|FOURTH BY PHOENIXE
||Jack and Daniel involved in a
loving and committed
relationship, which usually involves sex.
|| Angst, Established
H/C, Romance, A/R, Drama, A/A, Character Study, Humour
||Season 7 Just before Osiris pays a
house call on Daniel.
Story 5 in the Holiday Folly Series.
barbeques and breasts,
|| Violence. Not for
||262 Kb Posted to the net 08
Notes: Firstly, my profuse
the lovely and talented Saladscream for her much appreciated assistance
with Daniel's French. Also, as previously
particularly with this story, this series has definitely moved into an
alternate reality. I'm picking and choosing elements of season
and soon to be eight canon I need to tell these tales, and this story
an extremely controversial scene from canon recently discussed and
on AG I've somewhat altered to allow me to further explore issues
Sam's character and actions the writers chose to ignore. Any
study of Sam is a prickly undertaking, especially if you choose to
on some of the less than complimentary aspects we've been shown over
years. Near as I can figure, the basic problem we're all
is there are two Sam's - the woman we want her to be and the one the
have given us. Is there a way to work through and reconcile this
That actually is the question I'm trying to answer with this entire
with this story and the ones to come. So, although you may
of this to be 'Sam-bashing' bear with me, I really am going somewhere
this! Oh yeah, I find it hard to believe Jack could spend over
in a time loop learning to translate Ancient and not retain some of it,
so this Jack in this reality definitely does. Which got me to
I've had Jack use affectionate names with Daniel, but not the
around. If Daniel did, I thought, being a linguist, he wouldn't
in English, in fact, he'd probably use a language hardly anyone else
understand, but Jack could. Hmmm. Ancient, perhaps???? Lots
of us have
wondered why Daniel neglected to translate one little word for Sam and
Teal'c when Jack was saying good-bye to them in Antarctica.
reason is in this story...
“Daniel! How ya keepin’?”
“Jack! It’s good to hear
“Likewise. So how ya doin’
since I’ve been stuck here in DC, stayin’
out of trouble, I hope?”
much. Nothing happening here, the place is
about as lively as a dead, false god. Me, I’m knee deep in the same
old, same old.”
and etchings and runes, oh my?”
like that. How’s Washington?”
still here. Unfortunately, so am I.”
to hear that. Been kinda hoping you’d be
on your way home by now.”
you and me both. Alas, no such luck, looks
like we won’t be winding things up here until tomorrow morning. Then I’m on the first plane outta here.”
too. Okay, well then, I guess I’ll take
Sam up on her offer after all.”
“Carter? So…you and she? Okay
again? No more
Major - ”
maybe I was. But anyway, you and Carter. Things a tad less… frosty?”
apparently. We haven’t exactly been joined
at the hip since you’ve been gone, or anything, but the last few days
she’s been stopping by, again, and we’ve been… we’ve been talking…”
“Good. Talking is good.”
She even brought me coffee and cookies this morning, and invited me out
to dinner tonight. Wants to introduce me
to Pete. At least that’s
what she said.”
“Pete? Do tell, wasn’t
date. Yeah. The same.
I guess it went well.”
“Excellent! Go Pete!”
hold on, Jack, don’t get too excited, they’ve only been on a couple of
she’s seeing him. Again.
More than once. That’s
a good sign, right?”
certainly hope so. It would solve most of
our recent problems, not to mention letting you off
kinda how we ended up in the mess in the first place, need I remind
gimmee a break, already, I said I was - ”
I didn’t mean – I’m… I’m sorry. It’s
awfully quiet around here, since you’ve
been gone, and I’ve been sorta, I mean, well…you know…”
“Yeah. Me too. Hold that
Daniel I’ll be home tomorrow and then
we can…catch up.”
up sounds good. Looking forward to it. Soooo, tomorrow then. For
sure. Meaning you’ll definitely
be back in time for the General’s barbeque?
kidding? I wouldn’t miss Hammond’s 4th
of July bash for the world. Holy buckets,
does that man know how to barbeque. Definitely
a Texan born and bred!”
so the ability to successfully sear meat over hot coals, it’s a
geographically specific skill is it? Might
go a long way to explaining why you find the activity so challenging, Chicago via Minnesota.”
talkin’ about, Daniel?”
come on, whenever you mess with the outdoor grill you bring a whole new
meaning to the term ‘burnt offerings’. The
last time you
did battle with the barbie you charcoaled
the weenies. To
a crisp. And
let’s not even talk about the sirloin
a pretty sight, if you will recall.”
