Jack played with his drink, bored. His long awaited reunion with his old air force buddies was not turning out quite the way he had anticipated. For some time he had been unsatisfied with his life. His work was going well, so it wasn't that, but something was missing, he could feel it's lack even though he had no idea what it was. He had wondered if perhaps his decision to leave had been a mistake, and had been hoping that this night would resolve his doubts. Well, it had certainly done that. My god, had he ever been this juvenile, and if so, when had he changed?
What had he been thinking? The first few bars should have been enough to show him he no longer had anything in common with these testosterone filled ex-jocks, so why had he agreed to this? Who's dumb idea had it been to come to a gay strip joint and hassle the performers? Already, the mountain of a bouncer was itching to throw their annoying butts out of there. He was held back only by the slim hand against his chest.
Jack took a closer look at the owner of said hand; a tall, beautiful, and seriously pissed looking blonde. Jack began to think the evening might not be a total bust after all; she certainly looked more interesting than the type of women he usually met. Then again, it was doubtful she'd give him the time of day considering the way his so-called friends were behaving.
He turned his attention back to the 'entertainment'. This unfortunate young man, unlike his predecessors, had not run off the stage in tears. After heroically struggling through his routine, in spite of the scorn heaped upon him, he was now moving down the runway collecting his tips. Much to the very vocal delight of Jack's cronies, the clubs patrons were stuffing the bills into the dancer's G-string.
Jack was disgusted by the comments made by men he had known for most of his adult life. How could he have lived and worked with them yet known them so little? At the last minute, the young man lost his nerve, and bolted back into the wings. Ah, crap. Enough was enough.
Jack rose to leave just as the house lights dimmed, and row upon row of filmy curtains dropped from above. Almost immediately, an expectant hush fell over the room, an air of anticipation stirring the eager watchers. Clearly, the regulars knew what was coming. Intrigued, he sat back down as a strange haunting melody began, music that reminded him of his time in the Middle East, of exotic bazaar's and Arabian nights.
He became aware of a slender male figure behind the curtains, illuminated by a single spotlight. Jack stared, unable to pull his gaze from the sinuous body, which swayed and spun to the sensuous music. He craned to see more as the young dancer began weaving through the billowing veils, until only one remained. He held his breath as that, too, was pulled aside, and he got his first clear sight of the man.
Not at all what he'd expected. Young, tall, definitely beautiful, but also definitely male...not even a hint of the androgyny which had characterised the earlier performers. His hair was short, almost military in cut...although the glitter and beads could never be considered regulation; his skin flawless, glistening under the lights; his body toned and perfectly proportioned. He stood, perfectly still, in absolute command of the room.
Jack would never have believed that someone dressed only in a flimsy, sparkling, sequined loincloth could have so much dignity. His heart actually skipped a beat as the young man's vivid blue eyes raked over his group, a sneer on his perfect pouting lips. He clearly knew what had been going on, and was not happy. Jack was so intent on the young man that the lack of heckling from his comrades barely registered.
The dancer stalked down the runway as the tempo increased, coming to a halt in front of Jack, his back toward the men who had harassed his friends. He turned to glare over first one shoulder, then the other, his contempt plain to see. Faster and faster he turned, finally dropping on all fours and flinging his head back and forth as his back arched. As the music came to a dramatic climax, he threw himself backwards, knees bent and arms outstretched.
After a stunned moment of silence, the young dancer rose gracefully to rapturous applause. His mesmerised audience showered him with money, no one making the slightest attempt to stuff the bills anywhere but into his hand. That is, until he reached Jack's air force pals. The first in line, Captain Van Damme, had his fifty all set to go into the spangled loincloth. He glared at the young dancer, trying to browbeat him with a look that had intimidated hardened professionals; he failed. The young dancer simply stared back, hands on hips, until the hand rose, and he was able to take the bill from trembling fingers. Van Damme fell back, cowed, and any further harassment ended with his defeat.
Then it was over, the dancer was gone, and Jack's world was forever altered.
Jack smiled as the waitress automatically brought his drink; after all he'd been here every night for almost two months so he could pretty much be classed him as a regular. How had this happened? No one had ever affected him the way this young dancer had, so what was so special about him? Granted he was cute, but that was hardly enough to bring him back, night after night. Lots of guys were good-looking; he'd never felt the need to arrange his life around the prospect of seeing them for a few minutes each day.
At first, Jack had considered the possibility of a mid-life crisis. Unlikely, but what did he know about hormones; maybe they could screw up his preferences, maybe all he needed was a few pills to get back on track. He decided on a visit to a gay bar to check it out. It did not go well. Not one of the numerous men who approached him appealed in the slightest; the first too short, another too muscular, a third's hair was too long and a fourth had eyes the wrong shade of blue. So, not a complete change in sexual orientation then.
His next thought was that it had to be something to do with the 'magic of the theatre'...the bright lights and glittering costumes. So, that night, he parked his truck opposite the stage door and waited for the young dancer to exit. After a few minutes, the door opened and several of the performers burst out onto the street. In spite of the flamboyant outfits, they looked pretty average...cute certainly, but not life shattering. Oh yes, this was going to work.
Then he came out. He stood in the light from the open doorway, squinting through his fogged up glasses as the rain plastered his hair to his head, dripped off his nose and down the neck of his duffle coat. Jack shifted uncomfortably, needing to adjust his too tight clothing. Not the clothes and the lights then.
A strange and seductive idea began to invade Jack's mind. What if he offered him a lift? The light drizzle had worked itself into quite a downpour by now, so the odds were good that he would accept. They could go for a drink, maybe a meal. All he needed to do was...damn.
Sadly, before he was able to form a coherent plan of action, the tall blonde babe from the club pulled up, calling to the dancer as she opened the passenger door, and then he was gone...but at least he now had a name. Daniel...he was called Daniel. Crap, why couldn't he be called Lester, or Desmond, or Harold...but no, he had to be called Daniel. He just had to have the sort of name that would sound perfect when called out in an ecstasy of passion.
After that, Jack had stopped trying to figure out the incomprehensible. Instead, he had reorganised his appointments, had stopped seeing his friends altogether if they couldn't or wouldn't meet for lunch. His nights were sacrosanct. Every evening, without fail, he showered, dressed as if for a date, and then headed out to the club...and to Daniel.
