jack's back-pockets, making it difficult to walk straight for the both of them.

Jack laughed and threw up his hands in despair, then outside the door, he twisted free of his lover and turned around, pulling him into a sudden, fierce hug.

Daniel snuggled closer. When Jack finally let go, he turned to lock the door behind them, then turned back and put a hand on Jack's arm. "What was that for?"

Jack felt heat rise to his face. He'd never been good at communicating his feelings to anyone, at least not in words. "Just... don't ever change, Doc."

Daniel blinked in surprise, then, as they made their way towards the elevator, a sappy grin spread on his face as he pushed his shades up his nose. "You're a keeper, Colonel, a definite keeper."

"Oh?" Jack felt smug. Well, he was going to keep Daniel anyway, and pity anyone who'd think otherwise. So his fears and angst could just go curl the fuck up and die.

"Anyone I've ever met, even been with." Daniel paused as he stepped inside the elevator. "Well, they've always tried to change one or more things about me, about my personality."

As the elevator did a stop at the next floor and a young couple stepped inside, the two men made room for them, standing closer, hands easily straying to brush wrists and arms. Nothing elaborate, only simple reassuring gestures.

Jack caught the look the girl gave her boyfriend, as she tried not to be too obvious about looking over her shoulder at them. Jack's smile grew smug and he slipped his arm around Daniel's waist. Yep, he was one lucky old bastard, all right, anyone else could look but not touch, and he didn't mind terribly if people envied him what he currently had.

Daniel didn't seem to mind terribly as he leaned against Jack with a soundless sigh. Exiting behind the couple, Jack drew Daniel aside, his demeanour growing serious. "Daniel?"

"Mmm?" Daniel stayed close to him, but his eyes were focused on Jack, his attention almost scary.

"When we get out in public, would you mind terribly..." Jack hesitated, searching for the right words. "Would you mind not touching me?" He ran his hand through his hair. "It's just..."

Daniel grinned at him, a gleam in his eyes. "You need to concentrate, gotcha."

Jack blinked in surprise. He'd expected a comment like 'don't touch me in public' would have meant him explaining just why. Then again, it was becoming apparent that Daniel *did* pick up on a lot of things without letting it show.

Daniel gave him a smile and a lifted eyebrow before exiting the building, though he did let Jack walk in front of him, and Jack was more than grateful that after yesterday's events, Daniel had seen the light and got on the clue bus about the threats being very, very real. The cab they'd called was waiting for them and they got in without exchanging any words. Not that they had to. In very short time Jack had grown to love the banter, but he loved their easy, contented silence even more.

The drive took surprisingly short time, considering the traffic, and they got out at the entrance closest to the podium set up for the rally. Jack fell back as Daniel went to talk to the organisers, to make sure what he was supposed to do and where to be when. Jack paid attention to most of it. He needed to know as well as Daniel what would be going on. That settled, Daniel stayed with the woman who'd given him the update on things, chatting about this and that and Jack zoned out their conversation, eyes gliding over every part of the place he could see.

People were already settling in on the grass, some standing, but most sitting on blankets or simply on the ground, a constant static in the air of voices. Looked like the expected 1,000 people wouldn't hold. Closer to 1,500, maybe more. Jack frowned. He sincerely hoped nothing would happen.

"Colonel?"

Jack turned around, slowly, a wide disbelieving smile on his face. "Feretti?"

The younger man came to stand at attention in front of Jack, a stiff text-book salute delivered with a barely concealed grin.

"Lose the salute, Feretti, retired, remember?" Jack took the proffered hand, shaking it with heartfelt joy. He hadn't seen the man in years, but apart from a few more lines on his face, he looked like he had the last time Jack had seen him. On the day he'd retired, Feretti and the boys paying him their respects. Man, that had been one *hell* of a hangover.

Jack felt more than saw the presence at his shoulder. Ah, right on cue. "Lou, this is Dr. Jackson, Doc, Lou Feretti." Jack quirked a smile. "Is that Captain?"

Lou grinned proudly, as he straightened his pose. "Major now, Colonel." He took Daniel's hand and shook it with a warm smile. "Pleased to meet you, Doc, and how the hell did you run into such bad luck as having to drag the Colonel around?"

Daniel sighed theatrically. "It's tough job, but someone's gotta do it?"

Feretti blinked in surprise, then laughed out loud, fully losing it when Jack shot him a withering stare. Typical, the two men would get along perfectly, at Jack's expense, obviously.

