Daniel knew he landed wrong the minute he and Sam stopped rolling. There hadn't been time for him to process how to save her and effectively activate Jack's 'tuck and roll' landing. From his vantage point of watching her six, he had seen what she hadn't, the splintering of an ancient tree limb situated directly over her head.
Simultaneously calling her name and barreling into her unsuspecting body, they hit the ground hard, the force of Daniel's impact propelling the two of them down a small incline. They came to a stop in a tangle of arms and legs, twigs and rocks.
"Daniel?" Sam cautiously rolled off of Daniel's sprawled body and sat up, gently patting his cheek. "Are you okay?" She leaned over and righted his glasses, pulling a leaf from his hair before she ran deft fingers the length of his body, checking for injuries.
He moved away from her ministrations. "I'm fine." Daniel's eyes widened as he levered his body onto his elbows. "You? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Whatever did you ..." She stood, dusting remnants of their tumble off her pants. Daniel waited, assessing various body parts before he took her proffered hand to pull himself up. Under Sam's watchful eye, Daniel stretched, carefully schooling any outward sign of aches or pain.
"Overhead tree branch had you directly in its sight," Daniel explained, dropping his painfully imbedded backpack off his shoulders, rolling muscles first forward then backward to work out their stiffness.
"Carter? Daniel? Are the two of you okay?" Sam and Daniel looked up at the sound of Jack's voice, watching the Colonel and Teal'c hastening down the small hill to join them.
"I'm fine," Daniel said, averting his eyes from Jack's 'yeah, right' gaze.
"Fine, Sir," Sam answered, shaking out her legs. "Daniel kinda broke my fall."
"Not one of your more graceful moves, Daniel." Jack came around and picked up Daniel's backpack, shoving it into Daniel's outstretched arms and giving it a knowing pat before he moved away.
"I would tend to agree, O'Neill, though it did serve the purpose it was intended to -- Major Carter is alive and well due to DanielJackson's quick reflexes."
"Why, thank you, Teal'c."
"Thank you, Daniel." Sam squeezed his forearm, smiling when he ducked his head in embarrassment.
"Come on, kids, enough with the mutual admiration society. General Hammond and Doc Fraiser await us. Never mind the beer and pizza with my name on it." With a wave of his P-90, Jack shooed the team forward.
Teal'c took point, followed by Sam. Before Jack dropped back into position, he fell into step next to Daniel. "Honestly, how much are you hurting?"
"I'm fine," Daniel answered. He nodded emphatically to Jack's look of disagreement. "Honestly."
"We'll just wait and see what Fraiser has to say about it, okay?" With a gentle nudge to Daniel's shoulder, Jack took up the rear.
The niggling discomfort had begun just as they arrived at the Stargate. As SG-1 patiently stood at the bottom of the ramp in the Gateroom listening to Jack explain to Hammond why Dr. Jackson and Major Carter had returned dirty and disheveled, while he and Teal'c had returned pristine, sporting nary a scratch, the stiffness and throbbing began to grow.
The shower had helped, dropping the discomfort level to tolerable. Daniel stood, his arms crossed, leaning against the cool tile wall, his head pillowed in his arms as he allowed the steady stream of water to massage his lower back. His groans of appreciation were masked not only by the sound of the water, but by Jack singing a current top 40 song while he enjoyed his own shower.
"Okay!" Daniel yelled in response to Jack's verbal prodding to hurry up. "I'll be right there."
"Carter's screaming for a shower, come on ... it's physical time."
"You go on ahead, I'll meet you there."
Daniel stood, a towel wrapped around his middle, making sure the door to the locker room swung shut before he hobbled over to his locker. The shower had helped but as Daniel stood in the cold room, he could feel his muscles begin to tighten painfully.
He dressed slowly, spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to tie his shoes. Daniel gritted his teeth as he crossed each leg over the opposite knee, breathing through the pain just to make a simple bow. It took two attempts before he could push his body off the wooden bench to an upright position.
He pressed the heel of his hand into the small of his back, increasing the pressure, arching slowly, trying to stretch through the pain. Two deep breaths later, Daniel was able to walk through the door, only to be stopped by a concerned Sam.
"I'm fine," Daniel spit out before Sam even had a chance to voice her concern. "Sorry it took so long."
"Daniel, you saved my life today, you can go back in and shower again for all I care."
"Thanks, Sam," he chuckled. "I'll save that for another day, okay. The shower is all yours ... and I even left you some clean towels."
The pain notched up to a chronic ache while Daniel sat on the gurney awaiting Janet. He shifted position, rocking side-to-side, unable to find a position that could afford him any comfort. He began to bend and straighten his right leg, stretching out a suddenly too taut thigh muscle. Caught mid-stretch, Daniel jumped guiltily when the doctor entered his personal cubicle, snickering the curtain open and shut.
