Somewhere in Minnesota:
Daniel sighed. Gazing at his surroundings, he pondered the strange fate which had led him to his current predicament. He had planned to spend his vacation time in the University of Colorado library, happily researching various ancient cultures. Instead, Daniel found himself sitting on the dock by a lake in rural Minnesota, defending himself against a variety of stinging insects while pretending to fish.
"How did I let myself get suckered into this one?" he asked himself. "I know why, I felt sorry for poor Jack, forced to spend his vacation alone because Sam took off after one day. So I came all the way up here to Mosquito Lake out of the goodness of my heart. What a chump. I should have my head examined. And I don't see any sign of those Indian ruins he promised me."
Taking another glance at the small muddy lake, Daniel spoke. "Nice view," he said, trying to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.
"Yeah, just look around you. Nothing to see but Minnesota. Hey look, loons!" Jack cried excitedly. "It's not every day you get to see three loons at once."
"Four loons," Daniel thought, looking at Jack.
"I heard that," Jack said.
"Trust me, it'll be fun," Jack said, grinning evilly, while tethering the line to the small motorboat.
"Jaaack, I'm from the desert. I'm not a water person," Daniel whined, balancing precariously on the ancient pair of water-skis Jack had insisted he try out.
"Come on, Daniel, you'll love it," Jack insisted optimistically, revving up the outboard's motor.
The engine caught, the boat suddenly leapt forward, wrenching the handlebar out of Daniel's grasp. After performing an impressive somersault, he plunged into the icy depths.
Jack promptly cut the boat's engine. Spotting some bubbles arising from the bottom, he said "oops".
Daniel surfaced, spluttering. "You did that on purpose," he yelled.
"Did too, and this water is COLD".
Daniel hauled himself into the boat, a tendril of lakeweed hanging over one ear. Glaring at Jack, he said, with perfect dignity "If you're through laughing, I'd like to get back to the cabin and change before anything freezes off."
Jack sat on the dock, fishing line in hand, relaxing in the warm sun. He could see Daniel in the distance, working steadily to excavate the ancient ruins O'Neill had found on his property. Amused at Daniel's persistence, Jack had been watching Daniel painstakingly uncover a fragile relic of the past.
Carefully lifting the precious artifact from its cradle of soil, Daniel gently brushed off the final layer of dirt, eager to reveal the ancient secrets of the ones who came before him. His heartrate quickening in anticipation, he used his formidable skills to make sense of the artifact's strange markings. Could this be a separate language, a new form of writing, hitherto unknown to archaeology? Was this actual proof that every long-held theory about the Americas was wrong? Would HE, Daniel Jackson, the man reviled by the archaeological community, cast out by his peers, be the one to make the discovery and reap the rewards?
Visions of talk show appearances, Discovery Channel documentaries, best-selling books, his own Porshe (take that Steven), and above all, vindication danced through his head. Yes, the time he had been compelled to endure in this hellhole, bitten by bugs, forced to fish, nearly drowned by a psychotic Colonel, wouldn't have been wasted after all.
At last Daniel was able to make sense of the faded lettering. Barely able to contain his anticipation, he deciphered the following words: "Property of J. O'Neill". On closer inspection, Daniel realized his "Precious Artifact" was in fact, an old boy scout canteen.
Jack chose that moment to join Daniel "You find anything good yet?" he asked, looking cool and comfortable, a beer in hand.
"I've spent the last 11 hours squatting in the dirt, and all I found was THIS," he said, shoving the old rusted canteen in Jack's face.
"Hey, my canteen, I always wondered where I left that thing. My mother had a hissyfit when I lost it. I had to buy a new one out of my paper-route money," Jack said.
"How very sad. I thought you said this was an old Indian campsite?" Daniel said, sweat running down his dusty face, his voice deceptively mild.
"Oh yeah, that's right, we DID used to camp out here when I was a kid," Jack said, sheepishly. "I forgot. Anyhoo, I thought you guys liked digging through other people's trash."
"Only when they're sites of historical interest. Believe me, there's NOTHING historical or interesting about your garbage dump," Daniel snapped. "You knew it wasn't an Indian campsite all along, didn't you," he accused. "Why did I trust you?" he asked.
"Well, it might have been, Indians did live here ya know," Jack replied sheepishly.
The man ran through the forest, desperate to evade his captor. Using his battle-honed skills, he made his way carefully through the dense foliage. Close, he was so close to freedom, in a few more minutes he would reach the main road. There he could, (if fortune smiled upon him) flag down a passing logging truck and make his escape from this verdant hell. Sensing danger, he slowed down. Gazing warily at the forbidding woods, the only sound audible the racing of his heart, he paused.
Suddenly a figure appeared from behind a tree. Moving with the speed and grace of a panther, the stalker grabbed his prey's arm.
"Aha, there you are" Jack said. "I was getting worried about you, Daniel. What happened? Did you get lost?"
"Uh, I, uh, well, I kinda got turned around," Daniel lied.
