- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Explicit Sex
- Alternate Universe
- Science Fiction
Vin and Ezra sat in the back seat of the black SUV that was driving from Cheyenne Mountain to Chris Larabee’s ranch outside Denver. Vin watched the scenery fly by and sighed with relief to finally be out from under the mountain. He wasn’t sure exactly what strings General Hammond had to pull to get them released but he was thankful to the man.
The General had offered them a place at Stargate Command. He and Ez had discussed it. They knew a project like this never really let ya go once you were in the know, but since they did know what was threatenin’ their world out there they couldn’t just walk away. They just weren’t sure about signin’ their lives away. They of course signed the NDA but they need ta see how much of their own lives they still have here before they can make plans.
Ezra squeezed his hand and he looked back. Ez looked nervous and still a little tired. Six days since they saved Draper and Ez still tired easy. But he knows that the nerves will get better once he’s able to know how the guys really feel about him. It’s the part of the empathy that really sucks in Vin’s opinion. Deep down he knows Ez was always worried that the guys only tolerated him. Vin knows otherwise but will just have to wait for them to prove themselves. He let himself give in and feed Ez all the love he was feelin’ for him right now and saw him relax.
Jack and Daniel was traveling with them for moral support and let’s be real, to make sure they didn’t immediately spill the beans. It was one concession Vin would gladly make. They were still deciding what could be said about their “gifts” but it wasn’t the kinda thing Vin could stress over. Frankly, since the bonding he had plenty of control over the senses as long as he and Ez stayed in sync. They had done that meditatin’ thing this morning that Miss Neh-Tee’s people taught them. Helped them stay in sync and was real soothin’ to Ez.
He was glad they were meetin’ the guys at Chris’s ranch. Didn’t know who all would be there but was hoping it would just be the fellas. Let em kinda ease back in with the cover story the government had built for them. Vin hated lyin’ to Chris but how exactly did ya say, ‘Hey we was kidnapped by aliens’ and not end up in the loony bin?
They saw the turnoff toward the ranch and Ezra tensed. “It’s gonna be OK Ez, you’ll see. The guys’ve had three days to wrap their heads around us bein’ alive so they’s just gonna be glad to see us.”
“I’m not worried, Mr Tanner.” Ezra started. “They will of course be glad to see us. I am slightly concerned about the level of emotion but I will persevere. I am not certain how they will respond to our relationship.”
“I’s already tol’ ya Ez, I chose you. Even before we ended up out there, I always wanted ya. Just didn’t think I was in your league. Now I gotcha, well ya don’t get rid of me so easy. Iffin the guys don’t understand that then the hell with them. I may want them in my life as friends, brothers. But you are my life. Simple as that.”
Ezra smiled broadly and Vin leaned in to kiss. The kiss going deeper and Ezra responded so beautifully that Vin just wanted to lay him out.
“Ah guys, nows not really the time for this.” Daniel said, his face flushed.
“Yeah, about that. Think you can keep that locked down? I don’t think the highway patrol would be too happy with an orgy in the car.” Jack stated.
Ezra groaned under him while Vin gave him one last kiss before leaning back in his seat. “I don’t know if we can live in the city full time Ez. When ya get all worked up like that the cork just kinda pops.”
“Let’s just not have anything popping today.”
“Jaaaaack, you had to go there?”
The suv pulled into the drive of the ranch and Vin saw all the vehicles lined up. All the guys were here and a only one extra. Not too bad. He gave one last squeeze to Ezra’s hand as the door to the house swung open and the guys came barreling out. The car door was opened and Vin was practically dragged out by Buck.
“Whoo-wee! Sure is good to see you guys!” Buck started.
JD’s hug was over Buck’s, “When we got the call you guys were alive and coming home everyone just lost it. We searched everywhere and there wasn’t a peep of you anywhere.”
“JD, give the boy a chance to get a breath.” Vin smiled a thanks to Josiah just before the man picked him up off the ground in a crushing bear hug.
“Good ta see ya too ‘siah. I’d like ta breath some.” Vin croaked out.
Nathan pounded him on the back before setting him down in front of Chris. The two men stared at each other for a long moment then Vin offered him his arm to shake. Chris knocked it aside and pulled him in for a hug. “Welcome back.”
Vin felt an internal tug and turned to see Ezra backed up against the side of the car with the guys all trying to touch him. He swiftly made his way beside him and spoke up. “Hey guys, give Ez a little room will ya. He’s getting over one of his sick headaches and travel didn’t agree with him so much, ya know?”
Immediately the guys were clearing a path to get them into the house out of the sun. Vin motioned SG-1 over to introduce them as they walked to the house. On the front porch was Director Orin Travis and his wife Evie to welcome the men home. Once inside he placed Ezra at the end of the couch so he could sit next to him.
Introductions complete all around and drinks handed out there was a moment of awkward silence before Director Travis stepped in to fill it. “Well boys, it’s not every day that I get a call from the President of the United States thanking me for the service of my men. Especially when I honestly believed those men to no longer be with us. I was informed the work you were doing was classified and that for the safety of your mission it was decided that it was best to allow us to believe that. I want to say on behalf of the ATF, the teams in Denver, and Evie and myself, welcome back. You were sorely missed.”
“Your sentiment is highly appreciated, Director Travis. If there had been any way we could have alleviated your distress we would have certainly taken action. Unfortunately that decision was out of our control. We were completely incommunicado.” Ezra started.
