I shield my eyes when we step out into the bright morning sunshine and Daniel fumbles, locates and clips on the attachment that converts his glasses to sunglasses.
"... Hate this, Carter."
The three of us are standing in the SGC parking lot. Me, personally, I'm tired, hungry, annoyed and just downright angry. Screwing with my internal clock does that sometimes.
"It's not Sam's fault, Jack." Daniel is standing to my side, lines of fatigue evident even though his eyes are covered.
"Sir, the rotation of ..."
"I know, Carter." I drop a hand onto her shoulder, hoping to circumvent the whole rotation off-days and nights mix up -- scientific ad naseum explanation we were just privy to in the General's office. We left planet PX whatever around 1300 hundred hours and arrived back on Earth early morning, where we were processed through the normal channels ... physical, shower, debriefing, and I guess I'm a little shocked to walk out into bright sunshine, because my body is telling me something entirely different.
Aside from the time difference, there was the whole meet and greet aspect to this mission. Way too friendly people who wanted to introduce SG1 to every single one of their friends and relatives within a 30 mile radius. Problem was, no mode of travel except for one's feet, and if Carter hadn't located a mineral that had sparked her interest, we would've been home within hours. But my ever diligent 2IC presented her case to the General via MALP and SG1 was informed to make nicey nicey with the locals, even if it meant walking to Kingdom Come and back. Which is what I believe we did for seven long days, over every stinkin' hill and dale on that planet.
"Go home, get some rest," I order.
"You too, sir. Daniel?"
"Hummm." He jerks upright at the sound of his name.
"Do you need a lift home?" She asks.
"I got it covered, Carter." I shoo her along with my hands. "Go, scoot, skidaddle, move along ..."
"I get the hint, sir." She laughs and with a wave, heads to her car, leaving the two of us standing there.
"Pete," Daniel says, pointing his chin in Carter's direction.
"Pete," I agree.
We shuffle off towards the Avalanche and I stop once or twice, waiting for Daniel to catch up with me. "Come on," I encourage. "I want to go home."
"Me too," Daniel agrees with a jaw popping yawn. "To sleep," he warns. "Don't get any ideas ..."
"Daniel, even if you danced naked on the bed with a bow on your dick ..."
"Too tired to dance." He yawns, signaling with a nod of his head for me to "chirp" the door open. "Or the bow, he adds. "At the moment, the only thing that interests me, Jack, is bed."
Daniel stays awake the whole ride home, prodding me with spurts of conversation to keep me alert. He winds down two blocks from the house and his eyes are just drifting shut when I pull into the driveway.
I stop the car with a jerk and Daniel comes to attention, sputtering and protesting.
"Oh ..." he flings his head against the backrest as if the mere thought of walking to the house will require more effort than he can muster.
I turn the car off and in the sudden silence, morning neighborhood noises begin to penetrate my brain. Kids yelling, dogs barking ... Daniel snoring. "Daniel," I hiss. "Daniel! Wake up."
"Yeah sure," I agree. "Race you to the bathroom."
"Knock yourself out. Run, jog, race ... I'll keep your side of the bed warm until you're done."
Daniel wasn't kidding. He's strewn the length of the bed, spreading his body heat to every single solitary corner of the mattress that his outstretched arms and legs can reach. The comforter is already sliding off his torso and I make a valiant effort to adjust it, sidestepping the pile of clothes that Daniel obviously stepped out of and let fall.
"Bathroom's yours," I announce, pushing Daniel to his side of the bed, which is far from an easy task. "You're dead weight," I complain as his arm flops back over, narrowly missing hitting me in the head.
Daniel sits up suddenly, eyes not open, and proceeds to tell me what he thinks of my ministrations in a language that I'm not familiar with. He flings his body onto his side of the bed, taking one of my pillows in retribution.
"Dan ... Oh what the hell, beggars can't be choosers," I mutter as I quickly slide into my already warmed side of the bed. For a moment I contemplate stealing back my pillow that's clutched possessively in Daniel's tight grasp. I don't, I know I'm a sucker, and I settle for planting a kiss on Daniel's neck. "You're very lucky I love you." With a sigh, I punch my one remaining pillow into shape, mentally lamenting over the unfairness of Daniel's three pillows versus my one. Huffing, I steal the majority of the blankets to make up for the lack of softness supporting my head.
