Davin’s room – or the Craigavon Room as it was officially known – was a large space in the front of the castle. It had two floor-to-ceiling windows that were draped with swathes of damask silk in rich shades of green and gold. The room itself was square and dominated by a huge four-poster bed in the center and a bank of closet doors along the full length of one wall. It was very masculine in ambiance and had none of the slovenly feel of the master suite. The night stands were piled with books and magazines and an old fashioned brass telescope was set up on the wide window seat. There was a weight-bench over in one corner and a stand containing dumbbells of various sizes, alongside an exercise mat. The closet was bespoke and although the timber used had been carefully selected, it was obvious that it was a more modern addition to the ancient building.
“Okay, Dr. Jackson. Get ‘em off.”
Davin flung open the doors of his walk-in closet, revealing an interior almost militaristic in its neatness. Automatic lights flickered on as door after door was pulled open by the international model to reveal their contents. Shirts and tops hung in color coordinated order above a rail packed with pants in every fabric and hue. The second door swung open to show at least thirty suits; all pristine in their see through bags. Racks and racks of shoes, boots and trainers were ranged in serried ranks along the floor of the wardrobe. On the backs of the doors, ties, belts and scarves hung in perfect order, so unlike his own tangled mess at home that Jack stared at it open mouthed.
“Mac look after all this for you?” Jack asked, too enthralled to notice that Daniel was staring, still open mouthed and horrified at Davin’s first comment.
“No!” Davin frowned indignantly. “I look after my own clothes.” At Jack’s smirk of disbelief Davin walked over to stand by Jack, looking back into the cornucopia that was his wardrobe. “Tell me, do you treat your uniform with disrespect, Colonel? Leave it in the bottom of your closet? Wear it wrinkled?” he queried.
“Well, no, but then its part of my job. I have a duty to look my best in my uniform, to represent my country to the best of my ability.” Jack squared his shoulders, his belief in what he was saying showing in his body language.
“Well, these clothes are part of my job, too,” Davin explained. “And my duty is to myself and to the designers I represent. I get paid – a huge amount of money by the way – to make their clothes look good. If I’m fronting a campaign then, even when I’m on my own time, it’s important that I look my best. And to be honest; being seen looking scruffy or badly dressed is suicide for a model.”
Jack gave a little nod as he realized that Davin was right. He was still looking with awe at the amazing tableau in front of him when he heard a snort from behind him.
“Are you going to stand there looking at them or are we going to get you trying something on, Daniel?”
Jack turned to see a wide-eyed Daniel standing by the side of Davin’s dark oak four poster bed.
“What is it, Danny?” Jack asked, wondering what had spooked his lover into silence.
“I can’t ‘get ‘em off’, Jack.” Daniel plucked irritably at the sweater and sweat pants he was wearing.
“Why not?” Jack was mystified by Daniel’s sudden body shyness. “You’ve stripped off in front of a room full of drooling Marines before now without batting an eyelid. Now, I’ve seen it all and I’m sure Davin can be trusted not to spontaneously combust when he gets to see you in all your hotness.” Jack looked over at Davin who grinned broadly. Jack was really beginning to like this guy. If Simon had someone like him in his life then there was hope for his ex-lover yet.
“In case you hadn’t noticed,” Daniel ground out in a stage-whisper, “Davin is young, hot and definitely not a hairy-assed marine and did I mention he’s hot!” Daniel took in Jack’s less than helpful smirk. “Also, I didn’t bring any spare underwear,” Daniel explained with an embarrassed shrug. “I’m going commando under here.
“Whoa, Daniel, you dog!” Davin crowed. “I bet Jack wishes he’d known that at breakfast.”
The models easy humor made Daniel relax a little and he let himself grin. A moment later he barely caught a package that sailed across the room at him. When he looked down at the box he saw it contained a pair of white Calvin Klein boxers; the real thing that cost the Earth, not the $5 knock offs found in most malls.
“Bathroom’s behind the door over there.” Davin pointed to his right. “Oh, by the way, Daniel, are you wearing anti-perspirant?” he inquired, teasing Daniel with a cheekily raised eyebrow.