“That fact was made clear to me. I am just relieved that the two of you are ok. Evie and I aren’t staying long. This is a time for you boys to reconnect. We just wanted to see with our own eyes you were fine. I know you’ll need to take a few weeks to try to get your lives back in order. So give yourself the time then make an appointment with my office so we can review what is needed to get you re-certified.”
“Thank ya sir, ma’am.” Vin said.
Travis shook their hands again, while Evie gave them each a warm hug. Then they made their goodbyes.
There was a return to awkward silence after the Travis’ left until JD finally burst out, “So where were you guys all this time?”
“That’s classified” Jack spoke up.
“Classified huh?” Buck asked. “What the hell were they doing that was so classified that you couldn’t even let us know they were still alive?”
“Now Buck, calm down.” Chris started.
“No Chris, I think we deserve to know what happened.”
Jack shook his head at Vin’s pleading look. “No, classified means classified.”
“Classified is just another way assholes like you use to cover up bullshit.” Buck started to rant.
“Mr Wilmington. I would appreciate it if you refrained from derogatory remarks.” Ezra commanded.
“Buck, guys, don’t be attackin’ them. Jack and Daniel are friends. They’s the ones that got us home. So don’t go blamin’ them for any of this. They’s not the ones that started this.” Vin pleaded.
Daniel interjected, “Vin’s right. Rather than pushing for information we just aren’t allowed to share with you shouldn’t you be celebrating having them home?”
JD spoke up, “Buck you are so full of crap. You promised you wouldn’t fly off like that and what is the first thing you do.”
Buck opened his mouth and then closed it. Then he sighed. “You’re right JD. Guys, I’m sorry. That’s just been building up since we found out you were still alive.” He stepped in front of Jack and held out a hand, “Peace?”
Jack stood and shook, “Peace.”
Jack and Daniel left soon after pulling the two aside for a quiet chat reminding them that they will have daily check ins for the next couple weeks to ensure everything is in place for their cover story.
Dinner was still a little tense with the guys watching their every move. And while everyone was cleaning up Vin accompanied Ezra out to visit the horses. Peso perked up as soon as they entered the barn. Chaucer didn’t wait for them to approach. Opening the door he came charging toward Ezra pulling up short at the last moment to gently lay his head on Ezra’s shoulder.
“Oh my dear friend, I never meant to abandon you for so long.” Ezra just held on and soaked up Chaucer’s good will.
Peso stamped in his stall and Vin came over grinning, “Calm down ya ornery ol mule. Did ya miss me as much as I was missin’ you?”
They spent a while giving attention to their four legged friends. Vin found a bag of Chaucer’s favorite peppermints in the box with his grooming supplies. A fresh newly opened bag. Seems Ez wasn’t the only one “spoiling” the horse.
They stayed out until Ezra calmed. The emotions of their friends had been a bit overwhelming and sometimes bittersweet. It would take some time before everyone relaxed around them again. Vin laced his fingers through Ezra’s as they finished putting everything away. “Don’t worry none. Everything is gonna be just fine. You’ll see.”
Ezra nodded and Vin moved in for a kiss. The sound of the door opening wide interrupted them. Josiah was standing in the doorway watching them with a pensive look on his face. He came in and stood in front of Ezra. Ezra looked away and Josiah careful reached out and took his chin in hand and turned his face back toward him. Vin tensed, ready to defend if needed but held his tongue to allow this to happen.
“Does he make you happy?” Josiah asked Ezra, not letting go of his chin.
For a moment Ezra just stood there unmoving, until he just let the mask slide from his face to show Josiah all the love and happiness and contentment he felt within. Josiah’s hand dropped as he reached around and pulled Ezra into a full hug and Vin felt him finally let go of his fear of rejection.
They strolled back to the house together, Josiah’s arm around Ezra while Vin held his hand. Words weren’t needed until they reached the porch. From within they heard Nathan’s voice call out, “Buck you owe me $50. They are shacking up.”
“Oh Lord” Ezra blushed as Josiah and Vin laughed.
They stayed up late, talking over old times. The guys catching them up on some of the people they knew. They were back with their brothers.
The next morning Vin woke up just before dawn. It was his favorite part of the day. Everything fresh and new like a canvas waiting to be painted. He fixed his coffee and wandered outside to enjoy the view. He had seen dawns on so many planets now, but there was something about Earth that just spoke to the soul. This was the real homecoming.
The door creaked and Chris came out with a cup to join him. For a moment there was a look like he was afraid he was seeing a ghost before he smiled. “Never more glad to smell this roofing tar than I am now.”
Vin chuckled softly, “Just cause you guys don’t know good coffee when it sits up and slaps ya.”
They sipped their coffee in silence before Vin finally spoke again. “How are things really goin’ around here, cowboy?”
Chris let out a long shaky sigh. “Hell Vin. That’s what it’s been. We were sure we lost you. The first few weeks we were breaking down doors and busting heads to get anything that might be a clue. After that, well, you know the statistics. And there was nothing but your Jeep and some prints that were crap. The video camera and digital camera were fried and no one can figure out how that happened. Thought maybe a taser?” He looked to Vin.
Vin shrugged, not a question he could answer. Chris seemed to realize and nodded.
“You would have been proud of JD. Really stepped up and showed us the man he is. Wouldn’t let us give up. Said you would have knocked us on our asses just before Ezra ruined our reputations if we gave in. He really left no stone unturned. Had programs looking for info right up until Travis got the call. Shoot, a couple months after you disappeared he was even hitting up crazy sites with UFO sightings.”
Vin choked on his coffee and Chris grinned while he slapped his back. “I told you he looked everywhere.”
