PART THE FIRST: "In Which There is Mischief and Mashed Potatoes"
There are things in this universe that are not meant to be played with. Of course, their very forbidden nature calls us to toy with them, dabble in them, just as a little lady named Pandora couldn't resist opening her Christmas presents just a *wee* bit early.
So to speak.
Needless to say, demons would be loosed on the world, the Stargate would be unburied, and Jeff Goldbloom would end up having his nose fall off in "the Fly". Having such sterling examples of what _not_ to do, one would think young Cassandra Fraiser would have known better.
She did. That's the point.
"Cassie!" Jack bellowed, shooting up from his place on the couch. The wrappings of what had seemed like a perfectly innocent, spontaneous gift from his ward, wafted to the ground, but the child was no where to be seen.
"Come on, Sir," Sam poked her head out from the kitchen, grinning in a manner totally unbecoming a woman of her rank and supposed mental stability. "It's cute!"
"This is not funny," Jack plopped back down amidst the tissue paper wreckage, sounding more petulant than angry. In his hand, he held the small, obviously labored over, plushie. Stitched meticulously, soft thread-hair arranged just so and dressed in fine detail, right down to the cute little glasses. Blue button eyes winked in the lamplight, made cheerful by the small, pleasant half-smile sew in. Carefully, Jack fingered the miniature BDU's clinging to the soft form, mentally cursing the evils of alcohol, loudmouthed 2 IC's and young girls armed with so-called "woman's intuition."
"You have to admit, Colonel," Janet said, leaning over the back of the couch. "She did a really great job with it, didn't she?"
"I guess so," the man smiled despite himself, "what I'm trying to figure out is..." His deceptively quiet voice rose at least three decibels, "why in the name of all that's holy did you make this, Cassie!?"
Cassie, who's innate sense of self-preservation had finally kicked in, only giggled-- her voice floating out of whatever cupboard she'd hidden herself in.
"It was an art assignment!" she explained a little more loudly than necessary, voice coated with innocence. "We had to sew a 3-D toy or doll, see how much detail we could work into it."
Jack raised an eyebrow at Janet.
"She's telling the truth!" the doctor motioned a cross over her heart, "I
have the rubric in the study, if you want it. Cassie got an A-."
"Minus?" the colonel sounded affronted, patting the plushie's soft, brown hair, as if to soothe it's wounded pride.
"The teacher got upset when I wouldn't let her keep it," Cassie explained, having more to the relative safety of the kitchen doorway, where she could still bolt if need be.
"Figures," Jack rolled his eyes, "tell Mrs.-What's-her-face she needs to get in line."
"For what?" Sam cracked, "The firing squad?"
This earned her a glare. "Daniel happens to be a widower, Major," Jack pointed out almost primly, "with as crazy as his past relationships have been, not to mention the fact the girls always get snaked, I doubt he needs everyone and their mother chomping at the bit to date him."
"And of course," Janet soothed, "your desire to protect him from such potentially casual relationships is _completely altruistic."
"Yeahsureyoubetcha," he murmured, half in sarcasm and half in distraction, turning the plushie over in his hand. Covertly, he glanced out of the corner of his eye, then pinched the toy's tiny behind.
"Uncle Jack!" Cassie scolded, vaulting over the back of the couch to land beside him, "Mom's right, you are a pervert."
"That's just a vicious rumor," Jack winked. Presently, he sighed, fiddling with the stuffed creature's hair, and the little patch on his mini-BDU's reading "Jackson".
"You're not mad at me, are you, Uncle Jack?" Cassie asked, pressing up against his side. "I thought it might make you smile. Isn't it cute?"
"It is very cute," Jack affirmed. "And, no, I'm not mad," he held up a finger, "I _might_ have been," he teased, "but since you're the prettiest alien I've ever seen, I'll just have to forgive you."
"Jack!" Janet warned, shaking her head.
"What? She _is_ an alien," Jack tousled the young girl's hair, "born in Canada, right, sweetheart?"
"Yes, Uncle Jack," Cassie replied dutifully. Stretching up, she cupped her hands together and whispered, "Mom helped me with the really tiny sewing."
"Well, why else did your mother spend all those years in medical school?" he grinned, "Sewing up cadavers was just practice for the real challenge of tiny Daniel plushies! Seriously, Cass," he pressed a kiss to her forehead, "you did a really great job. Where'd you get the glasses?"
"At a doll shop in the outlet mall," Sam replied, making a run for the kitchen as the sound of something metal hitting the floor rang out. Janet followed close on her heels, her voice joining in Sam's string of curses.
"MRE's might be safer," the colonel joked, nodding his head towards where Sam had disappeared, "Was she serious?"
"Yup!" Cassie bounced a little, "that's where we got his tiny boxers, too. I had to sew the BDU's myself."
"He has _boxers_?" Jack's large finger stole up against the plushie's belly, ready to pull down it's pants and get visual proof. "Please tell me he isn't anatomically corr--"
The soft chime of Janet's doorbell interrupted, as Jack's eyes went wide with alarm.
"-- oh, shit." Wildly, he turned to Sam, who looked suspiciously harried from whatever had malfunctioned during the meal-making process. "I thought they called and said they would be late 'cause of traffic!?"
"Don't look at me, sir!" Sam waved her hands.
"I'm assuming we still have a dinner to eat, right?"