I was distracted, if you will
I’ll give you that one, maybe you were… a little - ”
Daniel, I’d love to hang around and be insulted some more, but it looks
like they need me in there again. Sorry for cutting you off, but gotta
go. See you tomorrow,
hang up the phone and take a couple of deep breaths. I don’t believe
this, I’m actually trembling. It was just a phone call from Jack, for
crying out loud; nothing to get excited about. Not like
he hasn’t called me a million times
or so over the past seven years. And not
never been apart before! No big deal, Jackson,
get a grip, already. Time to calm down now and start acting like an
Yeah, right, no big deal Jack’s ass, look
at me, the mere sound of his voice
and I’m a total basket case; shaking
like an agued leaf, heart
hammering as if I’ve just run a hundred
yard dash to the gate with a brace
of Jaffa in my wake. And he’s only been
gone for a week, how sad is that?
know what’s even sadder? Most of the time,
when he is here, I wish he was
somewhere else! He
drives me absolutely nuts. All the time. Seriously.
He’s got an office, but you’d never know it, he’s never there,
he’s always here, messing with my stuff, getting in my
face, constantly perfecting his incorrigibly annoying perpetual
totally at my expense.
I gotta tell you, whenever he’s hanging around it’s almost impossible
to get anything done. He’s astonishing
at the best of times, but most of the
week before he left,
he was a total terror. I had so much
to do; three backed up mission reports
I owed Hammond, the translation of the inscriptions from the caverns on
P7L 903, staff evaluations, I hadn’t even started the draft for the treaty with the Tellorans,
hell, let’s not mince words here, I had a ton of
up because I couldn’t get a damned thing done because of Jack, ergo I
couldn’t wait ‘til he left and left me alone
so I could have some peace and quiet, concentrate, focus, buckle down…
know, there really is an art to constructing the perfect paper
airplane; it’s definitely not as easy as it looks, the secret’s not
just in the creases, although that is important factor, to
be sure, but in addition the empirical
data I’ve collected over the past few
days, based on my numerous test trials
suggests the material out of which
the projectile is constructed is equally
important, the right weight of paper,
right, you got me, I’m having a hard time… focusing.
I’ve grown accustomed to his fuss; it’s too damned
quiet here, now he’s… not.
miss the big lug. Leave me alone.
there’s the phone again. Can’t be
Jack, he just – and said he was going into another meeting. Wait a minute, maybe
it is, maybe something happened and
there’s been a change of plans.
he’s coming home today after all!
Sam, what’s up?”
calling to see if we’re on tonight or not.”
dinner would be nice. Count me in.”
“Great! How does Alfredo’s
at seven thirty sound?”
expensive. You’d better be buying.”
worry, tonight is definitely our treat.”
can I pass up an offer like that? Seven
thirty it is. See you there?”
got it. Oh, and Daniel?
Wear something nice.”
Nice? What the hell does that mean? Like I make
a habit of showing up at expensive restaurants in sweats and a T-shirt. Alfredo’s is strictly
jacket and tie; I know that. She
knows I know that. Dammit, just when I
thought things were finally getting back to normal between us, a few
bizarre parting words and I’m weirded out again.
no, Daniel, don’t go there, things are good, they’re fine,
everything’s… fine; okay, it’s true for a couple of weeks there after
that night it was looking not so good, between me and Sam.
Not that her behaviour while at the SGC or when we
were off world, pretty much the only time I ever saw her, was in any
way incorrect or improper or anything
like that, because it wasn’t; no, vis
a vis yours truly her on duty demeanour
was impeccable and totally by the book correct, it just wasn’t a whole
kindest word I can find to describe the prevalent quality of our
infrequent interpersonal interactions during the interval between then,
and now, was… distant. Extremely remote. With a discernable chill factor.
It wasn’t just me
imagining things, unfortunately; Jack
may play the fool; doesn’t make him
one. He’s nothing
if not observant, he saw what was going
on although, bless him; he exercised
an admirable degree of restraint when
it came to offering any sort of commentary
about his… observations. Then the night
he left he went and blew his good conduct
record by apologizing for leaving me
alone with Major Freeze. I smacked him one
and told him to knock it off, he smacked
me back, instructed me to go fuck myself,
then said ‘oh wait, better idea here,
let me help you with that’, at which
point we mutually opted to skip the
lovers’ quarrel and segue straight
into the hot monkey make-up sex.
the past few weeks, while occasionally discouraging on the Sam front,
not entirely all bad.
that was then, and this is now. Right after Jack left for DC Sam
started stopping by again, with coffee and cookies, even, and things
began to change. Whatever she was
holding against me, she seems to have
let it go. We’ve been talking a lot
this past week, about all sorts of
stuff, and the best thing of all, virtually
none of our conversations have been
been nice, to hang out with like we
used to, and not feel like I’m being
constantly grilled for intel about Jack.
to feel like I’m her friend again; and not simply a means to an end.