Cold feet and a snoring Jack wake me, and I toss his pillow back to him and tug the blankets from his grasp. I will my mind to return to slumber, smiling as his protesting legs try to escape the attack of my cold feet. With only a hitch to his snoring rhythm, he gives up the battle when I wrap my feet around his retreating calves.
I don't know how long I've slept until my dreams drift to desert heat, and I wake up parched and sweaty. More than just thirsty, I'm dry mouthed, tight throated, need-a-drink-to-survive thirsty. I push Jack and the abundance of blankets off my body and I lay on the pillows, drinking in the sudden, welcome coolness of the bedroom air.
I fight back a choking cough, then I lie still, barely breathing as I listen for any change in Jack's snoring patterns. Finding none, I get up in search of a glass of water.
"It figures," I hiss to my reflection in the bathroom. No cups to drink out of and though the idea of sticking my mouth under the faucet is appealing, I don't believe I can quench my thirst that way. I scoot past Jack's sleeping form in the bed, under the covers, relaxed, snoring. It's moments like this that I really do hate the man.
I quietly tiptoe into the kitchen, burying a sneeze in my shoulder and I'm bleary eyed by the time I've reached my destination, having sneezed and coughed at least a million times during the walk down the hallway. The bright light from the afternoon sun is streaming into the window, momentarily blinding me. "Ugh." I throw my hand over my eyes until they acclimate to the light. Still the same day, not even nightfall yet. "Great," I mutter as I stagger over to the fridge to retrieve a bottle of water.
I shut the fridge door with my ass and lean against the cool metal while I gulp half the bottle before coming up for air. I sneeze three more times in quick succession, springtime in Colorado has obviously blindsided me while I was offworld. I sneeze once more, confirmation, just in case I wasn't sure it was allergy season.
My searching for my allergy medication doesn't reach a frantic pitch until after I've gone through the kitchen cabinets, the medicine cabinet in the first bathroom and the larger medicine chest in the bedroom's bathroom. "Shit, shit, shit." One curse word for every item that I've taken out and now have to put back onto the glass shelves.
I stand in the doorway separating the bedroom and bathroom, racking my brain for the location of that all too familiar blister pack. "Just two ... or one. I'll settle for one," I plead as my nose begins to become unbearably stuffed.
My attention is drawn to Jack as he rearranges himself in bed. I open my mouth to protest and then decide not to when Jack grabs my top pillow and buries his face in it. "Enjoy it while you can," I threaten, and then my glance drops to my clothes that are still lying on the floor in an untidy pile. Right where I left them. I hate those pants, I realize. Too many pockets, and I'm forever losing things in the recesses of their dark depths. Jack is always laughing at me when I fumble through those pockets, trying to locate simple things like keys, wallet, my cell phone or ... or ... those beloved blister packs of allergy meds.
I suppress a whoop of joy as I scoop up the pants and begin to pat them down. I feel the familiar rectangular shape and am just sticking my hand in the pocket on the calf of the pants when, from somewhere in the nadir of these pants, my cell phone rings.
I freeze, my glance sliding to Jack in the bed, muffling the ringing phone still buried somewhere in these pants to my chest as I hurriedly retreat into the bathroom and shut the door. For good measure, I sneeze before I answer the phone.
"Helloooo," I answer in a hushed, hoarse voice.
"Oh, Dr. Jackson, thank goodness I found ... were you sleeping?"
"Who is this?" God, I'm tired, I realize as I lower the toilet lid and sit.
"Oh, sorry, sir."
"Daniel." Force of habit makes me correct the voice over the phone.
"Daniel, its Brian, Brian Moran."
"B ... r ... i ..." I'm hoping if I elongate his name, letter by letter, I will be able to attach a face to the name.
"Moran, Dr. Moran," he says hopefully.
"Oh, sorry, Brian." Oh yeah, I'm tired. His name finally clicks and falls into place. New archaeologist, recently hired, specializing in Asian cultures and dialects. Hired on my recommendation, staying in his position because I've sold my soul to the devil and stood up to bat for him a number of times before the General, an outspoken young man, a genius in his field of expertise. "What can I do for you?"