By rote he extended his arm when Janet produced the blood pressure cuff and waited patiently for her to finish taking his vitals. Janet was up to making him track the penlight when she stepped back. "Daniel?"
"What? Oh." Her gaze was set to Daniel's fully extended right leg, booted toes flexed upward. Blushing, he slowly lowered the leg down.
"Is there something you want to tell me?" Janet asked, pointing the penlight menacingly his direction.
Daniel held up his hands to ward off her medical concern. "No, muscles just stiffening up ... nothing a soak in a hot bath won't take care of." Daniel pasted a smile on his face, hoping to divert her attention.
The last thing Daniel desired was to be poked and prodded more than usual. He wanted home, Jack, dinner, Jack, a massage, Jack, hot bath, Jack and sleep. Except for home, Daniel didn't care in what particular order he received the other items on his list.
Daniel was mentally 'twanging' from the stress of last mission. While Jack, Teal'c and Sam had spent five days enjoying the hospitality of the inhabitants of PX9843, Daniel's time had been spent holed up in an airless room, smaller than his office, hammering out the protocols of a treaty between the Tau'ri and the Neloens. Daniel was still amazed that he had survived five days with the eight men of the ruling body who ate and drank ad naseum but rarely, if ever, spent more than four hours sleeping. Daniel had had to spend an inordinate amount of time bringing these men back to task if he ever wanted to see Earth again.
"You look tired," Janet commented, "and a little bruised."
Daniel offered her a wan smile, glad to admit the obvious. "I am, and I am. I tripped going back to the 'gate, it's nothing."
"The rest of the team seems very well rested." Janet didn't even attempt to disguise the suspicious tone of her voice, tsking as she touched a bruise on his upper arm. "Nice one."
There was no way Daniel could answer without Janet ordering an enforced stay in the infirmary so he could catch up on missed sleep under her watchful eye. "Are you finished, Janet. I need to get to the debriefing, Hammond is going to ..."
"On a scale of 1 to 10, how painful are those stiffening muscles and bruises?"
Without hesitation, Daniel lied. "Two. Nothing a Motrin and a hot bath won't take care of." Daniel fought to keep his face impartial, his hands limp by his sides and his body posture relaxed while Janet's gaze raked over his body.
"I'll make you a deal, Janet," Daniel said, hoping to divert the doctor's attention. "I promise if I'm that uncomfortable after the debriefing, I'll come right back here." Daniel patted the gurney for emphasis and batted eyelashes over widened baby blues for good measure.
"I want you back in the infirmary after the debriefing whether or not you're uncomfortable. Got that?" There was no mistaking the evil glint in Janet's eyes as she tapped the penlight against the gurney.
"Go," she said.
Hammond stood and placed his hands on the briefing room table. "Great job, SG-1, and congratulations, Dr. Jackson. Well done, son."
Daniel used the arms of the chair to shift his weight as he tried to take the pressure off his right side. Jack didn't miss the tight grimace on the archaeologist's face.
Daniel whipped his head in Jack's direction. "What?"
Jacked leaned over towards Daniel, whispering conspiratorially, "Say thank you to the nice General, he paid you a compliment."
His friends around the table hid their smiles behind their hands or smothered them in fake coughs as Daniel blushed a deep crimson. "I'm sorry, Sir. Thank you?"
The General's eyes crinkled in amusement. "SG-1, you're dismissed. Next briefing will be at 0800 hours, three days from today. Enjoy your stand down."
Jack held back his ebullient shout of 'Yes!' until the General left the room. "How about something special tomorrow night, pizza, movie ..."
"The usual, Sir?"
"I would have to agree with Major Carter. SG-1 seems to have fallen into a routine."
"Thank you, Teal'c." Carter patted his arm, sharing a smile. "It's true. Whenever we're back on Earth, it's pizza, beer, a movie ..."
"Hey," Jack said, feigning indignation. "There's nothing wrong with falling back on what's comfortable, right Daniel?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever you want is fine, pizza, beer, I don't care."
"Whatever? Oh, Daniel, your lack of interest wounds me deeply." Jack narrowed his eyes as he examined Daniel's stiff posture and intense concentration on his feet. "Ummm ... are you okay? It's not warm enough for you to be sweating like that."
Daniel slithered his butt along the chair's padding, biting back a whimper of pain for his efforts and quickly waved his teammates away as they rushed to his side. "Stay," he ordered. He gritted his teeth, counted to three and used the edge of the table in an attempt to pull himself out of the chair. "Ooookay, I think I got this," Daniel hissed before his body collapsed back into the rolling chair.
Teal'c hastened to strategically place his body behind Daniel and brought the backwards-rolling chair under control with his bulk while pressing the weight of his hands to Daniel's shoulders for good measure.