"You're just lucky you're my commanding officer," Sam huffed. "Maybe I'll answer the door right now..."
"Alright, already. For crying out loud!" Jack looked mournfully at the incriminating evidence clutched tightly in the crook of his arm. "What am I gonna do with this?"
"Here!" Cassie held up the gift-bag, which Jack deposited the plushie in with surprising gentleness. Hurriedly, she turned towards the hall, "I'll hang it underneath your coat!"
"Quick thinker," Jack considered, kicking the tissue-paper under the couch.
"She gets it from me," Sam and Janet remarked in perfect synchronization, the smaller woman adding, "Cassie, get the door when you're through!"
"It's freezing out there," Daniel grumbled good-naturedly as he stepped into the living room, still bundled up from head to toe, eyes and glasses the only things visible between his scarf and oversized snowcap.
"Indeed, the weather is not at all amiable," the Jaffa beside him intoned, "what delayed you in answering the door?"
"Uh--" Jack smiled helplessly, "Sam killed the food. Again."
"She did not," Janet waved a hand in dismissal, "the spaghetti just boiled over a little, that's all."
"I'll take your coat, Daniel," Cassie chirped with forced helpfulness. Jack eyes her gratefully as Daniel began stripping off his heavy winter gear.
"Are you sure you don't want help with that?" the archaeologist called as Cassie and Teal'c returned to the hall closet.
"Don't worry about it, Daniel," Sam gestured to the warm living room, the newly lit fire playing over the wine-colored walls. "You sure got here fast."
"Thanks, Sam," Daniel said, snapping his fingers. "You just reminded me. Jack, I'm gonna kill you."
"Me?" Jack was the picture of innocence.
"He has informed me of his intentions repeatedly, O'Neill," Teal'c said.
"Teal'c says you're the one who taught him how to use the back roads!"
"Well..." Jack was silent for a moment, as if trying to come up with an excuse. "Yeah."
"I'm lucky my car isn't pancaked against a tree, the way he drives!" Daniel pointed accusingly at the alien man.
"Trees only hit cars in self-defense," the colonel pointed out. With a raised eyebrow, Teal'c moved towards Sam.
"MajorCarter," he said with great gravity, "we have brought the pummeled potato innards."
"And if they weren't mashed before," Daniel laughed, "they are now."
"Thanks, Teal'c," Janet said, accepting the heavy covered bowl. "We have spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. Sounds like a nice meal to me."
"Who brought dessert?" Daniel inquired, doing a very good job of injecting false worry into his voice.
"Yo," Jack raised a hand, "Dessert officer, reporting for duty."
"That," said Daniel fatally, "was what I was afraid of."
Dinner passed as calmly as it could, considering the fact the company was made up of three Air Force officers, two aliens, and an incredibly trouble-prone linguist. Jack, Janet and Sam discussed Cassie's rather impressive proficiency scores, and the move to eighth grade she'd be making the following year. Cassie whined that math was too hard and history was too easy, while Daniel comforted her with the fact AP classes would be available when she reached high school. Jack strenuously objected to Daniel's "geekification" of Cassie, at which point Teal'c picked up a piece of cornbread and inquired as to why it was not shaped like the vegetable it was named for. By the time they'd finished dessert-- which consisted of slightly burnt peanut butter cookies-- and shooed Cassie off to bed, they were relaxed enough to joke about what Jack called the "armband affair" that had rocked the SGC earlier that week.
"You should have headed for the gate, though," Jack lectured, pointing his trigger finger at Daniel.
"Teal'c insisted on staying," the linguist shrugged, then blushed when Jack pointed out that Daniel and Teal'c were not surgically attached to each other. "Alright," he admitted, "I insisted on staying, too."
"No one gets left behind," Sam confirmed, smiling at those gathered around the table. "Not if we can help it."
"But--" Jack began.
Janet grinned. "Since when does Daniel follow orders?"
"Come off it, sir," Sam added, "we're a team."
"Daniel still should have gone to the gate," Jack muttered, but left the subject alone. In his mind, Sam's panicked expression, distorted by the force-field, suddenly faded into Daniel's well-loved features, memory and fear clashing as the image of Daniel on Apophis' ship surfaced as well. The space behind his lungs pinched, an old, schoolboy giddiness mixed with an adult's fear and love. The other's seemed to sense his sudden internal quiet, and for a few minutes they all had their last round of dessert in silence.
After a halfhearted attempt to play charades-- during which Teal'c misinterpreted Janet's impression of an elephant to be a System Lord in a snit-- they congregated in the hallway, laughing quietly and loathe to bring the evening to an end. Jack shrugged on his leather jacket, eying the increasing fall of snow with slight worry and tucking Cassie's gift bag under his arm.
"You gonna be able to drive in this weather, Danny?" he tapped the glass.
"Yeah," Daniel shrugged, "We'll take the main roads this time." He ribbed Teal'c playfully, though the Jaffa merely raised an eyebrow. "What's that?"
"What's what?" Jack turned around, looking much like a cat chasing it's tail.
"The bag you're holding, Jack," Daniel pointed out dryly.
"This?" Jack blinked at the offended item. "Oh, it's a present from Cassie."
"Really?" the linguist cast his glance between Jack and the suspiciously blushing Majors on the other side of Teal'c. "What did she get you? I thought your birthday was in March."