Lou looked over his shoulder as a woman waved and called his name. He turned back to Jack and Daniel, with an apologetic smile. "I'm gonna have to run, my sister's here." He nodded, addressing Daniel. "Nice to meet you, Doc -- since we're partly here to hear your speech." He shot another look over his shoulder. "You were a great help last summer when you counselled my sister -- can't say the family's too thrilled, but I'm glad to see her happy."

Daniel, smiled back. "Always happy to help, Mr. Feretti."

"Lou, it's Lou," Feretti grinned. He began walking towards his sister. "And Colonel, don't be a stranger -- you still have my phone number -- and you still owe me a drink."

Jack nodded absentmindedly. "Counselled?" he asked Daniel.

Daniel grinned back. "You never once asked what I do for a living, you know."

Jack opened his mouth to ask exactly that question, but was interrupted as the woman Daniel had spoken to when they'd arrived waved them over, before walking up to the microphone to open the event.

Daniel winked at Jack before moving to stand below the stage, waiting for his cue.

Jack frowned, but there wasn't time for him to begin questioning Daniel about anything. He hadn't for a moment questioned what Daniel did for a living. Not that it mattered, but still.

Jack's attention was drawn to the woman who was currently going on about gay rights. Jack sighed. As bad as it was, at least real life was nothing like the military. Couldn't get court-martialled in real life. Then again, you could get hurt pretty badly there as well.

"...which is why we've invited Dr. Jackson to speak here today. He works for state, as a psychologist, specialising in young people and sexuality issues, specifically homosexuality."

Jack blinked, mouthing 'shrink?' and raising an eyebrow at Daniel, who in turn quirked a grin and mouth back: 'PhD'. But from what Jack knew, Daniel had an education as a linguist. Lifting an eyebrow of his own, Jack mouthed 'linguist?' and Daniel's grin grew wider, as he repeated the 'PhD'.

Well, shit, trust Jack O'Neill to fall for a freaking genius. As Daniel stepped up unto the stage, and Jack followed silently behind, Jack realised he'd have to be careful and that the feeling he'd had that Daniel picked up on more than he let on. Well, he probably did, had to, with a brain like that.

Jack kept his attention on the crowd, weighing what he saw, assessing whether or not it posed a threat and moved on. There were of course police guards stationed at the rally, considering the size and nature of the gathering, trouble would be expected. Someone always had to try and ruin a good cause. Jack listened with half an ear to his lover's speech. He couldn't afford to turn his attention fully to Daniel, knowing he'd have trouble concentrating on little else. And he couldn't afford that, and neither could Daniel.

The crowd applauded as Daniel paused. He was doing real good, looking confident and serious as he continued to list the problems of a homosexual identity, in the modern day and age. Society often taught that it was unnatural, wrong. Some even considered it a sin. Thus resulting in an alarming number of younger people feeling caught between what they wanted and what societal pressure demanded of them. As open as they could talk about it in a city like New York, it often proved to be far more difficult to seek help in smaller areas, where social life was dependent on the perception of other people, and where acceptance was difficult to attain.

Jack took another sweep of the crowd and frowned as he noticed another familiar face. Whazzisname... John. Jack raised an eyebrow as he made eye contact with the man, giving him a warning glare. Jack didn't like that the man stood as close to the stage as he did, but it might just be possessiveness and jealousy speaking there.

Daniel's speech was nearing its end and Jack tensed up a little. If anyone were to make a move of any kind, the opportunity was now. Jack didn't particularly like the *click* from the gathered press, but that was clearly his jealousy speaking. Jack wasn't sharing with anyone, if he had anything to say in the matter.

Finally, Daniel ended his speech with a few sweet lines about how life was too short and precious to bet hung up on a minor thing like gender.

The crowd applauded him and Daniel grinned widely, getting ready to step down from the stage. Jack clenched his teeth when a few hands from the gathered journalists prevented that. The longer Daniel stayed still, out in the open like that, the more dangerous it became.

"Dr. Jackson, are you planning on following in your father's footsteps and running for senator at some point?"

Daniel sniggered before answering. "I doubt it. I might be able to work a few changes, but at the moment I feel I'm doing more good as a counsellor."

Jack suppressed a smile. He couldn't imagine anyone not eventually wanting to lay their hearts and hurts in the hands of Daniel.

"Dr. Jackson, are you going to ask your father to work for a change in the law regarding homosexual partnership, marriage and adoption?"

Daniel continued to smile. "I can't do that. If my father feels he can do anything, and it doesn't go against his principles, he will work for a change in the law. It's his choice, not mine."

