The Eclipsed Series

Part Two: Dead Ends


Now


I was starting to get homesick. The Jaffa equivalent of coffee had stopped tasting unfamiliar and the stronger, brighter sunlight no longer gave me a headache.

None of that was good. This place wasn't somewhere I belonged and if I had one more conversation where I was standing, ringed by warriors who made me feel short, my head crooked back, I was going to take my famed diplomatic smile and turn it, not upside down, but into a snarl.

Jaffa bickered and speechified and played power games; that, I could handle. Refreshingly like Washington, in fact. But they did it at a slow, measured pace I couldn't adjust to and they were way too polite.

I wanted to take my SG team and go home.

I wanted to see Jack.

Oh, I'd heard him earlier -- which was why I was in such a foul, vicious mood as I leaned against a wall and stared, unseeing at a score of Jaffa sparring. I'd MALPed in for a routine report and been patched through to his office. With the likelihood of his secretary being in earshot, even if she was out of sight, added to the probability that the transmission was being recorded -- even watched -- by people at the SGC, my own solitude seemed irrelevant.

He hadn't said hello. Just launched into a clipped, snapped request that I get the hell off my ass and report ASAP. I had nothing new to say and I got an impatient sigh.

"Then I suggest you get on with it, Major Davis. Unless you're enjoying yourself too much to want to come home?"

I'd gaped at him across the light-years, not caring that he was getting to see my jaw drop. Even someone as occasionally obtuse as Jack couldn't think that I wanted to be here, historically significant though my assignment undoubtedly was.

"Sir?"

"Oh, just do your job, Davis. You're tying up a valuable SG team; I don't imagine Landry's any happier about that than I would have been."

"Sir --"

"O'Neill out."

I'd cut the transmission with a hand that was literally shaking with rage and gone back to my quarters by way of the training ground.

The wall, warm with stored sunlight, pressed against my back, rough and solid. The men fighting ignored me, too used to an audience to care about a mere Tau'ri watching them. The pair closest to me was fighting using mock staffs, heavy and capable of doing plenty of damage. Gradually the fierce, staccato taps of wood on wood penetrated my blind, sullen resentment, and I paid them more attention.

Christ, they were close to killing each other. Grunted, guttural sounds of pain and exertion; the spray of spit, sweat and sometimes blood as they spun, feinting and closing in -- it was compelling, shocking and, given my mood, it wasn't long before I was taking the violence and turning it sexual.

If Jack had been around by now we'd have been doing the verbal version of this; savagely attacking, knowing only too well where each other's vulnerable places lay, both emotional and physical. I'd have been sniping, he'd have been sarcastic, and our voices would have risen until --

The taller of the two, his skin burnished brown, his dark hair swept back off his face and caught by a thin leather braid, cried out and sank to his knees, the blunt, shaped end of a staff at his throat.

"Surrender."

The command was given in a voice husky with weariness but the point of the staff was unwavering. The Jaffa glanced up, nodded, and held out his hand in a gesture that was a universal holler 'nough.

He got to his feet unaided and they bowed and walked away together, backs rigid, a space between them, neither turning to look at the other.

I sighed, pushed away from the wall, and began to walk back to my room. I got lost. I still did that, sometimes. One long, stone corridor lit by sconces looks much like another and I'd sunk back into a reverie that involved Jack on his knees to me apologising with an eloquence he only possessed in my fantasies and, just possibly, while he was down there he could...

Lost, turned around, and in time to see the two Jaffa I'd been watching finish what they'd started.

I really did think for a moment that they were still fighting. It'd definitely been too long since I'd had sex.

The room I'd almost walked into was open at both ends, water spilling constantly from several spouts on the wall to fall into a long trough that ran the length of the room at floor level. It was a crude shower room designed to allow the warriors to clean off the worst of the blood, sand and sweat before going through to the far more sophisticated baths to relax in deep, hot pools. Daniel had launched into a comparison with Roman bathing customs and history when he'd been told about it and I could see his point.

The splashing of the water deadened my footsteps and I don't think that they would have stopped if they'd seen me, anyway; not in here. I backed off, one step, two, into the archway of the room opposite, eyes refusing to look away as good manners required.

So very fucking beautiful and it had been so very fucking long.

The victor had that sleek fall of hair tight in his fist, pulling until he had a perfect curve of neck to bite and suck at, wet, hungry sounds that went straight to my dick.

They were naked and wet, locked together, jerking each other off, rubbing up against each other, frantic, hard, desperate slams of skin on skin.

They came silently, as if that was the only way they knew how, and for a moment they stood still, heads bowed on each other's shoulder.

I looked away then. They were going to kiss -- or they were very carefully not going to kiss -- and either would break me.

When they'd moved on to the next room I walked away, finding my way without mistake this time, face flushed, cock hard, getting curious looks from the Jaffa I passed in the corridors.

My room was mine alone, thank God, and had a lock. I didn't even make it to the bed. One hand eased my cock out and I closed my eyes, feeling Jack's hands on me, angry and bruising, his mouth sucking at a place my uniform shirt would cover unless I forgot and loosened my tie, undid the top button.... He'd mark me, knowing I'd have to spend the next day sweating, stiffly encased, cursing, remembering, wanting.