I know, I’ve been down this same road, not all that long ago, and I
was…well, it didn’t turn out great, but this time, it’s different. I know it is. Friends. Sam and I are friends again.
Tonight I’m going
to dinner with my friend Sam, and she’s
going to introduce me to her new boyfriend.
Pete. I know I told Jack
not to get his hopes up, but me, I’m
feeling pretty optimistic. Sam really
to like this guy; she’s certainly been
talking him up enough, and I’m taking
it as a very good sign her inviting
me out to this dinner tonight, especially
given its stated purpose. If she likes him
enough to take it to the next level
– introducing him to the family…
me, right? Maybe not a brother by blood,
but every other way that matters. We’re
family, and tonight my sister Sam wants to run her new beau
past me to see if he meets with my
approval. If that’s not a sign things
are pretty serious with her and Pete,
I don’t know what is. Which makes tonight
a mighty special occasion indeed. Oh crap,
now I feel
like an idiot, of course this evening
is important to her, she wants everything
to be perfect, she wants me to make
a good impression too, no wonder she
said…what she said.
something nice? You got it Sam; tonight
I’m pulling out all the stops, putting on all the bells and whistles,
cranking it up several notches just for you. I’ll
show up so
spiffed up you won’t even recognize
you’re worth it. You mean so much to me,
least I can do for you in order to show it.
I may have overdone it in the ‘spiffing’ department; I look like a male
model on steroids. The tie is
definitely over the top, and yet, sadly, that’s the least of my
problems. Oh my, I’ve spent waaay too much
time in BDUs; I don’t remember this suit being quite so…confining. Feels like a full
body straight jacket. There’s an image. Woo. Ack, I’d
not breathe, eat, sit down or for God’s
sake, no bending over.
love you, Sam, but this Pete had better be something pretty damned
ridiculous I look, there’s a bright spot, thanks to Jack’s penchant for
gifting me with really expensive cologne I smell pretty good, so all is
not lost. Oh well, for what
little it’s worth I’m definitely as
gorgeous as I’m ever gonna get, I’ve made it this far without
embarrassing myself and
the car is parked, ergo all that remains
is for me to, well, get my expensively
clad ass in the damned restaurant.
Alfredo’s. Not a place I habitually
frequent, and the moment I step inside,
I remember why. Haute cuisine all the way,
with prices to
match, definitely not somewhere to
bring the kiddies for Sunday brunch,
select for a business lunch or drop
in on your own for a quick bite. The theme
strictly seduction; the room is so
rife with romance you can almost see
the airborne cupids strafing the unsuspecting
patrons below. Yup, this wee bistro has it
all; atmosphere up the wahzoo, the crowded flock of intimate tables
swarming with candles and flowers, strolling violinists, low, we’re
talking ridiculously subdued lighting, in fact, it’s
so damned murky in here I don’t see the maitre d’ until I’ve almost
walked into him.
it’s more than slightly dim in here it’s not so dark I miss the pitying
look he levels at me once he registers I’ve crossed his threshold
to Alfredo’s, M’seiu,” he sniffs. ‘I am Pierre , ‘ow
may I asseest you ziz evening?”
got a car needs washing, you up for that? No? Okay, try again. I’m
wearing a suit,
I have an appetite, and by a happy
coincidence, this is restaurant, so
get me a guide dog to take me to a
table, how’s that for starters. Yeah, I’m
so what? Take
a good look and then get over it, okay?
‘as a reservashion?” he haughtily inquires.
and by the way, nice fake accent, pal, bet you were born in Duluth and
your name is
really Ralph. You’re
not fooling me, you’re about as French
as I am. Hey,
here’s a thought; I should answer him
in French, could be fun. We’d see some
too evil, not to mention completely unnecessary. I’m
here to have a nice dinner with Sam and her boyfriend, not play a round
of ‘bait the snob’, however tempting. Oy! I really have been hanging around with Jack
far too much. Behave, Daniel; leave the
poo-poo head alone and let’s get on with this already.
Lessee, the reservation, which name would they have
gone with, Pete or Sam’s?
dunno, let’s find out.