This night, like every other, Jack waited impatiently for his Daniel to perform. Not surprisingly, he was always the last to go on, his act being absolutely impossible to follow. Jack had soon found, however, that showing up only in time to see him meant having to sit way in the back of the club. So now he was one of the first to arrive, ensuring his favourite seat, slap bang in front of Daniel's climactic finale, was always available to him.
Tonight, however, someone had beaten him to it. Someone else was sitting in his seat. Someone else would be the recipient of Daniel's scathing looks. Someone else would be close enough to taste the beads of sweat as they flew from Daniel's writhing, glistening body. Someone who wasn't him. Someone else. Jack scowled as he squirmed and fidgeted in the wrong seat. This had better be a one shot deal, because no way was he giving up his rightful place without a fight. And then the lights dimmed, the veils dropped, and all conscious thoughts fled, his whole being concentrated on the stage, and the man who had become the centre of his universe.
As Daniel flung back the final veil, he seemed to falter, his eyes searching. Jack stopped breathing as the azure eyes locked with his own. It lasted only a moment, but it was enough. Daniel had missed him, he hadn't been in his usual seat, and Daniel had missed him. It may not be a declaration of undying love, but it was something after all...to be looked for.
Daniel gave no other indication that tonight was any different from all the other nights, giving his all just as he always did. But for Jack, everything had changed with one look. A movement from the front of the stage caught his attention. The new guy who had stolen his seat had dared to lay hands on his Daniel. This was unheard of, and his advances were properly, and forcefully spurned. And yet he persisted. My god, now he was on the stage, grabbing once again for his Daniel.
New guy staggered back, stunned by the force of Daniel's slap. Instantly, a pair of oversized goons leapt to his aid, each grabbing one of the dancer's flailing arms. Jack was on his feet before he knew it, reaching Daniel a split second before the large bouncer.
As it turned out, it wasn't much of a fight. Size, it would seem, isn't everything, and both Jack and the bouncer were able to dispatch their respective thug with ease. It was Daniel himself who gave the coup des gras to new guy, grabbing his crotch and twisting viciously, then tipping him off the stage with one elegant foot after he fell to his knees. Good move, Jack thought, his Daniel was certainly no pushover.
Impressively, the bouncer was able to single-handedly drag, carry or roll all three men from the club, tossing them unceremoniously out the door. Sweet. It gradually dawned on Jack that he was still standing on the stage...that he was still standing on the stage with Daniel. "Uh...hi...uh...come here often?"
Okay, maybe not the best opening. "Some jerk, that guy, huh?" That was better, that put him firmly in Daniel's corner. With any luck, he'd forget that Jack's first visit had been in the company of equally jerky guys.
"Not unlike your friends, really."
Crap. "Ex-friends. I don't know what I ever saw in them. Won't be seeing them again, either, I can promise you that."
"Why would you think I'd ever give a damn who you see or don't see?"
"Hey, a guy can dream, can't he? Look...uh...uhm...look, could we please start again? I'm Jack O'Neill, pleased to meet you." He held out a hand hopefully. Daniel studied him for a minute before taking it.
"Daniel Jackson. Thanks for your help, not that I couldn't have handled things on my own..."
"No, no, I could see you could take care of yourself..." And how, that guy was crying.
"Well, I always have, still, thanks. Why don't you wait for me outside?"
"Wait for me outside, you can take me for coffee."
"I can...huh?" Huh?
"Coffee, after I change. That is, if you want to...do you?"
"Do you want to go for coffee with me?"
"Yes. Please. Yes. I do. Want coffee. With you. Yes. Please." Fuck, yeah.
"Okay then, go wait outside."
"Outside, right, going now. Good."
Coffee. He was having coffee with Daniel. Well, hot damn.
"Double espresso, right?"
"Yeah, thanks. So, Jack, what were you doing hanging out with those personality challenged overgrown schoolboys?"
"I used to serve in the air force with them." God, I hope he doesn't think I'm like that.
"Why does that not surprise me? Only the military could turn out such sexually repressed, emotionally bankrupt, brain dead sheep."
"Damn, I don't know which part of that to take offence at first." Please don't mean me.
"I didn't mean you...after all, you had the good sense to get out. Or did you get thrown out?"
"No, of course I didn't. It was just time to move on."
"What do you do now?"
"I work in security."
"What, like a bodyguard?"
"Something like that."
"See, I knew you were different. You've moved on to something where you can be your own boss instead of blindly following along."
"Well, yeah, but still. Sure, being in the military can make you a little...uh...conformist, but you have to understand, in combat situations you have to know that orders will be followed without question. It's a life or death thing. And don't forget, it's the military that keeps you sleeping safe in your bed."
"God, what a terrifying thought."
"They're doing the best they can. It's just a shame that kind of closed society tends to make guys act like...uh..."
"Uh...yeah. Were you talking about me when you said sexually repressed?" Am I sexually repressed?
"Hell, no. You seem surprisingly well adjusted. I meant those other guys...the ones who need to put down anyone who's different to feel like a man, especially that asswipe who tried to get his hands down the front of my costume."
"Who, Van Damme? No way, that guy is one hundred percent straight."
"Oh, please. Don't tell me, he's a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy...wham bam thank you ma'am...anything in a skirt...all of whom think he's sex on legs. He talks about his conquests ad nauseam, how great he is in the sack, and how no woman can ever resist him being the main topic of his discourse. Oh, and if any woman should resist his advances, she's either frigid or a dyke."
"Damn, you met him before?"
"Not personally, only the type. And trust me on this, straight men don't get aroused from watching other men dancing naked...and he was so hard he was about ready to explode. Maybe that was why he was so mad, sexual frustration can make you mean."
"Ever thought of taking up psychology?" Damn, he's smart.
"Actually, I've taken a class in it, amongst other things."
"What other things?" Really smart.
"Archaeology, linguistics, anthropology..."
"Geez, what are you, some kind of genius?" Really really smart.
"I like to learn."
"Then shouldn't you be in school?"
"I was, briefly."
"Why only briefly?"
"I was in the accelerated learning program...graduated at fifteen. I got a scholarship, and the child welfare officer agreed to let me go as long as..."
"Wait up, child welfare?"
"Oh, yes...they were responsible for me. My parents died when I was seven."
"I'm sorry." Crap.
"It was a long time ago, it doesn't matter now."
"I can take care of myself."
"I'm sure you can, I'm just sorry you had to when you were so young. Go on, what made you quit school, I'd have thought you'd fit right in."