I had my own ways of making him think of me, but they were more direct. He could be subtle and inventive at times, more so than me.

My free hand scrabbled to cup my balls, rolling them the way he did. God, even this, something private, something personal, was tinged with him. I tried not to think about him when I was doing this, and usually I succeeded, but not today. The Jaffa -- no, I couldn't use them, and none of the faceless, blurred men who touched me, held me, fucked me in my head, or bent to take me deep, could get past the solid, unmoving figure of O'Neill.

I came to the echo of his voice telling me to come home.

Missed him.


Then


I waited until I got home to call him.

"O'Neill."

"Hi."

"Knew it was you."

"It's called caller ID."

"No. I've been waiting for you to call and give me hell. You had, oh, eight minutes before I decided you didn't love me anymore and began to drown my sorrows."

"I can't get used to you flirting."

He chuckled. "Am I any good?"

"Yes, but I'm still --" I paused. I wasn't really angry, was I? And if I was, what was the point? He'd been doing what he did; nothing more, nothing less. "Never mind. Any chance of you making it to the cabin to convalesce?"

"Packing right now. Any chance of you joining me?"

"Maybe." I was smiling, already making mental lists of what I'd need.

"Want me to order you to drop everything?"

"Literally? Because I've got the phone in one hand and a drink in the other."

"How about your pants?"

"That was..."

"Too obvious?"

"Little bit. And I'm not wearing any. Just showered."

"Towel?"

"Robe."

He abandoned that line of conversation abruptly. We'd tried phone sex once. Once. Not a success. I felt myself flush with embarrassment just remembering it. Tense, unaccountably shy, and reduced to whispers I'd faked a climax that had been met with a stunned silence and Jack growling, "I know what you sound like when you come and that was nothing like it," which got my limp, panicked dick twitching to life way, way too late.

"I'll be there until Tuesday, barring emergencies."

It was Thursday night. I could get leave, clear my desk, head off at lunch and be there late Friday... The thought of us having consecutive days -- and nights -- together for once, instead of snatched hours, was unbearably attractive. "I'll see what I can do."

There was a pause. We'd said all we could and neither of us wanted to end it.

"You're not in any pain?"

"You'll have to be gentle with me. Think you can manage that?"

I set my drink down so that I could clench my fist without ending up with a fistful of splinters. The words from the file swam in front of me and I was suddenly thinking less of the two of us curled up close beside a fire, hands on skin, mouths on everything, and more about contusions, bruises and two cracked ribs. Not much, not really; the downtime was more for some emotional healing; SG-1 had been hurt, but the team they'd gone in to rescue was down two men, their unrecoverable bodies destined to moulder to dust a million miles from home.

That would disturb him, I knew. He'd wake up tense and shaking, or not be able to sleep, reliving the past; old anger, new guilt. I'd have to be careful with more than his body and the odds were good that I'd leave before Tuesday, a sullen bitter silence the best farewell I could hope for. He always apologised when that happened, always made an effort to come up and see me, rebuild whatever we'd torn down. The sex was spectacular but I'd be left hating myself for failing him, and God help Daniel if our paths crossed before I'd gotten over myself because I knew who I had to thank for Jack's contrition.

 "Why can't you be more fucking careful?"

"Hey..."

"You didn't have to do that. You took an unneeded risk and I don't know what you were trying to prove but --"

"You are so far out of line, here, Major."

'Major'. Clear warning that I'd gone too far. I picked up my drink again, took a long, slow sip and allowed myself the fantasy of throwing it against the wall so that he could hear it smash. I could feel the pull on my shoulder as I drew my arm back, see the sparkle of crystal, the languid schloop of liquid jerking out of the glass to spray over the wooden flooring, hear the crunch and slither...

"If I come to the cabin I'm going to take that line and tie you to the fucking bed with it," I snarled. "That gentle enough? Christ, Jack, what do you expect me to say?"

"Are you done?" he asked, his voice icy.

"Yeah..." I threw the glass again and again in my head, a loop of virtual destruction with no mess to clear up afterwards. Tidy. Efficient. So like me. "Still want a house guest?"

"Yeah. About time Daniel got to see the place. Been meaning to have him up here for years."

The click came after he'd given me time to reply, when it was obvious I wasn't going to.

So now we were having the fight before I got there? How very fucking efficient of us.


Way Back When


I didn't make any attempt to get in touch with him, or return to the SGC before I was ordered to. I wasn't even sure I wanted to. Away from him, the jitters had started and it was easy to forget past pleasure in the face of anticipated pain.

Because I'd fucked up spectacularly, hadn't I? From start to finish, there wasn't much I'd done that I didn't alter and amend as I replayed it, erasing words and actions until I was close to forgetting what I'd really said.

About the only thing that survived my revisionism was the memory of scratching at his back while we kissed, feeling the contentment build between us. He'd found a place beneath my shoulder blade that had made me gasp and groan and he'd watched me writhe back against his slow, tormenting fingers, smiling and looking pleased with himself, with me.