"Or maybe not," Daniel admitted. "Ow."
"It would seem, DanielJackson, that a call to DoctorFraiser is necessary."
"Jack! Put the phone down," Daniel threatened. "Sam! Step back into this room. I can ... do ... this ..."
With a sigh, Jack slid his hands under Daniel's arms, signaled Teal'c with a nod of his head that the Jaffa warrior should take the other side, and Sam covered their six by holding the chair in place.
The technician had just finished and was just rolling the portable x-ray machine out of the way when Janet placed a hand on the machine. "Call me as soon as the pictures are developed, Sgt. Pansini."
"You got it, Dr. Fraiser. Feel better, Dr. J.," he shouted over his shoulder before exiting.
"Thanks, but I'm fine." Daniel was lying in a bed in the infirmary, stretched out, flat on his back, fully dressed and thoroughly annoyed.
Janet approached the bed, a sympathetic smile on her face. "Want to tell me what really happened on that planet?" Impatiently, she tapped his chart at the end of the bed when Daniel didn't answer right away.
"He saved my life."
"Daniel Jackson performed as a warrior should, thinking of the safety of his companions before his own."
"Daniel and Carter fell down and went boom. Whaaaaat?" Jack complained as all eyes in their corner of the infirmary riveted on him. "It's the truth. Well, isn't it?"
Each member began their interpretation of what had occurred, their voices gaining in volume as they futilely attempted to be heard over their teammates.
"Enough! Out!" Janet screamed above the din.
Daniel brought himself up on his elbows and was waiting expectantly for Janet to dismiss him also. "Don't even think of it, Daniel. You stay. Everyone else ... out there in the chairs in the hallway. Far away." Like a shepherd, Janet herded the flock of concerned SG-1 members in the direction of the doorway.
The giggling began even before Daniel opened his eyes.
Jack was able to contain his laughter when he heard the giggles, but not his smile at Daniel's very relaxed state.
"Feeling no pain?"
Daniel's snort was buried with a twist of his head into the mattress. "D uf," he said, his voice captured in the infirmary bed.
Jack guffawed. It was a darn shame Daniel's inebriated state was going to be wasted in the infirmary. "Wanna run that one by me again?"
"Hi, Jack!" Daniel's head popped up and then dropped down onto the pillow. Jack reveled in the smile of pure happiness pasted on Daniel's face. "I said 'good stuff'. Janet gave me ..."
Jack quickly clamped his hand over Daniel's mouth. "Shhhh ... you're shouting," Jack whispered.
Daniel's eyes widened in slow comprehension. Jack could feel his lover mouth 'I'm sorry' against the palm of the hand. Jack slid his hand away, wiping his saliva moist skin on his pants and rolling his eyes when Daniel pressed his pointer finger against his pursed lips. "Sssssshhhhhh."
Jack tugged the finger down, cutting short Daniel's 'ssshhhhing'. "Enough, Daniel."
"You're holding my hand." Daniel held up their clasped hands, swinging them, bringing their hands center ring for the whole infirmary to bear witness to. Jack could just feel the suppressed laughter behind his back, but he took his irritation out on the chuckling nurse passing by Daniel's bed, giving her the pure special ops gonna-get-you-when-you-sleep menacing look, which only succeeded in sending Daniel into another round of giggles.
"You don't scare me, Jack." Daniel face scrunched up in an exaggerated wink at the nurse, laughing again as she winked back. "See, you don't scare Nurse ... Nurse ..."
"Karen, Dr. Jackson. And you're right, Colonel O'Neill doesn't scare me at all. How are you feeling?"
"I'm feeling fine. Jack, you can let go of my hand now," Daniel's face suddenly became serious, the 100 watt smile melting away to a frown accompanied by worry lines on his forehead. "We're on base you know. No touching allowed," he whispered. "Don't ask, don't tell, even though I think that I did tell ..."
"Okaaaay ... Nurse ... Karen ... can Daniel be released?" Jack stepped in, his voice drowning Daniel's, diverting the younger man from discussing their love life in front of her.
Daniel scowled. "Now you're shouting. Stop it. Head hurts." Daniel brought their still joined hands up to cover his yawn.
Jack gave Nurse Karen a tight smile as Daniel closed his eyes, sighed and tucked the tangle of their fingers under his chin, effectively pinning the Colonel by his bedside. Daniel's loud snoring was instantaneous.
The nurse adjusted the blankets around Daniel's legs. "I've always heard SG-1 is very close." She snickered. Before Jack could reply with a snappy comeback, she disappeared.
"Damnit. Do you see what you've done?" Jack lightly kicked the bed frame in annoyance. Daniel snored in response, a touch of drool sliding from his open mouth onto the back of Jack's hand. Jack sighed. "This," he jiggled their connected hands. "This is going to be fodder for commissary gossip for months to come."