He travels through the explanation at breakneck speed and I'm able to identify every fourth or fifth word. "Stop!" I command when Brian takes a moment to breathe. "Slower ..." I'm absolutely positive that I if I was more awake and coherent, I would have no problem grasping Dr. Moran's long-winded explanation.
I prop my elbow on the vanity and use my hand to support my head, keeping it at enough of an angle so my right hand isn't quite holding the cell phone in place, gravity is. "Try it from the top, Brian."
I snap the cell phone shut, stand and stretch, extending my arms over my head. I was at least able to glean that my immediate presence was required at the SGC. I wash up and slip on the pants with the myriad of pockets that had accompanied me to the bathroom. I drop the cell into one of the pockets and quietly slip into the bedroom.
I redress silently, furtively checking on the depth of Jack's sleep. He grumbles once or twice, but stays his position and I back out of the room, holding the doorknob while I pull the door shut. I wait until it clicks into place before I release the knob.
I scribble Jack a note on a scrap of paper and stick it inside the empty pot of the coffee maker, a place where I'm sure he'll find it on the obscure chance he awakens before I return. I swipe the keys for the Avalanche off the table and lock the door behind me, cursing when I realize the temperature has dropped uncomfortably since this morning.
I'm shivering, futilely blowing warm air into my cupped hands. And sneezing. And coughing, and cursing my inability to remember to take the allergy pill before leaving the house. I must look horrible because the airman at the first checkpoint inquires if I've come to visit the infirmary.
"No," I manage to squeak out indignantly. "Work."
"Yes, sir," he placates. His 'crazy civilian' hangs unspoken in the air between us.
I hone in on the coffee pot the moment my foot is over the threshold of my office. Moran was able to follow that instruction, at least. The pot is brimming with fresh, aromatic coffee. Okay, maybe I really can't smell it through my congestion, but from past experience, I know it smells great. I pour myself a cup, take an appreciative gulp and hold the steaming liquid under my nose, allowing the warmth to open up my nasal passages. Two more sips, I top off my cup and orient myself with the paperwork placed on my desk.
I'm onto the second paragraph of his translation, tapping my pencil against the desk in between my corrections to his work when three sneezes in a row blur my vision and slam shut my ability to breathe through my nose.
Frustrated, I fling the pencil across the desk and grab my coffee cup to refill it. The cup goes on the ledge next to the pot and I begin to pat down my pockets, looking for the ever elusive blister pack.
I sway forward and Moran finds me in the awkward position of having my hands stuck deep in the pockets, hugging my ass as I search for my meds.
"Oh, Dr. Jackson ..." he says, dropping his gaze to the tray of sandwiches he's holding to avoid looking at my thrust-forward crotch. "I didn't mean to interrupt anything."
I don't know who's the more embarrassed. Dr. Moran, who thinks he's caught the Dr. Jackson scratching his ass, or me, who was caught in the compromising position of looking like I was scratching my ass when I should have been working.
"Ummmm ... no. I'm just ..." I slowly withdraw my hands and straighten up. "I'm just ... hey are those sandwiches?" Duh, state the obvious, why don't you, Jackson. "Here, put them down here." I pick up a pile of papers and dump them onto the couch. Moran does as he's instructed. "Do you want a cup of coffee?" I ask congenially.
"I'll get it myself," Moran says. "Thanks."
Okay, I guess I wouldn't want a man pouring me a cup of coffee after I just thought I saw said man with his hands down his pants. Unless, of course, the guy was Jack, but that has no bearing on this situation.
As inconspicuously as possible, I down one of the remaining two allergy pills before we sit side by side at my desk, giving us both access to my computer and the books that are already opened. I shove the translation at him, pointing at his errors with the eraser end of the pencil. He begins to argue, and I cut him off. This goes on for quite a while, every mistake I've found becomes a disagreement. Moran pulls reference materials from my shelves to back him up, I fervently flip through the tomes to illustrate my point. I've worn him down hours later and he concedes defeat with the slamming of the book he was using.
I realize something as this young man is packing up to leave, gathering his materials and angrily shoving them into his file folders. He reminds me of someone.
"Dr. Moran," I call. "Brian."/p>
"Yes, Dr. Jackson?" He stands with the books held tightly to his chest, papers, sticking out at all angles, throwing glances towards the doorway, obviously wishing to escape before I begin to lecture anew.