Vin coughed a little and said hoarsely, “I guess he did.”
“You really can’t say what you were doing?” Chris asked.
“You were a Seal. You know how it is. Ez and I just fell right into it and had to make the best of the situation. Wrong place, wrong time.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry about that. Should have never done that to the two of you. If I hadn’t taken Travis’ temper out on you two then…”
“No just don’t go down that path Chris. Weren’t all bad. If I had to do it again I would if it got me Ez.”
“So you and him huh?”
“You know I’ve always had a thing for Ez Chris.”
“Yeah, I remember some drunken poetry about eyes like green glass and the curve of his ass that headed deep into limerick territory.”
“Now we had a deal never ta bring that up.” Vin grinned softly at Chris’s mischievous smile and relaxed. “I sure missed you too Chris. It’s good to have my brothers back.”
It took two days before the subject of their belongings came up. An offhand comment about missing his favorite boots had Chris pointing Vin to the attic. “Your landlord called me when your rent was due. The boys and I packed everything up and brought it out here. Hell, I figured it was one way to get you outta that death trap when you came back. About three months ago I kinda hit bottom and just couldn’t look at it anymore so I hauled it all up there.”
“Thanks cowboy.” Vin smiled.
The guys exchanged worried looks and finally Chris spoke back up. “Ezra, I’m sorry. We didn’t even think to check on your place until we were hauling Vin’s. By the time we got there, well…”
“Shoot Ez, Hurricane Maude hit it like a category 5.” Buck blurted out. “She took everything that wasn’t nailed down and pulled up some of the things that were.”
JD was shaking his head mournfully, “She even took the jag, Ez.”
Nathan added, “She would have gotten control of the money except that power of attorney you gave Chris before that last op was never revoked. Your lawyers contacted him and he put a halt on it. She threatened to take him to court, but the attorney’s made it clear that missing and presumed dead was a far cry from missing and declared dead. She’s been trying to find a judge that would work with her ever since.”
Ezra looked to Chris who concluded, “Travis has been pulling strings with every probate judge he knows. We figured if we couldn’t find you within one year then we would let her have her way.”
Ezra started to laugh and Vin joined him. They had discussed this once while they were gone. He does have to admit that Ezra knows his mother.
“Mother would have been appalled if she had won. I left everything to the six of you to be split evenly.” Ezra continued to laugh as the men joined him.
Four days with the guys was wonderful but every time they turned around someone was there. They had been back on Earth over half a month and Vin felt like he hadn’t been alone with Ezra in forever. The need to bond was growing and getting harder to resist. It was Sunday and the guys all had errands to run before going back to work on Monday, so they had encouraged them all to go.
Vin led Ezra up to the hay loft where he already had a blanket spread out with supplies. Ezra grinned as Vin wrapped his arms around him. He slowly turned and Vin captured him in a gentle kiss that deepened.
“No one is home. We could do this inside with a nice soft bed.”
Vin shook his head and grinned, “Nope. Right here. I’s been fantasizin’ about takin’ ya here in this hay loft for almost three years now. It’s one of those bucket list things ‘siah’s always goin’ on about.”
Ezra chuckled, “You want to talk about Josiah then you won’t be touching me this way.”
“Only one I want ta talk about here is you.” Vin slipped his hands under Ezra’s shirt to find skin as he kissed him again with a desire to taste and touch every inch.
Ezra helped him remove the shirt and then slipped off his pants and shoes. “Then talk to me Vin. Tell me.”
Vin stared at Ezra standing there, his skin glowing in the sunbeams while dust danced around him painting a picture Michaelangelo would have envied. His smile was relaxed and carefree while his eyes spoke of deep love. When Vin spoke it was a whisper.
“Green is my world
Reflected in his eyes”
Ezra reached out and pulled Vin back against him, devouring him with a kiss as they slowly lowered onto the blanket.
Vin pulled up his own shirt, breaking the kiss only to pull it over his head while Ezra’s talented fingers worked on his belt. He could feel the heated flush spread across Ezra’s skin. Moving back momentarily to rid himself of the restricting cloth he saw Ezra’s eyes lock onto his hardened cock with want.
Vin moved beside Ezra to renew the kiss. As Ezra reached for Vin’s cock, Vin intercepted his hands and forced them over his head. “Not yet.”
He began kissing and tasting the silky skin. Down Ezra’s throat, pausing to breathe in that unique scent at the base of the neck before nipping and sucking his way down to the nipple. He swirled his tongue in ever decreasing circles until it was a hard sensitive bud then sucked in hard. Ezra arched upwards and Vin’s lips curled as he continued to lick.
He worked his way downward, tongue dipping briefly in his navel before letting his breath ghost over Ezra’s swollen cock. Breathing the scent of arousal teasingly before moving upward to the other nipple to repeat. As Ezra groaned his frustration Vin released his hands and reached for the lube.
Ezra eagerly spread his legs as Vin shifted. He sucked hard on the pebbled nipple and as he arched again off the blanket Vin inserted a slicked finger into his hole. He moved lower and began to lick and suck the shaft while keeping pace with his finger. Ezra’s hands reached for Vin’s head and once again he intercepted them, forcing the fingers to clench on the blanket beneath them. “Now, Vin, please.” Came the breathy plea.
He grabbed the lube again to coat his penis. Placing his hands under Ezra’s hips he lifted and his eyes met Ezra’s. The feeling of want and need washed over him and Vin slid in. He held in place, feeling Ezra clench around him and waited for him to adjust before pushing in further.