"I thought so too, until I got there. I was three years younger than anyone else for a start, that might not matter so much as you get older, but at fifteen, the difference is enormous. No eighteen year old would be seen dead hanging out with a fifteen year old kid. It didn't help that I was smarter than almost everyone else too."
"That I can believe. So you gave up because you were lonely?"
"Hell, no, I was used to that."
"My attending school was dependant on my living with the principal and his wife."
"Don't tell me, they didn't like you."
"On the contrary, the principal liked me a little too much."
"What?! You don't mean..." Jack was horrified, the idea that anyone could intentionally harm this amazing young man deeply disturbing. Someone should have been there...someone should have taken care of him.
"I knew the signs right away...it wasn't the first time one of my supposed carers got over friendly. He was no different, maybe a little less honest about it...I mean please, did he really expect me to believe that the constant stroking and squeezing was a natural adjunct to helping me with my studies?"
"Daniel, that's...god...I'm so sorry...did he...uh..."
"Did he what?" Daniel looked at first confused, then as the meaning of Jack's words penetrated, he seemed almost amused. "Oh...fuck, no. I kicked him in the balls and took off, what kind of a wuss do you think I am? No-one gets to touch me unless I permit it."
"I told you, I can..."
"Take care of yourself...I know. Why didn't you tell anyone what he did?" Bastard, wish I'd been there.
"Yeah, right. Like they'd believe some homeless orphan over a well respected member of society."
"No, they probably wouldn't, doesn't make it right though." I would have believed you.
"A lot of things aren't right...they still happen. Anyway, I survived."
"But you never went back to school."
"No. I decided I was best off on my own."
"And so you ended up as an exotic dancer."
"Not right away. I did all kinds of things first."
"What kind of things?"
"Oh, you know, waiting tables, washing dishes, tending bar...anything where they wouldn't ask too many questions. Then I met Sam."
"Sam?" Who the hell is Sam?
"From the club."
"Not the big guy?" Please not the big guy, no way can I compete with him.
"Who? Oh, you must mean Murray."
"Murray? That behemoth is called Murray? What kind of person names a man like that Murray?" Murray?
"I'm guessing he was a little smaller when he acquired the name. Besides, you want to tell him his name sucks?"
"I'll pass. Who's Sam, then?"
"She manages the bar...you must have seen her...tall, blonde, hot?"
"Oh sure, noticed her the first night I was there. She wasn't exactly the sort of person I was expecting to see in a place like that." Oh, her.
"Why? She's good at her job, and she loves it there. She says it's the first place she's ever worked where she isn't always getting hit on."
"Well no, she wouldn't be. Did she get you the dancing job?"
"No. We met when we were both working in another bar. One night, we all went out to celebrate one of the girl's engagement. She wanted to go see male strippers, so that's what we did. I guess we all got a bit drunk, and Sam started saying how much better I was than most of those guys. It started out as a joke, but then I thought...why not? I love dancing, I'm good at it, and it sure beats washing glasses all night."
"But couldn't you find something else, something more suited to your abilities." Something where other guys don't get to see you naked.
"If I was that unsuited to the dancing, I doubt you'd have been back every night for the past few months. Besides, I can't think of anything I could do that would pay more."
"I can't believe you get paid that much for what you do."
"Basic is peanuts, but the tips rock."
"What, enough to live on?"
"Oh yeah. Even on a bad night I'll take around five hundred bucks. Weekends it's more like a couple of thousand."
"Geez...I'm in the wrong business. And I guess it's all tax free, too."
"Well, it could be, but I wouldn't feel right not declaring it, besides, don't forget who brought down Al Capone."
"True, you don't want to screw with the IRS." Jack put down his empty cup, wondering if he could talk Daniel into staying for another one, or maybe a snack, anything to keep him close just a little longer. It didn't help that they were the last two people there, and the staff were clearly willing them to leave. He felt a little desperate as he saw Daniel glance at his watch and he still hadn't come up with anything viable to convince him to stay.
"It's getting late. Time to go home, I think."
"Oh, right, I'll drive you." Damn.
"No, it's fine."
"It's no problem, Daniel, really, I want to." Please, please, I really want to.
"Honestly, Jack, there's no need. I only live a couple of blocks away."
"Oh. Can I at least walk you back?" Say yes, say yes.
"I'd like that."
"Okay then, let's go." Sweet.
"Jack, you can stop walking now, this is it."
"Oh. Well, I guess I should say goodnight, then." Crap.
"You don't have to...not if you don't want to. You could come up."
"You mean for coffee?"
"If I meant that, I'd have said that...coffee is too important to screw around with."
"Jack, I had a good time tonight. I like you, I'm pretty sure you like me, so, would you like to come up and see if tonight is leading anywhere?"
"Yes. I would."
Jack, seated on the only chair in the small room, stared in fascination. If he had any doubts about Daniel's intelligence, they were gone now. Loaded bookcases lined the walls while almost every available surface held yet another book, except for the ones bearing some weird looking object. Looking down at the mug in his hands, he smiled over to the bed where Daniel was currently perched. "I thought we weren't going to have coffee?"
"I'm not that scary, am I?"
"Its not you per se, more the...uh...situation."
"Surely you've had guys in your room before?"
"You know, the biggest problem with doing what I do is that people assume I'm way sexually experienced, when actually I'm...uh...not."
"How much not?"
"Pretty much completely not."
"Is that a problem for you, only I thought you ought to know, before we...uhm..."
"Right, yes." We're going to uhm?
"Yes it is a problem?"
"No." We're going to uhm...sweet. "Yes I ought to know."
"Oh. So is it?"
"Oh. No." Hell, no.
"How come you've never...uhm..." What's wrong with the guys in this town?
"Oh, well, I saw the way some of my foster families carried on, and no way was I going to be like that. From what I remember of my parents, they really cared for each other, and that's what I want. I want my first time to be special...with someone I care about."
Is he saying what I think he's saying? "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"
"If you think I'm saying that you're the first person I've ever met who I want to make love with, then yes, I am."
"Wow, that's...wow." Wow.
"Is that a good wow or a bad wow?"
"Good, definitely good. Super duper peachy good."
"Oh, good. I was worried I was maybe moving to fast, I mean, we only just met."
"Well, I've been coming to the club for quite awhile now, so technically, you could say we'd been seeing each other for months."