"It is," the older man held the bag away. "She just felt like giving me something. Spontainous-like."
"Well, can I see-like?" Daniel joked.
"That's not a reason!"
"Can I see your appendix scar?"
"Of course not!" the younger man howled in embarrassment. O'Neill grinned.
"Well, then you can't see my present."
"That makes absolutely no sense," Daniel took a deep breath. "That's totally unrelated."
"My scar is... private. It is on my body, after all." Janet, Sam and Teal'c shared a glance before turning back to the increasingly more animated exchange.
"Well, maybe Cassie bought me a nipple ring!" Jack nodded, feeling fully vindicated.
"Sir!" Sam's voice reached a rather high note.
"Daniel," Jack said, ignoring her, "don't raise your eyebrow at me. You ain't got nothing on Teal'c, and when you do it you look like you're nauseous."
"DanielJackson," Teal'c stepped between the two men, "It would be prudent for me to return to base sometime this evening."
"You're right, Teal'c," Daniel cast a dirty look at Jack, "I'm sorry. Let's go."
"Drive safe, Daniel!" Jack called, the tone of his voice the only indication of any peace offering. The Colonel waited until the other two men where safely in their car before turning to his hostesses.
"Not a word," he warned, with a wink, "Remember. They'll never find the bodies."
Jack put the plushie on his nightstand, propped up between the lamp and the picture of Charlie, smiling in his grass-stained tee-ball uniform. The little toy seemed at once obscenely cute, comforting and a little silly. In the morning light, it actually looked rather forlorn, reproaching Jack as the Colonel made his bed before heading to work. Eventually, he began sitting the miniature 'Daniel' against his pillows before leaving.
And if the plushie sort of... migrated to the point of being cradled against Jack's chest during the night, well....
PART THE SECOND: "In Which There Are Giggling Nurses"
"Greenwood, can you stop with the Jell-O slurping and just deal the cards?" Nurse Thuyen rolled her eyes, making a halfhearted attempt to snatch the deck away from the woman sitting beside her.
"Keep your USAF regulation panties on," another nurse-- her name plate proclaiming "A. Batterman"-- said soothingly. "It's not like you have someplace to go, now do you?"
"SG-1 _is_ off world," Nurse Greenwood pushed her half-finished bowl of blue Jell-O to the side, "break could be over any minute."
"SG-1, SG-1," Jones waved her hand about, the gold band on her left finger catching the commissary lights, "they're not the only team here, you know."
"She's just jealous because 'ol Marty is on SG-8," Batterman stage-whispered behind her dark hand. "
"Thank you for stating the obvious," Thuyen smiled flatly, accepting her cards when they were finally passed around the table.
"They certainly do see the most action," Jones tittered, the three other women joining her chorus as they enjoyed the joke. "I do like that Teal'c. So polite. He never complains about shots."
"Unlike a certain Colonel we all know!" Greenwood put in. "Alright, ladies-- five card stud, the usual."
"You deal 'em well, Tex," Batterman snickered in a thick western accent. Jones snorted, "Don't let the General hear your atrocious impression."
"Aren't you in, Jones?" Thuyen asked, frowning when the redhead pushed her cards away.
"No way. You guys cleaned me out last week." Absently, she tapped her short, economical nails, "I have nothing to wager with..."
"Except that it's YOUR turn to do Doctor Jackson's physical!" Greenwood teased easily, waving her cards about as if she didn't care who saw them.
"Doctor Jackson..." Batterman sighed in dramatic appreciation. The pace of Jones' tapping increased, "If I wasn't married."
"We know!" the dealer snapped playfully. "So you can wager that." There was a huff of insult. "No way."
"I don't find that a particularly valuable bargaining chip, anyway," Thuyen's brown eyes narrowed. The other ladies schooled their expressions into masks of bored familiarity.
"Immune to his charms," Batterman waved her wide hand. Greenwood coughed behind her hand. "One of the few!"
"Alright, alright." Jones pulled a pen out of her pocket and, grabbing a clean napkin, scribbled down the debit for 'Dr. J's physical'. "And," she eyed Thuyen with some concern, "if-- by chance-- you win, you can keep it as a bargaining chip, or I'll fill in for you next time you have bedpan duty with SG-3."
"Ug," the foursome wailed sympathetically, "Marines!"
"Fair enough," Thuyen surrendered regally, tucking back a strand of jet-black hair, "shall we begin?"
As the commissary began to clear of officers-- heading for the gateroom and various other high-security areas-- the pile of small bills and various i.o.u.'s on the table grew. Jones held her cards close to her chest, eyeing her opponents with an impassive face, while Batterman flicked her gaze between the large, military time clock and the hand she'd been dealt.
"We better wrap it up," she sighed, "break is over in ten."
"I wonder," Thuyen pursed her lips sourly, "what the chances of my getting the fifth queen are?"
"I take it you fold?" Greenwood raised a dusk brown eyebrow.
"No," Thuyen deadpanned, "how'd you _guess_?" Jones tossed a few quarters onto the table and smiled wolfishly, "Hey, my opening bet was a biggie."
"Alright, then," Batterman fanned herself, "the moment of truth. And..."
"ATTENTION ALL MEDICAL STAFF!" the loudspeaker broke in, "PLEASE REPORT TO THE INFIRMARY. TEAMS SG-1 AND SG-6 REQUIRE ATTENTION."