He'd know that place was there every time he looked at me, if he bothered to remember.

I went though a week of muttering savagely under my breath, cheeks heating when I remembered the look on his face as he told me I could fuck him. Pity? Not from where I was standing. Contempt? Closer. Somewhere, at some point, I'd clawed back a little of his respect, or he wouldn't have mentioned seeing me again, but I was damned if I knew how I'd managed it.

By Friday of the next week I'd stopped leaping like a salmon to the fly when my phone rang. At home, that was; at work it never stopped.

At home... well, even I got my fair share of wrong numbers and people wanting to sell me stuff.

I'd just finished shaving when someone knocked at the front door. I walked towards it teasing myself with the idea that it was him, see-sawing between scoffing at myself for being so fucking stupid and blowing gently on the small, dim spark of hope. It was going to be hard to smile with any degree of courtesy if it was Mrs. Burns, a neighbour who seemed to view me as her personal spider killer (I scooped them into a glass I never used for anything else and let them take their chances on my balcony but I sometimes wondered if a simple squishing wouldn't be kinder).

"Good evening, Major."

Not Mrs. Burns.

"I knew it was you," I blurted out, and had to stop myself from gnawing on my fist in mortification. Another response to revise. Let me see... "Colonel?" Yes, that would have done just fine. Cool, calm, threw the onus back on him... why the fuck hadn't I just said 'Colonel'?

"Really?" He looked interested. "Still spying on me, are you?"

"What?"

He pushed past me without being invited and I stood aside automatically because he was in full uniform. It looked better on him than on most colonels of my acquaintance, but it set him apart from me with an impersonal shove. I'd been in the Air Force way too long to get off on the uniform but I couldn't help feeling a perverse quiver at the thought of fucking him while he was still wearing it.

Some of it, anyway...

"Colonel?" There. A little late, but at least I'd achieved a certain hauteur, because what the fuck he thought he was doing here after two weeks of silence...

"You know, for someone who's lived here for three years, you really need to unpack."

The place was bare, granted, but what the hell did he expect? I'd done the homebuilding once; been there, done that, she kept the good china.

"I like things simple, sir."

I took a look around the open-plan room, bisected by a couch I slept on too often to have it anything but long and wide. Chairs, table, TV and a wall of books. Looked fine to me. Easy to keep clean.

"Boring."

"All due respect, sir, but you're being fucking rude."

That got me an amused look. "So are you; I don't get offered a drink? Or rate a 'Hi, Jack, good to see you?'"

I checked my watch without bothering to make it surreptitious. "Excuse me, sir. I'm about to leave, but I'd be happy to get you a drink before I do, and it's good to see you, as always, Colonel O'Neill."

"Leave?" His gaze tracked me from neatly combed hair, to robe, to bare feet. "Like that?"

"I'd just finished shaving; I was about to get dressed."

His hand came up and I stood very still as his finger tested the smooth skin on my chin before stroking up along my jaw, his hand curving to cup my face.

"No cuts."

"No, sir."

He placed a fingertip against the wild throb of the pulse in my neck, only moving it away when I swallowed hard.

"So under this, you're naked?" He eyed my robe and raised an eyebrow.

I resisted the conflicting urges to rip it off and let him see for himself, and clutch it to me, tightening the belt.

"Sir? That drink? I really do have to be somewhere soon. If you'd called --"

"I don't need a drink, and I know you do. Want a ride? Maybe I can tag along?"

I shook my head. "Sorry, sir. Invitation only; I'm going to -- oh."

"You know, I've had turtles faster than you at catching on." He tapped his top pocket. "Got mine right here. Might be embarrassing if they didn't get the memo that I'm standing in for Hammond, but you'll vouch for me, won't you?"

I'd known that Hammond had been invited to the retirement party of a general who was damned lucky he'd made it this far without getting thrown out on his ass, but I'd expected him to send polite regrets; waste of his time to fly in for this. I was only going because no one senior to me wanted to and someone had to show up.

"Is the General unwell?"

"Officially? Stomach bug. Off the record; it's his eldest granddaughter's birthday."

"So why not just say no?" I was calming down a little. This was about work. I could do work. Even almost naked under a robe with O'Neill looming.

"It's complicated," Jack said vaguely. "You know what it's like; never know when you might need a favour. And when you invite a general, you can't exactly send a captain instead."

"Major Carter?"

"She's better at this sort of thing than me, yes, and ordinarily I'd have delegated myself right back at the Friday night poker game, but not this time." He wasn't meeting my eyes. "And she's got some project going; don't ask me what."

"The naquadah research? I hear they've made something of a breakthrough on the conversion process of --"

"Davis. Stop right there. Seriously. Yes, that sounds about right; you probably know more about what she's up to than I do."

Not a chance in hell. O'Neill considered his team part of him and I doubted they could change their brand of toothpaste without him noticing.

"Anyway," he went on, "I got tagged and here I am. Simple as that. No ulterior motives whatsoever for coming to Washington. Looking forward to warm wine, hot rooms, and sparkling, witty speeches full of lies. Aren't you?"
 