"Seeing maybe, but not technically dating."
"Not technically, no, but we could always pretend."
"I suppose we could do that."
"Works for me."
"Could we also pretend that we're already done with the foreplay?"
"And get right to the main feature, you mean?"
"You don't want us to take our time, make it...you know...romantic?"
"At this stage I just want to get it done."
"It's not a chore, Daniel, it's supposed to be fun."
"Is it supposed to be this awkward?"
"The first time? Always."
"Don't worry, you'll soon get the hang of it." Very soon if I have my way.
"Oh. I'm assuming you know what to do."
"Yes and no."
"That's not very reassuring."
"Well, see, I have plenty of experience with women, but squat with guys."
"So you're not...?"
"Nope. Well, obviously I am with you, but otherwise, no. It can't be all that different though. Some of the women I've been with have been pretty adventurous, so I'm sure we'll manage."
"As long as you don't mind helping me out a little...telling me what to do and stuff."
"What do I do?"
"Oh. We should probably start with a little kissage, to get in the mood."
"I can do that. Should I come over there, or are you gonna..."
"I'll come over there."
Jack moved over to join a nervous Daniel, sitting close but still not touching. The two looked at each other, separated by a lifetime of inhibitions. Daniel jumped first. He was suddenly there, in Jack's arms, the force of his leap throwing them both backwards to sprawl in a tangle of long limbs and rough male kisses.
Jack had very rapidly been brought to the realization that Daniel wasn't the only one making love for the first time here. None of his previous encounters had come anything close to what he felt now, not because they had all been with women, but because for the first time ever, his emotions as well as his body was engaged. He could only conclude that there was a very real difference between sex and love, and he was only now experiencing the latter.
As for Daniel, his enthusiasm more than made up for any lack of experience. Jack had never known anyone who gave so much, holding back nothing, always committing himself with stunning passion. Jack lay back now, exhausted, while Daniel continued to swarm over him, nipping and nuzzling like an exited puppy.
"Mnnn, I love that you have hair on your chest, I've always hated being so smooth." Daniel buried his nose in said hair, happily sucking one erect nipple into his eager mouth, his actions drawing a gasp from the object of his attentions. "Look, it's like a trail, it's saying 'follow me to the hidden treasure'." Much to Jack's delight, Daniel did follow the trail, bestowing small kisses en route.
Damn, it didn't get much better than this. Jack reached under the covers to caress the soft hair, his other hand reaching back to the bedpost as Daniel got to work on his treasure. "Damn, Daniel, are you sure you've never done this before?"
"I learn fast."
"I'll say...you're a natural babe."
"Don't call me babe."
"Whatever. Holy fuck!"
"What, what? Did I do something wrong?" Daniel's concerned face peered out from the bedclothes, worried that he had somehow erred.
"What? Hell, no, so far you've done everything right. Could you please...uh...trust me on this, this is the worst possible time to stop, so..."
"Oh, okay." Daniel promptly ducked back down.
"That's it Daniel, just...FUCK!!"
The light streaming through the windows finally woke Jack. He shifted experimentally, a little stiff from his earlier exertions. Daniel moaned, even now reluctant to loosen his hold. He had finally fallen asleep nestled in Jack's arms, clasping him so tightly that breathing was almost impossible. His sleeping response to the slightest twitch was to hang on tighter. Jack had spent most of the night awake, in extreme discomfort, and supremely happy.
He caressed the soft hair tickling his nose, still a little stunned at the change in his circumstances. Only yesterday he would have counted himself fortunate to exchange two words with Daniel, and now here they were, in bed and apparently in love. Well, he was in love, and he was reasonably confident that the feeling was reciprocated. Daniel began to stir, raking his fingers through the coarse hair on Jack's chest.
"It better be. Sleep well?"
"Very...better than I've slept in ages. You make a good pillow."
"Glad to be of service." Any time, kid.
"I had a good time last night."
"Oh yeah, me too." Good time doesn't even come close.
"Jack, I'm sorry if I wasn't very good, I haven't had any practice."
Is he kidding? "Are you kidding? Daniel you are amazing, and as for not getting any practice, I plan on changing that as of now. Uh...Daniel, you do know that isn't all I want you for, don't you? To drag you into bed?"
"Don't be an ass, Jack, and you didn't drag me. You were still saying didn't I think we ought to wait while I was getting your pants off."
"You're right...you used me."
"Yes, and you loved it."
"I did, and I hope to go on loving it for a long long time. Damn, I feel good. I'm going to take the day off, we could spend it together, what's left of it anyway."
"That sounds nice, what time is it?"
"Nearly twelve, why?"
"Damn, I have a class. I'm going to have to leave soon."
A class? "A class? Where, in what?"
"Community college...common mythological themes in ancient cultures. I try and take at least one or two each semester."
"Sounds like a blast. Couldn't you skip it, just for today?"
"I can't, there's a test. Couldn't we spend tomorrow together instead?"
"I was wanting to spend today, tomorrow, and every day after that with you."
"Oh. Jack, don't you have a life...you know, work and stuff?"
"I like being with you more."
"Oh. Are you always like this when you meet someone new."
"No, but then you're not just some one. You're the one."
"Oh. Good. Lucky too, since that's pretty much how I feel."
"I'm still going to my class, Jack."
"Damn. Good to know a bunch of old dead people's fairy stories are more important than me."
"Don't be like that, we're going to have plenty of time to be together, this is just one afternoon. Not even that...a few hours. We could meet later...I don't have to be at the club 'till late."
"I guess I can occupy myself for a few hours. We could have dinner...like a proper date."
"Good, that's settled then. Do you want to have the first shower?"
"Why don't we have one together?"
"Because I'm not an idiot. I know perfectly well what would happen if we got naked and wet up close and personal, and then I'd never get out of here."
"Damn, now I really want to have a shower with you."
"We can have one tonight, after my performance. That dance always gets me hot."
"I know the feeling."
Jack stood awkwardly with Daniel on the street corner opposite the club. It was time for them to separate...for Jack to pick up his truck, and for Daniel to go to his class. The problem for Jack was...should he kiss Daniel goodbye? If he had been a woman, then no question, but was the etiquette the same for two guys? Would Daniel expect a kiss? So far both of them had shuffled and mumbled, hoping for a clue as to what happened next.