“Ummm, no.” Daniel’s embarrassment returned. “I don’t have any of that either.” Daniel lifted his arms and tried to unobtrusively sniff his armpits, much to Jack’s glee.
“Oh no,” the younger man reassured him quickly, “that’s good. It stains the clothes. Good, natural sweat is much easier to get out of the fabrics than all that chemical crap.” He shooed the archaeologist into the bathroom with a flick of his hands and started to rifle through the racks of clothing, pulling out garments, considering them, placing them together and then either spreading them on the bed or replacing them in their allotted slot. Jack watched him with growing horror as outfit after outfit made its way onto the bed. Davin caught his reflected expression in the mirror and laughed a beautiful, musical laugh. Jack knew his Danny had the best laugh in the world; it had the ability to reduce Jack to a puddle of sappy goo, but it really seemed this beautiful, personable young man had a deep throaty giggle that was a close second.
“Jack, listen, I’m sure Mac or Maddy wouldn’t mind if you visited while Daniel and I play ‘dress up’. I’ll look after him, I promise,” Davin said genuinely. “There’s bound to be some kind of cake or pastry in the kitchen, Maddy doesn’t know the meaning of diet,” he continued ruefully, patting his washboard flat stomach.
Jack looked towards the bathroom, uncertainly, knowing that Daniel would whip his ass if he thought Jack was hesitating on his behalf. But Jack’d had his lover back in his arms for less than a day and felt loathe to let him out of his sight. This feeling was compounded as Daniel emerged from the bathroom, clad only in the skin-tight boxers that left little or nothing to the imagination. Davin let out a long, low whistle.
“Fuck, Daniel, I mean it, guy. You could make a mint in my biz. How old are you? 30?”
“He’s forty and see what I mean about the hotness?” Jack interjected before Daniel could fudge. Daniel had always looked younger than his years, but recently he had been working hard on his strength and fitness, helped by Teal’c and of course by Jack, too. The pay off was a body to die for; broad, muscular chest with defined pectorals narrowing to an almost flat stomach with the indication of a six pack slightly overlaid by a little belly that frustrated the hell out of Daniel, but that Jack loved to kiss and lick. Narrow hips led to powerful thighs and endless legs that, right now, were stirring some serious interest in Jack’s groin area. Leaning back slightly to take his fill of Daniel’s tight, tight ass encased in all that spandex, Jack was seriously in his happy place.
“Jaaack, don’t,” Daniel complained at his lover’s gloating pride. “I’m sorry, Davin, when I look in the mirror I seriously don’t see what Jack sees. I think he has rose-colored contacts.”
Davin looked over at Jack who gave a ‘whadda ya gonna do with him’ shrug. The young model shook his head in disbelief. Without another word he maneuvered Daniel across to the oversized mirror that took up almost one wall of the room and turned him to face it. In a swift and graceful move Davin stripped his own t shirt over his head and stood next to Daniel, pointing at their reflections as they stood side by side. Daniel felt his mouth go a little dry as he looked at the young man’s body reflected back at him. There was not an ounce of spare flesh anywhere; it was a truly masculine body. This was not the fey androgyny that Daniel expected from a fashion model, but the taut muscular physique of a real man. He wasn’t beefcake by any means, but every muscle was sharply delineated and in perfect proportion.
“I’m twenty five, Daniel and I would love, love to be able to look like you do.” Davin drew a hand across Daniel’s chest and shoulders, outlining the musculature he coveted. “And you’re fuckin’ forty! God!” Davin shook his head in amazement. “There are guys of twenty in my industry who would give their left nut to look like you do. I could get you work tomorrow, guaranteed.”
Flushing pink with pleasure, Daniel looked over his shoulder at Jack. The older man was beaming with pride and was actually rather pleased with himself, too. His green eyed monster stayed firmly under control even though Davin continued to manhandle Daniel, turning him this way and that as he explained what designers were looking for. Jack knew the model wasn’t interested in Daniel and he also knew, with a rush of validation, that Davin wasn’t Daniel’s type either; he, Jack, was Daniel’s type; his one and only and the realization made Jack warm inside.
A movement over his left shoulder pinged Jack’s peripheral vision and made his focus return to the room. Simon had come up behind him and was looking over Jack’s shoulder at the fetching tableau made by the two semi-naked men in front of the mirror.