I stared at him and then shook my head. "Whatever you say, sir. If you're going, then yes, I'd be glad of a ride. If you just give me a moment to dress --"

"Car's waiting downstairs; I told him we'd be a while."

I gaped at him. "You -- there's a driver waiting? And you're up here, with me -- shit, O'Neill, what the hell are you playing at? You're in uniform!"

His eyebrows shot up. "I'm following orders, Major. Hammond told me to call by for you. Seemed to think the two of us could keep an eye on Kinsey and get a feel for who he's hanging with these days. You did know he was coming tonight? Of course you did. And could you keep your opinion of my intelligence to yourself? I'll take it from certain members of my team, but not from you."

"What will you take from me?" I demanded. "You can't have it both ways. You can't walk in here and flirt and then smack me down when I forget who you are. Either, or, sir. Not both."

"You can handle both," he told me, his expression cool. "And you know what's appropriate when as well as anyone of your rank. You just lost sight of it then, and that's okay. Once. Don't do it again."

"Fuck you."

"My turn, isn't it?"

"Thought we weren't taking turns."

"Good memory."

"Can't say the same for you, sir."

"How's that?"

"Did you forget how to use a phone?"

"Did I what?"

No guilt. Damn. He hadn't done it deliberately then. And he'd never said he'd call and I'd never expected to regress to sixteen... I changed the subject without any of my usual finesse.

"Sir, I really should get dressed. If you want a drink, there are glasses in that cupboard there and drinks in the one beneath it. Help yourself. I won't be long."

I walked past him and got as far as the bedroom door before his hand halted me. He was close behind me -- I wanted to turn, grab him, grind up against all that blue. "You expected me to call you?" His voice was neutral, giving me nothing to work with.

"I -- no, sir, of course not. That would have been indiscreet and completely unnecessary."

"Yeah... plus I've been off-world or up to my neck in work. I've slept at the SGC one night in three since you were there last. By the time I got home most nights, you'd have been fast asleep, nice and cosy." His hand left my arm. "And what the hell would I have said?" He looked at me, frowning slightly. "You know I liked it. I told you I wanted to do it again; what's to say?"

"You want to fuck me? Or do you just want to come?"

"What?"

"We've got a window of about fifteen minutes. No more. You'll need to strip; no matter how careful you are, it's too risky doing anything wearing that, even if I blow you. Accidents happen."

"How did we get from me not phoning you to me apparently wanting a quick fuck before we go out and socialise?"

"You said you wanted to do me -- I'm sorry, it, again; when else will we get the chance? You can't seriously think we'll be able to at the function? I won't do that."

I was thinking about it now, though. Leaving the room, finding somewhere quiet, dark... one hand over his mouth to keep him from making too much noise, one on his dick, same for him... or he could take care of keeping himself silent while I gagged myself on his erection, thick and hard, spreading my lips wide...

He shook his head, jolting me out of one of the most badly timed fantasies ever. "You confuse me, you know that? Make my head ache. It's like being drunk without the fun part. Fucking before or during the party was never part of the plan. I'll admit I was hoping we could after it's finished, but I'm having second thoughts as you seem to have a low opinion of me and I find that intimidating. No, wait. Another word that begins with 'i'. Irritating. As hell. Get dressed. I'll tell you what you need to know while you figure out how to fasten buttons."

"I'm going to be busy afterwards, sir," I hissed at him. Not true, but he was pissing me off as much as he was making me want him. For a fleeting, wistful moment, I remembered when I used to get off thinking about how he'd fuck me silently, hard and fast.

Silently? He just didn't do silence. Didn't do anything the way he should. He should have called to say he was coming, should have made sure I was free, should have --

"Yes, you are," he said, leaning in to kiss me briefly. He was crisp and clean and in uniform and his tongue slid past mine, deep and smooth and dirty. "Want me to tell you what you're going to be doing?"

I shook my head, stubbornly clinging to the belief that I could say no to him. "This isn't how I want it."

"So tell me how we act in your perfect little fantasy," he said. "Go on; I want to know."

I turned my back on him and took off my robe as soon as I was close enough to be able to grab at the undershirt laid out neatly on the bed with the rest of my uniform.

"Not naked," he said, sounding put-out as he saw that I was wearing shorts.

"I wouldn't have answered the door if I were."

"I thought you knew it was me. I wouldn't have minded."

I yanked the undershirt over my head and reached for my shirt. "Sir --"

"I'm still waiting for you to tell me what you want. Might be interesting. Hey; another word beginning with 'i'."

He was being deliberately annoying and I wondered how the rest of SG-1 dealt with him in this mood. I didn't think he saved it for me; he was far too good at it. "I want you to brief me on whatever I need to know about tonight with regard to the senator. I doubt he'd be indiscreet in public, but if General Hammond's heard anything that suggests he might be making a move against the Stargate programme then I want to help."

I glanced over my shoulder and swallowed. He was leaning back against the wall, arms folded across his chest, watching me, his gaze skimming up and down, lingering here and there until I felt like a sniper's target, red dotted and vulnerable.

"Stop it."

"Stop what? Looking at you? Why? I like doing it. Didn't get chance last time, not really." He looked mildly regretful. "There was a lot we didn't have time for."