He withdrew until only the head of his cock was in that warm wonderful channel and then pressed back in and the sensation started to overwhelm him. Not wanting to blunt his feeling he reached out with his senses. The scent of hay, sweat, and sex mixed with that vibrant tartness that was Ezra. The reflection of light off Ezra’s green eyes. The sound of Ezra’s breath coming in gasps below him. He started again slow, building a soft rhythm with the head of his cock brushing again’s Ezra’s prostate at every inward and outward stroke. He existed in this moment of perfection. His whole being surrounded by Ez.
“Damn it! Stop treating me like glass and Fuck Me!” Ezra growled and Vin grinned. Eyes met eyes again and he adjusted his grip before setting a brutal pace. Balls slapping against balls. The feeling of sex and need grew but he held on.
Finally, finally the barriers dropped and Ezra wrapped his mind around Vin’s. Vin could feel the passion pulsing between them with every stroke. He felt Ezra start to peak and rushed to meet him. “Hold on, hold on, just a lil more.” Vin came hard, gripping Ezra as the sensation flooded his body.
Seeing spots he remembered to breath and heard Ezra’s breath catching below him. His hands white-knuckled in the blanket, eyes glazed and begging for release. Vin carefully slid out and down. Hands pressing down on his thighs before he swallowed Ezra’s cock in one move. He flexed his throat and swallowed again and pushed down hard as Ezra tried to arch off the blanket and came in a rush.
With the salty bitter taste in his mouth he was breathing hard as he softly ran his hand’s up and down Ezra’s sides, grounding him as micro-tremors continued to rock Ezra’s body.
When their breathing finally synched and the tremors calmed, Ezra pulled Vin up to lay next to him. Sleep started to overtake him when he said, “I believe I need to let you fantasize more often.”
Vin relaxed next to the sleeping Ezra. His senses singing and the bond throbbing strong between them. He sent everything out for a sensory sweep and felt someone on the property. Chris, damn. He gently slid out of the hay and slipped his clothes back on before climbing down and heading to the house.
Chris came out of the house freshly showered and looking wrecked. He saw Vin and looked away. Vin sighed. “Sorry bout that cowboy, Ez and I thought we had the place to ourselves.”
Chris looked to the left then the right then ran his hand through his damp hair. “What the hell was that?”
“That was Ez. He normally keeps all that locked down.”
“That’s not normal Vin.” Chris growled.
“Hell Chris, what is normal? Just because people don’t understand somethin’ isn’t a reason to turn against it.” Vin started.
“I’ve never heard of anyone that can do something like that!” Chris started pacing. “He’s why you were taken for that classified op, isn’t it? This was his fault.”
“NO! Just hold it right there. Ez isn’t the reason we was taken. He’s the reason they didn’t kill us on the spot. We’re alive today because of that. So don’t go blamin’ Ez for everything.”
“Look, just give me a minute to think. Are you sure he’s not making you…”
“You’re gonna stop that question right now. Ez and I we’s partners through and through.” Vin sighed and walked over to pick up the binoculars Chris kept on the porch. “Ez isn’t the only one that’s different Chris.” He handed Chris the binoculars. “Out by that fence post on the far side of the pond there’s a hawk sitting on the post that’s eyein’ a hare.”
Chris stared at Vin a moment before lifting the binoculars. Before he could say anything Vin spoke again, “The phone in the house is ringing.” A moment later the secondary ringer in the barn that he installed in case he wasn’t in the house to hear the phone went off. The phone stopped ringing while Chris was still staring at Vin.
“See I’s always had good eyes. Made me a good sniper. But the rest of it, it was there but kinda on idle until me and Ez hooked up. Same for Ez. He always had a little bit of sumthin’ special. You always wondered how he could talk the craziest SOBs into trustin’ him? How he always seemed to know who he could con and who he couldn’t? Well, it’s just sumthin he’s born with. But together we can do so much more. It’s not sumthin one of us did to the other. It’s what we are. What we’re meant to be together. In olden days the tribes woulda called us Spirit Blessed. It ain’t sumthin new cowboy. It’s sumthin very very old.”
“And that cold shower I just had to take?” Chris asked.
“Hell Chris. Ez can keep that locked down so tight ya don’t even know he has it. He just can’t do it when he gets all worked up like that. Everything just kinda breaks loose and explodes.” He grinned.
Chris just shook his head, “Well if the two of you could just not explode in my house while I’m around I would appreciate it.”
“You want us to leave?”
“Hell no. Just give me some time to wrap my head around it. I just came back to tell you I got ahold of Travis. You can come with me tomorrow to pick up the paperwork to get your Jeep out of storage. That call was probably Josiah. He said he should be able to drop Ezra off at the lawyers before he heads into work.”
Jack stood next to General Hammond watching SG-6 walk toward the doors, dripping wet. Captain Jones looked up at the observation window and gave the negative sign. Mission a bust. Jack just shook his head. “That’s the fifth team that’s been forced off world after inquiring about the Fox. Whoever this guy is, people refuse to talk about him. Can’t tell if they’re afraid or loyal.”
Hammond sighed, “We need that naquadah Colonel. Are you certain the people on P91-42J refuse to trade for anything less?”
“Oh they were crystal clear on that Sir. They want to prosecute the Fox for the murders of their people. It’s the only thing they will trade us. We find the Fox for them and they will open free trade for their naquadah mine.”
“Well, there is nothing to be done tonight. Enjoy your evening with the team. I believe I heard Captain Carter speaking to Dr Jackson about movies.”