"Thank you." I get up to pour another mug of coffee, letting my words sink in.
"Thank you?" He drops his pile of books and papers onto the desk, obviously confused. "You're thanking me? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but you spent the better part of ..." Brian checks his watch, "of the night ripping apart my work."
"Time flies when you're having fun," I answer, taking a mouthful of hot coffee.
"Was that meant as a sarcastic remark, Dr. Jackson?" he asks angrily.
"Sarcastic? Huh?" I vigorously shake my head. "Not at all. It was ... invigorating."
Brian begins to gather up his materials. "Invigorating? For whom?"
"Us?" I squeak. "You didn't find it ..."
"No, I didn't, sir. Now if you'll ..."
"I miss academia," I admit. "I miss debating with people who share my interests."
"Do you know how long it's been since someone from this department challenged me? Didn't acquiesce to my decision, my every idea?" What's sad is that not until this very night, until Dr. Brian Moran slammed his book shut in annoyance, did I realize how much I missed this part of my life. Oh, don't get me wrong, Jack and I argue, Sam and I disagree, but those words are different, they're usually mission based ... but this, tonight, was, like finding an integral part of myself I didn't even know I had lost.
I glance up at Dr. Moran, who's studying me like I've lost my mind. "You're not getting this?" I ask, hiding yawn behind my coffee mug.
"Honestly, Dr. Jackson ..."
"Daniel," I remind him.
"Daniel ... no, I'm not getting this at all."
I pace back and forth, it's imperative this young man understand the epiphany that has shone on me tonight. I sit on one of the stools and motion for him to do the same. He gives one last, longing look at the door, sighs, and drops down on the stool across from me.
With a rolling motion of my hand, I begin. "You and I tonight, exchanged ideas."
He hides his bark of laughter behind clearing his throat. "You yelled, I yelled, I lost, you won."
"No!" I smash a free spot on the table with my hand so hard, the vibrations travel up to my shoulder. "When you called me, when we opened the books, what did you present to me?"
He knows his work well enough to spit it back at me without even referencing a paper or book.
"And ...?" I prod.
"You presented me with irrefutable evidence the inhabitants of PX4251 are not ..." Dr. Moran drones on and eventually finishes up his presentation with a smile on his face. "I understand."
"You understand my point or you understand why I thanked you?"
"Both, Dr. Jacks ... Daniel."
I yawn again and he scurries to gather stray paperwork, but I call him back one more time. "Brian. Though the majority of military personnel will deny it, our work, your work, this department's work, can sometimes be the matter of life and death. It's not a matter of being right or wrong, it's a matter of protecting the teams that step through the 'gate. Arguing with me or with your coworkers, presenting a point you feel strongly about, is a learning experience ... always. For me and for you." I take off my glasses and rub my temples, damn, I'm tired. I slip my glasses back on and smile at the man who doesn't appear so anxious to leave at this point. "Am I making any sense at all, Brian?"
"Yes, you are, Daniel. Thank you."
My laughter and cough come out all rolled into one. "You're thanking me?"
He shrugs, I smile, and he takes his leave with a wave of his hand.
Busted. Blearily, I look up towards the imposing figure of General Hammond. "Morning, sir?" I squeak.
He sits down and plops a white bag on the worktable. "Take one."
I unfold the top of the bag. "Donuts?" I stick my fingers in and pull out one of the two chocolate covered treats. I manage a "thank you" before taking a bite. "Coffee?" I ask, getting up to pour myself a cup.
"No, the donuts are sinful enough. Dr. Fraiser will not take kindly to caffeine. Thank you anyway, son." He looks towards the door and whispers conspiratorially, "I arrive at the mountain a little earlier so I can avoid the good doctor." He tilts the bag and extracts the second donut.
"You're secret's safe with me, sir."
"I knew it would be." He takes a bite of the donut and I pluck a tissue out of the box for him to put it on, Lord alone knows the germs on this worktable. The General takes another bite before putting it down. "May I ask what you're doing here?"
"Untapped treasures," I mumble around my mouthful of chocolate and coffee. I search under my pile of papers for what I'm looking for and wave it in General Hammond's direction. "Do you know the hidden resources in this department? My department," I proudly add. "The knowledge that's here is inspiring. I've worked up a proposal to ..."