"Sir? Please? We don't have much time and I don't like going into a situation blind."

"I know." He drummed his fingers against his upper arm and then shrugged. "You don't have to do anything much. I meant it; this is just a show up and schmooze deal mostly. I don't imagine you and Kinsey are good enough friends that he'd trust anything you said? Because that might come in handy."

I shook my head as I sat on the edge of the bed to tug on my socks. "He sounded me out early on and realised I wasn't going to be any use to him."

"Unlike your predecessor."

I pulled a face. "Yes."

"Okay. So we go, pour on the charm, take one last look at General Edwards getting drunk at the tax payers' expense, and get the hell out of there as soon as we can."

I nodded, realising it was all I was going to get, but promising myself that come Monday I was going to dig deeper into what was going on. Kinsey was poison.

It felt weird dressing in front of him. Undressing would have been easier; I'd have known where we were going with that. I fastened my pants and walked past him to get my shiny black shoes. I didn't want to do this. It'd been a long week and I was tired. I'd wanted to lie on my couch, lights off, staring at nothing, something quietly melancholy playing in the background and a drink to sip at until I passed out. I'd resigned myself to that having to wait until Saturday but now O'Neill had turned up I was probably going to spend the entire weekend pacing and smacking my head against a wall cursing my inability to handle him with anything resembling poise.

When I was ready I risked a glance at him. He was gnawing on his lip, teeth scraping off -- what? Any trace of me? Even thinking that made me realise how insecure he made me. I was used to undervaluing myself in every capacity but professional, but not to this extent.

"Did you buy any of that?" he asked abruptly.

"Sir?" Oh, such a useful monosyllable. I could make it mean a dozen things just by changing the inflection the barest amount, add another half-dozen interpretations by making it toneless but letting my face show an emotion... And given the very real risk of it being misinterpreted, well, it'd have someone like Jackson reaching for his pen, eyes gleaming as he drafted a dry, scholarly article for an obscure publication.

"Work with me a little."

"I honestly don't know what you mean, sir. You're not here at General Hammond's request?"

"What? Yes, I am. But I didn't suffer a three-hour flight just to save George from missing his turn at pass the parcel."

"No. You wanted to get laid." I shrugged, feeling my uniform jacket tighten across my shoulders, keeping the movement within acceptable parameters. "I hope I'm worth the airline food and the upcoming boredom."

He gave an incredulous grunt and then smiled. "I hope so, too, Major. I don't deal well with disappointment."

"No?" I pushed past him, trying to remember that he was in my house, dammit, on my territory, not letting myself dwell on the implications of what he'd just said. I didn't flatter well; a cynical voice always soured the sweetness and right now it was telling me that I was a diversion, not the destination.

"No."

"What are you going to do if I don't make you come hard enough or don't get you up again?" I used the same voice I'd be speaking with later, asking about charity work, children, cocker spaniels... whatever I'd remembered of the interests of a dozen wives; a light, pleasant voice, unthreatening and just warm enough to be polite, not encouraging, because I really didn't care.

Well, I didn't care about them. I cared about O'Neill's reaction. And I was getting entirely too much pleasure out of fighting with him when I wasn't sure he wanted that from me.

He had the same baffled look I'd seen on the face of my father, my teachers... I never was very easy to get on with. Unlike them, it didn't twist into anger or indifference; instead he sighed very quietly. "I should have known after that first time you'd be a pain in the ass. I just thought we'd got past it. My bad."

It took me a moment to get my mouth the right shape to murmur, 'Sorry' and get a rueful nod in reply. We stood for a moment, eying each other uncertainly and then I asked, "Did you really -- you wanted to see me?"

"Yes. I wanted to see you and you got dressed, I wanted to talk to you and you've done nothing but bitch at me, and I wanted to --"

His eyes were dancing and I couldn't help the snort of amusement that escaped me. "You were hoping we could fuck before the reception, weren't you?"

We moved closer, skin separated by blue and white and intangible red. He was just that much taller and broader in the shoulders to make me want to fight back, fight hard. Always had. Always would. It's why I was where I was, doing what I did.

"If I admit it, I'll make you pay, you know that, right?" His tongue licked out across his lips, taking my gaze with it. "Want to hear me say it that much?"

"You just did, more or less, so no, I'll pass."

"Tricky Pentagon type," he murmured. "Sneaky. Devious."

I nodded. "Yes, I am. But I told you that you could trust me. You do, right?"

"I'm here, aren't I?"

"And later?" I was going to do this without fucking it up. I was going to have something to look back on that was me at my best. "Will you be here later?"

"Do you want me to be?"

"Yes, sir. I want that."

He'd know what we had to do; the separate rides, the staggered exits. He'd have to go back to his hotel to change, leave my bed early to be seen having breakfast back there; all the tiresome, tawdry tricks, as if we were cheating on someone, screwing around.

 I suppose we were.

I watched him move around the reception room, crowded when we arrived, emptying fast as the free booze ran out. He was always easy to find, or maybe I just never stopped looking. Kinsey was there, his gaze hard and angry when Jack threw back his head and laughed, the sound ripping through the canned music and chatter.