“Look pretty good together, don’t they, Jack,” the tall man breathed into Jack’s ear, his lips almost close enough for a kiss.
Jack rolled his eyes and took a step forward into the room, putting three feet of clear floor between his backside and Simon’s groin. The man had been close enough for Jack to feel the press of his burgeoning hard-on as he ground it against Jack’s ass and the colonel wasn’t at all impressed with de’Vere’s behavior.
“We’re going down to the kitchen,” he told Daniel and Davin as he came up between the two men, slinging his arms around their shoulders and grinning at them in the mirror. “Be good, play nice and I’ll expect a fashion show when I get back.” Turning his head to Daniel’s he pressed a long luxuriant kiss on his lips, making the younger man’s head flop back onto Jack’s shoulder. He gave a surreptitious wink to his lover and then planted a wet smacker on Davin’s cheek, before ruffling his thick hair.
“We’ll take photos, Jack,” Davin called after him cheekily.
“See that you do, Dav, see that you do.” Jack strode out of the room, planning on visiting Maddy in her kitchen kingdom and determined that, one way or another, he was going to put an end to the frankly ridiculous behavior of his ex-lover.
“Where are you going, Jack?” Simon purred as Jack took a left turn along the corridor that led to the stairs. “Master suite’s this way.” He curled his hand around Jack’s bicep and tried to guide the colonel towards his bedroom. But for all his extra two inches in height and his greater bulk de’Vere had lost a lot of muscle tone flying a desk and Jack’s superior strength stopped Simon in his tracks as Jack refused to be hauled anywhere.
“I’m going to see Maddy and reconnoitre for cake. Why, Simon, where are you going?” Jack could see Simon was pissed at his refusal, but he was determined not to be in anything even close to a compromising situation with the man until he had made himself abundantly clear on the topic of their past love affair. At first Jack had found Si’s attentions flattering; the fact that after all this time Simon still held a torch for him was gratifying. But as soon as he’d started treating Daniel with disrespect any remembered affection had swiftly gone out of the window. Simon needed to realize; while their love affair had been deep and true at the time, it was just that, an affair. Daniel was Jack’s soul mate and, if it were possible, would by now have been Jack’s husband. Jack was never again going to allow his own stupidity to endanger the single most important relationship of his life.
“I can ring down for cake, Jack. We can have tea in my study; You know, the room next to my bedroom,” de’Vere said archly as he chased Jack down the first flight of stairs, sure that if Jack could just be made to remember how good it was had been between them, he would drop the pretty academic as quickly as Simon would drop Davin. A few well placed phone calls and Jack would be permanently based in Britain and they could start where they’d left off, only without the complication of dangerous missions in hostile countries.
Jack gave a deep sigh that should have tipped Simon off to his mood, but the Lord was too far gone in his day dream to pay any attention. “Come on, Jack, let’s not pretend. You don’t have to play hard to get with me, I’m a sure thing.”
“Well guess what, Simon, I’m not!” With a heated glare that would melt stone, Jack turned away from the gob-smacked man and double timed it down the main staircase, across the huge hallway and through the door into the kitchens.
The scullery corridor quickly opened up through a heavy swing door into the cavernous room that housed the Castle kitchen. The stone walls and huge fireplace lay testament to its significance in the history of the ancient building. Fire blackened brickwork delineated a bread oven and a large wrought iron spit still stood ready to roast a whole pig or half an oxen, although it hadn’t been called to do so for over a century. Now, alongside the polished copper saucepans of every conceivable size were a microwave, a toaster and a top of the range barrista style coffee maker. An oil-fired Aga had replaced the open fire for cooking and a huge kettle on one of the heating plates puffed steam up the chimney. A huge rustic table dominated the center of the room, its golden Scots pine top scrubbed to a creamy whiteness, the surface pockmarked with the gouges and cuts of myriad knives over many centuries. Seated at the table, surrounded by piles of receipts, was a small round woman, no more than five feet tall. Her apple face was topped by a pile of white hair that had been crafted into a complex bun. Tiny tendrils had escaped and floated around her brow and temples like wisps of cloud in a summer sky. At the noisy entrance into her domain, Maddy’s eyes shot an irritated glare in their direction which quickly mutated into a delighted smile that lit her up from the inside.