“Shannahan?” I venture. From
I’d say first time out we have a winnah. Interesting,
slightly unexpected, to be honest.
wonder if it means anything.
not. Probably only means he made the call,
not Sam. Still, she’s my friend,
not him; he
doesn’t even know me,
why would he… and not her?
cares, it’s not important right now, focus,
, excited fake Frenchman
at three o’clock, try to look like
you give a damn.
lights up as if the secrets of the universe have suddenly been revealed
to him with the utterance of a few
eet eez you!” he beams at me and excitedly
claps his hands together. “Your guest
eez already seated. Come ziz way, M’seiur,
I will be most ‘appy to take you to ze table.”
you’re happy, I’m happy, we’re all delirious. Super.
gives me a pointed once-over and nods approving. “Ze
lady will be most pleased,” he
cryptically observes with a satisfied
Um…what? Flattered, I’m sure,
but what about the guy she’s with? Surely
to God she’s
happy enough with him. I have no idea what
this man is talking about or why he
keeps looking at me and snickering
up his sleeve like he’s just pulled
naked pictures of me with pink polka
dots on my ass off the internet.
it couldn’t be. Not possible.
Jack swore to me he deleted those…
enough already, I’ll leave suddenly rampaging paranoia behind and the
deciphering of confusing compliments to another time.
offers me a stiff bow and with a grand flourishing wave of his arm
proceeds to lead me into the restaurant. He
confidently weaves through
the labyrinth of cosy tables laden
with food and happily respirating wine
bottles, occupied by a bevy of cooing
is almost as thick in the air as the
smoke from the forest of flickering
we make our way towards the back of
the restaurant I’m finding myself overwhelmed
by the ambience and consequently confused;
this whole place is geared towards
just one thing and it isn’t a casual
dinner and some pleasant conversation
between friends. I’m
wondering which of my two prospective
hosts was responsible for choosing
the venue; it doesn’t seem exactly
appropriate for a friendly threesome. I
have to admit,
a place like this wouldn’t be my first choice for a
getting-to-know-you dinner; the amount
of money this evening is probably gonna
set Pete back – and I have no doubt
he’s the one who’s picking up the bill
- I’m thinking if it were me, and I
took out a second mortgage on the house
in order to be able to afford to bring
my special someone here hoping to impress and
get some after, I wouldn’t want a third-wheel
archaeologist along for the wine and
if only I could. Bring my special
someone, here, that is. Maybe some day.
some day. It’s on the top of my ‘to do’
list starting the second after Jack announces his retirement. That is, right after I do Jack
on the gateroom
so that’s probably never going to happen, but a guy can dream,
I must put irrational but extremely entertaining fantasies aside; for
the meantime, I’m going to have to make do with being here, even though
I don’t quite understand… why here.
So be it; their
choice, however puzzling. At least I’m
assured of getting a pretty good free
meal out of the deal, even if I won’t
be able to see what I’m eating.
we there yet? I murmur an apology to the guy I accidentally whack
because I’ve been visually fixated on Pierre during
the whole wending process. I stumble
onward, following in Pierre
’s wake as he rounds
what I desperately hope is the last
turn. Ah, here
we go; we’re definitely closing on
our ultimate destination; he’s leading
me toward a table tucked into the remotest
corner of the restaurant. Wait a minute,
can’t be right. The table we’re headed for
a single occupant, a woman if I’m not mistaken, although in this light,
we’re still not close enough to be absolutely sure. Could be a lousy
female impersonator. Yup, that’s a woman,
all right, she looks up, sees me, and, oh my, what do we have here,
unless in the few short hours since I last saw her Sam has
dyed her hair brunette, changed her
eye colour and had extensive plastic
surgery to completely alter her appearance,
the woman we’re approaching now staring
at me with a slightly stunned expression
on her completely unfamiliar face -
definitely not Sam.
up with dis? Pierre
has to have made a mistake; he’s taking me to
the wrong table. We must have missed
Sam and Pete, during the murky wend
through the romantic obstacle course, entirely
I walked right by them without seeing
them, nor they me, so maybe I should… I
should say something before he tries
to seat me with a stranger. Why is she
at me like that, like she knows me
or… can’t be, she can’t know me, I’ve
never seen her before, at least, that
is, I’m pretty sure
I’ve never – wait - wait a minute,
the hair, and the dress, threw me off
for a bit, she looks so different, but it is, it’s… I do know her, well, what do you
know about that, she’s one of the new
civilian scientists in Sam’s lab, what’s
her name, I know it, I – it’s just
on the tip of my -
table, M’Seiur,” Pierre
my destination with another one of
his grand flourishes. The wide-eyed woman
whose name unfortunately is still escaping me gapes at me with
horrified fascination while I dazedly drop into the only other
is her name? And
why is she here? Where’s Sam?
Where’s Pete? What the
hey, as long as we’re asking questions, where’s the nearest exit, I’m
getting a really, really bad feeling about this.
Jackson!” My dark-haired, and by all
appearances equally stupefied companion squeaks. “What
are you doing here, I was expecting - "
craftily conniving major attempting to play cupid, perchance?
no, she didn’t!