"I want to go home," Daniel whined. "I do not want to be here."
"Fraiser said ... that sacro ... that muscle. The one right here, you pulled it. Needs time to heal." Jack gently prodded the injured body area while he made a feeble attempt to placate Daniel, tucking the blanket, offering the pitcher of water, an extra pillow.
"Everything works fine. See!" Jack caught the blanket as it slid off the bed, muttering under his breath as Daniel made a display of waving his arms and legs in the air.
"Ya look like a struggling, overturned turtle to me." Jack complained as he readjusted Daniel's blanket. "And everything works fine because you just had a pill." Jack checked his watch. "Not twenty minutes ago you were complaining ..."
"You were, too. Quite loudly, I might add."
"Jack, please. I'm begging you. I need to leave here. I have to leave. I spent days stuck in a tiny room with smelly, noisy party animals while being an archeolo ... an archeo ... a linth ... doing my job and I need to breathe fresh air. I need your bed, my bed, something other than the hard plastic under my ass right now." Daniel wagged his eyebrows at Jack. "The only thing I want under my ass is yo ..."
Jack moved quickly and glanced furtively over his shoulder and clamped his hand over Daniel's mouth. Removing Daniel from the infirmary had now become a matter of security -- Jack's. Obviously, the relaxants Fraiser was pumping him with was loosening every single muscle in Daniel's body, including the one connecting the brain and mouth. Jack removed his hand and gently tapped his cheek with his forefinger.
"You stay right here, Danny, I'll figure out a way."
"Thanks, Jack." He sniffed back tears of appreciation. "You know I lo ..."
"Quiet ... okay? I'm beggin' ya. If you want to get outta here. You need to be quiet until I return."
"I can do quiet. I promise."
Jack had recruited Teal'c to help kidnap Daniel from the infirmary. They were almost there, close to the surface, all three of them standing in the elevator with eyes glued to the descending numbers.
"11, 10, 9" ... Daniel was counting down the numbers, but at least that was better than the nondescript, annoying song he'd been loudly humming when they rode the first elevator on their journey topside.
Daniel and the elevator "binged" at exactly the same time, Jack and Teal'c stepped forward and they had actually reached the walkway when they both realized Daniel wasn't with them.
Teal'c pivoted and strong armed the elevator so the door would stay open. "DanielJackson, we have arrived."
Daniel was leaning heavily on the back wall of the elevator, a euphoric expression of pure bliss on his face as he inhaled and exhaled deeply. "Smells fantastic. Outside. Air. Fresh air."
"Yeah, nice polluted air." Jack waggled his fingers at Daniel. "Come on ... let's get going."
"I don't want to go home." Daniel stated smugly. "Hey!" His voiced echoed in the confines of the elevator as he jerked his arm from Jack's grasp, banging his elbow on the back wall. "Ow!"
"Daniel, I'm not too sure how much longer Teal'c can hold the elevator open without the alarm going off and I really, really, really don't want the alarm ringing like a banshee down below. Okay?"
"Oh, sorry." Daniel took one step forward and staggered, Teal'c grabbed one arm and Jack the other, and like a synchronized dance, the two men pulled Daniel from the elevator. Teal'c held him upright against the cement wall with a splayed hand to his chest. The protesting elevator door finally closed.
Jack stepped forward, ignoring the inquisitive glances from the guard on duty. "Let's take this from the top, Daniel." He dropped a hand onto Daniel's shoulder. "What do you mean you don't want to go home? Teal'c and I risked ..."
"Doctor Fraiser is not going to be happy finding you missing nor is she going to be pleased with O'Neill's aiding and abetting your kidnapping."
"You helped, T."
Teal'c's eyebrows flew up. "Helped, O'Neill? I distinctly remember your use of the word 'order'."
"Never mind. Forget that. Why don't you want to go home?" Jack had the impression that Teal'c's hand was keeping SG-1's archaeologist from ending up in a heap on the floor.
"Too nice to be inside. Want to be out in the air. Need to breathe fresh air."
Jack could just feel the guard's eyes examining every inch of their body language as they stood touching Daniel. "Why don't we just get into the car and then we will take a ride somewhere before we head home."
"Yes, DanielJackson, O'Neill promises."
If Daniel had been able, he would have been jumping up and down with enthusiasm, but he had to contend with just bobbing up and down against the wall.
"Stop right there!" The voice that inspired fear and demanded respect from every employee of the SGC brought Jack and Teal'c to an immediate halt. Teal'c grabbed Daniel's arm as the archaeologist went right on walking, and Jack futilely searched the rows of cars for a place to hide. "Where the hell do you two think you're taking my patient?"
