First Date   

                                                                                                                                                     By:  Bone   



CATEGORY:  General, Romance






October 1st

“Hey Jackson, how long’s it been since you got outta here?”

The question jarred Daniel from his research, making his head snap up and his hands to jerk over his notes. A long thick line now arched up through his painstakingly neat notes. Sighing, he set his pen down and reached for his coffee, only to find what he thought was still a steaming cup of java to be stone cold.

“I dunno,” Daniel asked standing, and wincing at the popping in his spine, to put his coffee into the microwave for a quick zap, “what day is it?”

“Sunday,” Cameron answered entering Daniel’s office and poking through the books on the desk, though Daniel doubted that Cameron even bothered to skim the first lines.

Waiting impatiently for the microwave, Daniel turned back finally taking a good look at Cameron, and seeing the dark circles under his eyes and how his clothes were slightly loose from all the weight he’d lost in his first year in SG-1. “Sadly, I’m going to need more than that,” Daniel replied, ruefully shaking his head at himself.

“October first,” Cameron said propping a butt-cheek on Daniel’s desk, though well out of the way of any potential irreplaceable book fiascos. “The year is 2006, if that helps at all.”

“Hardy ha, ha,” Daniel rolled his eyes, taking out the mug that was now too hot, but sipped at it anyway. “I’d say it’s been about a week or so. Did you have a reason for bothering me, or is it also Annoy-The-Reclusive-Archaeologist/Linguist-Who-Will-Save-The-Galaxy-With-His-Brain-Day?”

Daniel walked back to his chair, twisting it around so that when he sat he could also look up at Cameron. His body ached in a way that was totally unlike the thrill of a mission completed, or a workout taken too long. He was getting old, but all this skulking around in his office wasn’t doing him much good either.

“Wanted to know if you had time to get a bite to eat,” Cameron said casually playing with Daniel’s pen, twisting it around his fingers as though it was the most interesting thing in the world. “Thought we could go out to this Chinese place I heard was good.”

“I don’t know.” The work piled up on Daniel’s desk: mission briefings, the Book of Origin, his own notes, book after book about Merlin, and tomes that were probably only good for glorified paperweights, all seemed to propagate like bunnies in his absence. “I have so much work to do.”

“It can wait an hour or two,” Cameron said, his voice in a tone that was so cajoling that it was almost begging. “C’mon, you know how much I hate eating alone. The sun is shining, and you need to reintroduce yourself to the human culture of Earth and not just what passes for it down here.”

At Daniel’s raised eyebrow, Cameron blushed and flicked the pen back to the desk where it bounced twice and promptly spun onto the floor, lost forever as it rolled under one of the many filing cabinets. Opening his mouth to beg off, Daniel paused to reconsidered, “Okay, let me shower and stuff and I’ll meet you up top in forty-five minutes.”

“It’s a da-deal, Jackson,” Cameron bounced up smiling as he backed out of the room. “You won’t regret it, and I promise I’ll have you back before your carriage turns back into a pumpkin.”

Daniel just shook his head and started shutting down his computer, enabling the extra security features he’d installed after Vala had gone on a shopping spree using his saved credit card information. An hour or two of not thinking about Merlin’s weapon was just the thing he needed, and if it meant spending some time with Cameron, well, he could do that too.




Daniel blinked in the strong sunlight of early afternoon as Cameron drove out from the mountain complex. Belatedly he covered his eyes and lowered the shade to block the rays from his face until his eyes adjusted. The lighting in the elevators and parking garage were definitely not up to code.

“You’re not going to turn to ash are you?” Cameron joked pulling up to stop at the guardhouse to flash his ID card. The guard was alert and looked them and the Jeep over thoroughly before he signaled to his partner to let them past.

“Not that I know of,” Daniel said, pulling his seatbelt across his chest and settling back into the bucket seat. He leaned forward to tune the radio only to have his hands batted away by Cameron. “Of course, that wouldn’t be the weirdest thing to ever happen to me.”