"Dude," Greenwood blinked, "what timing."
"He hates it when he have fun," Thuyen teased, already out of her chair and heading for the door. The other nurses laid their cards down, with Greenwood scooping up the pot for organization later. Pausing on her way around the table, Jones took the time to glance at the abandoned cards. Shaking her head, she howled, "Damn you, Batterman!"
"General," Colonel O'Neill was informing Hammond with the utmost sincerity, "I think Daniel should start wearing a paper bag over his head when we go through the gate." The silvering man was being carried out of the gateroom on a stretcher, his posture listing to the left side and his brown eyes almost swallowed by their pupils. "I really think we should." He nodded, in complete agreement with himself, either ignoring or unaware of Daniel's outraged sputtering.
Patiently, Hammond asked, "A paper bag?"
"Yes, sir!" Jack said with relish, "See, every where we go, every one wants a piece of Dannyboy here. He's a frick'n intergalactic Don Juan! That Shyla chick, and Melosha, Hathor-- oh, _man_, HATHOR-- even Osiris and Keegan, Anise, Kira, not to mention various and sundry twittering temple maidens. You'll notice that even Sha'uri didn't really object, and--" Daniel flinched, and Jack paused his tirade long enough to pat the younger man on the cheek, much to the surprise of the Marines present. "-- rest her soul. Anyway, sir," he turned back the General, "in the interest of galactic peace, not to mention the _good_ doctor's virtue, I think the paper bag is _so_ the way to go."
"Virtue!" Daniel sniffed haughtily, "what do you think I am, a virg--" Blinking rapidly, Hammond turned his gaze to the other members of SG-1.
"He's not himself, sir," Carter explained patently, waving away Jack's hand when he insisted he felt _fine_, good enough to _dance_ even, and attempted to demonstrate thusly. The medics subdued him with considerable effort and the aid of Teal'c, carting their rather bouncy patient off to the infirmary.
"I can see that!" the General said impatiently, watching Jack disappear through the door, making childish faces at them. He turned to Daniel, only to find the young man had stuck his tongue out in Jack's general direction.
"We had a little mishap," Daniel snapped his tongue back into his mouth, blushing. Patiently, he began, "You see, the royal family of Dainere, a village on PX4-965, welcomed us with open arms. Well, that turned out to be kind of the problem because... uh, ah, um.."
"The queen's niece, LadyAthangail," Teal'c interrupted with dispatch, "took considerable interest in DanielJackson. I believe her fascination lie in his physical appearance, and she was most determined despite DanielJackson's repeated insistences that he did not wish to have sexual intercourse with her."
Hammond's blue eyes widened, "... sexual intercourse?"
"Indeed, General," Teal'c nodded shallowly, "Sexual intercourse; genital contact between two humans, including but not limited to, penetration of the---"
"_Thank_ you, Teal'c," Carter blanched visibly as silence overtook the room. "The General has three grandaughters. I'm sure he knows what sex is." Running a hand through his hair, Daniel turned several shades of a deeper red. Hammond, trying to avoid appearing outraged, stayed with the tried and true method of blinking rapidly.
Having taken a breath, Teal'c continued, "At the banquet held in our honor, she presented DanielJackson with a cup of what she said was fine wine. O'Neill, having observed her previous behavior, doubted the honor of her intentions and swallowed the drink himself before MajorCarter or I could question the wisdom of this action. O'Neill was, in fact, correct; LadyAthangail had present DanielJackson with a powerful aphrodisiac."
"You're saying that Colonel O'Neill is loopy on some..." the bald man waved his hands helplessly, "alien version of viagra?"
"Oh no, sir!" Carter replied, sounding almost scandalized.
"The chemical had an adverse effect on O'Neill," Teal'c continued, unfazed, "he became dizzy and..."
"He threw up," the Major sighed bluntly.
"All over the place," Daniel agreed sheepishly. "The Queen was very upset-- insisted we allow her healer to help. The healer gave another formula to Jack, to flush the stuff out of his system and it did..." he motioned with his hand as if to indicate Jack's current state, "that."
"Very well," Hammond shook his head, feeling his empty hair folicles quiver in fear, "Dr. Fraiser will take a look at the Colonel. You three, report to the infirmary for the usual once-over. You're on stand down for the next week."
"Thank you, sir!" Carter grinned.
"Indeed, GeneralHammond," Teal'c bestowed a shallow bow, "a vacation will be most beneficial to our collective health."
"It's not for your health," the Texan turned swiftly on his heal, massaging his temples, "it's for mine."
Daniel rested his forehead against his office desk with some amount of resignation. The half-finished translation before him seemed to beckon dutifully, but he instead pushed his chair back and opted to pace the room. Memories of dragging a happy-go-lucky Air Force Colonel back to the gate, flashed unbidden before his eyes-- he hadn't been able find it in himself _not_ to be grateful to Teal'c when the big Jaffa pressed gently behind Jack's neck, forcing the man to pass out. Presently, Daniel arrived at the chalkboard for the fifth time, and he contemplated the green surface before marking another tally strike in the corner.
"Daniel Jackson, zero," he said sardonically, "Conspiracy to drive him absolutely mad? Endless victories and still counting." Smiling a little, he shook his head, checking the clock. He'd just picked up his favorite, well-worn ink pen, when the phone at his desk blinked red, warbling a ring at him.