I made sure that I spoke to Jack once or twice, always when we were part of a group. It would have looked odd not to.

And I drank more than I should have done, and left ten carefully counted minutes after he did.

The knock at my door came after I'd persuaded myself he wasn't coming back. Plenty of people there tonight who would've been glad to have made themselves available for anything he had in mind; I'd seen the looks he was getting. And it really shouldn't have taken him that long to change and join me.

I opened the door and he stepped by me. Instant replay.

"Did you know it was me, this time, too?"

I didn't bother answering that. My home. My rules. I'd decided that while I waited for him. He'd changed into jeans and a white shirt, soft-collared and hidden under a leather jacket that looked beat-up and abused. Perfect. I took a handful of leather and pulled him along to the nearest interior wall and slammed him up against it. He let me, where another man would have struggled, panicked, just for an instant.

"No ornaments," I told him, biting my way down his jaw, open-mouthed kisses with an edge, feeling the shape of the bone and the prickle of stubble. "No clutter."

"Yeah..." He turned his face away from me and I took the invitation and went lower to his neck, feeling the thin skin stretch over tendons as he arched and bent it, giving me a curve to slide down, until my mouth and teeth were nuzzling into a double layer of collar. His hands were tentative, on my hips. I was still wearing my uniform, although I'd taken off my shoes and jacket. I wanted him to take the rest of it off me, or watch as I did. I needed whatever happened to start with me in uniform and end with me naked.

"Can we --? Bedroom?"

"Wait." I went to my knees without kissing his mouth. "Wait..."

He placed his hands, palm-flat, on the wall behind him, not helping, which helped a lot.

I didn't hurry. I wanted to see how much patience he had.

Not much, but as soon as I felt him tense, about to move and help me, I finished unzipping his jeans with a smooth jerk and he relaxed, giving a satisfied, pleased little grumble that translated to 'about time'. I didn't touch his cock, poking out, eager and hard, moving instead to undo the last two buttons on his shirt so that I could mouth the still-firm skin of his belly, hairy and warm. His skin smelled faintly of expensive gel --I'd have put money on it being a Christmas present -- but not enough for him to have showered after the reception. I was glad he hadn't wasted time on that, although... yes, he'd taken a moment to wash his cock and balls; they held the tang of hotel soap, very different to the way the rest of him smelled.

Nice of him, I supposed. Thoughtful, even if I was ungrateful enough to miss the rich, intimate scent I'd hoped for, getting nothing more than a faint trace of sweat and musk as I licked across the head of his cock. Oh, that was better... He groaned and I watched, fascinated, as it deepened in colour, jerking itself harder.

"Are you waiting for something?"

I didn't look up. "Yes."

His hand came away from the wall and he held his cock in a familiar, unselfconscious grip. "Major --"

I didn't give him chance to finish what would probably have been an order to suck him, or something equally banal. Instead, I turned my face and leaned in so that the head of his cock, beaded, lubricated, ripe, rubbed across my cheek. I groaned, soft and intense, letting him have a clue, the last one he was getting, about what I wanted.

There was a second or two when I thought he wasn't going to do it, but then his free hand came to caress the back of my neck, strong fingers tickling bare skin before his hand clamped down and his thumb swept around to force my chin up with an impatient nudge.

I let him position my head and closed my eyes, waiting.

"Oh, you'd better look, Major. You know you want to, and I don't mind."

He sounded shaken, but he was hiding it well. Just that slight tremor in his voice and that might have been excitement but I didn't think that it was. Not yet.

He rubbed his cock across my closed mouth, high on my cheeks, leaving them damp, marked, and then, when I panted, harsh and loud, pushed in against my teeth, not trying to get me to take him, just making sure I had the taste of him, thick and heady in my throat as I swallowed.

I sighed and knelt back, running my tongue across my lips.

"Okay, now we're going to go somewhere more comfortable, right?"

"Bed, if you want."

"Sure." He walked away, letting me get up unaided. "But I want to talk to you."

"After."

He turned and shook his head, his eyes glittering and a determined smile on his face. "Nope. Before. Not flying you blind, Davis, and we've got all night."

I didn't want to talk. When we got to my bedroom I stripped, letting him see me. He'd gone to lie back on the bed, a pillow shoved up casually behind his shoulders to support him. He was so at ease in my home it was disconcerting; I hadn't felt like that in his; I'd felt like an intruder, a guest at best.

He waited until I was naked, my uniform set aside with some care, and then said, "Nice."

"Thank you."

"Didn't really get chance to look last time."

"So you said."

"Still want to get a few things straight."

"Good luck when you get to me."

He flashed me a wry smile. "Funny man. You going to come here?"

"Sure." I lay on my side next to him, propped up on an elbow. The head of his cock was jutting out of his open jeans but he didn't seem to care. I cared. I cared that I was only getting to look at it. The night, hell, the last two weeks, had been one long, slow build of tension for me and I was sick of it. It was affecting my work, for God's sake, and nothing ever did that. I'd been at my desk the morning after Claire left me and cleared it by lunchtime. One fuck with O'Neill and my in-box was brimming over.