Classic rock music bleared from the speakers, bringing a smile to Cameron’s face as he rolled down his window to enjoy the blowing wind, “Been there, read the mission reports, didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt.”

Winding through the immediate mountain pass took some time, but they fell into conversation easily, as though they often spent time together. It was comfortable, an equal give and take, that Daniel missed from the days when Jack was the team leader before they had all got caught up in their separate problems. He wasn’t even tempted to crack the notebook he’d brought with him.

“I used to rake up these huge leaf piles in my gran’s backyard and jump off tree limbs into the middle of them. I’d run back to a kitchen that smelled like pie and cookies with scratches all over my face and arms, happier than I’d been since school started,” Cameron related the events of his youth with an ease that Daniel envied. One story flowing into the next, sometimes with a link so tenuous it was the middle before Daniel figured it out.

“I never understood the kids that weren’t racing outside every chance they got before winter set in,” Cameron threw out, taking his eyes off the road for a minute to glance over at the passenger seat.

Daniel blinked, flashing back to his room in one of the early foster care houses he’d stayed in during his early childhood. The other boys were all out playing ‘Cowboys and Indians’, but when Daniel had tried to correct the racial inaccuracies and dangerous assumptions, they told him he couldn’t play anymore.

After that, when the other kids went outside to escape the confines of the dreary house, he stayed inside with a book. He didn’t mind so much, at least the only thing that made him sneeze inside was the dust from the never opened books hidden up in the attic.

“I never understood what everyone else saw in cold, damp days and stuffing themselves with enough food to get sick,” Daniel said, forcing the memories down and away, telling himself not to be jealous when he did have so many good memories from other times.

Cameron glanced back over again, this time the sparkle gone from his eyes, and grin from his face. The rest of the car ride was silent, listening to The Mamas and The Papas sing about California Dreamin’.



A Pair of Toms

The parking lot that Cameron pulled into was empty, but that’s what he had been hoping for this early on a weekday. People parked on one side, and then strolled down the street stopping at the shops that caught their eye. This district was home to several small family restaurants, a couple of bookstores of various use, antique boutiques, and the best coffee shop Cameron had found yet in Colorado Springs. It was just the kind of cafe that Cameron figured Daniel would feel most at home in.

It had taken him a while to find the right place that Pseudo-Evil Daniel had told him about during their interview. In the end, it had come down to the ginger beef; only one of the restaurants so imaginatively titled “Hunan House” had consistently carried the dish. Of course, getting Daniel out from under the mountain proved the hardest feat of all, Cameron had been trying for the last several months.

Then he had to go and stick his foot in it, not remembering to think about Daniel’s childhood compared to his. Cameron couldn’t even imagine not being surrounded by dozens of family and friends smothered at picnics, holidays, and other assorted family gatherings. It was a case of letting his mouth run off without his brain in tow; a nervous habit that drove him crazy at the worst of times.

“So, where are we going?” Daniel asked, breaking his silence and looking around with interest at the old buildings and the cobbled street. There were brightly colored flyers everywhere advertising the bricktown’s weeklong celebration leading up to Halloween.

A pair of black cats shot out of the alleyway beside them, the smallest one running head first into Cameron’s leg. It sprawled back, feet and tail flying until it finally righted itself glared at the two men and ran in-between them trying to catch up with its brethren. They both burst into laughter at the disgusted look on the little creature’s face, an explosive chuckle erupting from Daniel that made Cameron smile contentedly.

“Just up the street,” Cameron gestured with a jerk of his head and bumping into Daniel to get him walking again. He shoved his hands in his jacket pockets and bounced a little. “I’ve been here once, it’s pretty good, though; I think you’ll like it. We could split some ginger beef.”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” Daniel smiled back, his walk easy and loose, as he fell in step beside Cameron.



It's A Date

“So how did you find this place again?” Daniel asked, his mouth more than half-full of noodles and crab rangoo. He’d tried to fall back into talking about work, but Cameron had put his foot down, and imposed a no shop-talk rule.