Jack gave a small ‘whatever’ wave of his hand and left the General to pack up and leave for the evening himself.
“So what’s on the agenda for tonight?” Jack asked as he pulled some beers out of his fridge for the team.
“Well, Teal’c was asking about Robin Hood, so we figured we could watch the movie. Then I have a western, The Magnificent Seven which has similar themes.” Daniel explained.
Jack picked up the DVDs then looked up, “Disney Danny?”
Carter cleared her throat looking a little flustered, “Well sir, it was the only version available in the base library tonight.”
Daniel helped Jack pull the pizza’s out of the oven and carry them in to watch the movie that was just starting. Daniel explained the history and symbolism to Teal’c in detail…so much detail. Jack phased it out while enjoying the movie, even if it should have Errol Flynn instead of a Fox. A sly fox playing Robin Hood. The fox on the screen winked and Jack froze with the pizza halfway to his mouth while connections were made.
Jack met up with Standish outside his attorney’s office. The man was looking pale and stressed. His offer to treat the man to lunch had been genuine, but the lunch was going to be picnic away from curious ears. He listened to Ezra complain for a few minutes about the lengths his mother had gone to trying to access his funds while he was missing. Wow.
At an isolated park bench he pulled out the deli sandwiches and tried to determine how to broach the subject.
“I am quite certain you did not come all this way to listen to my complicated relationship with my mother.” Standish looked at him askance.
“So,” Jack began. Ah he hated all this dancing around crap. “Look, you know when we first met up in that jail? Well, you never did ask why we were in there.”
“It seemed of little consequence once we learned of your origin.” Ezra stated.
“Yeah, well we were thrown in jail for asking a question. Never did find out why that got us arrested.” Jack replied.
“And you are hoping I might provide insight?”
“Maybe. We were looking for intel. See, a couple weeks before that we were on P91-42J. Little world on the edge of nowhere. Not much to say about it except it has a rich little naquadah mining operation. The program is desperately looking for supply lines. So we were trying to strike up a trade deal with the local leadership there but they kinda drew a line in the sand and said they would only trade with us if we could bring them this guy they called the Fox.”
Jack watched Standish and got nothing off of him except that same interested face. “They told us how the Fox led a group of mercenaries to kill their workers and then carried off the women.” Nothing. He sighed.
“See, I didn’t put it together at first but we were trying to explain Robin Hood to Teal’c and showed him the movie. You know the Disney cartoon? Well it clicked and I remembered your spirit fox…so” Jack ran his hand across his face a moment. “Ah hell, Are you the Fox?”
Ezra picked up his napkin to clean his fingers, “If I knew who the Fox was, what would you do with the information?”
“Look Standish, I haven’t known you and Tanner that long but I’m usually a good judge of character. Dangerous? Hell yes. Willing to do what it takes? I’ll believe that. Cold blooded killers? No, I just don’t buy that. So if you knew who the Fox is, well, I’d like to hear his side of the story.”
Ezra stared at him and he had the distinct feeling that the man was reading him. Finally, he glanced away. “The world you are speaking of is called Vrddhi. It was one of Dyeus’ supply worlds and one of the few addresses I had seen at the time. I possessed some access keys so Vin and I decided to take a chance to see what we might be able to acquire. No one was aware of his death yet so it seemed worth the risk.
“He had some sycophant young Goa’uld running the operation as a lesser god. Those cretins capture tribes from unprotected worlds to use as slave labor in their mines. Ms Neh-Tee’s clan was the last taken in this manner. But they did not take well to slavery. They follow the way of the Spirits and do not bow to false gods. They rose up against their oppressors but miscalculated the response. Most of their men and women were slaughtered in front of everyone as a lesson.”
Ezra took in a shaking breath, obviously pulling in his feelings that had started to broadcast near Jack. “When Vin and I arrived they were forcing the elderly and older children to work themselves to death in those damnable mines while holding the youngest hostage. We did not murder their workers, we rescued them. We saved every one we could and killed that bastard Goa’uld. The ones seeking us are the remaining priesthood who still wait for Dyeus to return.”
“Well, shit.” Jack cursed.
“If you are only concerned about the naquadah, Sanctuary has untapped deposits. Vin and I could assist you in approaching Ms Neh-Tee, but I warn you that there would be stipulations. They respect the land and would not see it defiled so you would need to employee ecologically friendly mining practices in order to have it approved. They could benefit from the trade as long as you do not try to take advantage of them.” Ezra offered.
Jack smiled, “I think we’re going to take you up on that offer.” He pulled the pie from the bag and handed Standish a slice.
Vin followed Chris into the office. The crowd that had gathered as he made his way in past security was a little overwhelming. Not just the well wishers and the looky loos, but the smells: perfumes, cologne, industrial cleaners. He wished Ez could have come with him but he understood the need to get the lawyers out in front of Maude.
He hadn’t realized how bad the air quality was in Denver. He probably should have checked to see if it was a red day, but he’d honestly never given it a thought before. Finally the doors closed and Vin looked around. His and Ez’s desks were empty. But he already knew from the guys that they had cleaned them out so no one would mess with the stuff.
Nathan gave him that look, the one that said I wanna poke and prod ya. “Vin, you catching something. You sound a little asthmatic. Maybe I should see if you are running a fever?”
“I’m alright Nate. Just a little allergy thing.”
Nathan grabbed Vin’s arm and pushed up his sleeve, “You’re getting another one of your rashes. You have a lot of trouble with that while you were away? I’ll get you an appointment with a good allergist.”