I croak, devoutly wishing the earth would open up and swallow me. No wait, I must
somehow survive this experience, emerge
unscathed, live another day so I can
leave this place, hunt Sam down and kill her.
it looks the darkest it’s always nice to have something to live for.
Doctor Jackson!” she says again, and promptly hiccups.
“Omigawd, what are you doing here?”
doke, she’s turning green, that’s not good, I didn’t think people
actually did that, gotta pull
myself together here and focus, judging
by the interesting colour of her complexion
and what appears to be a nasty case
of spontaneous hiccups this newly revealed
aspect of the arrangement – she didn’t
see this coming any
more than I did. Yep,
no doubt about it, the terror in those
eyes is entirely real; I’m thinking
Doctor Novak here is just as much a
victim as -
Novak! That’s her name! I
knew I knew it!
Daniel, pull yourself together and say something…intelligent.
Novak!” I give her what I hope is a
reassuring smile. “I’m sorry it took me so
long to recognize you, it was the hair, usually, when I’ve seen you
before at the – you know where - it’s... and now it’s… it’s… it’s very
that was smooth, Jackson. Now try it with
your other foot in your mouth.
emphatic ‘hic’ is her only response.
look, there’s Pierre
again, loping agilely around the tables,
a couple of menus tucked under his
arm. A tall,
spindly, myopically blinking waiter
bearing a champagne bucket and a pair
of flutes forges bravely after him. They’re
way; ooh, is that bubbly for us? Maybe
there is a
God after all. The way things are looking,
a magnum or two of the good stuff just
might get us both through this alive.
of your ‘osts,” Pierre
upon arrival. Bucket
boy sets up his burden by the table
and proceeds with the business of popping
the cork and pouring while
Pierre carries on gushing.
“M’Sieu Shanahan and M’mselle Cartair regret zey
cannot join you ziz evening, but ‘ope you will be zair guests and ‘ave
a lovely meal wizout them. Ziz eez for
you, M’mselle,” he says kindly, offering an envelope to Doctor Novak. “And for you, M’sieu,” Pierre bows
slightly, and hands me one too. “Your
menus,” he smiles, and thrusts them into my other hand.
Enjoy ze wine,” he nods. “We
trust it will
be to your liking. Andre will be your
waitair tonight, when you are ready to ordair ‘e will
be ‘appy to asseest you. I am also
to inform you your dining experience
tonight eez compliments of M’seuir
Shanahan and the lovely M’mselle Cartair,
zey wish for you both to enjoy yourselves,
and each ozair, completely at zair
God, make that three magnums of Champagne . And
and most expense entrée on the menu,
here I come. I
don’t care if it’s sautéed shark’s
brains, revenge doesn’t come cheap
and neither will this ‘date’. Even before
I open the envelope, which has to be from Sam I have no doubt that’s
exactly what this ‘invite and switch’ is supposed to be.
look at zem, zey are so ‘appy with each ozair zey are speechless.”
Pierre clasps his hands together,
heaves a dramatic sigh and turns to
Andre, if that is in fact his real name.
“Eez love not wondairfool?”
he burbles at the waiter pouring the
give it a rest, okay? You’ll get your tip,
and it’s gonna be huge. Hey, I can afford
to be extremely generous; I’m not paying
for any of this.
and Andre fade back into the romantic gloom, leaving a lightly
hiccupping Doctor Novak and yours truly alone with each other, some
impressively expensive champagne, our menus and respective envelopes. With a sigh I delve into mine while Doctor
Novak hics again and opens hers.
of You” is the simple message on the front of the card.
I open it and find my worst suspicions confirmed.
don’t be mad. I know this evening isn’t exactly what you were
expecting, but trust us; it’s for your own good. You probably would
never have done something like this for yourself, but you know what
Daniel, it’s high time you
got out there again. You’ve been alone
far too long, and you’re never going
to meet that someone special if you
hang out with the colonel all the time.
I know I wasn’t very open to the idea
of dating myself, but I’m so glad I
went on the one that brought Pete into
my life. That blind date turned out
so well for us we thought we’d see
if we could pass some of our luck along
to a couple of special people we really
care about and think would be pretty
sensational together. So forgive us for
playing matchmaker, but you know what, sometimes true love needs a
little help. Give it a try; what do you
have to lose? I think you’ll find you and
Lindsay have a lot in common. I expect an
invitation to the wedding! Just kidding,
no pressure, have a great time, you two!