Daniel spun on his heels. "Hi, Janet. Hi Sam," he quipped with a wave of his hand. "Look guys, there's Janet and Sam."
"We see," Jack said sadly as his vivid imagination began supplying visuals of his next physical.
"Jack and Teal'c are taking me out." Daniel was quivering with such happy, puppy dog excitement that Sam began to chew on her lower lip to hold back her laughter. Daniel patted Janet on her head. "Don't be angry at them. It was my idea. Honest!"
Jack plucked Daniel's hand mid pat off of Fraiser. "She's getting angry," Jack whispered.
"Getting? I think I'm already there, Sir."
"Doc look. Daniel spent days ..."
"Forty hour days, Jack," he hissed.
"Forty hour days, with a group of men ..."
"Large, unwashed men who didn't know the word 'sleep'," Daniel added.
"The room they worked in was small ..."
Daniel pinched his nose and waved his hand. "And boy did it smell bad."
"So if we take him out to play, can Daniel really do any more damage than he already has?" Suddenly worry began to eat at Jack's stomach.
Jack could see Janet was contemplating her answer, tapping her foot, hmming to herself. "Play, Colonel? What type of 'games' did you have in mind?"
"We're gonna play a game?"
"Daniel, do me a favor." Jack walked Daniel over to the back of the Avalanche and propped him up against it. "Stay here, okay?"
"'K," Daniel agreed emphatically.
"Doc, I just thought we would drive him around and then bring him back."
"Do not lie, O'Neill."
"Busted, Sir," Sam whispered.
"Insubordination, Major." Jack countered.
"Colonel, your archaeologist is listing," Janet warned.
"Do not bother, O'Neill, I will keep DanielJackson upright."
Janet pointed a finger at Daniel, who answered her with a one-fingered wave. "See, my fear is that he's so relaxed and uncoordinated, he's going to fall. I can't in good conscience ..."
"Is your shift over?"
"Yes," Janet said. "Sam and I were just going to ... don't try and distract me!"
"Want to wager for Daniel?"
"Betting, Sir?" Jack knew at least Carter was interested.
"How about a game of mini golf?"
"Mini golf?" Janet echoed.
"If I win, you release Daniel from the infirmary."
"And if I win?"
"Daniel goes right back to his bed and you are permitted to do every one of my physicals from now until I retire."
"You got a deal, Colonel." The two airforce personnel shook hands.
"Carter, you're the witness, just to make sure the good doctor doesn't renege on the deal."
"Sir, I really don't believe Janet is going to ..."
Jack pointed a finger at Carter. "Remember who watches your six offworld, Major."
"Sir, that was uncalled for."
"I apologize." Jack went for the diversionary tactic of confusing the enemy. "Hey, I have a great idea." He shot a glance over his shoulder at Teal'c, who had gotten Daniel to sit on the bumper of the Avalanche and was holding a hand across his chest. Jack returned the dopey smile on Daniel's face, wiping it off his before turning back and facing the women. "Guys against the girls."
"Girls?" Sam squeaked.
"Officers, female officers, women ... Carter, you knew what I meant."
"Babes ... you forgot babes, Jack!" Daniel's contribution to the conversation was followed by an, "Ow Teal'c, whatcha do that for?"
"Look," Jack said impatiently. "Fraiser and Carter against me and Teal'c."
"Can I ask, Sir, where do you think you're going to find a place that's open this early in the season to play? I know it's warm but ..."
"Trust me, as your CO, trust me. Come on."
"Yes, Sir," Sam sighed.
"We'll follow you in my car," Janet stated.
"Okay, let's move on out." Jack pulled out his key and beeped open the lock.
"If you do not mind, O'Neill, I will accompany MajorCarter and DoctorFraiser as they follow you."
Jack sighed as Teal'c was already jogging across the parking lot.
"93 bottles of beer on the wall, 93 bottles of beer, if one of those bottles ..."
Jack squatted between Daniel's legs. "Hi Jack! What are you doing down there?"
Oh god ... taking Daniel out in company in this state was such a waste. Jack sighed again, deeply, and then reached to hoist Daniel up. "Come on, Daniel, we're going out to play now."
"Woohoo ... ummm where was I? Oh yeah ... 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer."
By the time the two vehicles pulled into the parking lot, Jack desperately hoped Fraiser had aspirin on her to counteract the pounding in his head. Daniel was down to fifty four bottles, give or take a few which had been lost mid-count when Daniel nodded off for a second or two.
Jack couldn't help but rub his temples as soon as he turned off the truck's engine. He jumped when Daniel touched his arm. "Are you okay? We can go home if you don't feel well."