The restaurant only had a couple of other patrons, so they’d taken a corner booth beside a window. There was a college age girl hanging skeletons and bats from the ceiling while one of the owners brought out wreaths and candles to line the shelves. The front door was propped open letting the sounds and music from outside in to mingle with the soft murmurs of conversations.

“A friend told me about it,” Cameron hedged, leaning over to spear one of the vegetable rolls from Daniel’s plate. He was already pleasantly full, but next to the commissary food, this was manna from the gods and he couldn’t quite find it to stop before both plates were clean.

“This is nice,” Daniel said, stretching back and pushing his legs under the table into Cameron’s space. Sitting across from each other it was easy to see how Daniel had relaxed throughout the meal. “I wish Teal’c and Sam could’ve come too.”

“Yeah,” Cameron choked out, quickly setting his drink down, but not moving his legs from where Daniel pressed against him. “You didn’t mention Vala, though. You don’t think she’d like the egg drop soup?”

“Honestly?” Daniel leaned forward, seeking out Cameron’s eyes and tucking his feet back underneath him. “It’s a bit of a relief not to worry about her popping up out of nowhere while I’m trying to take a shower.”

“She didn’t!” Cameron laughed to cover up the twin feelings of loss of Daniel’s heat and jealousy of Vala.

“She did,” smiling ruefully, and finishing the last of his water told Cameron the most outlandish story about Vala, Nair, and a rubber ducky.

Later, Daniel tried to take the ticket from the waitress but Cameron snagged it before he had a chance. He fished his wallet out of the back of his jeans, pulled out a few bills, much more then the cost of their food, and threw them on the table, “My treat, Jackson. It’s the least I can do for the guy that’s going to save the world.”

“All right,” Daniel slid out of the booth, hooking his fingers in his pockets. “But let me buy you a cup of coffee before we go back.”

“It’s a date,” Cameron said, winking at Daniel who blushed furiously.




The coffee shop was on the far side of the avenue, from where they’d started at the Hunan House. The sun set while they traded stories that hadn’t made it into official mission reports, but strings of multicolored lanterns hung crisscrossed across the street, illuminating the way. There were also more people out now, going or coming from the old cinema two blocks over, shopping the stores, eating on patios, or listening to the street musicians.

Daniel stopped at a pair of white-haired old men playing a haunting duet with a pan flute and drum, listening to the music and wondering if he’d live to have that much silver across his temples. It had definitely been worth it to take the night off to spend it with Cameron, even as strange as it had been to look over and expect to see someone else.

Cameron had surprised him, frankly, just when Daniel thought he had the other man boxed in, something would happen, or a story be told that set his expectations spinning again. They got along remarkable well, once they weren’t stressed about the fate of the galaxy. It was nice to make a pretense at normalcy for a little bit.

“Hey, Jackson?”

He turned to Cameron, only to be hit in the face with a heavy fabric, fumbling until he caught the bundle up against his chest. Holding it up, Daniel shook out Cameron’s jacket and looked at him questioningly.

“What?” Cameron shrugged shoving his hands deep in his pockets and hunching his shoulders. “I can’t be held responsible if my scientist decides to go out in a Colorado October with just a t-shirt on. Just put it on and let’s get going.”

Cameron didn’t wait for him, instead walking away mixing with the rest of the crowd on the sidewalk, his black long-sleeved shirt making it easy to lose him. Daniel considered the jacket in his hands. He was cold, the t-shirt he’d thrown on after his shower that had been adequate inside the mountain was proving less so with every passing moment outside.

On the other hand, Daniel remembered high school; remembered the cheerleaders parading by in their boyfriend’s letter-jacket who made everyone else’s lives miserable. Daniel always ended up layering on his hand-me-down t-shirts and long-sleeved plaid flannel. Another shiver racked his body, and Daniel decided to cut his losses, shrugging into the jacket.

Immediately Cameron, his warmth still in the lining, and smell lingering in the fabric, surrounded him and Daniel relaxed. It wasn’t so bad, and he was definitely warmer now. Thoughts of the coffee shop and Cameron spurred him forward, deciding that if he was in for a penny he could be in for a pound.