Wedding? Woo, Sam, you think
big! And what’s
with all this ‘we’ stuff, Pete doesn’t
know me, or, Lindsay, from Adam why
would he care about either one of our
love lives? Don’t
go trying to hang any of this on him;
I’m fully confident this was entirely
your idea, with him going along with
it, because well, he’s still trying
to impress you, isn’t he?
isn’t this special and you know what, it also explains the tenor of
some of the conversations Sam and I had over the
past week. I wondered why she seemed
so intent on leading me down memory
lane, constantly bringing up the good
old days with Shau’ri and all. Guess
we know why now.
Sam thinks I need a girlfriend, does she? Oh
dear. But seriously, Sam,
what do you really want? To
see poor, lonely
Daniel get some female companionship
because you want me to be happy, or
do you want me occupied with someone
else so I won’t be spending so much
time with Jack?
that wasn’t kind, and probably way too paranoid. I
gotta stop thinking like this, Sam is my friend, of course she wants me
to be happy, that’s what this is about and nothing more. Besides, she
seems pretty happy herself with Pete, so why would she care about how
I do or don’t spend with Jack, or how
much time anyone spends
with him, for that matter. She wouldn’t,
she doesn’t, she’s just trying to help, no matter how unnecessary or
inconvenient her misguided meddling.
loads for the thought, Sam, but I don’t need an assist with my social
life, and I certainly don’t need this.
My dance card is
quite full enough, thank you. And speaking
my not-present partner I wish to God
he was here right now;
I could use a massive infusion of his
silver-tongued O’Neill Irish charm
to talk my way out of this! What am I
going to say to this woman, how
am I going to let her down and get us both out of this as gracefully as
possible; I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I can’t let her start
entertaining even the faintest flicker of a notion this could be the
start of something or there could ever be anything
us. Nope, I
have to come up with a way of kindly, but firmly kiboshing whatever
romantic aspirations she might be harbouring in her hiccing bosom and I
have to do it pretty damned fast. Like the
next thirty seconds or so. Say something,
what, what, what to say to unravel
this cunning and nefarious web of deception
the blind date fairies have ensnarled
us both in
God, this would be a great time for a Goa’uld invasion! And where the hell
is Thor when you really need him? Replicators? Mutant alien hamsters
on goofballs? Tribbles!
Please, God, something
epic and diversionary, anything!
have no idea what I’m going to say; I just know I have to say something!
Novak,” I start, and am promptly interrupted by a loud hic from across
hiccupping is really strange. Not
she goes again. Maybe
there’s something wrong. Maybe I should…
are you okay? Can I
get you anything, do you want some water… or…”
to hell!” My ‘date’ fumes.
“I can’t help it, every time I get nervous it just…
happens, but, never mind that now,” she huffs and affixes me with a
stern expression. “Doctor Jackson,
let’s get one thing clear, right now
I smile at her.
you can call me Lindsay,” she frowns and hics again.
“Listen, Doctor – Daniel, stop right there, before
you say another word and this gets any worse than it already is,
although at this point, I can’t imagine how that’s possible,
something you need to know.” She
purses her lips and fires a
glare in my direction that’d make a
sizeable dent in the iris.
laser eyes of doom. What’s that all about?
You know, when a woman looks at you like that, odds are what she’s
about to tell you, it’s going to be either life-changing, or
life threatening. Not to mention needing
to be put through college. Either way a
exit is often in order. Right now
happy I know there’s no possible way
I need to worry about any scenarios
involving shotgun weddings or paternity
tests. Still, if the usual reasons
don’t apply in this case I can’t imagine
why she’s giving me the eye, and not
in a good way, but I guess I’m about
to find out.
no easy way to say this, but here goes. I’m
but this…" She pauses and waves a hand vaguely about between us. “This is a terrible
mistake. Hic! I
know all about
you, Doctor Daniel Jackson, the way
they talk about you a girl would have
to be out her mind to not want to –
hic! From what
I’ve heard half the woman on the base
would kill to be sitting where I am
now - "
the base? Okay, now that’s so not true. I wouldn’t say half the
base, that’s slightly… excessive. A
quarter is more like it.
before you get the wrong idea, Doctor - Daniel, no offence or anything,
I’m not one of those women. There's
no easy way to say this so I might as well just come right out with it.
Hic! I'm very sorry, Daniel, but I can't
go out with you, you’re not
did she just say? Not her type,
how can she say that? She doesn’t even know me!
can you say that; you don’t even know me!”
what did I just say?
don’t have to know you,” she patiently continues,
like she’s trying to explain physics to a three-year-old.
Or Jack. “It’s got
nothing to do with who you are, it’s what
folds her hands firmly on the table, purses her lips and sighs
impatiently. “You’re not getting
it. Okay, try again. You. Are. Not. My. Type.” She
firmly enunciates, glaring at me meaningfully.
who I am but what I am? What am I? An archaeologist? Single? Caucasian? Over-educated? Breathing? All of the above, so what, not her type, what
does that mean? Not her – not -
her type! OH!