"That said, Dr. Jackson, a personal question?"

Daniel nodded.

"How does your own father feel about your sexual orientation?"

Daniel bit his lip, but his smile never wavered. "We came to terms with the family problems years ago -- I, unlike some, am blessed with a family who, well, doesn't always understand, but who will always take an effort in at least trying to."

"Another personal question, Dr. Jackson?"

Daniel agreed. "Sure, but let's make this the last one, I'm not the only who's here to hold a speech." There was a general murmur of amusement. No, of course not, Jack mused, since there was the official representative from the Mayor's office who had yet to speak.

"Is there currently someone in your life, Dr. Jackson?"

Daniel smirked, the grin growing wider, yet he said nothing.

Jack felt heat curl in his body. Right, no one could doubt the unsaid words, the look on Daniel's face said it all.

Then suddenly, the proverbial shit hit the fan. Something hit the stand, making wooden splinters fly. Jack saw John step forward, to suddenly jerk as something hit him, blood tainting his white shirt. That was all Jack saw before he flung himself at Daniel, bearing the other man to the ground. Pain blossomed in his upper arm, and Jack didn't have to think about it. He knew that pain, recognised it. Still, he didn't have time feeling sorry for himself, as he covered Daniel's tense body with his own.

The next minutes felt like hours as a hush went through the crowd. No one had heard shots being fired, and everyone was trying to guess what had just happened.

"Jack...?" Daniel sounded... scared, shaken, but determined to keep his wits.

"You okay, Daniel?" Jack winced when Daniel's hand brushed over his arm. He gripped Daniel's wrist when the man moved his hand up to stare with fear at the sticky, red blood.

"Jack...?" The normally strong voice sounded so small and insecure and Daniel's body shook as his eyes pleaded with Jack to tell him everything was going to be okay.

"It's okay, Daniel, it's okay, it's just a flesh wound." Jack tried to soothe his lover while at the same time he wanted nothing more than to get up and get the bastard who'd tried to kill the man he loved. But he'd leave it to the police, shouldn't get in the way and besides, his first and foremost responsibility was Daniel. Jack rolled off Daniel and motioned for him to stay flat and move towards the back edge of the stage. It wouldn't be safety, but it would at least provide *some* cover.

When they landed on the grass, they stayed crouched low, as a police officer crawled over to check on them. Seconds became minutes as they waited for more shots. None came and the people gathered on the grass in front of the stage hadn't even had the time to panic. Most of them were still wondering what had just happened.

A shout caught their attention, and Jack peeked up over the edge of the stage, finally daring to stand when he saw the sweetest sight possible. Well, apart from the man tugging at his hand to get him back down, of course.

"Lou?" Jack's voice was calm and carried without any problems to the man who was currently stomping towards the stage, one hand holding a man in an painful grip, the other holding up a gun with a silencer.

The police officers moved towards him, gesturing for Feretti to put down the gun. Jack told Daniel with one look to stay put and moved forward to aid his friend. "It's okay, he's with us."

Feretti glared angrily at the man he was holding, and kept it up as the officers took over. "I got him, Colonel, the bastard was trying to get away."

"You did good, Major." Jack smiled grimly at his old friend.

"You're hurt, Colonel." Lou frowned.

"Nothing serious." Jack shrugged, winced at the pain it caused.

"Nothing?!" Daniel's walk as he came towards them spoke volumes. He looked so angry he was practically shaking. "Nothing?" He reached out for Jack, fingers skimming the older man's shoulder, torn between giving them away, and needing to assure himself that Jack was still there, still alive.

Jack shook his head, eyes softening. "It'll heal, Daniel, it always does." He held out his unscathed arm, amazed that Daniel took the cue immediately and carefully accepted the embrace, slipping his arms around Jack's waist.

Lou chuckled and Jack shot him a lazy glare. "What?"

"I guess that answers the personal question."

Jack frowned, then remembered the question from the journalists. Aw, hell, if Daniel didn't mind anyone knowing, who was he to argue? It wasn't as if he was in the military anymore. And they'd caught the man with the gun, they were surrounded by police -- he could let his guard down a little.

"Congratulations, Colonel." Lou lit up into a smile.

"Thanks, Lou," Jack said dryly, but still couldn't help answering the smile with one of his own.


"Ja-ack," Daniel's voice carried into the kitchen.

"Yeah?" Jack grabbed the cups of coffee, returning to the living room. Jack put down the cups on the coffee table and sat down next to his lover.