"This is Doctor Jackson," he said calmly.
"Dr. J!" a female alto caroled over the receiver, "Thank God! The nursing staff would like to formally request that you rescue us from Colonel O'Neill."
"Batterman, isn't it?" he blinked, searching the vague edges of his memory. Over the other end, he heard a chorus of 'oohs!' and 'he remembered your name!' that were frankly a little disturbing. The 'oh, _please_' in that was a bit more reassuring.
"Yes!" Batterman confirmed helpfully.
"I'm sorry," Daniel chewed thoughtfully on the end of his pen, "Dr. Fraiser chased me out a while ago. She ordered me not to come back."
"She's changed her mind!" another voice piped up, "And we're _begging_ you. He's singing!"
Distantly, someone huffed, "You call that singing?"
"Dr. Fraiser signed him out, honestly," Batterman hurried on, "so please, please, pretty please, come up here and take him off our hands!"
"Sure thing," Daniel didn't bother to swallow down his smile. "His is alright, isn't he? No lasting effects from either of the drugs?"
"Could he sing before this?" the lower voice asked.
"Then he's fine."
"Thank you, so _much_" Batterman oozed, her sigh of 'my hero!' and the answering 'for the love of god!' vanishing as Daniel sat the receiver down. Hurriedly, the linguist tossed his pen aside and made for the elevator-- though not before he struck another tally on the board.
PART THE THIRD: "In Which Jack Dances"
"Jack," Daniel stated dryly, standing in the doorway of the isolation chamber. The Colonel was having a Steve Martin 80's moment, shouting the lyrics to "King Tut" at the top of his lungs and making a rather drunken attempt to 'walk like an Egyptian'.
"Hey, Danny!" Jack said brightly, "Just the stud muffin I wanted to see!"
"We told you," murmured one of the four nurses clustered fearfully behind Daniel.
"Stud muffin?" the younger man mouthed, scores of new tally marks dancing in his head.
"King Tut!" Jack sang loudly in a key all his own, "How'd you get so funky? Funky Tut! Disco Tut! Dancing by the nile..." Briefly, the air force officer lapsed into keeping the beat of the song, before proceeding to sing-- in a truly blood-chilling falsetto-- "The ladies loved his style!"
"Um, Jack?" the linguist approached the dancing man with the utmost care, "How would you like to go home right about now?"
"Wonderful idea! Abso-frigg'n-lutely brilliant!" Jack praised lavishly, pressing what might have been-- but couldn't possibly be-- a kiss against Daniel's temple. "No wonder they say you're a genius!"
"Yes, yes," the other man replied, utterly flustered, "I'm sure that's it, Jack." Sighing, he turned to the nurses, "And this stuff will just wear off?"
"Yes," the redhead handed over the patient's chart, "Dr. Fraiser didn't want to give him anything because she didn't know how it would react with what is already in his system."
"I see, I..."
"Hey!" Jack, who up to this point had been gazing dotingly upon his friend, turned and seemed to register the nurses' presence for the first time. "Hey, hey! You girls get away from Daniel. We've had enough problems for one day!" Stepping in front of the archaeologist, he picked up a clean syringe with surprising skill and wielded it like a sword. "Back! Back, I say! You can't have him!"
"Jack," Daniel grabbed the older man's wrist, "Come on..."
"More's the pity," Nurse Greenwood lamented, eyes widening when almost visible steam seemed to emit from the enraged Colonel's ears. "She didn't mean it!" Thuyen assured, trying to help Daniel wrestle the weapon away, "She's young and silly. Don't listen to her. I certainly don't."
"Thanks," Greenwood deadpanned.
"You just all stay back," the Colonel ordered, setting down the syringe and ushering Daniel carefully out of the room, "and things will be fine. For crying out loud!" he began to mutter what Daniel heard to be-- or at least _thought_ he heard to be, "I was here first!"
The linguist blinked, "And he can go home like this?"
"Well, he can't stay _here_ like this!" Batterman called, watching them disappear around the corner.
"Well," Greenwood cleared her throat. "That was interesting."
"Huh," said Jones, rolling her eyes. Thuyen just picked up the chart that had fallen in the scuffle, dusting it off.
"I guess," she said, flipping through it briefly, "I'll take this to Dr. Fraiser and let her know the Colonel has officially left the building."
"No _now!_" Batterman hissed, "She's in her office with Major Carter, discussing things."
Thuyen looked annoyed, "It'll only take a second."
"No, no," Jones intervened, "they're _discussing_."
"Oh," Thuyen considered, smoothing her uniform, "well, then."
"Oh, Dannyboy, the pipes, the pipes are _calling_..." the Colonel smiled when he hit a previously undiscovered note in the human vocal range. Wincing, Daniel pressed a single finger to his lips, surprised when Jack actually silenced.
"Jack, could you not sing?" he whispered, feeling all at once patently ridiculous and rather like a victim of the twilight zone.
"Sure, sure," the older man whispered back, touching a finger to Daniel's nose, "If you want me to." His arm, previously slung over Daniel's shoulder's, moved down to snugly encircle his waist. Disturbed, Daniel took off his glasses, cleaned them on the edge of his BDU's and, upon replacing them, looked down at the strong hand still resting on his hip.
"Tell me this is a dream," he said suddenly, finding his face far too close to Jack's to qualify for reality.