“Jonny! Och, Jonny, mo giollan bòidheach,” she crooned as she spread her arms to welcome the prodigal. Simon winced at the use of the Gaelic endearment, knowing that although he believed Jack to be his beautiful boy, Maddy had been the one to use it first.
Maddy either missed or ignored the Laird’s scowl as she lavished hugs and kisses on Jack.
“Oh, Maddy, me darlin’,” Jack chuckled, lacing his speech with a cod Irish brogue. “How are you, you old fishwife.”
Maddy gave a distinctly girlish giggle and landed a not so girlish punch to Jack’s shoulder which he reeled from with a melodramatic ‘oof’. “Now don’t be rude ta an auld woman, Jonny. Ye shud be bowing down and asking ma forgiveness for being awa so long and fer being in this house for over a day before ye came ta see yer Maddy.”
Jack clutched his heart and gave a deep bow, shaking his head in a comedic parody of remorse. “I ask your forgiveness, my lady,” he intoned formally and then spoiled it by looking back up at her with a cheeky grin and twinkling eyes.
“Ach,” Maddy sniffed, “Ye’re forgiven I suppose.” She squealed as Jack lifted her up, planted a warm kiss to each of her rosy cheeks and hugged her to him in a show of true affection.
“Aww, Mad’s, I missed you,” he yelled as he danced her around the table, her feet dangling a foot off the ground.
“Ye missed ma cake more, I think, ye rapscallion,” Maddy laughed giddily as she pounded on Jack’s shoulders in a failed attempt to make him let her down.
“Cake? Cake, you say?” Jack grinned as he placed her gently back in her seat. “Well, if there did happen to be cake…” His open innocent gaze soon morphed into laughter as he slung himself into the chair opposite and leaned on the aged surface of the table, his chin loosely cradled in his hands. He watched happily as Maddy began to move around her domain, looking over at him every few seconds as if to check he was really there.
Over by the doorway Simon stood forgotten as he watched the interplay between Jack and the woman who had been like a mother to him since he was a teenager. He felt torn with jealousy seeing these two people interact so naturally, wondering when he’d lost that relationship with the cook and marveled that Jack, after being absent for a quarter of a century, could just pick it back up without a hitch. A childish petulance (which never seemed to be far from the surface since Jack had appeared back in his life six months earlier) bubbled up and engaged his mouth before he could think rationally.
“We haven’t got time to visit, Mrs. McNally,” Simon barked unpleasantly. “I’d like tea and cake for two in my study, please. The colonel and I have important issues to discuss.”
Jack turned to look at his ex-lover with an expression of incredulity. In the time that Jack had spent with Simon at the castle he’d never heard the Lord speak to any of his staff like that and particularly not Maddy. The staff at Castle Blair were family; many of them had been part of Simon’s life since he was born, and Jack was disgusted that de’Vere could behave like that towards any of them. Jack’s irritation with Simon was swiftly turning to anger and he didn’t want Maddy to be witness to some of the choice things he had to say to the man. O’Neill schooled his features and looked back at the cook who was fighting with some choice words of her own it seemed. Repressing a grin at the sparks that were flickering in the old woman’s pale blue eyes Jack stood and walked over to her, placing an arm around her shoulders.
“How about you make us up a tray with your second best cake and a pot of tea and I’ll run it up to his Lordship’s study,” Jack said quietly, shooting her an apologetic glance. “Then, when he’s done with his very important issues, I’ll come back and you can break out the good cake.” He planted a small kiss on her forehead. “I’ll bring my Danny with me so you can fall as much in love with him as I am.”
The slam of the kitchen door as Simon left told Jack that his underlying message had been received, but he wasn’t so naive as to believe that de’Vere had inwardly digested the sentiment. There was going to have to be a hard conversation; at least it would be hard for Simon. Jack had got over his feelings for the other man a long time ago and now it was time for Simon to let go, too. Jack shook his head and turned back to Maddy who seemed to be vacillating between anger and hurt.