Finally, Jack settled on a compromise, a brief hug followed by a macho back slap. He turned to leave, but at the last moment turned back and, grabbing Daniel, planted a nervous sloppy kiss on soft lips. He knew he'd done the right thing the minute he saw the happy smile. Man, he was so dead. "See you tonight ba...uh...hon...uh...damn, is there anything you don't object to me calling you?
"Right. What about Danny or Dannyboy?"
"No. It's Daniel...Jackie-baby."
"Eeew, okay, I get the message, no pet names."
"Bye bye, lambie-pie."
"Oh now that's just plain mean. I never called you anything that sucky. Daniel."
"It's a pre-emptive strike. Jack."
"Good job...they could use you at the Pentagon."
With a final pat, Jack started across the road. His own name shouted in fear stopped him in his tracks. Turning, his horrified eyes took in the sight of Daniel struggling desperately while two large men stuffed him into a waiting car. He ran back, but was too late, able only to stare helplessly as Daniel was torn from him.
Jack sank to his knees, stunned by how quickly the day had gone to hell. This was no random attack; those men had been waiting for the opportunity to take Daniel. Almost unconsciously, Jack's military training kicked in, and he began to sort through his memories, analysing the data for any clue that would lead him to Daniel. With a start, he realised that he recognised the kidnappers. Now, at least he had a place to start, and hopefully some answers.
"Come on, open up, I know you're in there." Jack pounded on the doors and windows. He needed information, and this was the best place to get it. He rattled the door again, kicking it in a frenzy of impatience. "Open the damn door or I'll kick it in!" He found himself facing the club's bouncer, who's imposing frame filled the now open doorway.
"We are closed. You must return later."
"Please, I need your help, Daniel's in trouble." His words were more effective than he had hoped as a large hand reached out to haul him into the club.
"It's Daniel, he's..."
"Murray, what's going on?"
"You're Sam, right?"
"That's right, Sam Carter. And you are?"
"Jack O'Neill. I'm a...friend...of Daniel's. He's in trouble."
"Once again you state that Daniel Jackson is in peril, and yet you do not elaborate."
"I was getting to it. He's been kidnapped."
"What? How do you know?"
"Are you certain, O'Neill?"
"Of course I'm certain. I saw them take him."
"I recognise you, you're one of the regulars. What were you doing watching Daniel, have you been stalking him?"
"Me!? Look lady I don't know what your problem is, but I think you need to get that bug out of your ass and help me. I was with Daniel, and the minute I left him alone those bastards grabbed him."
"How were...Holy Hannah, you spent the night with Daniel."
"But he never...I mean, all the time I've known him...he just doesn't..."
"Well he did last night. Can we move on now, I don't have time for this."
"I guess if Daniel trusts you enough to...then you must be okay, he's a pretty good judge of character."
"I concur. How may we assist you?"
"The guys who snatched him, they were the goons from last night, the ones with the guy who tried to drag him off the stage."
"Oh my god, I should have known he would try something, he's not the kind of man to accept a refusal. Dammit, I should have warned Daniel to be careful."
"Wait a minute, you know who he is?"
"We have had the misfortune of previously encountering that individual, O'Neill. He is known as Snake Apophis."
"You're kidding. That was Apophis? I thought he'd be more...uh...I don't know, just more."
"I take it you've heard of him?"
Jack nodded at the blonde woman's question. "Who hasn't? Drugs, prostitution, gambling, protection, you name it, he's into it, and now he has a Daniel. We have to call the cops, get them..."
"No, no cops."
"What are you talking about? You obviously don't understand the situation here. Daniel is..."
"I'm fully aware of the problem...I'm not sure you are."
"I'm aware, Ms. Carter, that Daniel is in the clutches of some psycho crime boss, one who has made his intentions pretty damn obvious I might add, and if..."
"Look, Sir, Daniel is an exotic dancer, just how much importance do you think the cops will put on getting him out safely compared to the chance to take down a major player like Apophis?"
"Oh. If you put it like that, I guess you have a point, but what choice do we have?"
"We go in and get him ourselves."
"What, all three of us? We are talking about the same Apophis, right. Mean nasty dude, employs an army of muscle...that Apophis?"
"If you fear him then you need not come. Samantha Carter and I will retrieve Daniel Jackson."
"Hey, if there's any retrieving to be done, I'll do it."
"Then we are in agreement."
"We are?" Is this guy nuts?
"Murray's right, Sir, we're Daniel's best chance of getting out of this in one piece, and I'm not prepared to risk his safety."
"Okay then, we do it, but no way do we do this without a proper plan...and backup. And it's Jack, not Sir." At the nods of agreement he received from the other two, he continued. "I have a few favours I can call in, and with any luck I should be able to get the plans to Apophis' house."
"How soon can you be ready...Jack?"
"Give me half an hour, then meet me back here."
"Good, that should give us time to arrange some backup of our own."
"Don't you trust me?"
"I don't know you, but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Just know that your not the only one who cares about Daniel, he has a lot of friends. Besides, if you do anything that hurts Daniel, Murray will take you apart."
"Hey, we're all on the same side here."
"I hope so. Back here in half an hour, then?"
"Right. Half an hour, then we go get our boy back."
Daniel gave one more disgusted look around the repellently tacky room in which he was being held. God, who knew there was so much gold and crimson velvet in the world? Clearly the decorator was going for the early American bordello look. Sadly the lack of taste didn't extend to the ropes tying him to the chair, which were of the highest quality, and expertly tied. These guys sure knew knots. When one final experimental tug failed to so much as loosen his bonds, he once more began cursing fluently and volubly.
The heavy door opened to admit his smug captor.
"Daniel, Daniel, who would have thought such foul language could come from such a sweet mouth."
"Eat shit and die, dickweed."
"Now that's not very friendly, is it dear boy, and after I've taken such pains to bring you to me."
"Friendly? You expect me to be friendly after your thugs drag me off the street, tie me up way too tight, and then just leave me here in this appalling room for hours. Are you insane?"
"I apologise for any inconvenience, however, had you co-operated there would have been no need for violence. I only want to get to know you better."
"Fuck that...I never asked to be here, and whatever it is you want from me, you won't get it, so you might as well let me go now. Co-operate my ass."
"Oh, I think you might change your mind when you see what I can offer you."
"Not a chance, penishead. You have nothing I could ever want, and quit pawing at me...I'm not a fucking dog." Daniel ducked his head away from the cold intrusive hands, but Apophis only laughed, bestowing a final pat before settling back onto the oversized curtained bed.