“Isn’t it a little early for Halloween costumes?” Cameron asked in a low voice as they waited for the waitress to bring their specialty drinks.

Daniel craned his head around so that he could look at the girl in question only to meet a glared at mascara-covered eyes. Quickly, he turned back to look at Cameron, with both his eyebrows raised, “Somehow, I don’t think that’s a costume.”

“See, that’s just not right,” Cameron shook his head and then smiled when his cinnamon coffee arrived, pulling it toward him with both hands and inhaling the steam wafting up from it.

“People dress up for a variety of reasons, going all the way back to ancient civilizations who used it as a ritual for bringing luck to the hunt,” Daniel said, sipping from his mug, an enormous affair with bats and ghosts dancing along the rim.

“Jackson, people put on costumes for fun now, not to go out and hunt several ton animals for food,” Cameron shook his head, gesturing with one hand. “Don’t you remember the good old days when costumes were pure? None of this, little girls showing off as much flesh as is legal stuff. I think that I was a cowboy for three straight years.”

“I never really celebrated,” Daniel gazed around the coffee shop, more gaudy decorations hanging from every crook and cranny, the complete opposite from the tasteful wreaths and candles of the restaurant. “We didn’t celebrate Halloween in Egypt and after that… I don’t know, it never seemed that important.”

Reaching across the table, Cameron slugged him lightly in the arm, “Daniel, I’m going to make it my goal to get you to love Halloween as much as I do.”

A smile crept up Daniel’s face, “And that whole, Ori defeating the galaxy business?”

“Small potatoes,” Cameron answered immediately, grinning and getting into the teasing. “The world isn’t worth saving, if Daniel Jackson can’t enjoy dressing up in costume, making jack-o-lanterns, and eating more candy than you could stand.”

“Well, it sounds like an adventure,” Daniel said, actually looking forward to Cameron’s triple threat of trick, treat, and time.

A wink was the only answer he gained.



Good Night

The Monster Mash was playing softly as Cameron slowly drove through a residential section. Daniel had decided that it was late enough that he might as well go home and sleep in his own bed instead of dragging them both back to the SGC.

The night was crisp and quiet, sounds that should be familiar giving Daniel the oddest sense of déjà vu. He was still wearing Cameron’s jacket but the weirdness of it had worn off, as Cameron hadn’t made any kind of big deal, continuing to treat the evening like a guy’s night.

What it had done was to put an idea in Daniel’s head. He wasn’t really prepared to think about it in detail just yet, but it was there chewing at the back of his head. Cameron was different from anyone he’d met in the last ten years. He could give as good as he got, but wasn’t really tied up in being the alpha dog. Being part of a team that had no leader was a difficult yet very rewarding task for all of them.

Cameron pulled up in front of Daniel’s apartment complex and turned off the ignition, the sudden silence deafening in the quiet neighborhood. He opened the door and stepped outside, walking around to the passenger side of the vehicle and standing at Daniel’s open door.

“Hey, thanks for going, I was getting a little stir crazy waiting for the Ori to make their next move,” Cameron scuffed the ground with his boot, leaning heavily on the door.

“No problem,” Daniel answered, sliding out of his seat. He slipped off Cameron’s jacket and held it out to him, but didn’t let go once Cameron had a hold of it. Their eyes met, and the moment stretched until Cameron took a tiny step forward.

A door slammed somewhere behind them making Cameron jump back, taking his jacket with him. “Well, I’ll swing back by in the morning to pick you up.”

“That sounds fine,” Daniel cleared his throat moving past Cameron carefully not touching the other man as he headed up to the building’s main entrance. Quickly, he pushed in his code, opened the door and turned to give Cameron a wave as he pulled away from the curb.

Daniel went upstairs and took a shower, standing under the hot water for a long while, breathing in the steam. He spent a few minutes packing a bag of clean clothes to take back to the mountain, and then sprawled on the bed, luxuriating in the cool of his Egyptian cotton.