“How long’s he been like this, Mad’s?” Jack asked. “He always was an arrogant SOB, but that,” he crooked a thumb over his shoulder, “is not the man I used to know.” Jack looked back at the still swinging door with a frown.
Maddy put her hands on her hips and pursed her lips. “He came back from a visit to America about six months ago with a bee in his bonnet. He’s been like a bear we’a sore heed e’er since.”
Jack sighed deeply. That was what he’d been afraid of. Their meeting in DC had not been planned and although Jack had enjoyed catching up with Simon it seemed the other man had got more out of it than Jack had. He watched distractedly as Maddy put together a tea tray with the ease of fifty years of experience.
Maddy looked over at Jack, fixing him with a shrewd gaze. “Ye know something about that, Jonny, don’t ye.”
“Yes Maddy, I do.” Jack nodded, picking up the tray. “I’m going to sort it out one way or another.” He gave her an affectionate smile, “And then I’ll be back and I’ll bring my own giollan bòidheach. Then we’ll see if you don’t forget about me altogether.”
With a chuckle at her disbelieving expression Jack backed through the swing door and trudged up the stairs towards Simon’s study, feeling like he’d prefer to be facing a battalion of Jaffa than going to have a ‘talk’ with his ex-lover.
Daniel looked at the Polaroid Davin was holding out to him and shook his head in disbelief.
“Tell me the truth, Dav.” He frowned. “There’s some kind of filter on that lens. I do not look like that.”
Davin snorted and spread the picture with the five others on the bed. “Daniel, I don’t believe you don’t see this every time you look in a mirror.” The younger man picked out a shot of Daniel leaning nonchalantly against the four poster, wearing a silver gray three piece suit, the white shirt beneath open to the top button of the vest. Davin had encouraged Daniel to take off his glasses and the overall effect was quite literally stunning.
The young model had long been interested in the process of taking pictures from behind the camera as well as in front and he knew enough to be sure that the camera loved Daniel. “If your Jack saw you in this he’d come in his pants,” he snorted as he pointed to another picture of Daniel in a sky blue satin shirt.
Daniel had to admit that the outfits Davin had chosen to photograph were the ones that looked the best. Some of the designer clothes in that closet were just wrong for Daniel’s shape, others just too ‘out there’. But Davin’s professional eye meant that the combinations he had chosen to capture looked really, really good and Daniel was amazed.
He had never really taken that much care in choosing his wardrobe, buying clothes more for expediency than design or trend. He knew Jack loved to see him in jeans that were slightly tighter than he would have liked and that the older man got excited when Daniel was ‘suited and booted’ in his dark three piece, but that was as far as his interest went. He also knew that Jack’s insistence that he should wear predominantly blue came from his lovers near obsession with the color of his eyes. But the designer garments with their luxury fabrics, impeccable cut and attention to detail, were an eye-opener for a man who bought the same $10 t shirts from Kmart year after year. ‘Maybe,’ he thought, ‘it’s time to start spending some of that exorbitant salary the Air Force gives me.’ Daniel had no doubt Jack would be very pleased if he did. If he was honest with himself he had always seen designer clothes as an act of vanity and his own self worth had always come from his intellect rather than his looks. However, having seen himself through Davin’s eyes he was beginning to change his opinion.
“I’m fucking exhausted,” Daniel sighed as he flopped back on the bed, wrapped in an elegant satin robe that was protecting both his rapidly dwindling modesty and his bare skin from the rather cool air.
Davin snorted. “This is nothing. Photo shoots are mostly annoying – hurry up and wait; wait for the photographer, the stylist, the hairdresser, the makeup artist, the art director…” He giggled and lay down next to Daniel, propping his head on his hand. “It’s catwalk that knackers you. I did Milan last year and had 13 shows in 2 days, most of them back to back.” He ran his fingers through his thick black hair. “You can’t eat or drink because they all want you showing your best muscle definition, so you have a constant headache,” he explained. “I need corrective lenses so I wear contacts for work, but after 14 hours your eyes feel like you want to scratch them out and then there are the weird jobs…” Davin rolled his eyes.
“Weird?” Daniel asked with a small frown.