"It's a good thing I know these woods like the back of my hand," Jack said.
"Yes, isn't it," Daniel said, despair descending.
"Don't worry about getting lost, Daniel," Jack said happily, oblivious to his companion's suffering. "I can track anything, you can't get away from me that easily," he joked.
"I know," Daniel replied, sighing.
"Come on back to the cabin. I have some new fishing lures to try out," Jack enthused.
The two set off towards the cabin, Jack merrily walking at a brisk pace, whistling, Daniel trudging wearily behind. Another day of fishing, oh the joy.
"It's a monster," Daniel said, as he hauled an immense crappie into the boat.
Jack looked at the giant fish lying on the bottom of the boat. `It isn't fair. I've been fishing in this lake for 40 years, and I've never caught anything bigger than a minnow. Fish Boy shows up and a record-breaking crappie practically jumps into his arms,' Jack groused to himself.
"Congratulations, Daniel. It's a real beauty," Jack said, forcing a smile. "It'll fry up nicely."
"What do you mean, fry up nicely?" Daniel exclaimed.
"Fry, as in cook, heat, prepare for eating," Jack said, his normal sarcasm showing.
"Jaaack, we can't kill it!" Daniel said. "It's a living being."
"Not for long," Jack said.
"No, don't kill it," Daniel cried.
"Daniel, it's just a fish, you like fish, remember?" Jack said,
"That's different," Daniel replied.
"How?" Jack asked, curiously.
"I've never been responsible before," Daniel said. "I don't want it on my conscience."
Pushing Jack aside, Daniel quickly tossed the fish overboard. Jack watched with dismay as his dinner returned to the watery depths of the lake. He could have sworn the fish made a rude gesture with its tail on the way down.
Glaring at Daniel, he said, "I hope you know the only thing left to eat are a couple MRE's I `borrowed' from supplies. There's a liver and okra with your name on it. But, don't worry, they all taste like chicken."
"Oh," said Daniel.
"So, how long have you owned this place?" Daniel asked.
"It's been in the O'Neill family for 100 years. My great-grandfather came here from Norway and homesteaded this land," Jack answered.
"Your ancestral estate," Daniel teased.
"I was planning to leave it to Charlie someday," Jack said softly.
"Jack, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so flippant," Daniel said, filled with guilt and sadness for his friend.
"Hey, it's okay, Daniel, you didn't know," Jack replied.
Daniel stood on the porch of the cabin, looking out over the peaceful scene. He could see two loons rising up from the water. A fish jumped into the air, the last few rays of the setting sun reflecting off its scales. Crickets began to chirp, in the distance an owl called.
I'll actually miss this place, he thought, surprised.
Jack joined him on the porch. "I've finished loading the truck, and everything's put away in the cabin. You ready to go?" he said.
"Yeah, I was just taking one last look around," Daniel said.
"Daniel, you did have a good time, didn't you," Jack asked, a trace of anxiety in his voice. "I know I kinda tricked you into coming up here."
Daniel smiled. "It's okay Jack, Minnesota's started to grow on me," he said.
"Come on, let's go" Jack said, relieved.
The two men got into the truck and began the long trip back to Colorado.
Colorado Springs - Cheyenne Mountain:
The sun shone brightly over Colorado Springs. Pulling into the parking lot at Cheyenne Mountain, Jack and Daniel discussed one of their co-workers.
"Poor Carter, I hope I didn't break her heart too badly," Jack said regretfully. "Some things just aren't meant to be."
At that moment the peaceful morning was shattered by the sound of a Harley-Davidson, a large, rough, biker at the wheel. He stopped, nearly sideswiping Jack's truck. The tall blonde woman riding behind him dismounted, removed her helmet, gave him a passionate kiss, and said "see you tonight, Hulk."
It was Sam! Both Jack and Daniel stared in astonishment at their teammate. Exchanging a look they simultaneously said "Hulk?".
Daniel couldn't resist a snide, "well I guess she got over her heartbreak pretty quickly."
Later that day in the briefing room:
"How was your vacation, son?" the General asked Daniel, an avuncular smile on his face.
"Actually, General, it was good," Daniel answered.
"You should have seen him, General, he caught the biggest crappie," Jack began. Suddenly, in mid-sentence, he vanished, leaving behind a stunned collection of colleagues.
"The Asgard appeared to once more require O'Neill's services," Teal'c intoned.
"Oh no, not again," cried Sam.
"Look on the bright side people, at least we won't have to listen to any fishing stories," the General said, beaming with relief.
"Indeed," Teal'c said.
"Not so fast," Daniel said, his eyes lighting up with a familiar gleam as he settled into what the others knew from long experience was his full `lecture mode'. As his captive audience watched with growing horror, he said "let me tell you ALL about my vacation."
|Genres:||Angst, Drama, Friendship, Humor|
|Summary:||Jack drags Daniel to his cabin for a vacation.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
This is a sequel to A Long Days Journey Into Minnesota.