"Listen." Daniel turned up the TV, and they watched as a familiar face was shown. The reporter explained that 'Simmons' had been interrogated, and investigations showed that he'd been paid to do the assassination attempt.

"Do they know by whom?"

Daniel shook his head. "No, but they are pretty sure that it's someone in the senate, as a lot of the evidence discovered pointed towards that."

"So, we're still going to have to watch your back." Jack reached out and put an arm around said back.

Daniel snuggled up against him. "Yeah, you'll just have to stay and... 'guard' me."

Jack shook his head. "I hate knowing that someone out there wants you dead."

Daniel turned his head and nuzzled Jack's neck. "Whoever it is, is going to keep a low profile for a very long time, Jack," came the muffled reply.

Jack nodded, turning his attention fully to Daniel, letting his hand glide up under the thin grey shirt. It had been a couple of days since the incident in Central Park and they were still licking their wounds, incognito, somewhere in Minnesota. A quiet hunting lodge belonging to an old friend of Daniel's father. They had been told by Senator Rogers to keep a low profile for a while. Or rather, for Daniel to keep a low profile, and for Jack to look after the man, keep him safe. And Jack still wasn't sure if the Senator knew about them.

Problem was, they'd been whisked away shortly after they'd been questioned by the police, their bags had been packed by the Senator's men -- and they'd been flown to a small private landing spot, put in separate cars and driven to the lodge.

It also meant that there'd been nothing for them to use when they'd wanted to assure each other just *how* alive they both were. No condoms and no lube, much to Daniel's chagrin. He'd argued that the extra virgin olive oil in the cupboard was an okay substitute, or the liquid soap in the shower. Jack had agreed, but he'd refused to go with Daniel's idea and risk penetration without condoms.

Only problem was, he was running out of plausible arguments and his resolve was beginning to waver. He wanted Daniel and he had no illusions as to Daniel now wanting the same.

"Mmm," Daniel wriggled to get a little closer. "Dad called this morning."

"Yeah?"

"Just to hear how we were doing, and to tell that John's been released from the hospital -- it wasn't as serious as it looked."

"That's good news." Jack slipped a hand up under Daniel's shirt, stroking the smooth skin of his belly.

"Oh, please don't stop." Daniel squirmed a little. "Seems he even found something good in this mess."

"How's that?" Jack let his hand wander a little higher, pushing the shirt up.

Daniel sighed contentedly. "Mmm, seems the paramedic who whisked him off to the hospital was quite cute, according to John, anyway, and not entirely uninterested in spending a little time with John."

"So, we all live happily ever after?" Jack buried his face in Daniel's neck, tongue flickering out to lick the skin.

"Mmm, I hope so," Daniel arched up a little. The TV was quickly forgotten about as the cuddling and nuzzling took a more serious turn and their clothes were on the floor in no time. Jack moved them until he had Daniel pinned beneath him, the younger man grinning up at him, eyes alight with a thousand unsaid things.

"No," Jack said sternly.

"Jaaaack." Daniel pouted.

"I've told you time and time again," Jack ground down hard, "Not. Without. A. Condom."

Instead of arguing with Jack, Daniel reached up and pulled Jack's head down for a spine melting kiss. It took Jack a few gulps of air and some damned hard brainwork to force the issue. "Daniel, I said no."

Another kiss seriously endangered Jack's steely resolve, as did Daniel's whimpers and his squirming beneath Jack. Daniel shifted and Jack slid down between his legs, cock sliding naturally over Daniel's balls. As Daniel tilted his hips, Jack felt the tip of it glide over the puckered opening. Had to leave it to Daniel, when he wanted something, he worked until he got it. Jack was slightly choked to find the opening slick and more than ready for him. So that was why Daniel's shower ten minutes earlier had taken so damned long.

Pushing back a little, Jack tried to still his body's movements. "Daniel..."

"Jack, I'm yours and you're mine, I'm *not* considering other partners an option and neither are you." The blue eyes were dark and demanding and Jack knew that no matter how hard he fought it, Daniel would eventually win.

"We've already discussed this, Daniel..." Jack knew he was grasping for straws.

"No," Daniel growled, "you decided, not *we*." Daniel bit his lip then continued in an exasperated voice. "Don't be an ass, Jack, don't make me hold you down and fucking *sit* on you!"