“Yeah, the ones where they want to paint you blue or draw hieroglyphs on your legs. Then you have to get it all scrubbed off in the back of a taxi as you are whizzed around a city that hates traffic. You end up raw and breaking out and then the designers call you names and threaten not to pay you.” The model flopped back on the pillow and laughed. “I’m a big enough name for that not to happen anymore, but I know kids that are new to the biz that end up owing so much money to agents.” He sighed and turned to look at Daniel, the full force of his green eyes intent on the older man’s face. “I suppose this is all so much crap compared to what you do. I know you can’t talk about your work; Simon is very firm about keeping secrets, but I imagine you face real danger every time you go on a mission.” He extended his index finger and pointed at a large, pale, star shaped scar on Daniel’s left shoulder. “That looks like it was pretty serious.”
Daniel looked down to where Davin was pointing and then nodded wryly. “Yeah; well I didn’t die from that one,” he commented without thinking.
“You mean…” the model’s face paled. “You mean you’ve died and got brought back?”
“Mmmm,” Daniel cringed at his indiscretion. “I have, yes, more than once, but that’s all I can say.”
“God, Daniel,” Davin choked out, his eyes wide, the idea of Daniel dying just too awful for to contemplate. “You should really think about modeling, it’s much safer.”
“Oh, I don’t know. By the sounds of it some of those designers are more frightening than anything I face in the field,” Daniel replied, trying to lighten the atmosphere.
Within moments they were both in fits of laughter as Davin started to do an outrageous impersonation of a famous designer that Daniel had actually heard of. They laughed until the tears ran down their cheeks and Daniel realized that Davin was the first person that he felt able to let his guard down with, besides Jack of course, and it felt great to have a friend outside academia and the SGC.
Suddenly the younger man was up on his feet and moving clothes around in the closet with a single minded intensity.
“I know it’s here somewhere. God, why didn’t I think of this earlier?” With a loud, ‘ah ha!’ Davin turned back to a very confused Daniel, holding out a suit bag. “You have to try this on, Daniel,” he said excitedly. “Jack is going to get a real kick out of this.”
Curiosity overtaking him, Daniel pulled down the zip on the heavy duty carrier and pulled out the garment inside. It was immediately obvious it was a dress uniform and the color singled it out as Air Force. “Is this Simon’s?” Daniel queried, a little unsure as to why the model thought he should try it on and why Jack would like it.
Davin pulled the jacket fully out of the cover and turned the lapel to face Daniel. The older man’s eyes grew round and he reached out with trepidation to touch the name badge that was displayed there.
“O’Neill…This is Jack’s uniform?” Daniel took the jacket off the hanger and spread it on the bed. The medal rack was large, but nowhere near the size that Jack wore on his colonel’s uniform. He looked over at Davin for more information.
“From what I understand, Jack left it behind when he went home that summer. He was a captain then… I think that’s what Simon said.”
Daniel noticed the double bars on the epaulettes and nodded. “That’s captain’s insignia. Jack was promoted through the ranks very quickly,” he added with pride.
“But he’s still a colonel, right?” Davin asked.
Daniel nodded. “Yes. He is still in a field combat team, but I think if he’d been willing to fly a desk he would be a Brigadier or Major General by now.”
“Come on, try it on,” Davin encouraged. “It fits me so it’ll fit you.”
Daniel was about to ask why the young man had worn Jack’s old uniform, but was waylaid by his enthusiastic help in getting out of the robe. It was the work of only a few minutes to get Daniel into the Dress Blues and in front of the mirror. He looked at himself critically and had to admit that he looked good, very good. The jacket was a little snug around the shoulders and the trousers an inch or two too long, but over all the uniform fitted. Davin had found a pale blue shirt and plain tie to finish off the effect and Daniel was sure he would pass muster on any base.
“Jack must have lost a bit of bulk over the years,” Daniel mused. “Usually his stuff is too narrow for me.”
Davin gave a filthy giggle. “Probably all that extra-curricular aerobic exercise.”
Daniel grinned, “Yeah, that’d do it I suppose.”
Moments later Davin had the camera back in his hands and was shouting directions that Daniel was trying hard to follow whilst keeping a look of gravitas on his face.
