"Of course they have great big thorns Jack, that's what I grew them for."
"Roses, Daniel. Most people grow roses for the scent or because their mother liked them or something. You grew them in order to get thorns longer than my thumb? Are they naquada enhanced, too?"
"Very funny. Put that down."
"Son of a freakin' bitch." Jack placed the candle he'd picked up on the back of the toilet. "Who has candles in their bathroom? I mean other than women who read romance novels."
"I hate the way those deodorant sprays smell, and I shudder to think about the comments you'd make if I kept potpourri in my bathroom. Not to mention that stuff smells like a mummified grandmother." Daniel inspected the back in front of him closely before leaning in with the tweezers. "I think there's just one more, Jack, and then I can start bandaging your wounds. Are you sure you had Special Ops training."
"Now who's being a comedian? Seriously, Daniel, why don't you grow nice tea roses like normal people?"
"When my insurance agent found out that I was away from home for weeks at a time, he suggested three things -- a security system -- which, thanks to you, I already had -- a dog, which I'm still looking for, and spiky plants around all the potential entrances."
"And I lose so much blood that I'm starting to get anemic."
"How do you think they get their color?" Daniel had that look on his face: the one that he fondly imagined made Jack feel guilty. "So. Jack."
"My cell phone is broken."
"And that concerns me how?"
"I was going to call on my way over, to ask you out to see that new arty movie with all the cool fights."
"And then when I rang the bell, you didn't answer."
"So rather than leave, you thought you'd practice your breaking and entering skills?"
"You could have been hurt or sick or -- Ow!"
"Jack, it's just Bactine. By the way, you'll need to replace my band-aids. And I'm not buying that whole hurt or sick thing for a minute, by the way."
"I thought you might be doing something boring to anyone but you on the computer and were too engrossed to come to the door."
"So instead you decide to what, scare me? Don't tell me you were going to pop-up behind me and say, 'Boo'?"
Jack had the good grace to look sheepish. "Well, if I'd known that the rose beds had been watered to the exact consistency of chocolate pudding, I might have come up with another plan." He hissed as another really long thorn was pulled from his forearm. "And the man eating thorns don't help either. Can't you be held liable if you hurt a burglar?"
Daniel just looked at him.
"Right. Dumb question."
"I am sorry that the roses were overwatered. All that rain while we were off-world plus an automatic sprinkler system equals very slippery mud."
"All the better to throw the unsuspecting off balance and into the bushes. Have I mentioned the size of the thorns?"
"Not recently." Daniel finished placing the last band-aid.
"By the way, what the hell was up with the seance?"
"Low-lighting, tarot cards ... seance."
"You recognize tarot cards?"
"The last time you dragged me into a bookstore, I amused myself over in the new age section. Did you know that there are a whole bunch of people who think that Hathor was a benign feminist deity due for revival?"
"Yes. It's a little disturbing."
"Tell me about it, that bitch..."
"No, that you'd know about it."
"Ha. Ha. Seance?"
"What about it?"
"The drawings there reminded me of something. I had copies made from my photographs. Then it hit me. Tarot cards."
"There is no evidence that Tarot cards existed before the middle ages, in spite of all the folklore claiming that they originated in ancient Egypt. But those drawings were the exact dimensions of the Sforza deck, and some of the patterns were suggestive."
"Didn't those drawings have Goa'uld communication devices behind them?"
"Exactly. Zelazny may have been right. The trumps were originally communicators between allied Goa'uld. It may have been one way that the System Lords kept in touch."
"And this kept you from answering the door, why?"
"I didn't hear you. I had music on."
"That was music?"
"I've heard you play Garth Brooks in your truck. I don't want to hear a word about Modern Jazz Quartet."
"Ah. Everybody chose up sides and the loser had to play the melody."
"Stan Getz said it first. And if you hold jazz in such contempt, how do you know a Stan Getz quote?"
"I have layers."
"Yes, Jack, you do. Still want to see the movie?"
Jack looked at his watch. "We missed the showing I was trying for. How about we order in from that Thai place up the street?"
"Sounds good to me. And if you want an arty movie with sword fights, I've got 'Hero' on DVD."
"I missed that in the theaters."
"Which is why I have it on DVD. Rather than Thai, we'll go get really good Chinese to bring back and eat with it."
"Sounds like a plan. Backgammon later?"
"After the way you acted the last time I beat you? Hell, no."
"But I brought new dice. Better dice. Dice that won't make me lose by three million points."
Daniel looked at the dice Jack had pulled from his pocket. "Red dice. Why do you have red dice?"
"You're buying dinner, and I'm testing them for weight before we play."
"Would I cheat? I'm an officer."
"If it were anything other than backgammon, I wouldn't think of accusing you. But for some reason backgammon brings out your killer instincts worse than Apophis."
"Too true." Jack finished buttoning his torn shirt. "You're going to owe me a new one of these."
"No problem." Jack gave a half smile. "And Jack, I appreciate the distractions you planned."
Jack looked a little guilty. "I just thought with Sarah coming back and then running across the world so quickly and stuff...."
"I get it. Happy Valentine's day to you too. Grab your coat. We'll call in our order on the way."
September 25, 2004
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