Loud knocking woke him up far too soon. A glance at his alarm clock blinked three thirty into the darkness. Daniel rolled out of bed, bleary and rubbing at his hair, not bothering with any clothes. He opened his door to find Cameron on the other side.

“Something going on, we’ve got to go,” Cameron said stepping into the room, studiously not looking at Daniel in his boxers and little else.

Nodding, Daniel went back to his bedroom to get dressed.





The Stargate disengaged behind them, leaving SG-1 standing in the small puddle of light that the MALP produced. Water dripped around them, the sound echoing through the underground cavern making different acoustics on the rocks and small lake.

Sam immediately went to the MALP, tinkering with the machinery so that it could follow them with its expanded lights. Vala crowded behind Daniel pointing her P-90 into the inky blackness, but keeping as much of her body touching his as she could. Cameron followed Teal’c out, waving the flashlights attached to their weapons to see what they could see.

“How’s it look, Sam?” Cameron asked circling back around to stay between Daniel and whatever spook might be out there watching them. The short hairs of his neck stood up, and gooseflesh spread up his arms putting him on edge. This wasn’t any kind of place that he ever wanted to find himself.

Sam looked up, flashing her light up into Cameron’s eyes making him wince and throw a hand up before she quickly moved it back down, “Sorry. It’s just going to take me a few more minutes to recalibrate the sensors.”

“This place gives me the hilly billies,” Vala shuddered theatrically shadowing Daniel as he tried to see past the MALP’s limited light.

“It’s ‘heebie jeebies’,” Cameron corrected irritably, his voice deafeningly loud in the relative silence. “Besides, this place isn’t so bad. Couple of throw pillows and voila, it’s the perfect pad for Dracula and Vampira.”

“Are they more of your cousins?” Vala asked with an innocence that had long ago worn off.

Cameron glared at her just as Sam made a pleased noise and stood up. She cradled the remote control in both hands and punched some buttons. The MALP obediently rolled forward and started a scanning left to right motion with its lamp.

“Right, let’s move out,” Cameron jerked his head. “Teal’c, you take point with Sam. Daniel and Vala, you guys stay in the middle, and I’ll take your six.”

“Perhaps not, Colonel Mitchell,” Teal’c spoke for the first time, raising his weapon just as several figures stepped out of the darkness surrounding them.

They wore masks that would put Hollywood to shame with mouths snarling and eyes that would haunt Cameron’s nightmares for years. Each one was different and melted seamlessly into the creature’s hair and clothing. Weapons that sparked with energy glared at them from every direction.

Cameron let his P-90 drop to his chest knowing that it wouldn’t be much good here. He stepped forward raising his hands with palms held out, and cleared his throat, “Uh, we come in peace?”




“Jackson, are those bones?” Cameron asked, shuffling a little closer to Daniel in the process so that he could talk softer. They were above ground again, but voices still carried far too well.

Daniel looked, and then turned his head so that he could speak in Cameron’s ear, his lips brushing against Cameron’s cheek, “Probably, bonfire actually comes from the words ‘bone fire’ which the ancient Celts used in their Samhain rituals to fight evil spirits.”

“They look human,” Cameron noted shivering, but Daniel didn’t answer, just sagged a little more against Cameron’s body.

The members of SG-1 were staked out in three different spots an equal distance around an extremely large central fire. To the left, Sam and Vala, arms behind their backs, were lashed to a large pole stuck into the ground. Teal’c was to the right, a rope wrapped around his bulk from collarbone to waist. They hadn’t been hurt, but their treatment had been far from welcome. Jackson’s repeated attempts at conversation had been met every time with absolute silence.

Finally, the group of small masked people grouped together, one with a more intricate mask leading them to Cameron and Daniel. Two curved horns angled up from his head, red and black chaff mixing in with dirty and matted hair. He stopped and addressed them, though the mass of bodies behind him never stood still.

“Why have you invaded the sanctity of Camarthen?” his voice was low and scratchy, something off about the cadence that made Cameron’s skin crawl.

Daniel turned to Cameron again, his hair tickling at Cameron’s temple, “In legend, Camarthen was the birthplace of Merlin. There are different tales of course, but some say that Merlin was begot on a virgin by a demon in order to become the antichrist.”