“Okay, Si. Time to stop all this bullshit,” Jack placed the tea tray onto the heavy oak captain’s desk and turned to face his friend. “You’re acting like a grade A ass and it’s starting to piss me off.”
Simon looked genuinely upset at Jack’s outburst. “Jonny, baby, I’ve never stopped loving you, wanting you,” he opined. “When I saw you in DC I knew it was fate. After all these years we were in the same place at the same time.” He walked over to Jack and he placed both hands on his shoulders. “You can’t tell me you don’t feel it, too. It’s still there, Jack, everything we felt for one another.”
Jack gave an irritated snort, “In your head perhaps, Simon. But if you’d bothered to take the aforementioned head outta your ass you would have seen that I am deeply in love with another guy. Even you can’t be pig headed enough to miss that.”
Jack tried to move away from de’Vere, but the taller man refused to be moved, gripping O’Neill’s shoulders with a painful grasp. Jack could see the effect his proximity was having on Simon and his irritation rapidly began to ramp up to annoyance. “Simon, fercryinoutloud, it’s been twenty-five years. So much has happened, to both of us.” He twisted out of the Lord’s grasp and took a step back. “We’re not the same men we were then.”
The expression on Simon’s face told Jack he wasn’t getting through, but he was at a loss just what to say to convince the man that there would never again be a relationship between them.
“Jack, you just need time here with me; time to remember how good we were together…”
Jack gave a disgusted groan. “Simon, we were kids with dangerous jobs who didn’t know whether the next mission was going to be our last. We loved each other, but it was never going to last. We both knew that and that’s why we managed to keep it going for as long as we did. If we’d had to sit down and take a look at what a relationship really meant we’d have run so far and so fast…”Jack scrubbed his hand through his silver hair, in frustration. “I’m no good at this talking stuff. If Daniel were here he could convince you, no problem.”
“Fucking geek,” Simon growled under his breath and then looked up in shocked surprise from the floor where Jack’s lightening fast thrust had thrown him on his ass.
“He’s my geek and only I get to call him that,” Jack glowered as he loomed over Simon. Anger and disbelief skittered across the Englishman’s face as he looked up at his ex-lover.
“He’s not military, Jack. He can never understand you the way I can,” Simon pleaded. “He’s never been behind enemy lines with you, stood side by side with only a sidearm between you and death. He can’t know you like I do.” The Lord got to his feet, rubbing absently at the aching shoulder that paid testament to Jack’s continued skills in hand-to-hand combat. “He’s a pretty boy, Jack, but he’s just a weak, book loving liability and if I were your CO I would never let you take him into the field, no matter how safe it was.”
Jack’s anger left as quickly as it had arrived and he found himself sitting back on the desk with tears of laughter pouring down his face. Whoever Simon had been to him all those years ago he was nothing but a bitter man now and his lack of understanding of the worth of Daniel Jackson was simply laughable. “God, Si, you have no idea.”
de’Vere sneered at Jack and sat down heavily on an armchair, his brows knitted together in dismay at the gales of laughter coming from his friend.
“That man,” Jack continued, “has saved my life more times than anyone else in the whole of my career. Not just with his intellect either but with firearms and with his own self sacrifice.”
Simon shook his head, “I don’t believe you, Jack. We were in that cave in Bosnia together for three days. I looked after you, gave you my rations and when they came for us, I killed for you.”
“I know,” Jack nodded, his laughter dying with the memory. “And I’ll always be grateful and I’ll never forget it. But Daniel has literally died for me, Si, and not just once or twice. Thank God each time we’ve been able to drag him back from the brink.” Jack walked over and stood in front of Simon. “Me and you knew each other for just over eighteen months. We were lovers for ten. Daniel and I have been friends for four years now and lovers for two of those. Please believe me when I tell you there will never be anyone else for me.” A smile warmed Jack’s features as he thought of his soul mate. “He’s it, Si, and I’m sorry, buddy, that you have wasted so much time waiting.” He reached down and squeezed de’Vere’s shoulder. “I love him, he has my heart,” Jack tried to explain.