"Look, Daniel..." Jack sighed deeply. "I know you're desperate, so am *I*." Jack pulled out of Daniel's embrace and off the couch. "I'm not having sex with you without a condom until we've both been tested." It was Jack's turn to sound exasperated. Then he looked down at the man sprawled on his back on the couch. Jack ground the heels of his hands against his closed eyes and growled in a low voice. "Dammit, Daniel, if I have to walk 10 fucking miles to the nearest store of any kind, to get condoms, I *will*."

Trust their luck that the Senator had been so much in a hurry, that he'd had someone bring their bags around and immediately after the shooting in Central Park, had had them whisked away to this desolate place. Meaning neither man had had the chance to bring along every little 'necessity'. Like condoms.

Daniel banged his fist into the couch. "You readily swallowed, why not..."

Jack shook his head as he picked up his jeans, searching his pockets for his wallet. He'd just have to hope that whatever store he could find would accept credit cards. "It's a calculated risk, Daniel, one that we shouldn't have taken." He looked up, eyes softening as he watched his frustrated lover. "I'll be back as fast as possible."

Looking morose, Daniel let out a deep sigh. "I'm sorry, Jack, it's just..."

"I know," Jack assured him. Checking his wallet before putting it back into his jeans, Jack froze. "Eh, Daniel?"

"Mmm?" came the muttered reply.

"Promise you won't kill me?" Jack felt an insane urge to laugh.

"Hmpf, even if I do resent having to wait with the sex until you've bought some condoms, I think killing you would be a bit harsh, don't you?" Daniel's voice was sullen and pouty.

"I..." Jack cleared his throat and tried again. "I think the trip can wait a little."

"What?!" Daniel's eyes flew open, anger simmering in them.

Jack didn't answer, he simply held up a small square for Daniel to see. Two seconds later he was hit with an armful of eager and very pissy Daniel.

Daniel didn't say anything, he simply bared his teeth, and grabbed Jack by the shoulders, throwing him down on the couch. "You, Jack O'Neill, are such an ass, I don't even *know* where to start." Furiously, Daniel tore the wrapper from Jack's hand.

Jack couldn't help the grin spreading on his face. It wasn't as if he'd done it on purpose, he'd just forgotten about that damned condom. Someone had given it to him at the rally, hell, they'd handed out condoms to everyone, to make a statement. And Jack had simply put it in his wallet, and forgotten all about it. Truth be told, he wasn't sure he'd have been able to hold out on Daniel for much longer, seeing as he was just as frustrated as Daniel.

Daniel slapped Jack's hands away when the older man tried to help. "Mine," he growled, shooting Jack a threatening stare.

Jack might have laughed at this endearing display, if it wasn't for the fact he found it such a turn-on, he couldn't find his voice or his brain to offer a fitting comment to *that*.

Manhandling Jack again, Daniel made it perfectly clear that he wanted to have Jack on top of him and fast just wasn't fast enough. Jack was fairly sure he'd have bruised after Daniel's 'loving' handling.

"Hey!" he cried out as Daniel's long legs were hooked over his shoulders and he was yanked down. Who'd have thought someone bottoming could be so demanding and dominating? Not that Jack was complaining, just stating the facts. And he wouldn't have it any other way. Daniel calling the shots made for the hottest sex he'd ever had. Jack was sure he'd never get bored with the sexual aspect of their relationship.

Leaning forward, Jack let Daniel's legs take some of the weight. For a moment he stopped, looming over Daniel. How the hell had he ever become so lucky? Daniel's hands were fluttering all over his body, fingers playing with his dog tags, tracing lightly, if trembling over his collarbone, down over his chest, tugging at the tags again.

"Sometime this week, Jack?" came the pitiful question. Daniel sounded broken, eyes wide as his entire demeanour changed gradually, as he lost his alpha attitude and nothing but pure heat and love shone in his eyes. One hand came up to cup Jack's cheek, thumb rubbing over his lips.

Jack simply nodded. There was no reason to tease or draw it out. It wasn't a game, never really had been to either of them. Fighting the urge to close his eyes as he slowly pushed inside, Jack put some of the weight on one hand, braced on the couch next to Daniel's head. With the other, he traced invisible patters across Daniel's chest and abs, drawing a deep pleasure-filled moan from the younger man.

Rubbing Daniel's stomach, Jack eased all the way inside, both their bodies stilling for a moment. Jack wanted to say something, even got as far as opening his mouth. Daniel's hand came up, lightly covering Jack's mouth, asking him to be silent.