Stupid. So very fucking stupid. Should have kept him a fantasy.

 I lifted an eyebrow. "You don't look comfortable."

"I strip, we'll fuck. You know that, Davis."

"Because I can't keep my hands off you?" I do sarcasm well; there was just a smidgen in that, not enough for him to be able to call me on it without looking stupid.

"I want your hands on me," he snapped, grabbing my wrist and smacking my hand against his face, my fingers curling around his jaw instinctively. "There... and here..."

The damp heat of his cock thrust up into the centre of my palm and he sighed, holding still as I rotated my hand, grinding gently down. "Fuck, Davis, I'm being considerate and you're giving me hell for it. Why is that?"

I took my hand away, slipping free of his hold on my wrist. "Because I don't see what there is to talk about."

"You hadn't done... that, in there, and we wouldn't be. I'd be nailing your ass right now."

"Mmm. Okay." I could see his point. It had been a little out there, I supposed. A very little. My point of reference had shifted so much over the years..."Don't worry; I'm more than happy to just be, uh, nailed. Do it. Do me. Any time you're ready."

He shook his head. Stubborn. How could I have forgotten that it was one of his defining characteristics? "Did you like that? What I did?"

I rolled to my back, reaching up to feel the drying streaks across my face. "Obviously. Look, do we have to? Really? I'm not used to this."

"Fucking?"

"Talking."

"Your lovers are all psychic, are they? Know just what gets you off without being told?"

"Most adults, most experienced adults, work it out without a spoken dialogue."

"I don't know you," he said with a terrifying gentleness. "We don't even call each other by our first names."

"Jack?" "Yes, Daniel?"

Fuck.

"I can do that if it's what you want."

Could I? I tried it out in my head. "Jack, please fuck me. Please fuck me now, Jack. Please, Jack, fuck me nownow now dammit, Jack."

No. He wasn't Jack to me; he was Colonel O'Neill. I liked him being that. Which wasn't very politically correct of me, as it defined objectifying him, but I was a selfish bastard and I had that in writing.

And, to be fair, any colonel wouldn't have done; I wanted him.

"Is this too much? Too fast?"

I choked on laughter, the third drink too many I'd had tipping me into inappropriate amusement. "Are you kidding me?"

"Hey." The sharpness of his tone sobered me.

"Sorry. Sorry." I took a breath. "I'm... drunk. Little bit, anyway. It's making me loosen up and I knew it would, and I wanted that and I was scared of it, but I let myself get past the point where I should have stopped, so maybe I wanted it more than I was scared --"

His fingers pressed against my lips for a second. "You're babbling. Stop."

He rolled on top of me, heavy and solid, buckles and buttons digging in, and kissed my mouth quiet, working his tongue against mine until I was swallowing his spit along with mine. When he lifted his head, breaking the contact, I whimpered with frustration, digging my fingers into his back.

"You're going to tell me what I need to know," he said. "I want to know."

"Why?" It came out quietly enough that even I had trouble hearing it but I didn't have the energy to repeat it. He was holding me, body and hands, one hand slipped around my neck -- oh, he knew I liked that and I'd never told him -- and one on my hip, thumb drawing circles in the hollow.

"Why don't I just fuck you, you mean? Why don't I keep it simple?"

I nodded, about all I could manage right then. I'd left one lamp burning in the corner of the room and it was throwing a shadow on the ceiling behind his head, making his light hair stand out and turning his face into fuzzed-out lines and deeper shadows.

"Fatal flaw," he whispered. "Curious. Got me in trouble before this."

"Not that interesting." I got a hand free and pushed at his shoulder. "You want conversation, then I need oxygen."

He slid off me and put a bit of space between us.

"And could you get undressed? Get under the covers if you want to, but get naked?"

"Any more requests?" he asked, rolling his eyes. "Okay, okay... one bare-ass colonel coming up..."

He'd been right; both naked was just on the edge of being too tempting. We eyed each other warily, appreciatively, and then exchanged a quick grin before he tugged back the quilt and got under it, leaving me nothing to look at but his chest and arms.

Which was plenty. I traced a starburst scar on his shoulder and shivered.

"Not as pretty as you," he observed.

"Oh, I've got scars," I told him.

"All on the inside?"

His mouth screwed up as if even hinting at anything so touchy-feely was too much for him. I brought my knee up and pointed to a white, triangular gouge. "Bike crash. Aged ten." I tapped my face. "You'll have to get close to see these. Maybe they're not even visible now; I don't know. I don't look for them."

His hand cupped my chin and turned my face to the dim light. "Can't see anything. What am I looking for?"

I put my crooked fingers to his cheek and dragged my nails lightly down his face.

"Ah. Wife?"

"Good guess."

"Is this relevant? Because I'm not after your life story."

"Yes, you are," I said. "You want to know what turns me on so you can either back away or leave me thinking you're the best I've ever had, because you're too damn competitive to be just another fuck. To ask that, this early, is..."

"Intrusive?"

He ran a joke into the ground, beat it up and left it for dead. Three months later he was still giving me a knowing look every time he had occasion to use a single, starts-with-i adjective.