"Nah, I'm fine. Let's go ... wait a minute, you stay." Jack threw an elbow across Daniel's chest, pinning him to the seat. "Don't move," he ordered. "I'll come around and get you." Visions of Daniel tumbling face first out the door onto the gravel parking lot within Fraiser's view had Jack sweating. No sooner did he open the door when he was presented with an armful of giddy archaeologist.
"Ompf!" Jack cried as he staggered backward under Daniel's weight.
"My Prince Charming," Daniel crowed. "Helping me down from the chariot?"
"I'll give you Prince Charming," Jack growled as he helped Daniel down and sat him on the running board, using the Avalanche as a barrier from their friends who were pulling into the parking lot.
"Behave yourself." Jack lifted Daniel's chin, forcing eye contact. Brown eyes met glazed-over blue ones that blinked owlishly at Jack's statement.
Daniel nodded emphatically. "I'll be good, promise, cross my heart and hope to ..."
Jack grabbed Daniel's hand mid cross. "Been there, done that, Daniel. Just ... just be good."
"I will!" Daniel shouted, and began to tick off the items of his next statement on his fingers. "I won't hug you, or kiss you or even grab your ass ..." He pulled on Jack's pants' leg until the Colonel was eye level with him and whispered, "I'll save that until we get home."
Jack patted his cheek, returning Daniel's smile with one of his own.
"Look Jack, there's Sam, and Janet and Teal'c!" Daniel jumped up so fast the top of his head hit Jack's chin.
"Ow!" they yelled simultaneously, shooting accusatory glances at each other for their stupidity. Daniel grabbed his head and Jack used a finger to check the tip of his tongue for blood.
"Are you two okay?" Carter asked.
"Bith my thongue."
"Hit my head. All his fault," Daniel whimpered, pointing at Jack.
"O'Neill. DanielJackson. Act like the warriors you are. Or you will both find it necessary to return to the SGC. I will make certain of that."
"Thank you, Teal'c." Janet smiled up at the big man, squeezed his forearm in gratefulness and walked around his bulk to give each man a cursory once over. "You'll live," she proclaimed.
"Sir, this place?"
"Aaaah, welcome to my accountant's idea of investing my money. This is ... Daniel?"
Daniel stood against the truck, rubbing his head and pouting.
"He's all yours," Fraiser commented with a sweep of her hands.
Jack squared his shoulders and accepted the mission. "Daniel."
Daniel blinked slowly with blue eyes that seemed even glassier than before. "My head hurts," he whined, rubbing the spot where his head had made contact with Jack's chin.
"I know buddy. Sorry." Jack turned his back, cutting off the other three's view of him and Daniel. He gently tugged the hand down. "I'll kiss it later when we get home."
Daniel's eyes lit up. "Promise?"
"Cross my heart ... come on and watch Teal'c and me destroy the women in a game of mini golf so I can take you home and live up to my promises."
"So this place of amusement is yours, O'Neill?" Jack jumped out the way of Teal'c's wild practice swings.
"Easy, T, easy. Small strokes. Hence the name mini golf." Jack totally ignored Daniel's giggling at the phrase 'small strokes' and took a club from the rack, measuring it up against his body. "I needed to invest some money and an old buddy of mine was looking for a partner, and the rest is ..."
"Wonders of Earth, Sir?"
Jack shrugged. "Believe it or not, Carter, the name wasn't my idea. The grand opening is next week, but I have the keys, know the alarm code and voila!" He grabbed a score pad and pencils before turning and signaled for everyone to take a golf ball.
"One ball, Daniel, only one." Jack whispered as he plucked the extra ball from Daniel's hands.
"I want ... I like to play with two balls, Jack. You know ..." He gave Jack a huge smile when Jack deposited the second ball back into Daniel's waiting hand. "Thanks."
"Carter, it's your turn to retrieve Daniel. Daniel!" Jack yelled.
"I think it's your turn, Sir. I believe I got him after the first hole and also the third one."
Janet shook her head. "Don't look at me, Colonel, I got him after hole number two."
"I will be honored to retrieve DanielJackson." Teal'c shoved his club into the hands of his CO and stomped off angrily. Only when he approached his teammate standing by the bridge overlooking the manmade waterfall did the Jaffa soften his body posture. It took a few minutes, a gentle touch to the back of his neck and the three saw Daniel nod his head and start back to rejoin them, only to trip over the brick border of one of the upcoming holes. Teal'c's quick reflexes caught Daniel before he landed headfirst into the Eiffel Tower.
"Thanks, Teal'c," Jack shouted.
"For saving the archaeologist or for saving the Eiffel Tower?" the CMO hissed.
"For saving my ass," Jack replied, sticking out his tongue as soon as Fraiser's back was turned.
"I saw that, Sir."
"As did I, O'Neill."
"I want to play!" Daniel protested, kicking the wooden post in protest. "I have my own balls and my own club."