Okay, General Hammond's expression is an exact mirror of Dr. Moran's. "Dr. Jackson, have you gone home since returning from your last mission?"
"Yes, I did ... yesterday?" I gulp. "What time is it?"
"0-five hundred hours, Thursday."
I calculate as swiftly as I can. "I arrived here at 530 pm on Wednesday. Seventeen thirty hours," I correct. "I've been here ..."
"Too long, son. Go home." General Hammond stands, grabs his half finished donut and sticks it back into the bag, folding and hiding the bag in his pocket. "Daniel?"
"Sir?" I look at my empty cup, confused, not exactly sure when I finished it or the donut.
"Forty eight hours. I don't want to see you on base for forty eight hours. Am I making myself clear?"
"Very, sir." I reverently place the proposal I was working on in the designated file. "I understand completely. Thank you for the donut and the company, General."
"My pleasure and, oh, if you'd like, email me a copy of the proposal and ..."
"Here, sir." I lean across the table and poke the General in the chest with the folder containing the proposal. "You can read it over while you eat the rest of your donut," I offer, smothering a sneeze in the crook of my arm.
"Thank you, I will." The General smiles, takes the folder from my outstretched hand and tucks it under his arm. His expression turns to worry as I barely manage to hide a jaw cracking yawn behind my hand, followed by another loud sneeze. "Bless you. Should I call an airman to drive you home, Doctor?"
"Thank you sir, but nope, sir, I got it covered."
General Hammond patiently stands in the doorway, leaning on the frame, his glance following my anal routine of closing up my office. He obviously doesn't trust my promise to head for home, I find comfort that he cares enough to watch my six while on Earth and I have to smile at his couched-in-command comment that maybe I should pay a visit to the infirmary before I head for home.
"In here." I'm at the kitchen table, lazily turning the pages of the newspaper, with Daniel's note being used as a coaster for my coffee mug sitting to my right.
He drops one brown shopping bag and a white plastic bag onto the sports page I'm in the process of turning. "Aw, geeze ... can't you see I'm reading here?" I move the bags to the side with a sweep of my arm and a lone bagel breaks free of the bag's confines and rolls itself over to me. Picking it up, I wave it under my nose, appreciatively sniffing the cinnamon and raisin mixture.
"Yup." Daniel grabs the fresh bagel from my hands just before I manage to take a bite.
"Hey," I say, leaning over, fishing for the bagel that's being held just out of my reach.
"Patience," Daniel says as he wags the bagel at me, laughing. "Stop drooling."
I put as much indignity as I can muster into my "hrmpf" and I decide to ignore him and go back to reading the paper, peripherally aware of the banging of plates, Daniel's off key humming and the opening and closing of the silverware drawer.
Unceremoniously, he deposits the silverware and plates onto the table and I slide over to give him room, pulling my paper right alone with me. Without finesse, Daniel dumps the bagels onto the plate, catches the ones that roll away and makes a futile attempt to arrange them, wiping the sesame and poppy seeds on his pants. He flips open the containers of cream cheese, and unwraps both lox and white fish.
"Are we expecting company?"
Daniel pours himself a cup and coffee and leans against the counter, surveying. "No? Did you want to invite someone over?" He walks over to the phone and picks up the receiver. "I can call Teal'c or Sam? Do you want me to ..."
"No. Just sit." I lean over and push the chair out. "Put the phone down, and take a seat."
"Sure." The moment Daniel sits, he leans across me, grabbing a bagel and using the knife to reel in the opened container of cream cheese.
"Hmm." He's cutting, no take that back, he's sawing the bagel with such enthusiasm that I'm positive we'll be heading back to the SGC in a matter of seconds for either stitches or for surgical repair of the hand holding the bagel.
Thankfully the knife pauses and he glances up at me, confused at my interruption. "What?"
Slowly, I motion for Daniel to hand over the lethal weapon he's clutching in his fingers. "Give me the knife."
"I'm old enough to make my own breakfast, Jack," he replies indignantly, and he begins to cut with the same gusto as before.
I lean across and grab onto the handle mid slice. "I know you are, but hey, you bought this great breakfast, enough to feed the majority of the SGC for a week or two, the least I can do is take care of you."