“Well that sounds promising,” Cameron whispered back, breathing in the clean scent of Daniel that couldn’t be drowned out by the smell of wet leaves and wood smoke. Louder, he turned to the natives, “We didn’t mean too, just untie us and we’ll be on our way.”

“A sacrifice must be given,” the man, at least Cameron hoped it turned out to be a man, grated out, shifting from one foot to the other. His dark eyes glued to Cameron, hands clutching at twin staffs decorated with demonic figures engaging in obscene acts.

“I think that I have a five in my pocket, that do it for you?” Cameron asked, trying to stall. Vala looked at him with her eyes wide in fear, while Sam and Teal’c struggled against their ropes.

“Take them,” the leader said gesturing and the swarm of men surged forward.



Carrying the Torch

“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” Cameron said picking himself up from the stone floor, dusting his hands on his pants. He hissed a little when some skin from his palm caught on the rough material, and held his hand up to the light of the moons.

Three moons, bigger and brighter than anything ever seen on Earth were directly overhead, shining down into the pit where Daniel and Cameron now found themselves. Cameron’s palm was barely scrapped, but he made sure to suck on it a little bit just in case.

“At least this time we have some torches,” Daniel said absently, already exploring the walls of the cavern. He made a full circle and came back to Cameron. He passed the torch over to Cameron’s good hand, and took the injured hand between his own. “Here let me see that.”

Cameron froze staring while Daniel intently studied the marks on Cameron’s hand. Daniel slowly ran his fingertips over the scrapes, exhaling softly and cradling the back of Cameron’s hand.

“Daniel?” Cameron desperately wanted to lean forward that last final bit, but something told him to hold back for just a little longer.

Abruptly, Daniel dropped his hand and turned around, “We’d better get going.”

“Right,” Cameron agreed, letting out a slow breath and trying to focus himself again. They still had to rescue Sam, Vala, and Teal’c before the moons set. “So, when they said, ‘dragons’?”

“They were probably talking about more holograms,” Daniel finished Cameron’s sentence for him, moving out of the way so that Cameron could take point.

“And by ‘probably’ you mean?” Cameron started down the only open path leading from the pit. It wasn’t like they were going to have to try hard to find the finish line. That was the whole point of sending lambs to the slaughter.

Daniel stayed close behind him, “Come on, there are no such animals as ‘dragons’.”





The soft glow from their torch bounced off the walls as Cameron and Daniel made their way down empty corridors. There were no turns, not even a rock to stumble over; they were hesitant even to break the silence, keeping their breaths shallow. The path sloped downward, though the ceiling remained at the same height the entire time.

Soon, a brighter light grew rapidly in front of them, and they emerged into an enormous cavern. Daniel bumped into Cameron’s back when Cameron stopped short, letting a low grunt escape. He didn’t move away, looking over Cameron’s shoulder, eyes wide in wonder.

Before and below them was the biggest tree that Daniel had ever seen, but dwarfing the tree were two dragons tangled together. They lay so that each had the other’s tail in its mouth, separated by the tree between them. One was a pure white, shadows low lighting its wings, while the other was green, webbing easily made out between the scales of its toes and fingers.

“So,” Cameron said hoarsely, clearing his throat and turning his head so that they were cheek to cheek. “We’re still thinking holograms right?”

From where they stood, they had the advantage of being much higher than the dragons. The ledge ran halfway around the room melting into a staircase that twisted down to the bottom. Just to the other side of dragons and tree was another drop off, but it was impossible to tell if there were more stairs or not.

“Um,” Daniel inched his way around Cameron, to crouch at the edge of the platform. “A little bit less, actually.”

Daniel finally managed to look past the dragons and take a closer look at the tree. It was a magnificent specimen of a species that Daniel had never seen before, with leaves of shining silver and bark that seemed to swirl like water.

“Hey did you see that?” Cameron had moved behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Where?” Daniel asked looking up.