"It's a dream!" Jack replied, highly amused by this prospect. Energetically, he dragged Daniel down the hall to the elevator, paying no heed to the three young recruits scrubbing nearby.
"Help. Me." Daniel gulped as the doors began to close. A young recruit with short-chopped black hair and a shark-like smile caught his eye, saying-- "Sorry, Doctor. He outranks us."
"Home at last," Daniel said, banging his head slightly against the steering wheel of his car.
"Yup," Jack cheered, unbuckling his seat belt and scrambling for the front door like a kid let out to recess.
"It's a really good thing that _everything_ in that damn mountain is classified," the linguist murmured, pocketing his keys and feeling rather grateful for the company of two SFs they'd shared an elevator with. Jack's repeated requests to see Daniel's appendix scare were, quite honestly, beginning to worry the younger man.
"Alright!" the Colonel pulled Daniel into the house, rubbing his hands together eagerly, "What, oh, what should we do first?" He eyed his friend with a frankly dangerous, hungry gleam.
Shivering slightly, warmth coiling in his back, Daniel held up a finger, "Jack. Think about this. It's not a dream."
"It's not?" the forty-five year old soldier looked chest-fallen, "Damn. That's no fair!"
"Granted," the younger man murmured, mostly to himself.
"So I'm going to really regret this in the morning, right?"
"Damn," Jack whined again, gazing on Daniel with longing that just _couldn't_ _be_ _there_, "I never catch any breaks."
"At least the universe isn't conspiring to drive you as crazy as the archaeological community thinks you are."
"True," the older man considered, "and I don't have a galaxy wide club of groupies looking to lay me at every turn." Jack looked very insulted, eyeing the corners as if the offending females might materialize from the shadows. "I'm not putting up with it anymore! Those girls are gonna have 'ta answer to me!"
"That's a truly frightening thought," Daniel squeaked, trying to usher Jack towards the bedroom without actually giving into temptation and touching the older man. "So, why don't you go to bed now? There will be less for you to be embarrassed about in the morning."
"Ah!" Jack seized on the idea, bounding off down the hall.
"And it will be much easier for me to keep my hands to myself," the linguist muttered, eyeing the offending body parts suspiciously. "I think."
Thankfully, Jack had broken the sound barrier with the speed by which he changed into an old t-shirt and boxers. Thusly, Daniel found himself standing in the doorway, watching his friend root around madly in the bed.
"Where is it?" the Colonel worried, "Where? Where!?" He pounded the bed, oblivious to his audience, "Come here, baby. Come to the nice Colonel. The Colonel loves you, yes he does. I have coffee.." Daniel blinked and considered cleaning his glasses again.
"Ah hah!" Triumphantly, Jack waved his prize in the air, the object a mere shadow in the fading sunlight. Happily, he clutched it to his chest and proceeded to flop down into unconsciousness.
Smiling wanly, Daniel closed the door behind him, "Night, Jack." Then he made an invisible tally in the cooling evening air.
On the cusp of sleep, Jack stroked the little Daniel-plushie's hair, chuckling to himself. "Submitted for your approval. The innocent archaeologist, on a journey of sight, sound, and absolutely besotted Colonel. He has passed into another dimension... he has entered... the O'Neill Zone!"
PART THE FOURTH: In Which Jack's Dark Secret is Revealed
It was not one of those mornings-- at least, in Daniel's mind-- that indicated any sort of danger, trouble, mayhem-- or other incarnations of Goa'uld system lords, for that matter-- might be lurking in the hours that laid ahead. It was a chilly Friday morning, following a Thursday night that had included a rather loopy, flirty Jack, Teal'c's take on human sex acts, and a quartet of giggling nurses. Having been employed at Area 52 for the better part of five years this was, to Doctor Jackson, small potatoes. And not the "pummeled" kind he and Teal'c had brought to Janet's.
Sometimes, upon returning from truly harrowing missions-- like the operation to disable Apophis and Klorel's ships; the instance in which an alternate Sam with Very Bad Hair arrived at the SGC and started making eyes at the Colonel; or the truly terrifying trip to PX4-009, which just so happened to be a planet full of a rather rambunctious lizard-bunny rabbit crossbreed-- Daniel might think back to the morning and wonder if, in his coffee-craving haze, he might have missed some vital warning of what was to come.
Did the clouds loom a little lower in the sky than they ought to have? Was Ms. Mills more energetic as she whacked her broom against Daniel's floor, signaling that _she_ certainly didn't agree with his work hours? Or maybe his favorite fish, BYF (short for "Big Yellow Fish"), was a little slower in snapping up her pellets?
He'd even considered checking his horoscope, but Teal'c was really into taking care of that, up to the point that Madame Starsky's predictions were a regular part of pre departure briefings.
Was he getting paranoid?
Glancing in the guest bathroom mirror at Jack's house, Daniel studied himself critically.
"Nah," he informed his reflection, "considering the fact they really are out to get me."
So, right. Here he was, 6:15 am on a Friday morning (unholy hour that!), armed with the one medical aid he was allowed to give Jack (advil) and a constant ringing in his ear from where Janet had decided to phone him at dawn and inform him of this Earth-shattering news.
"Yay," said Daniel.