“Oh!” I blurt. “Type!”
it now?” she smiles crookedly at me.
see,” I burble some more. “Oh, well, I can
fully understand why you wouldn’t want, you and me... definitely
wouldn’t work out for you
she smiles ruefully at me. “Listen,
Daniel, you’re a really great looking guy, and if I was… into guys, I’d probably be going after you big time like
practically everyone else on base, but I’m not, so even though you’re
extremely pretty, one of the best looking men I’ve ever met, as a
matter of fact and quite nice – for a good looking man – from what I’ve
been able to tell, that is..."
stop, really, enough of the slamming with faint praise thing, you lay
it on any thicker I’ll be swimming in it. I
get the message,
and I do believe I can take it.
you,” I weakly reply. “I’m flattered by
the glowing character reference. But, bottom line, for all my stated
positive qualities, which was very kind of you to mention, by
the way, not doing a thing for ya,
she ruefully replies. “Nothing personal,
you understand, you’re just not…”
your type. Gotcha,” I smile back at her. Well, isn’t this one for the books; I’ve been
kicked to the curb by the hiccing Nerd Queen.
Isn’t that special. You
like this could only happen to me.
I am so glad Jack isn’t here; he’d
be wetting himself right now. I don’t know
to storm out of the restaurant to seek
a suitable balm for my wounded male
pride or collapse on the table and
giggle hysterically with relief she
isn’t crawling all over me. Oh well,
now I’m over my brief ego fit of being
roundly but politely rebuffed by a
woman who could probably give Bill Lee serious competition for the top
slot in the ‘Science Geek of the Year’ Awards I should take this ‘Get
Out of the Date Free’ card the universe has so kindly dropped in my lap
and run for my freaking life before she changes her mind.
please don’t feel bad,” she tells me with earnest concern.
“I don’t know what Major Carter told you about me,
but I hope it didn’t get your hopes up too much.”
worries, in all the conversations we’ve had over the past week, you
never came up once.
know you were married, and you lost your wife several years ago, and
you’ve been alone ever since.”
apparently, she’s been talking me up to you some.
obvious she had plans for us, but she didn’t know that wouldn’t be
possible. That’s not her fault,
even though I am a civilian you and
I both know coming out at the SGC wouldn’t
be a very good idea. But apparently
keeping my boss ignorant of my orientation meant some unfortunate
assumptions were made,
and here we are. I’m really sorry you got
caught up in this, Daniel. I don’t want to
hurt you, but
I can’t be your girlfriend,” she softly tells me, her eyes glistening
bless, she’s really worried she’s just broken my heart. She’s genuinely
concerned for me; it would be sweet if the whole thing weren’t so
surreal. I wish I could tell
her she’s fretting in vain. But I think
safer to go down the ‘takin’ it like
a man’ route.
put on my best brave face and smile manfully at her.
appreciate you setting me straight.”
giggles, and I realize what I’ve said.
that didn’t come out right,” I grin. And
then it hits
Your hiccups are gone. I guess that means
you’re not feeling nervous any more.”
right,” she muses. “Wow.
I guess it does. She
gives me a blinding smile. “You’re taking
really well, you know. That’s a huge load
off my mind. Thanks so much for understanding,”
she finishes gratefully, and reaches
for the champagne flute at her side.
welcome. My pleasure.
Well Daniel, congratulations, one huge, honking
bullet, nicely dodged. And the best part,
she did all the work! You know something,
now I don’t have to view her as a potential
threat and she’s calmed down as well,
and stopped hiccupping, I’m glad to
have this opportunity to get to know
out of uniform and lightly gussied
up, she needs a bit more work before
you could honestly call her attractive,
but even so, she’s not without her
to the scenario itself, now the abject terror factor has been removed,
we are left with a howling irony I am the only one in a position to
appreciate. Sam thought we’d
make a good couple because we had so
much in common, well, she was righter
than she knew. However,
knowledge of that point of commonality
is not something I will be sharing
with my present companion, or Sam, anytime soon.
speaking of the lady seated across the table from me, you know what,
I’m starting to like her. Even though I’ve
seen her around the SGC, honestly, she’s so good at blending in I’ve
barely noticed her. Heck, I didn’t even
recognize her at first, outside of
the context of the SGC and out of uniform. Odds
are if this
hadn’t happened, I would have continued
to not notice her and it’s highly unlikely
we would have become acquainted. Which I’m
now would have been a shame; I’ll wager
there’s quite a character under that
she reminds me of another socially-challenged loner who not so long ago
found himself thrust unsuspecting and unprepared into an alien and
hostile environment, and we’re not talking about Abydos , here.