“Aww, stop your fussin’ Nate. I was perfectly fine when I was gone. Just not use ta all the stinky perfumes and stuff around here. Ez and I figured out I just need soaps and stuff that are all natural.”
“Well, natural products are better for you and for the environment. I know of some good stores where they make the products themselves so you don’t have to worry about things slipping in. I’ll take you there.” Nathan was reaching for his keys.
“Hold on. I’m here ta get my Jeep back, remember?”
“Sorry, just carried away. Let me know when you wanna go and I’ll show you where the best places are.” Nathan said.
Vin smiled at him, “Thanks Nate.”
Chris stuck his head out of his office. “Travis said give him twenty minutes and he’ll meet us downstairs with the paperwork.”
“Great, nature’s callin’ so I’m gonna go answer.” Vin motioned out toward the restrooms.
Vin scrubbed his hands brusquely through the water while he looked at the cheap soap in the dispenser. His skin was stinging just from the residue on the outside of the bottle. He dialed everything back the way he and Ez had worked on his senses. The air freshener in here was overpowering, along with the industrial strength cleaners.
He wasn’t sure about the paper towels, but he was afraid of standing too close to the blow dryer. His hearing kept spiking up out of his control. He was debating just leaving without drying his hands when the door opened and in walked Ben Mason and Derek Greer, two guys on team 4 that Vin’s had trouble with before. They were suppose to get a shot at Team 7 before Vin and Ezra were hired.
“Well, Tanner. Guess you really are alive.” Greer started.
Mason gave a fake smile, “Welcome back to the living. You were missed around here. Wasn’t he Derek?”
“Sure was Ben. Guess rumors around here are true huh?” The two men exchanged looks. “So this means Standish is back with you? Is he here today?”
“Thanks for the welcome, I’ll share it with Ez but no he’s not here.” Vin started to push past them.
“See Ben, rumors are true. Heard tell you’re keepin’ Standish as your pet now.” Greer grinned.
“That true Tanner?” Mason asked. “Bet ya keep him just begging to suck your cock.”
Vin started to growl deep in his throat.
Greer’s grin turned nasty, “that’s all cocksucking little queers like you and him are good for. Should have just stayed wherever you two fags ran off to, instead of coming back here to pretend you can cut it with real men.”
Vin tried to move forward again and get a grip on himself when Mason made a move to grab him. “You’re too bony to even try, but you tell Standish he shows his head around here and maybe we’ll just show him his place. The way he uses that mouth of his, bet he’s an expert at it.”
Deep inside all Vin heard was the threat to Ezra and a dark part of himself that he had only released a few times broke free and he attacked. He had Mason down with a broken arm and dislocated knee before Mason realized his aggression had been returned. Greer panicked and tried to push past Vin toward the door. The primitive fighter within Vin that was moving on pure instinct took the move as a new aggression and determined to eliminate the threat.
It was only when Tanner had him pinned to the wall and was moving toward a debilitating move that Greer remembered the pepper spray in his hand that he and Mason had been preparing to use on the man. He sprayed it in Tanner’s face and the moment the hold was released he ran out the door.
Vin’s senses were on fire. It burned, his sight and touch spiked out of his control while his hearing shut down. He tried desperately to get a grip on it but it was beyond his control, and his touchstone was not with him to help him regain it. He could not even register the men that entered the restroom and called for help. He couldn’t tell when individuals were touching him, it just felt like knives laced with acid stabbing him repeatedly. The ambulance ride and the ER medical staff was just one long pain filled blur.
Scully suddenly appeared in front of Ezra and Jack. He was growling and pacing. Ace appeared next to him and the fox was trying to comfort his companion while releasing a scream of his own. Jack looked around to see if anyone was close enough to notice.
“Vin’s in danger. I need to go to him now.” Ezra started to move toward the parking lot.
Jack jogged to catch up with him. “I’ll drive, where is he?” He looked back and the spirit animals were gone…he hoped.
They were in the car when Ezra’s phone rang. “Chris, where’s Vin?” Fear appeared in his eyes.
“Where?” Jack demanded.
“Denver Health” Jack put the car in gear and sped out into traffic. He felt waves of fear coming from Ezra and gripped the steering wheel tight. “You got pull it together Standish. I can’t take you into a hospital if you’re bleeding off like that.”
Ezra pulled in a shuddering breath. “He’s afraid.”
“Then you need to be calm for him. Come on. Work on that breathing thing I’ve seen the two of you do in the gym.” Jack changed lanes and flipped off the two cars that honked at him.
By the time they reached the hospital Ezra was expressionless, but Jack had a feeling that it was a very fragile mask. They rushed into the ER and the team was waiting on them. Everyone was trying to talk at once until Chris finally just said, “Enough! One at a time.”
Ezra was staring at the doors separating him from the treatment rooms. His body shaking slightly as if in a breeze. He was quiet and that seemed so out of place in the short time Jack had known him.
Jack asked, “What happened?”
“There was some kind of fight in the men’s room at the office. Don’t know what happened but Agent Ben Mason was down and Vin had a face full of pepper spray.” Chris started.
Ezra spun to look at Chris, “Pepper Spray?”
Chris nodded. “He’s having some kinda reaction to it.”
Nathan jumped in, “We think he became hyper sensitive to it with his allergies and he was going into anaphylactic shock.” He looked sympathetically at Ezra, “Don’t worry, last I checked they were stripping him down to flush everything off his skin. And they have the best drug therapies now to find something he will respond to.”