Clearly, Dr. Jackson was not quite paranoid _enough_, considering he never expected the proverbial curve-ball to come from his best friend's corner of the field. After all, Jack couldn't possibly get any weirder than he had last night. Honestly-- a tight hug, a light kiss and some flirting! One would think the Tok'ra had tapped into Daniel's brain and were playing something from the PG section of his fantasy library.
Quietly, the young linguist opened Jack's bedroom door, calling out the other man's name and keeping a safe enough distance that, should Jack wake and think himself someplace else (like Iraq, Chu'lak or the men's room at O'Malley's), Daniel would be able to duck out of the way. Sometimes he was quite sure that the last bump on his head (courtesy of Jack) was what had started all this nonsense.
"Jack?" Daniel crept carefully over the BDU's discarded on the floor,
"Could you wake up? Janet says I should give you this stuff before you get a headache from the Healer's... stuff. Jack?" He peered around the sleeping man's back, "Jac--"
Daniel blinked. On autopilot, he reached over and opened the blinds, allowing illumination to pour into the room. He blinked again, then once more for good measure and rubbed at his eyes. His so-called non-threatening morning had just taken a sharp turn at the corner of Surreal and Just Plain Odd.
There, happily curled up under the comforter, was one Colonel Jonathan Benjamin O'Neill, USAF, long time member of Special Ops and-- this had neither been confirmed or denied-- possibly Black Ops; all around hard-ass, kick-ass, 'keep shooting I thought I saw it twitch' Jack.
In his arms, he help a small, stuffed toy bearing uncanny resemblance to his best friend, the man who's jaw was currently on the floor in front of said bed. Leaning in a little closer, Daniel could see the patch on the toy's shirt proclaiming "Jackson", not to mention it's slightly crooked set of glasses.
"Gah!" said Daniel, without really meaning to-- for surely his sanity had spiraled into the realm of the irretrievable, now.
And, of course, Jack woke up.
At first, Daniel held out the hope that it was one of those brief, two-to-three minutes of hazy wakefulness he himself was so famous for. Smiling, Jack turned brown eyes on his friend, the expression on his face not only fond and pleased, but also one that proclaimed Jack thought Daniel was upsetting the balance of the universe with his positioning in regards to the bed. Meaning, standing beside it, rather than being _in_ it, with Jack. Looking almost sweetly annoyed, the older man patted the empty pillow beside him and rolled over, clearly expecting company any minute.
Daniel let out a breath, and Jack turned back over, this time the awareness in his eyes shining at Def-Con Three.
"Oh," Jack murmured, sounding like he wished he knew how to talk his way around this one, "shit."
"Gah!" Daniel muttered again, because it bore repeating. His hand shook, sending the medicine bottle plummeting to the bed. "Advil," he said, by way of explanation.
"Do you have a headache?" Jack cocked his head, concerned. His rather large arms still imprisoned the miniature Daniel, which looked for all the world as if it was smiling smugly.
"I do now!" the linguist managed.
"Yah," the older man took a deep breath, closed his eyes and then, seeming to have come to a decision, hopped out of bed. Hastily, he threw the covers back up and set the Daniel plushie against the pillows. "Do you want some breakfast?"
"Jack?" Daniel, having run out of verbal ways to communicate, decided to point at the object.
"This isn't happening," Jack assured him gently, picking up the toy. He puppeted it's hand in a tiny wave, "See? Not happening."
"But it is. Not-- not-not," the archeologist gasped, "happening!" Before Jack could sense his intentions, Daniel plucked the plushie from the older man's hands. Carefully, as if perhaps it explained every even minutely weird thing that had happened to him since opening the Stargate, he examined the toy. From it's blue button eyes to it's mini-BDUs, from it's ear-length hair to it's stitched little half smile.
"Would you believe I have no idea where that came from?" Jack suggested helpfully. The glare he received made him close his mouth, at least until Daniel shook the tiny replica. "Hey!" Jack grabbed it back, "Easy with that. It's mine!"
A patented, confused-archaeologist look. "Jack, it looks like me."
"Well, there's a good reason for that..." the Colonel held up a finger, certain he had the key that would yank his admittedly not-to-shabby posterior out of the fire. Then, he ended rather lamely, "'Cause it's supposed to be you?"
"It _is_?" Daniel asked loudly, looking around wildly for the entrance of a marching band, or some other indication of the dreaming state. Jack was patting the plushie's hair as if it's tiny, stuffed feelings had been hurt.
"He's just pissy without his coffee," he explained to the toy in a calm tone.
The linguist shook his head, "Where.. where did it come from?"
Jack smiled wolfishly, "You see, Daniel, when a Mommy-plushie and a Daddy-plushie love each other very much..."
"Not funny," Daniel squeaked.
"Alright," the older man looked a bit deflated, "Cassie made it. For art class. And then she gave it to me. It has boxers." The last bit was added in a somewhat helpful tone.
"Yeah." The tiny pants were obligingly pulled down a tad, "Boxers."
"This makes no sense." Distantly, some part of Daniel realized he'd just been mooned by a plushie, but he was far more occupied trying to keep grips with the smaller things in reality.
"Which is why," Jack said solemnly, "you should forget this ever happened."
"See-- so it is happening!" the linguist jumped up and down in a semi-frustrated, semi-triumphant dance.
Jack's fond, rather gentle murmur of, "Of course, Daniel" gave him pause.