"Can it, Carter."
"Sir, I believe Daniel has a wonderful suggestion. If we let him play and you and Teal'c take point and Janet and I watch his six, maybe we can keep him a little more ..."
"I for one would tend to agree with MajorCarter."
Janet shrugged. "Why not."
"We won't count his score, will we?" Jack whispered.
"Of course not, Colonel," Janet answered as she filled Daniel's name in on the score card.
"Even though he's doing better than you are, Sir," Carter answered with a chortle as she linked her arm through Daniel's.
"Stop laughing! Quiet," he ordered. "I'm still you're CO. Daniel, it's your turn. You wanted to play, now pay attention," Jack reprimanded, prodding the younger man.
"You don't have to push, Jack, I know," Daniel replied. He dropped the ball, retrieved it and then with anal, careful precision placed it exactly where it needed to be on the little rubber mat. He spread his legs and wiggled his ass, shooting a lascivious grin over his shoulder in Jack's direction.
"Indeed," Teal'c commented with a raise of his eyebrows. "O'Neill, I do believe Daniel Jackson is wiggling his gluteus maximus at you."
Carter wolf whistled and Daniel turned in her direction. "Thanks, Sam."
"Taking my turn now, Jack. You don't have to get so pissy about it."
"He did, Sir." She bent over, joining Teal'c and Fraiser who were gazing at the ball in the cup. "Daniel got a hole in one!"
"Woohoo! One shot and I got the ball in the hole." Daniel pushed past his friends and retrieved the ball. "Have you done that yet Jack, gotten it in on the first try?"
"Can't say I have, Daniel. Now can everyone step aside so I can have a clear shot?"
Daniel shoved his ball under Jack's nose. "Want to touch my lucky ball, Jack?"
"Sir, this is the third time, I've made a trip back to the office to get more golf balls ... what the hell is happening?" She peered into the plastic cup of the hole they were now playing. "Are you sure these little plastic cup thingies aren't bottomless?"
"Do me a favor, Carter." Jack held up a bright, fluorescent blue ball. "Next time ... not something so ..."
"Hey Jack, love your blue ball," Daniel yelled from the edge of the next hole.
"Don't even go there, Carter," Jack warned through clenched teeth.
"Daniel, jeeze, get off the Great Wall of China, will ya? I'm trying to get a clear shot."
"Sir, you're already 3 over par." Sam counted the strokes from the previous players.
Daniel jumped off the display onto the green of hole number 10. "You don't have to yell, I hear you." He twirled his club like a baton and threw it up in the air. Jack shouted, Daniel was distracted and Janet reached up and caught the club before it could wreak havoc.
"Oh ... impressive, Janet." Daniel accepted the club back, awed at the Doctor's abilities. "Do it again." She grabbed his club before he could throw it in the air once more.
"Kickline, four years in high school, three years in college."
"Yada yada yada. Guys, whatever, just everyone move! Please."
"He hates losing," Daniel whispered loud enough for all to hear.
"Remind me why I'm doing this again?" Jack whacked a nearby tree in frustration as the ball flitted over the cup and around the brick formation.
"Jack, do that again," Daniel hooted from the bench at the twelfth hole.
"Wiggle your ass."
"I didn't wiggle my ass," Jack protested. He locked his knees and shot, missing the hole by over two feet.
"You would have done better if you had wiggled your ass."
"Everyone's a critic," Jack replied.
"I don't know, Colonel, every time Daniel wiggles his butt, he manages a hole in one," Janet replied innocently.
"Maybe we should have had Daniel play against the two of you," Jack muttered sarcastically under his breath, wiggling his ass for emphasis as soon as the women turned their backs.
Jack scrubbed his face in frustration. He pivoted on his heels as he scoped out the landscape in search of Daniel. "Damn it! This is worse than watching his six on a mission," Jack mumbled as he stomped off in the direction of one finally-located archaeologist bending over a display of flowers.
"Oh, Jack, look!"
"What, Daniel!" Jack made no attempt to disguise the annoyance in his voice.
Daniel sighed, and tugged at Jack's hand until the older man was left with no choice but to squat besides Daniel. "Look." Daniel took Jack's chin in his hand and forcefully turned the protesting face toward the area he had been intently studying.
"Daniel, it's just ..." 'Rabbits, big deal', Jack had wanted to say, until Daniel's expression caught his eye, the thrill of discovery having lit up his whole face. Jack threw an arm over Daniel's shoulder, pulling him closer in a friendly hug. "Let's leave them in peace, okay?"
"You're right," Daniel agreed.
Jack stood and assisted Daniel up.
"What did you want, Jack?"
"Just wanted to let you know it's your turn."