Instead of the relief he expected Ezra became disturbed and moved quickly toward the doors. “I need to get in there now. I have to stop them.” Nathan tried to block him and Ezra pushed him out of the way. Security saw the commotion and moved in to contain it so the team quickly moved to surround Ezra and pull him away from the doors.
“Now, son, I know you and Vin are together but the doctors are doing everything they can. They won’t let anyone in with him until they get him cleaned up because they’re afraid of introducing new allergens.” Josiah said while trying to wrap an arm around him.
“Yeah Ez, if ya keep this up security will just throw you out.” Buck reasoned.
Ezra started pacing back and forth in front of the wall. He ran a shaking hand through his hair then looked at Jack. “It’s called a sensory spike. It’s out of his control. When it happens he needs something to focus on to set a baseline. That’s me.” He looked at the team and saw understanding in Chris’ eyes. “It’s high, it’s low, it’s out of his control. Drugs that are suppose to stabilize could make it worse because it takes the control further from his hands.”
Jack looked at Chris who was listening intently to Standish and saw understanding and determination. Chris turned away and marched toward the admissions desk to speak to the nurse. Five minutes later he returned and led Standish through the ER doors. Jack followed.
A nurse spoke to them briefly before having them scrub and gown up to enter the room. Vin was lying on a bed, a sheet draped for modesty his only cover. His face was swollen and seeping hives spread across his hands, arms and chest. His muscles twitching randomly. A doctor in the room was examining initial lab results and ordering more tests.
He broke away to speak to them. “Mr Standish?” He asked. At Ezra’s nod he continued, “I want you to know that we are doing everything we can for Mr Tanner. We are examining everything now to determine the correct drug therapy.”
“No drugs.” Ezra stated firmly.
“Mr Tanner’s condition is progressing rapidly. We need to get ahead of this or it could become life threatening.”
“I said no drugs. He reacts very strongly, drugs could kill him.” Ezra insisted.
The doctor sighed. “I’ve been informed that you are partners so I hate to ask, do you have his medical power of attorney?” Ezra shook his head. “Do we know who does?”
Chris grimaced. “I had it but he put an expiration date on it when he first signed it and that was up while you were missing. So right now, no one.”
The doctor nodded. “I’m sorry but without a directive and seeing how he cannot make these decisions for himself, we need to make the best choice for him.”
The doctor left them in the room and Ezra moved to take Vin’s hand while whispering to him.
Chris looked at Jack. “Anything your classified op can do?”
Jack returned his stare, “What have they told you about it?”
“Nothing about the op, but he told me about his senses.” Chris glared at Jack daring him to deny it.
“Now why did he go and do that?” Jack muttered.
“Because you don’t have to walk in on them having sex to ‘walk in on them having sex’ if you know what I mean.”
“Ouch. Yeah, that’s the truth.” Jack looked back at Tanner and Standish. “Let me see what I can do. Ezra.” He called out and they watched as Standish began to shake before gripping the sides of his head. They ran next to him to catch him just before he collapsed on the floor in what seemed to be a seizure.
Jack ran to the door to call for help. When he opened it screaming could be heard as patients from a multi-car accident were rushed into the ER. He looked from the screaming patients to Standish and suddenly realized his error in bringing an Empath into a level 1 trauma unit.
A nurse stepped through the door then called for help. Soon they were swarmed, putting him on a gurney. They started to wheel him away and both of the men’s vitals began to drop. “Hey, you don’t have more rooms right now, why don’t you just leave them both in here?” Jack left Chris in the room while he went in search of a quiet place to make a private call.
Forty-five minutes later an air force helicopter set down and Jack was never so glad to see Doctor Janet Fraiser as he was at that moment. He could see that she came armed with every possible form to take possession of “her” two patients. The argument was brief but Janet is a fighter and the others had no chance. Jack supplanted one of the airmen on the helicopter and gave him orders to drive his car back. There was one last nod to Larabee before the doors closed.
Back at the Mountain she rushed them into an isolation room. She had learned a lot about their individual situations while they had stayed here and the test results had been fascinating. Jack listened to her speak with her staff and was impressed with how often she over-road her standard treatment procedures to accommodate what she knew.
Almost a day later and they weren’t improving. They were holding steady but it was a fight to keep them stable. Janet sat in the room with Jack, Hammond and SG-1 giving her report. “I’ve exhausted everything I know,” she concluded.
“What I don’t get is they were locked in a prison cell, moved between desert, forest, and field climates in a matter of hours, and adjusted just fine.” Jack stated.
“Janet, you said they started to crash in the helicopter and then improved and stabilized once they were in isolation. What’s different between here and there, that consequently doesn’t exist on the planets we were on?” Everyone looked at Carter. “Pollution. Tanner is hyper reactive to everything right now. Standish normally can help balance him, but he’s not available. We know from experience that when Standish goes down Tanner is the only one who can touch him. So we need to get Tanner up so he can bring Standish out of wherever he’s trapped in his mind, right? Then Standish can help bring him back the rest of the way.”
Daniel suddenly interjected, “Symbiosis! That’s the reason they’re immune to the Goa’uld. The Goa’uld is a symbiote, but bonded Tutors already have a symbiotic relationship with each other.”
Everyone looked strangely at Daniel, “And that helps us how?” Jack asked.
“It…doesn’t” Daniel shrugged.
Carter refocused on Fraiser, “What if we try taking them back to Sanctuary. Vin said that the people there new about their gifts. Maybe they know a way to treat this.”