"Wait!" Daniel held up a hand, turning swiftly on his heel and beginning to pace. Both Jack and the plushie managed to look very frightened, watching the archeologist move back and forth, tapping his chin thoughtfully. The Colonel figured both Daniel and Sam had to have gone to Evil Mad Scientist School, to learn such nefarious looking chin-tapping. Worriedly, he waited, listening to Daniel's coffee-deprived mental gears begin to shift.
You see, Daniel was smart-- so smart, in fact, that in every reality lacking his presence, it took two years and three teams of scientists (headed by a Sam that had been the victim of a fashion bypass) in order to figure out what he'd discovered in little over a week. Yeah, he was that smart-- Jack happened to think that was _really_ cute. He was also kind, caring, and highly dedicated to the preservation of knowledge and culture no matter _how_ alien they got. He could decode languages faster than a speeding bullet. His looks floored people with more power than a locomotive. He was able to leap to amazingly correct conclusions in a single bound.
He had no common sense what so ever.
Carefully, Daniel reviewed the Empirical evidence-- weighting it objectively against that which his desires might conjure into being, cross-referenced it with recent happenings and Jack's own tendency to stay away from anything even remotely suggestive of feelings.
We'd like to buy a vowel, Pat.
A bright, wonderful smile bloomed on his face.
"Jack?" he asked sweetly.
That loud noise you just heard? Was a soldier 'gulping' in fear.
"Um, yeah, Daniel?"
Unconsciously, the archeologist batted his eyelashes. "Could you do me a favor?"
"Don't ask me any questions for the next five minutes." Having laid out this request, Daniel reached past his friend, undid the hastily made bed and confiscated the plushie once more. Absently, he sat it back on the night stand and ushered Jack back onto the bed. Arranging the stunned Colonel to his satisfaction, Daniel then climbed into bed along side him, scooting so that he could rest his head on the other man's shoulder and guide Jack's arms towards an embrace.
"Daniel?" Jack, had he not been an air force officer of several decades, would have made a sound distinctly resembling 'eep!'
"I don't suppose it ever occurred to you to learn how to count?" the linguist in his arms joked good-naturedly, wiggling so as to achieve the maximum amount of comfort.
"Nope," the other man couldn't help but smile, feeling his friend plant several shy kisses on his neck. "Um, does this mean what I think it means?"
"Hmmm..." Daniel considered, carding his fingers through Jack's silver hair, "it means that my supposedly straight best friend, whom I have been agonizing over for years, was found sleeping with a miniature stuffed toy of myself-- something that would indicate affection leaning towards the non-platonic area of the emotional spectrum. It means that his haphazard attempts to flirt with me yesterday, not to mention his insane tendency towards over protectiveness, were not drug induced, but an expression of his true feelings. It means I love you and I think you love me too."
Clearly, Dr. Jackson had put a great deal of work into this theory. Jack, being an appreciative audience of one, proceeded to haul Daniel up and kiss him-- thus providing enough evidence to make for a proof even the narrow-minded archeological community couldn't argue with.
"Wow," Jack murmured, nuzzling the younger man's hair and proceeding to attempt to squeeze the stuffing out of him.
"It also means," Daniel said, somewhat distracted by the nibbling at his ear, "that the plushie has been receiving affection in my place, and I demand a refund!"
"You _are_ smart," the Colonel hissed happily, attempting to touch Daniel everywhere at once.
"I try," Dr. Jackson replied primly. "Now," he stretched, wrapping his arms more tightly around his friend, "it's..." he glanced at the clock,
"7:10 in the morning and I do believe this new arrangement will require more sleep, which we will be needing sometime shortly."
The Colonel's fingers did a little walking up Daniel's vertebrae, "Is there room in your impressive findings for an early morning experiment?"
"Not so fast," Daniel mock-frowned, reaching up to tweak Jack's ear, "I'm not cheap. Not to mention the fact I like to be conscious for sex." He rolled his eyes, shuddering briefly at the thought of several persons in the past few years who had missed this important little detail.
"You're conscious now," Jack pointed out, pouting.
"No, I'm not. It's just your imagination."
"Ah," the Colonel managed to sound truly enlightened. He soon found himself quite absorbed in kissing the back of Daniel's neck.
"So--" the linguist didn't bother to hide his grin, "any questions?"
"Hmmm... love you, Spacemonkey," Jack purred contentedly, clearly much enamored with his new bedmate. On the night stand, the plushie seemed to be leaning back, satisfied with a job well done.
"Love you, too, Jack," Daniel shivered, only to have his friend pull up the covers and hold him more closely.
There was a pause of silence while Jack reached over, lowered the shades and made one last arrangement of appendages and pillows. Contentedly, he laid his head back on the pillow, nose buried in Daniel's hair. His eyes closed sleepily.
Then opened once more.
"Wait. I do have one question, Daniel."
There was a sleepy, rather vulnerable, "Hmm?"
"I never did look to see whether or not Cassie made that little guy anatomically correct."
This resulted in one of the longest full-body blushes in recorded history.
Among other things.
|Genres:||First Time, Humor, Romance|
|Summary:||A response to Leaper182's challenge and based on a silly picture I drew (http://demando.net/paintbox/jd.GIF). Jack's dark secret is about to be revealed.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Silliness. Fluff. Steve Martin references. Cuteness. Slight sexual suggestions. Lack of shame.