"Don't be too sure. I can give you a way out of that sordid life you're living; I can give you wealth, power, position. Anything you want I can get you..."
"All I want is to go home...can you give me that, numbnuts?"
"Why don't you take a look at some of the gifts I've got you...see, I have them all ready."
Daniel's eyes followed the pointing hand to a mound of garishly wrapped parcels. There had to be dozens of them, all piled up under a portrait of a remarkably ugly old woman. This was so weird. "Okay, fine, untie me and I'll be happy to open those wonderful presents."
"No need for that...here, let me help you. Why don't we try this one first?" Picking up one of the boxes, Apophis began to tear off the paper until the contents were revealed.
"A camera...you think I'm going to stay with you because you're giving me a camera? I have a camera."
"Not like this one, this is digital...state of the arts...top of the range. See how..."
"IT'S A FUCKING CAMERA, you fuckwit. Why the fuck would I give up my life for a fucking camera?!"
Daniel looked on in amazement, as Apophis actually seemed to be offended at his lack of gratitude. Unbelievable.
"There's really no need for that kind of language. If you don't like this gift then we can return it and get something you do want. Maybe a..."
"Home...all I want is to GO HOME. What is wrong with you, what part of 'fuck you' don't you get?" Daniel was fast coming to the realisation that the other man's self-delusion was impenetrable.
"I'm sorry you can't be reasonable. Maybe you need some time to think about it, I realise my proposal must come as something of a shock."
"I don't believe this...your proposal?"
I know we could be friends if you just give us a chance."
"There is no us, and trust me, we could never be friends."
"I don't agree. Daniel, I don't think you realise how much you mean to me."
"Obviously not enough for you to give a damn about what I want. How are you not getting this...am I using too many big words? Let me put this as simply as possible: I don't like you Apophis, I don't like you in any way one person can like another. You're slime...the scum of the universe, and I would rather pickle my own eyeballs in vinegar than have to spend one more minute in your company."
"You do like to exaggerate, don't you my precious, but I forgive you. I realise you're a little overwrought. I'm going to leave you now to reconsider your position. I'll be back later and we can have a little fun together."
He swept from the room with a happy smile, sure of his eventual victory; he was not a man accustomed to losing. And so Daniel was alone again, able only to shout threats and plan all manner of vengeance on the egotistical maniac who now held him captive.
Once more Jack stood at the door to the club. This time he was prepared. The calling in of the favours had gone well, netting him a good number of disreputable individuals, all lethal and all fiercely loyal to him. The best catch had been Bickle, a man with the astonishing ability to circumvent virtually any security system. It was this talent that had landed him in trouble in the first place, but also one which now made him invaluable to Jack.
He wasted no time in herding his flock through the door, which had opened immediately at his knock. He nodded at Murray, who was as intimidating as ever. He was pleased to see that his own recruits looked suitably impressed. Their reaction to Sam Carter was somewhat different, although she soon quelled the wolf whistles with a look that could freeze brimstone. He looked around, wondering what sort of muscle the two had been able to muster, but could see no sign of the promised backup.
"I thought you were getting some help too."
"Oh? What are they, camouflage experts? 'Cause I'm tellin' 'ya, all I see is a bunch of chairs and some potted plants."
"Most amusing, O'Neill. Our allies are currently gathered backstage. They are in full readiness and await only the order to depart."
"Damn Murray, do you always talk like you've swallowed a grammar textbook?"
"Oh. You're not from around here are you?"
"Is my origin relevant to the rescue of Daniel Jackson?"
"Then you will cease your questions and reveal you plan."
"Right, yes, the plan. Why don't you get your guys out here so we can get started."
Sam Carter moved behind the stage, calling to whoever waited there. When she came back out she was trailed by...what the fuck? This was a joke, right?
"This is a joke, right?" Until that moment he hadn't even been aware that they made combat gear in sugar pink, let alone sequined. He was obviously not the only one stunned by this revelation, vague muttering emanating from the men gathered behind him, only the occasional 'fuck' and 'fag' audible. The unrest was clearly not going down well with a disapproving Murray.
"You will show proper respect to our friends, or I shall be forced to harm you."
"Hey, easy Big Guy. You can't really blame my men for being less than enthralled by the quality of your backup. These kids are dancers for crying out loud. How do you expect them to be of any help to us?"
Carter, too, was not happy with his dismissal of her team.
"They may not be what you were expecting, Jack, but trust me, these boys know how to take care of themselves...Murray and I have seen to that. There's always the potential for trouble in a place like this...guys like Apophis who think they have the right to take without even asking...you saw for yourself how well Daniel dealt with him."
"Well yeah, but throwing a drunk off the stage isn't quite in the same class as going up against a houseful of well armed killers."
"I'm aware of that, but I guarantee they'll do the best they can. Every one of them is here because they care for Daniel, and..."
"Look, I'm sure..." Jack broke off as one of the larger members of his troupe decided to add a little persuasion of his own, approaching the closest would-be rescuer and grabbing one slender arm. Moments later, he was on his back, a determined knee wedged under his chin, although it was the tight grip on his private parts that held him immobile.
"Damn, do you teach all your kids that crotch thing?"
"It never fails."
"Ya think?" Jack had to admit he was impressed, he would never have expected an exotic dancer to be able to take down a trained professional. Perhaps this could work, his men at least showed no further inclination to diss the unlikely heroes. "Okay, we do this, but I'm pairing your guys up with mine, and they do exactly what they're told...no wandering off, and no talking, remember, this is a covert operation."
"You need not concern yourself, O'Neill. We wish only the safe return of Daniel Jackson, and will do nothing to jeopardize that outcome. May we now proceed with your plan?"
"Sure, no problem. We just got lucky there. Apophis uses a cleaning service, and tonight, that's going to be us."
Daniel stared in disbelief at what he was seeing. This was the fearsome Apophis?
"My god, what are you going to do, take me to see the Rocky Horror Show? Do your friends know about this little kink of yours? Seriously...it's like finding out Mother Teresa wears nipple clamps under her wimple."
"You dare to mock me?"
"How can I help it when you give me so much scope, and aren't you a little old for the rubber shorts? I've never seen a zip go all the way around before, that's gotta chafe."
"You really should be nicer to me..."
"Why, you going to steal my lunch money?"