"No way, Carter. Check your math!" Jack leaned over her shoulder as she added up the scores coming down to the last two holes.
"Check my math?"
"I believe MajorCarter's calculations are indeed correct, O'Neill."
Jack caught Janet nonchalantly glancing around as if she were searching for something or someone. "Damn it! Daniel!" she yelled, throwing down her club as she ran to the archaeologist's aid. He was climbing out of the manmade lake at the bottom of the waterfall, barefoot, pants rolled up to the knees, proudly holding a golf ball high above his head. Jack went to assist her as Daniel's stumbling nearly upended the two of them back into the water.
"What the hell?" Jack barked, pulling them back to level ground.
"Don't yell," Daniel cringed. "I lost my lucky ball in the water." He looked down at the puddle he was making along the wood walkway. "I hate wet feet." He shook his feet and everyone jumped back to avoid the droplets of water.
"Where are your shoes?"
Daniel pointed in one direction, then another, finally settling back on the first spot. "There."
"Are you sure?" Sam asked sympathetically.
"Carter, go retrieve his shoes. Daniel, you're with me. Come on." Jack dragged Daniel over to the nearest bench. "Sit."
Jack's tenor changed and the anger dissipated in the wake of Daniel's grimace. "Are you okay?"
Daniel yawned deeply. "Are we almost done? Did you win yet?"
"Soon." Jack rubbed the goose bumps appearing on Daniel's arms. "Cold? Let's fix that." He pulled his handkerchief from his back pocket and began to dry off Daniel's feet. Daniel was drifting, his head lolling awkwardly against his chest by the time Jack had put his shoes on.
"I wouldn't leave him here unattended," Janet warned. "Want to call it a game?"
"Fine with me, Sir. But based on these scores, Daniel goes back to the SGC and Janet will be doing your physicals ..."
"Wake up, Daniel. Rise and shine!"
Daniel jerked awake. "I'm not sleeping."
"Of course not, DanielJackson. Come, O'Neill and I need your help on these last two holes."
"Okay, just let me grab my lucky ball and I'm with ya."
Jack looked around and patted his pockets. "Damn, go start without me, I need to go get another ball."
"Jack, Jack, Jack. This will not do. It is far from correct and I need ..."
"Off ... the ... green ...!"
"Wonder's of Earth, Jack? Who the hell designed this ... this ..."
"Pleeeease ... this isn't a pyramid." Daniel squatted down in front of the plastic structure, squinting through his glasses. "It's an aberration to the structural ingenuity of the ..."
"Will someone please remove the archaeologist from my line of vision or otherwise I'm gonna ..."
Daniel kicked the pyramid over, huffing in satisfaction as he dislodged it from its place, watching it slide off the green and down the slope into the lake. He wiped his hands in satisfaction. "You have a clear shot now, Jack."
"Tied? The score is tied?"
"Tied." Carter said. "Now what?"
"Carter, do me a favor. Could you and Teal'c return the stuff to the office while the good doctor and I figure this out?"
The Cheshire Cat smile on Fraiser's face was making Jack nervous and he began to fidget as he watched his teammates retrieve Daniel's club. "How about a compromise?" she offered.
"Compromise? Okay. I could do compromise."
"Good, Colonel. How about you get Daniel and I get to do all your physicals from now until retirement?"
"What! That's not a compromise ..." Jack looked over at Daniel who was sitting on the bench, leaning against the fence, eyes closed, totally relaxed, a sweet smile adorning his face, and Jack felt his heart swell. "That's blackmail." He realized that Fraiser was watching him observe Daniel. "But you know that, don't you?"
"Yeahsureyoubetcha," she laughed.
Daniel eyed Jack through heavy lids as he buckled Daniel's pliant body into the passenger seat of the Avalanche. "You get to take me home?"
"Yup." Jack replied. He patted Daniel's leg and closed the door, reappearing moments later in the driver's seat.
Daniel pivoted his head and smiled sleepily at Jack. He waved in the direction of the golf center, his hand hitting the closed window, rebounding into his lap. "That was fun." His brow knitted together in concentration. "Except for the pyramid, but I took care of that."
Jack tooted the horn in farewell and Daniel offered a slight wave as Fraiser left the parking lot. Daniel slid his ass upwards in the seat and rooted around in his pants pocket and then his jacket pocket before sitting back down with a sigh. "Could you hold these?" Daniel dumped the items he had found in the space between Jack's legs, yawning deeply. "My balls. Could you hold my lucky balls until we get home? Keep them safe cause everyone kept taking them. Okay?"
"Sure, your balls, all these are your lucky balls? All six of them?" Jack laughed. "Anything else you want me to hold?"
"I'd tell you my heart, but you already got that. So you'll just have to be satisfied with holding my balls for now."
Feedback makes the difference between writing and posting; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org