Feeling his chance to renew his affair with Jack slipping out of his fingers, Simon clutched at Jack’s hand. “Well, then how about a fuck, for old time’s sake.” Seeing the shutters go up on Jack’s eyes he hurried on, hoping to snare Jack’s body even if his heart was taken. “I’ll bottom for you, you know you always loved that and Daniel is busy with Davin. Hey, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were going at it like minks right now. Davin is a sweet fuck.”
The look of pure disgust on Jack’s face sliced into Simon’s belly and he knew he had lost.
“I thought I knew you,” Jack spat at him, “I don’t know why Davin has stayed with you. I actually think he may have feelings for you, but that kid is worth ten of you. He deserves better and I’ll be sure to let Davin know that.”Jack turned to leave and then swung back around. “Danny and I will have to stay here tonight, but we’ll be out of your hair in the morning and if I can persuade him then Davin will be leaving with us, too.” Jack strode out of the room, slamming the heavy oak door behind him, leaving a shaken Simon in his wake.
Only minutes later Jack walked back into Davin’s bedroom to find a sight he never would have expected in a million years. Daniel was standing resplendent in Class A’s complete with captain’s bars leaning nonchalantly against the bank of closet doors at the back of the room. He wore a cover and a pair of aviators and was the personification of one of Jack’s most erotic fantasies. He felt his mouth go dry and his cock rear from flaccid to iron hard in two seconds flat. He watched as Daniel noticed him, flushed, and then drew himself up to his full height. With measured step his young lover strode across the room, stood at full attention in front of him and gave a text book salute.
“Captain Jackson, reporting for duty, sir,” he rapped out and then stood waiting. Daniel’s impassive expression didn’t give away how concerned he was that Jack might not approve of him using his uniform for fancy dress. The idea of a little role play, however, was seriously hot. While Daniel had never really considered domination scenes his cup of tea, the idea of being ordered around by ‘The Colonel’ while dressed in this uniform was hitting quite a few kink buttons he hadn’t been aware he had.
“Fuuuucckk, Danny,” Jack moaned as his libido leapt into high gear.
Davin grinned as he watched the two men. He’d known Jack would like Daniel in full Dress Blues and he could see they’d both forgotten he was there. He felt a pang of bitter sweet emotion as he saw not only lust but real love, deep and abiding, in every heated glance and whispered word. Jack’s eyes shone with passion and Davin felt envious of Daniel’s connection with this vibrant, powerful older man.
Daniel relaxed his stance and pulled off the sunglasses. His pupils were blown wide open and the heat of his gaze made Jack shudder. Time seemed to stand still and it was only when Davin made a failed attempt to leave the room unobtrusively that Jack’s single minded focus on Daniel was broken. As he looked past Daniel’s shoulder to where the young model stood in the doorway he caught sight of the lapel badge on the uniform. A shocked look of recognition skittered over his face.
“This is my old uniform. Where did you find it?” he asked Davin.
The model shrugged and pointed to the closet. “It was in there when I first started staying here. I knew it would fit Daniel because it fits me.”
Daniel realized that Davin had said this to him earlier and began to get an uneasy feeling about the implication of that statement.
“Why were you wearing my uniform?” Jack asked, also quickly coming to a conclusion that left him feeling unsettled.
For the first time since they had known him Davin seemed unhappy and ill at ease. “Well…erm…”
“You wore it for Simon, didn’t you,” Daniel stated gently, hating that the fun, bubbly personality seemed to have been sucked out of the young man by the revelation. Davin gave a sad smile and nodded. “He likes me to top him with it on. I pretend to be Jack,” he mumbled, his eyes filling. “But it was just a game.”
Jack was shocked at the lengths Simon had gone to in order to continue his false hopes about resuming their relationship. Incredulous that the beautiful young man could allow himself to be treated so badly Jack walked over to Davin, placed a hand on his shoulder and shook him gently. “Danny and me would both say that games can be fun if you both agree to them, but to ask you to pretend to be an ex-lover…” Jack’s expression showed his distaste for Simon’s behavior. “…it’s disrespectful to you. Why would you let him do that?”
Daniel moved to stand next to his newest friend, already knowing what his answer would be and wishing he could mitigate Davin’s pain.
Davin shrugged dejectedly, “Because I love him.”