He falls for it, hook, line and sinker, and gives me an endearingly, dopey smile as he plops the bagel, with the knife still embedded in its side, onto my plate. "To what do I owe this morning feast?" I finish cutting open the bagel and place a dollop of cream cheese on one side.
"I had a revelation today ..."
"Morning ... very early this morning," I interject, doing my damndest to ignore Daniel's glance of annoyance.
"Whatever," he says, giving up on my noticing he's peeved when I interrupted him. "I wanted to share my good mood ... more cheese, please. Separate, not sandwich," he orders, sliding his finger across the smear of cream cheese I just spread. I grab his hand, and force his finger into my mouth, sucking off the cream cheese before he has a chance to. "Stop distracting me," he demands, but his finger outlines my lips before he removes it.
I jump when a stocking foot finds its way into my lap and wiggling toes begin to travel the length of my cock. "Who's distracting who now?" I laugh, squeezing my thighs together, trapping his foot. I reach for the lox and lay it over the cream cheese, adjusting the pieces with an artist's eye.
Daniel wiggles his captured foot. "Jack?"
"Hmmmm ..." The frisson those stocking toes is creating is very nice and I'm not amenable to releasing it any time soon.
"Jack ... keep the foot, but can I have the bagel?"
With my right hand I extend the plate with the bagel-separate, not sandwich, with anally arranged lox -- with my left hand I snag a cinnamon raisin bagel and with Daniel's foot performing River Dancing movements in my lap, I'm managing to achieve an incredible hard on. Frustrated, I rip into the bagel with a vengeance.
Daniel is bent over his plate and there's a tiny. a smidgen, actually, mark of cream cheese to the left of his mouth, not quite in range of his probing tongue. Between the visuals of his tongue and the foot in my lap, I'm slowly losing all self control, not that that's a bad thing, but I really wanted to simply read my morning paper, relax, have a cup of java ... "That's it!" I shout, slamming my bagel onto the table. I push back the chair, fling Daniel's foot off my lap, pounce into Daniel's space and with my own tongue, swipe off the errant cream cheese from his face.
Daniel touches the now clean spot and he foolishly believes I'm going to fall for his act of innocence as he studies me over the rim of his glasses. I know better, two can play at this game, and I stick my own finger into the opened container of cream cheese and offer it up to him.
"Oh ..." Daniel places his bagel back onto the plate, wipes his hands on a paper napkin and guides my hand to his mouth, licking and sucking at my cream cheese laden finger, making noises of appreciation as his tongue works its magic.
Daniel latches onto my shirt, pulling me down towards him and for a second I flounder, arms pinwheeling, searching for some type of counterbalance to offset Daniel's pull, until I grip the edge of the table and the back of Daniel's chair. Furiously I try to savor the moment and not end up on my ass while he hard at work depleting my oxygen supply.
Daniel ruins the moment with a simple "ow", which echoes and vibrates in the cavern of my mouth.
I step back. "Ow?"
"Wait a minute." He lifts his ass off the chair and digs into the back pocket of his pants, throwing two blister packs onto the table. One is fine, the other has been bent at a weird angle. "Ow," he reiterates, rubbing his ass. "Those stupid things hurt."
I pick up the crumbled pack and slowly unbend it, noticing two pills have been removed. "Daniel?" I wave the pack like a matador. "Care to share?"
"The pills, sure."
"No, you know what I mean."
"My allergies were acting up, Janet told me to try these and they seem to be working fine ... see?" Daniel's sniffed. "I can breathe."
"You went back to the mountain to get allergy medication ...?"
"No. I went to help Dr. Moran with a translation my visit to the infirmary came after."
"Daniel!" I shout, frustrated at both him and the fact that my hard on has become just a memory. "We were ordered ..."
"It's taken care of. Finished ... no more interruptions."
"I find that hard to believe."
"Believe what you want," he answers, and I can tell he's not only annoyed, but also a bit tired from interrupted sleep and wired from the allergy meds and possibly too much caffeine. He takes a bite of his bagel while I watch and he follows it up with a gulp of coffee. Exhaling loudly, he turns his gaze to me. "What?"
And there it is again. A damn spot of cream cheese on Daniel's face, another one that his tongue can't reach and as I lean in to lick it off, I realize that whoever said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, sure as hell knew what they were talking about.
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