Cameron crouched down beside Daniel and pointed at the tree, at a spot a little more than two-thirds way up. Daniel squinted and watched for several seconds before his saw the flicker. “There’s someone in there!” Daniel said in an excited whisper. “We have to get down there.”

“Easier said than done,” Cameron said standing up and offering Daniel his hand.




“If that really is Myriddin, then we have to get him out,” Daniel said, trying to keep his voice down, but his excitement kept rising. If he could talk to Myriddin, then they would be much closer to finding his weapon and learning how to defeat the Ori.

“Yes, Daniel,” Cameron replied patiently, though Daniel was sure that he probably rolled his eyes where Daniel couldn’t see him. “But you’ve got to remember that we have teammates up there counting on us.”

Daniel went cold remembering the stricken looks on Sam and Vala’s faces as he and Cameron were dragged away. The girls’ future didn’t look any brighter than theirs if Cameron and Daniel couldn’t make it back top with an offering for sacrifice. If they failed, then Sam, Vala, and Teal’c would all be burned alive to appease the spirits that the natives feared.

“Okay,” Daniel sighed, wondering why his life had to be so hard, “so what’s the plan?”

“Galactic peace,” came Cameron’s immediate answer.

This time it was Daniel rolling his eyes, “The more immediate plan?”

“That, I have no idea about,” Cameron said peering over the edge at the dragons. They hadn’t moved the entire time that Cameron had been watching them, seeming perfectly content to lie locked in an double ouroboros.

Closing his eyes, Daniel started talking, falling back on his habit of thinking aloud, “We’re supposed to bring back a sacrifice, right?”

“Right,” Cameron said, closer to Daniel than he was before. Even without opening his eyes, Daniel knew that if he moved he’d bump into the other man.

“Then we get down here and find two dragons guarding a tree that likely contains Myriddin,” he continued seeing the dragons in his mind’s eye. “Actually, the tree could contain a mix of anything, so the only thing we can do is to distract the dragons and find something suitable in the tree.”

“I think I have a plan,” Cameron said, and Daniel opened his eyes to see a devious smile.




As far as plans went, this was probably not in Cameron’s top ten list for either most likely to succeed or most likely to survive. Still, it was all they had for the moment and so many different people were counting on them and their choice. Pilots were supposed to be used to pressure, not to mention team leaders, but for the first time in a long time, Cameron felt like puking.

He turned back around to nod at Daniel; his teammate’s face was pinched as he crouched at a landing about ten steps up from Cameron. Taking a deep breath and holding it, Cameron took the last step down to the floor of the cavern. For a moment, nothing happened, and Cameron let his breath go and stepped fully away from the staircase.

That was when the shit hit the fan. Both dragons exploded away from each other; the white one rising into the air, and the green one scuttling into a defensive posture below. They turned their great luminous eyes onto Cameron and then, like a strike of lightening flashed through the sky.

Cameron dove, rolling easily and following through to his feet, running quickly toward and underneath the white dragon. The green dragon swarmed over the side of the cavern and leaped at the white dragon, hanging onto its tail and pulling them both off Cameron’s trail.

The dragons squabbled, but Cameron knew that it wouldn’t take too long for them to be back after him. He slipped the knife out that he always carried in his boot, and held it backwards in his hand, pumping his arms as he twisted and back toward the stairs.

Taking a second to look back over his shoulder, Cameron saw that Daniel was already half way to the tree. All he had to do was to keep the dragons off Daniel long enough for the other man to check out the tree and man trapped within. And of course, not die in the mean time.

Heavy winds buffeted him from the immense wings that lifted the white dragon above and past him. He had to close his eyes to slits to keep the dirt and debris out as he dodged the claws that reached out for him. He heard the sounds of something being dragged at high speed behind him, and turned too late to avoid getting bowled over.

The green dragon ran past where he knocked Cameron to the ground wheeling around on his back legs to face Cameron again. He hit hard, his already wounded palm sending spikes of pain up his arm and shoulder. He rolled over and the last thing he saw were two eyes, glowing gold right above him.



To be continued…


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