"You seem to forget that I hold your life in my hands. I could..."
"If I'm going to have to spend the rest of my life with you, then the sooner it ends, the better. Come on, kill me...what are you waiting for...kill me now."
Apophis finally turned away in frustration. This was not going as he had anticipated. He had been sure that the young dancer would come around when he saw what he was being offered, and even if he weren't one hundred percent happy with the situation, he would be too scared to resist. The last thing he had expected was ridicule from his captive, who was neither co-operating nor cowering in fear. Something would have to be done.
"There could be worse things than belonging to me. I have contacts, I could give you to people who would treat you as a slave...is that what you want?"
"How is that different from what you're doing now?"
"They would use you for their own pleasure, then toss you away. I would treat you well, far better than you could expect from any other man. You could be happy."
"I could never be happy. I would still be a slave...a pampered slave, but a slave all the same. I can't live like that, and I won't. So either let me go or kill me, because one way or the other I'm getting out of here."
"You will never leave, even if I have to...Dammit, now what?" Apophis moved to the door as sounds of a battle reached them, opening it to peer down the stairs. What he saw brought him rushing back to Daniel, a look of panic on his face. "It appears I was wrong, you will be leaving here, but with me. I have to get out of here, and I'm taking you with me."
"What's happening...who is it? They've come for me, haven't they? Hey, in here, I'm in here!"
"Be silent...I'm going to release you then we're going out the back way."
"If you think I'm going to just tamely follow you out the door you're nuts. No way are you getting me out of here, I will fight you in any way I can...and I have a lot of ways."
"Then I'll carry you if I must. You're mine, and I'm keeping you." Picking up a large knife, Apophis cut the ropes securing Daniel to the chair, but left his hands and feet tied. Bending over, he tried to lift the young man, but the violent struggles caused him to lose his grip. He tried again but was finding that carrying someone who does not want to be carried is a lot harder than might be thought.
He had resorted to dragging his troublesome burden, now doing an excellent impersonation of a log when the door burst open and a bellowing Jack flung himself into the room. This momentary distraction was all Daniel needed, swinging his body to catch Apophis behind the knees, bringing him down hard. He continued to roll until he sat firmly on top of the toppled crime boss, facing his beloved, now backed by Sam Carter and Murray.
"A little help, guys?"
Whatever his friends had been expecting to find, it had not been this, and the shock had held them immobile, but now they sprang into action; Murray taking charge of Apophis, Sam grabbing some rope to bind him, and Jack heading straight for Daniel and pulling him into a tight embrace. Daniel stiffened for a moment, but then buried his face in Jack's shoulder with a sob, finally giving in to the fear now that the danger had passed.
Jack stroked his hair and patted his back clumsily, as unused to giving comfort as Daniel was to receiving it. He thought about how close he had come to losing this man who had come to mean so much to him in so a short a time. His grip tightened convulsively, drawing a protest from the object of his attentions.
"Jack, I need to breathe."
"Jack, you're still not letting go."
"I'm never letting go."
"That's nice...uh...Jack, I'm losing all sensation in my arms."
"Your safe now, Daniel."
"I know, thanks. I'm also still tied up. Could you...uh..."
"What? Oh, right...tied up. I should do something about that."
"What? Knife, there's a knife? Are you hurt, did he hurt you?" Jack pulled away and began to frantically check for injuries, panicked at mention of a weapon.
"No, I'm fine. Jack, really, he never touched me. I want you to use the knife to cut the ropes."
"Oh, okay, I can do that."
"Huh? Oh yeah, the knife." Jack reached for the knife, keeping one hand on Daniel's shoulder, reluctant to lose contact.
Once freed, Daniel sighed in relief, shaking his arms and jumping up and down to restore circulation.
"God, that feels good." He gave Jack's arm a grateful rub, then, turning, he smiled his thanks to his two old friends. "Wow, nice job." Apophis was now securely hogtied, his spine painfully bowed from the rope securing his hands to his ankles.
"I am pleased to see you are unharmed, Daniel Jackson."
"Thanks, Murray, I'm pretty pleased about that myself."
"Daniel, he didn't..."
"I'm fine, Sam, really, and thanks...all of you."
"It's not just us, all the boys showed up when they heard you were in trouble."
"What, all of them?"
"Every one...you mean a lot to them, Daniel, and your friend Jack brought some pals to the party too. You should hang onto him, he's useful."
"I plan on doing just that."
"Sweet. I plan on letting you. So, now that you're safe, we should probably call the cops."
"Why, so he can bribe some judge and get off?"
"Daniel, you can't know that'll happen. He might go to jail."
"No chance. His kind never does. Besides, I have a much better idea. Murray, I'm going to need your help. Here, lift him onto the bed."
Jack watched, a puzzled frown on his face. His agitation increased as Daniel moved behind Apophis and began to unzip his shorts. Oh no, he couldn't be...what the hell was the kid up to? "Daniel, you're not...uh...you wouldn't...uh..."
"Uh...you're...why are you...you know...uh...unzipping...are you...uh..."
"Jack, are you feeling okay, you've gone quite grey."
"Dammit Daniel, why are you unzipping his shorts?"
"So I can...eeeew...you think I'm going to...eeeew, that is so icky. Get a grip, Jack, I'd rather peel off my skin and use it to make lampshades than do that."
"Well then what in hell are you doing?"
"I'm preparing him for his close up." Daniel continued with his explanation while walking over to a large vase of flowers by the window, selecting one long stemmed rose. "See, guys like Apophis keep their power through fear and intimidation. Now, how much fear do you think he will inspire when people see him like this?" Daniel inserted his chosen rose with a flourish, drawing a loud protest from it's recipient. Apophis quivered with rage at this indignity, a single petal falling from the vivid red bloom, which now wagged from his ass like some bizarre tail. "Oh, quit whining, just be grateful it has no thorns."
Stepping back, he surveyed his work, nodding in satisfaction. "What do you think?"
"Allow me to assist you, Daniel Jackson."
"Sure, what you got in mind?"
"I believe a further adornment will enhance his appearance." Picking a big gold bow from the pile of presents, Murray placed it at a rakish angle on top of Apophis' shorn head.
"Oh yes, good call Murray."
"This is all very well, Daniel, but as far as I can see, there's only us here to see him, so what's the point of all this?"