Jack smiled against the fingers, watching a similar smile spread on Daniel's face below. Slick heat enveloped him, tight and welcoming. The initial desperate edge had been taken off, neither man in a hurry to end it too soon. Jack chuckled breathlessly at the thought of staying like that.

"Wha...?" Daniel tried to focus on him, blinking rapidly.

"You... you look like you're planning on staying like this for the rest of the day." Jack rocked lightly forward.

"Ca...can we?" Daniel asked, biting his lower lip.

"I'd love to, Daniel, but one of us will eventually get a cramp," Jack grinned.

Daniel tilted his head back and slipped his legs down off Jack's shoulders, groaning as the action had Jack shifting inside him. Reaching up, he put his hands on Jack's chest, palms flat and fingers fanned out. Daniel closed his eyes for a moment before giving Jack a radiant smile. "Make love to me?"

Jack's breath caught in his throat, leaving him unable to reply in words. He swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. Nothing he'd rather be doing. Nothing.

Slowly pulling out, Jack watched Daniel's face change from concentration to a soft smile. Jack couldn't help mirroring it as he carefully pushed back in, feeling Daniel arch up to meet him.

"More, Jack, please..." The words were whispered, voice hoarse.

Jack complied willingly, shifting a little, changing the angle as he drew back. When he pushed back in, he knew he'd hit right as Daniel's body convulsed, tremors running through the taut body under him.

Daniel's legs tightened around Jack's chest. "Again, please, *again*." Daniel stretched his arms up over his head, breathing quickening and eyes fluttering shut. The eyes stayed short for only a heartbeat, then the penetrating stare returned, as Daniel watched Jack move in and out, small whimpers escaping him whenever Jack hit his prostate.

"Come on, Daniel, let go, please Love..." The endearment escaped Jack before he could stop. Thing was, he didn't care, and couldn't bring himself to regret the slip when Daniel's mouth formed an 'O', eyes wide in surprise. Mumbled words left him as his mouth turned at the corners, a positively sappy smile on his face.

Jack leaned forward, carefully, noticing how the muscles in Daniel's arms flexed and the man lifted his hips a little more to ease the pressure. Jack found Daniel's firm lips in a soft kiss and when they broke it off a moment later, he picked up a few of the words escaping under his breath. "...Querido... Amante... Love... Lover..." Daniel's voice rose a little as he held Jack's gaze. "Love you, Jack, love you so much it hurts." The arms came back down, slipping around Jack's neck.

For a fleeting second Jack thought he might be hurting Daniel, physically, until he tasted salty tears mingling with their kisses. Ah, that kind of hurt... Jack could relate to that. He suspected it was the same thing welling up inside of him. They kept moving in perfect unison, hands exploring and mouths latched together, as if their very respiration depended upon their joined breath.

Almost in silent mutual agreement, they broke, both men panting, clinging to each other, movements getting more and more aggressive. Jack nipped at Daniel's bottom lip, revelling in the slide of his body against Daniel's, of sweat slick skin on skin...

"Da-Daniel, I'm..."

Daniel nodded frantically, digging his heels into the small of Jack's back, pushing up every time Jack pressed forward. Dextrous fingers slid across Jack's chest and a moment later, as Daniel pinched his nipples lightly, Jack came so hard he had to blink rapidly to keep sweat out of his eyes, to hold Daniel's gaze with his own.

Jack drove down, harder than he'd intended to, as Daniel's pulled him in with his legs and the wet heat spreading between them told Jack that he should take his time and gentle the frantic pace. Moaning deeply as Daniel tightened around him, Jack buried his face against Daniel's neck, still lightly pushing, but mostly trying to soothe the trembling of their bodies.

Daniel moaned in disappointment when Jack finally pulled out and discarded of the condom, but he quickly forgave him again, when the man returned with a blanket. Jack slid under it, snuggling up against Daniel's side. "Okay?"

"Mind blowing," mumbled Daniel. "You ea-earned the right to that smug grin," came the answer, broken mid-sentence by a heartfelt yawn.

It was getting dark outside and the only light in the lodge was the flickering bluish light from the TV. Jack considered reaching for the remote and shutting it off. Then he decided against it. Any shifting about would wake up his almost-but-not-quite-asleep lover. It could wait.


Something drew Jack out of his contented state of sleep. Holding his breath, he strained his senses, searching for whatever might have woken him. There was no change in the slow rhythmic breathing under his head. Daniel was still asleep, hands resting on Jack's back and shoulder, holding him possessively in place. Jack allowed himself a small smile. Such short time, and he'd become used to this intimacy, love and...