Fraiser considered a moment. “General Hammond, I would like the chance to try. At this rate we are going to loose them anyway.”
Hammond nodded, “Alright Doctor, you have a go. SG-1 will accompany you.”
The men were carried on stretchers into the village. Villagers lined the way whispering. Outside the main hall Neh-Tee approached them. “What has happened to the Tutors?”
“There was an incident and Vin was sprayed with a chemical that affected him badly. Ezra was overcome in the hospital where they were trying to treat Vin.” Jackson tried to explain. He motioned to Janet, “This is Dr Janet Fraiser, she is a healer among our people.”
Janet stepped forward and explained, “I’ve tried everything I know to help them. We haven’t had Tutors in a long time so I am still learning how to care for them. I am hoping you might know how we can help them.”
Neh-Tee gave orders for the Tutors’ lodgings to be readied and many ran to comply. They reached a small three room house on the edge of the village and brought the men inside.
“Tutors live and die as one. They must not be separated when their health is threatened.” Several villagers helped strip the men down. First they lay Ezra down on the bed. Then they lay Vin over him so that his head was resting over Ezra’s heart. “He must hear that his bonded’s heart beats, feel the breaths he takes so that his own may match. If the spirits will them to live, they will.”
They kept watch over the men through the day and night. Fresh food and water was brought regularly and Janet and Neh-Tee held long conversations on the gifts and perils of the Tutors and how to spot those that might emerge with gifts. Just before dawn, Ace and Scully appeared in the room and curled up together to watch and wait. Neh-Tee smiled, “They will live.”
It was four days later at Stargate Command and Jack was meeting with General Hammond regarding the trade negotiation they were preparing for Sanctuary mining rights. There was a knock at the door and
Carter entered. “Sirs, we have a problem. There’s been a data breach in our system.”
“What information was accessed? And, do we have any idea who is responsible?” Hammond asked.
“Yes sir,” She looked at Jack briefly before turning back to Hammond. “The breach came from the Denver ATF offices.”
Jack cursed. “Sir, that’s Tanner and Standish’s team.” He sighed and continued before the general could say anything. “They’re close. We should have expected that they wouldn’t take another disappearance of their friends well, especially how we took them from the hospital.”
“Well, breaching national security is a little more than not taking this well, Colonel.” Hammond stated angrily.
“Yes sir, but we are in a bit of a bind. There’s no way they will believe we sent them back on an op as sick as they were. And while Fraiser is convinced the men can eventually build up a tolerance to living on Earth, it’s going to take them a lot of time to get there. I think our best option to contain this is to read their team in on the mission sir.” Jack looked hopefully at Hammond.
“Oh my god, this is so cool! I can’t believe we are on a whole other planet. Can you believe we’re on another planet Buck? When they said walk into a wormhole I thought it was some sci-fi story but it was real! Did you get the feeling you were moving really fast before you suddenly came through here? Is it always like that? Do ya think maybe we can go to other planets too? I bet Vin and Ezra have been to lots of planets.”
“JD! Breathe boy.”
“Have they determined if there are any health repercussions from traveling through that thing?”
“Brother Nathan, didn’t you hear, these devices have been in use in our galaxy for thousands of years. Imagine the cultures spread throughout the stars, traveling to another world like you might take a plane to another country.”
Vin listened to the men approach the village and smiled broadly. He nudged Ezra who was reviewing trade demands with Neh-Tee and pointed down the path. Ezra grinned and stood with him as the men rounded the path into the village. Buck and JD yelled their names then raced ahead to pull them both into hugs. Josiah, Nathan and Chris quickly joined them.
Trading places to hug the men and wonder at their renewed health, Nathan stepped back and knocked the basket out of the hands of a young woman who was passing near. “I am so sorry,” He began and stopped to stare.
“The polite thing to do after apologizing would be to help me pick up what you knocked over.” She stated with her eyes blazing.
“Of course” and he quickly helped her load the basket before she gave a disgruntled huff and stalked away.
“That fair young flower is the honorable Miss Raine. She is an apprentice of the apothecary, a most prestigious profession.” Ezra explained with a grin.
“Uh-huh.” Nathan responded still looking in the direction she left.
Buck slapped him on the back, “So what is there to do around here?” He inquired.
“Oh there is much work to be done, everyone is quite enamored with hard labor.” Ezra said with innocent eyes.
Buck sighed, “That’s all.”
“Well, there is the Midsummer Festival on Loyion in about four weeks.” Vin started.
“Really?” Buck perked up. “Lots of lovely ladies?”
“Oh, a most extraordinary gathering of young beauties.” Ezra stated.
“Yeah, they come from all over lookin’ ta partner up during the festivities.” Vin added.
“They make the best selections of wine and ale to be found.” Ezra added.
“Whoo-wee, that’s my kinda fun.” Buck grinned and followed the rest of the guys toward the lodgings they would be staying in.
Chris strolled up behind them, “So what is it you didn’t tell Buck about that party?”
Vin snickered and shared a look with Ezra, “Well, it might just be a marriage market. Take the ale and your fine, taste the wine and you will be in for more than just a good time.”
“It’s a good lesson to learn out here Mr Larabee. Nothing is quite what it appears to be and always be willing to accept the strange and unique as common place.”
“I just can’t believe that you two could send a stripper to Travis and end up kidnapped by aliens.”
“Excuse me, Mr Larabee, let us just get this one thing straight…mrphmmmm.” Ezra started before Vin kissed him into silence. As the kiss deepened, grew hotter…
“For cryin’ out loud! Can’t you two keep a cork in that?”