"There may not be anyone else here, but trust me, I intend to share this moment with a lot of other people. Apophis was kind enough to give me a gift earlier, which I thoughtlessly rejected, but am now happy to accept. Ah, here it is. What was it you said...digital, state of the arts, top of the line? It's perfect, thank you, just what I always wanted. Payback's a bitch, huh Apophis? Now, I want a nice big smile for your public."
Propped up in bed, arms behind his head, Jack was beginning to get a little impatient. The sight of Daniel sitting at his computer wearing only his glasses had kept him entertained for a surprisingly long time, but visually delightful as that was, he was keen to give his other senses a treat also. In fact, his nerve endings were already tingling and his mouth watering in anticipation.
"Hey, Daniel, you done yet?"
"Almost. I just need to finish uploading this one, then I'm through."
"How many of those have you got now?"
"I've put a website on pretty much every server...it'll take forever for him to track them all down. Plus, I chose my favourite photo to make a greetings card which I've sent to everyone in his address book, all major news groups, law enforcement agencies, several fundamentalist Christian groups and any mothers against anything group I could find."
"Damn, he is so screwed." Daniel clearly believed in making the punishment fit the crime. Apophis would surely think a life in prison heaven on earth compared to this sort of humiliation.
"Daniel, you are okay, aren't you? I mean, we got there as soon as we could, but he had you for..."
"Jack, I'm fine. Most of the time I was too mad to be scared. The guy was an obsessive nutbar, who unfortunately had the resources to follow through on his obsession. You know, he really expected me to stay with him willingly. All I had to do was piss him off enough to stall him 'till you got me out of there."
"You knew I'd come?"
"Well, I knew you wouldn't just let him take me, although I wasn't sure you would come yourself."
"It wasn't just me."
"Yeah, hell of a kicker all the guys from the club showing up, wasn't it?"
"You have a lot of loyal friends, Daniel."
"You must have too, since your guys didn't even know me, which means they must have been there for you."
"They were there because they owed me, not because they were friends."
"Owe you how?"
"You know how it is, you do a guy a favour, and they owe you one."
"Oh. Did you know them from the air force?"
"No, after I left."
"From your bodyguarding?"
"Daniel, I'm not exactly a bodyguard."
"Then why did you say you were?"
"I didn't, you said I was...I said I was like a bodyguard."
"Oh. If you don't guard bodies, what do you do?"
"I own a security consultation firm."
"Oh. I guess that explains all the time off."
"You gotta love being the boss...delegation's a blast."
"It must be, since you haven't missed a night out in months." Sighing, Daniel shut off his computer. "That's it...all over."
"This time anyway."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing, just, with what you do and all, you're bound to get these crazies after you. What if next time I don't get to you on time?"
"Oh come on, this was one very specific incident. I was probably more at risk in foster care than I am at the club. And besides..."
"I know...you can take care of yourself. Can I help it if I want to protect you from all the bad stuff out there?"
"Jack, no one can do that."
"Probably not, but I can sure as hell try."
"So...what? You're telling me to give up my job?"
"No, I'd never do that, but if this relationship is going to work, then we have to be honest with each other. Which means you need to know that I don't like what you do; I don't like having a roomful of guys seeing you nearly naked every night; I don't like you being pawed by every jerk who thinks he has the right to touch you; I don't like you being at risk from crazy stalkers; I don't like any of it, but if that's what you want, then I'll live with it."
"But not happily...you'd worry every night, haunting the place like the Phantom of the Opera, right?"
"Into every life a little rain must fall."
"Can you live like that?"
"You're worth a little anxiety now and then...actually a lot of anxiety every night, but hey, they say stress can be good for you."
"To be clear then...you hate my job, you'd like me to stop, you'll worry yourself sick if I don't, but you won't try and make me stop...is that right?"
"Yup, that's about it."
"Oh. I guess I'd better stop, then."
"See, Daniel, I...what?"
"I said I'd better stop."
"You'll give up the dancing?"
"Yes. I'll still have to go to the club, though."
"Because I own it."
"Own it...yes. We're a two business family."
"I won't need to go in as often, though, so we'll have plenty of time together."
"We could go away somewhere."
"I'd like that. Egypt...I've always wanted to go to Egypt."
"I was thinking more Las Vegas, But Egypt's cool."
"We could go lots of places. Sam and Murray are more than capable of looking after the club, actually, I've been planning for a while on making them partners, and after what they did for me today, now would be the perfect time."
"What about me, what do I get for today?"
"You get me."
"Damn, the motherlode. So, you gonna come to bed so I can start getting you."
"Well, I was thinking of taking that shower now, but if you're no longer interested in joining me..."
"I'm interested, I'm interested." Jack surged from the bed in a tangle of sheets, his interest patently obvious as Daniel backed provocatively towards the bathroom door. Once again, Daniel turned suddenly shy, ducking through the open door before Jack reached him. Standing in the doorway, Jack surveyed his prize. Damn, but he was beautiful, the steaming water streaming down the contours of his body in seductive rivulets. Daniel turned his head, smiling in invitation.
"Are you going to stand there all night? I could use some help soaping my back."
Always a man of action, Jack needed no second invitation. Picking up the soap he began to apply it to the glorious body in front of him, delighting in the feel of the slick wet skin around the edges of the bar. Daniel quivered at the delicious combination of soft soap and the scratch of Jack's fingertips, whimpering with desire as the caress moved over his sensitive buttocks.
Finally, Daniel could stand it no longer. Spinning around, he threw himself at Jack, clinging desperately. Instantly Jacks caress became one of comfort as he realised that Daniel was sobbing. "Hey, it's okay, we don't have to do anything you don't want to."
"No, that's not it...I do want to, a lot. I'm not upset, it's just all a little...intense. I guess that's one of the drawbacks of waiting for the right man to come along, I have this huge sexual backlog...I'm probably going to be a bit flaky for a while. Sorry."
"No problem. Exactly how huge is this backlog?"
"Enormous. It could take years to work it off...think you can handle that?"
"Oh, yeah. You know, we should probably start now, it being so huge and all."
"That sounds like a plan. And maybe we could work off some more later, and again in the morning."
"Good thinking, we should definitely do that."
And so they did, over and over and over again.
|Genres:||Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Challenge, First Time|
|Summary:||This was a challenge fic - to write an AU story while keeping the characters recognisable. In this one, Daniel is an exotic dancer with whom ex-air force Colonel Jack O'Neil - and someone else -become obsessed|