There it had been again. Years of training kicked in as Jack became certain that they were no longer alone. Sliding his hand up, he covered Daniel's mouth before waking him. Jack stayed where he was. They might not be alone and there was no reason to give away that he knew. It was dark outside, and there wasn't much light inside the cabin either. Daniel didn't say a word, but his tongue flickered out to play against Jack's palm. Pushing himself up to level with Daniel, Jack shushed him, giving his arm a warning squeeze.

Daniel caught the idea immediately, of course not knowing what was going on, but trusting Jack enough to let him lead the show. Jack lifted his hand and slowly slid off the couch, making his way slowly towards the table where he'd left his gun. The 9MM Beretta was still in the bedroom with the rest of his stuff, but he was paranoid enough to constantly keep the smaller gun fitting the thigh holster handily within reach all the time.

Feeling he didn't have the time for it, Jack didn't bother getting dressed before moving across the room, keeping quiet and falling back into the practised ease of a seasoned soldier. The small gun felt heavy in his hands as he paused to listen again, praying that his lover would stay where he was, keeping from drawing attention to himself.

Jack slid down next to the window, trying to make out anything in the shadows of the night outside, without luck. Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. He turned and stayed crouched as he slowly moved next to the door, slowly pulling it open a few inches, then a little more. Nothing.

Then suddenly a voice broke the silence. "There is no reason for you to hide, Colonel."

Jack felt his heart beat a little faster, but he stayed still.

"We know you're armed, so I advise you put down the gun and come out here where we can see you." The voice sounded a little too smug for Jack's liking, but there was really nothing he could do. If they tried to get him and Daniel out by force, there was a bigger danger of injuring Daniel than there would be if he walked out there at the moment. A calculated risk, at least this way he could get some idea of how many there were.

"We aren't here for you, Colonel, we only want your client."

Jack froze, halfway between crouching and standing. "Why should I let you have him?" Jack tried not to let worry seep into his voice. "He's a client, I take pride in a job well-done -- I don't leave anyone behind, I have sworn to protect Doctor Jackson."

"You must understand, O'Neill, our business is not with you, but the young man who wouldn't listen to warnings or threats."

Jack's eyes had adjusted sufficiently to the dark for him to make out three figures outside. "What are you going to do with him?"

"Oh, Colonel, don't worry your head over that. We'll simply make sure the queer gets what is coming to him."

Cold sweat chilled Jack as he realised no matter what he did, he would be risking Daniel. "I can't let you do that." Jack's voice was lazed with steel. Whatever happened he wouldn't let them get to Daniel.

"Then you leave us no choice, Colonel," the man didn't seem overly sad by that aspect.

Jack heard the safety being taken off two guns and drew a deep breath before sending a silent prayer to whomever might be listening and then let a shot fly out the door before throwing himself across the porch to crouch next to the railing, firing another shot.

Wood from the railing splintered around him as amazingly the third man missed. Two shots, five left. Jack kept count before firing two shots rapidly without full aim. A low grunt told him, he'd hit *someone*.

"O'Neill, why are you insisting on doing this the hard way?" The speaker sounded a little annoyed. "With a military background you should be able to see things from our point of view."

"What the hell do you mean by that?" Jack tried to make out the shadow. One fully down, one obviously wounded and the speaker... had moved back a bit, seeking cover. Three shots left. Another round of shots had wooden splinters flying again and Jack felt the sting of one grazing his temple, warm blood trickling down over his cheek.

"The military don't like queers, Colonel, and I'd like to see it stay that way, in fact, I'd like the Senate to learn from that."

Jack growled low in his throat. "That makes one of us, Mister."

"Why Colonel? Don't tell me the Doctor has charmed his way inside..."

"Don't even *think* it, bastard." Jack was beginning to feel nicely pissy. A quick check, and Jack took out the last guy with a gun. At least he hoped it was the last guy. The speaker didn't seem to be carrying any weapons, but one could never know. Jack heard the man swearing.

"Mr. O'Neill, last chance to hand over the queer." The click of a safety rang through the night. Two shots left...

Jack took the chance and shot at the man, but failed to hit him. One shot left...

Every fibre in Jack's body was screaming for him to get it right in that one last shot, to draw the man out.

"Why don't you give up, Colonel, you can't have many shots left."

"If I do?" God, Daniel, stay in the lodge, stay inside, this isn't going to be pretty.

"You may walk away, Colonel, just leave the Doctor to me."