"Invasive. Impertinent. Impossible."

"Sounds just like me."

"The last man I fucked didn't ask questions."

"Didn't he?"

"He didn't need to. The agency had briefed him thoroughly; they're good like that."

Score one for the major. A hit, a palpable hit.

"And now I'm wondering if you've lost it. You don't think that's just a little bit indiscreet?"

"More so than picking up a stranger in a bar? No." I rolled to my stomach and tried not to spread my legs automatically. "It's a very... reputable agency. It took eighteen months, a physical, a credit check, and a heart attack to get me on their list. I don't use them often, but there's an annual fee, so they don't care."

"Who died so you could get fucked?"

"I don't know. I didn't ask." I did know, but O'Neill didn't need to.

"So..."

"So I can have sex that's precisely to my requirements whenever I want and you can stop feeling sorry for me and get on with doing what you came here for."

"You have no idea how I feel right now."

I gave him a sidelong glance and got nothing from him but a blank stare. "I get off on using them. I get off on hiring them for sex. I don't hurt them or humiliate them. I do it possibly three times a year and I cancelled my membership last week." I bit down on my lip. "Okay, maybe I can't have sex just the way I want it any more. Even so."

"You cancelled because of me?"

"Not exactly. Yes."

"Which?"

"Both. Neither." I went to my back, jittering inside, needing him to shut up and touch me. "Fuck me. Just -- stop talking unless it's telling me what you want me to do. Fuck me or get dressed and get the hell out of here. I don't want to be close to you emotionally, just physically and you're too far away. I don't want to be analysed, I don't want pity or fellow-feeling or sympathy. I don't want to swap stories of self-discovery, alienation or former lovers. We know what we are, we know where we are and we know why we shouldn't be doing this."

He stared at me and pushed back the covers. Still hard. Going to be tricky getting that back inside his jeans. Guess he was going to have to give up and do it my way.

"I'm going to hate myself for this in the morning..." He was back on top of me again before he'd finished speaking, leaving me riding a wave of disappointment that he'd caved that easily.

"Not as much as I would if I spilled my guts when I was drunk."

"You've said more than you realise."

"Then shut me up. Please."

Snarling orders at him came surprisingly easy.

"My way?"

"Anything you like," I agreed.

He straddled my chest, high up, so the soft squash of his balls was centered between my nipples and braced himself against the headboard with one hand.

"Open wide, Major."

"It's not that big."

His thumb hooked inside my teeth and tugged down. "Shutting you up is started to get more appealing by the minute."

If he hadn't started to fuck my mouth without waiting for a reply, I'd have pointed out that I liked this very much and he'd worked that out solo, proving my point that we didn't need to talk.

Wouldn't have been the most tactful thing to say, on reflection.

I'd still have said it, though. Pissing him off was addictive. I wanted to push and shove and take whatever that got me.

Right now it was getting me a slow rock of his hips, punishingly, tantalisingly slow. I slapped at his ass and dug the heel of my hand into it a moment later but he just smiled down at me and carried on.

By the time my cheek muscles were in spasms and the trickle of drool from my mouth to my ear had soaked the pillow I was ready to give up. I closed my eyes and stopped trying to make him go faster and deeper, concentrating on making my numb tongue do as much as it could to the slick thickness of his cock.

"Finally," he muttered and I got three, count them, three, perfectly timed swift thrusts just to show he could, before he pulled out and collapsed beside me, his cock swollen and wet. "What happened to doing this the way I wanted?"

I shrugged, rubbing the feeling back into my cheeks. "I thought you wanted to come. I was helping."

"No, you were being a control-freak."

I supposed that was a fair comment.

"You into being tied-up?"

He sounded hopeful.

"No."

"Pity."

"I've never trusted anyone that much."

"You don't trust me?"

"You want to do it?"

"I want to have your hands out of the way the next time we do that. My ass is throbbing."

I sat up and studied it. "I might have left a few marks," I allowed. "I could apologise if it'd help."

"It wouldn't."

I ran my finger over the deepest welt and he yelped. "Major..."

"She told me I was dirty. Disgusting."

I pushed at the inside of his knee until he spread his legs wide enough for me to get between them.

"She came back early from a night out with a girl friend. Found me watching porn, jerking off to it."

I licked a wet stripe along the reddened skin.

"No girls in it?"

"No girls," I agreed. "She was drunk, giggling, ready to fuck me where I sat. It'd been a while since -- Well. Then she focused on the screen and ..."

I slapped my hand down hard on his ass. "Wham."

"Uh, Davis... do that again and I'll start getting serious about the tying up."

I watched the print develop and did it again when it had, marking up his other cheek. "Wham-bam."

"Okay..." He was lying flat; zero leverage, and he brought his knee up, preparing to turn over and give me hell. I put my hands over the warm skin, bending to lick at the reddest part and blow it cool, and he stopped fighting.

Dirty. Disgusting. I tipped my hat to Claire, who with two words had left me weak with lust and heading, smiling, for a divorce, and reached over O'Neill's shoulder for the lube and a condom.

They dropped within reach of his hand and he pushed them away, down the bed to me.



Part Three

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