'No way in hell.' "Give me a moment to consider it." Jack's mind was racing, trying to buy him a little time to think. Taking a deep breath, he slowly stood. It was make or break. One shot left. One chance to take out the man who was threatening Daniel, who was threatening Jack's chance of having a little happiness in his life. All seemingly because he had a problem with homosexuality.

"Wise decision, Colonel." The other man stepped out from his hideaway, reaching out for the gun. Jack moved as if to hand it over, when instead he quickly levelled it and shot at the man's heart. The other man staggered, then fell to the ground without another word.

Jack felt his knees tremble as he watched the man at his feet. Cell phone. Daniel had one, they should call authorities, the Senator... Jack moved forward to check on his opponent, only to find a gun aimed at him. *Fuck*, he'd lost focus for a moment.

"Wrong move, Colonel," spat the man, obviously in pain. He kept the gun trained on Jack as he stood, slow and painfully. "Now, step back for a moment, and do be a good soldier and call Doctor Jackson out here."

Jack stubbornly shook his head. No. Way. In. Hell.

"Colonel, last chance..."

"I'd rather die a happy queer than a bitter, lonely soldier." Jack held his arms out, lips pursed, a menacing smile on his face. 'I'm sorry, Daniel, I'm *so* sorry.'

A shot rang through the woods, and Jack realised as he opened his eyes, that he was still very much alive. Slowly turning, he found Daniel standing on the porch, naked as the day he'd been born, Jack's 9MM held out in front of him, a pained expression on his face.

"Daniel...?" Jack knew better than to rush to his lover's side.

"I..." Daniel's voice faltered. "It seemed like a good idea..."

Jack finally moved, slowly, towards the other man. Two steps up to the porch, and he gently pried the gun from Daniel's trembling hands. Placing the gun on the railing, Jack drew Daniel into a warm, comforting hug. "I'm sorry you had to shoot a man, Daniel, I truly am."

"I'll... survive, I think... eventually." Daniel's words were muffled as his face was buried against Jack's neck.

"We... Daniel, we need to call authorities and your father."

Daniel drew back a little, blue eyes burning into Jack's. "My Dad's going to be stunned beyond words."

Jack pulled him back into his arms. "At what?"

"Kinsey." Daniel drew a deep sigh. "The man I just shot was Senator Kinsey."

Jack drew a sharp breath.

"Well, he never did like me much," Daniel noted dryly.

Jack didn't say anything. Were they finally really safe? Or would there be others? But it made sense, they'd said on the news that Simmons had received orders from someone in the higher echelons of society. Turned out it had been Senator Kinsey.

"Thanks for saving my life, Daniel." Jack rocked them slowly from side to side.

"Re-remind me to thank my Dad for forcing me to take shooting lessons," mumbled the younger man.

Jack tightened his hold on Daniel. "You gonna be okay?"

Daniel nodded hesitantly against Jack's skin. "I... think so, yes." They stood in silence for a moment. "Jack?"

"Mmm?"

"Think it's over now?"

"I hope so, Daniel, I hope so." Jack rubbed the small of Daniel's back soothingly.

"So... I won't need a bodyguard anymore?" Daniel sounded... sad.

Jack realised where Daniel's thoughts were heading. "Don't even think about it, Daniel, I'm staying, with you..." He paused. "If you want me to."

Shivering a little in the chill night air, Daniel burrowed closer. "We need to convince my Dad that we need to keep you around... I need you."

"We need to tell him, Daniel." Jack gently pulled back, leading Daniel inside, closing the door on the bad memories outside.

Daniel sighed deeply as he moved to retrieve his cell. "I know." He went over to the couch, dragging Jack with him. He pushed the older man down onto the couch and curled up against him before hitting speed-dial.

It was going to be a long night, but Jack was confident that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. He was definitely not letting Daniel go without a fight. Jack could hear the dial up tone. "I love you," he whispered, closing his eyes, feeling heat swell and press behind his lids as he leaned his head against Daniel's neck.

Daniel moved as if he could get any closer before whispering back, voice low, but sure. "Love you too, Jack." Before the phone was answered at the other end, Jack caught the words, barely audible. "Never leave me."

"Never," Jack mouthed against Daniel's bare skin. Daniel's body relaxed against him. He'd heard Jack's answer and no matter what the world would throw at them, together they'd cope.

The End

This story has a stand alone sequel "Have yourself a Merry, little Christmas"

There is a crossover with Due South set in this universe as well, called "Truly, Madly, Deeply"