It’s been many, many years between now and then, and
as sad a case as I used to be, that’s no longer true, mostly because I
was really lucky, I
had good friends and a lot of help
on the journey from there to here.
I have an idea…
worry about it, I’ll be fine,” I tell her with all the sincerity I can
muster. “You have every
right to your feelings and besides,
it’s not your fault; you didn’t create
this situation,” I smile ruefully at
her. “And now
we have all that out of the way, I
don’t know about you, but speaking
strictly for myself, I don’t have a
whole lot else on for the rest of my
evening, so why not make the best of this one? You’re
I’m here, Pete and Sam are picking
up the tab, so I suggest we take full
advantage of the situation and have
ourselves one high time. It’s clearly
understood we’re not on a date, that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean we
still can’t be friends. You
haven’t been at the SGC very long,
of weeks,” she says, and takes another sip of champagne.
huh,” I nod. “And I’m guessing you’re
finding the… fitting in... thing, it’s not going very well.”
did you know?” She gazes at me with
me, I’ve been there,” I fervently reply.
“You?” Her eyes widen in
find that hard to believe.”
well don’t let this overdressed exterior fool you, once upon a time not
so long ago I was not as you see me now. Way
back when this
party started I was the SGC’s original
floppy hair, plaid shirts, pocket protectors
and all. The
hair went years ago, Jack and Sam ritually
burned the plaid shirts and the pocket
protectors, still got the glasses although
they’ve been upgraded once or twice,
but other than them, that’s about it.
Previous to the extreme make-over,
I was a serious mega-nerd. Granted I’ve
picked up a few social skills over the years, but don’t let the suave
exterior fool you, I can still give a power-point demonstration that’ll
put a whole room of marines and the odd Air Force colonel to sleep in
less than thirty seconds. Yeah, I still
got it,” I boast.
funny,” she smothers a grin and takes another slurp from the flute. “I envy you. You’re
so lucky. You
make it look so easy. Me, on the other
hand, when it comes to mingling, and the whole social interaction thing
in general, well, I suck,” she scowls at her champagne and takes
don’t know; you seem to be doing just fine. And
believe me, luck had nothing to do with it. It
took a lot of effort to learn how to fit in, and I didn’t do it by
myself. I had a ton of help from some very
good friends. Which brings me around to
General Hammond’s barbeque.”
about it?” she gives me a puzzled frown.
guessing you weren’t planning on going.”
I wasn’t. I wouldn’t know anyone there.”
not at first. But you should definitely go. You’re never going to get to
know anyone unless you try, and this
would be a good place to start. Almost
at the SGC is going to be there, the
atmosphere will be nice and relaxed,
and trust me, General Hammond throws
one heck of a party. His barbequed ribs
are to die for. You should come,” I throw
her an encouraging smile.
don’t know,” she frowns. It sounds like it
might be fun but… no,” she sighs. “I never
have a good time at things like this, I don’t know what to do, what to
say - "
you what, why don’t you go with me? Consider
social icebreaker. Not a date, a facilitator,
if you will. I’ll
take you around, introduce you to a
few people, we’ll have a couple of
beers, some nice ribs, pleasant conversation -
don’t have to do that,” she mumbles, colouring slightly.
“You don’t have to be nice to me; you’re off the
not like that at all,” I gently protest. “I
like you, Lindsay,
and I want to help you with this. I know
how it feels
to be the new civilian kid on the military
I was where you are now I had good
people running some considerable interference
for me. They
helped me fit in, and I honestly don’t
know where I’d be if they hadn’t. I’d like
to do the
same for you, if you’d let me. Trust me;
a shot. What’s the worse that could
happen; you arrive with one friend,
have some great food, a fun afternoon,
I show you around, introduce you to
a few people and who knows, by the
end of the afternoon you might have
a few more. Friends,
that’s my plan. And I have the perfect
person in mind to fit the friendship bill. And
more, but honestly, I’ll be plenty
happy if she and Lindsay hit it off
strictly on the friendship level. Hey, Sam
only person who can manipulate people
and social situations to suit a suddenly
realized secret agenda. Only thing is,
has a much better chance of actually
succeeding due to the advantage of
far more accurate intel.
a nice man, Doctor Jackson,” she tells me with a shining smile.
I’ve been told. Oh well, I could be worse. Let’s hope she still thinks so after the
“Daniel. So, how about it? Will
you go with
“Okay!” She gives an emphatic
nod. “You talked
me into it. You may escort me to the
no funny stuff!” she sternly scolds
me, her eyes twinkling merrily.
be good,” I promise, making a show of crossing my heart.
earns me another giggle, swiftly segueing into a snort.
It wasn’t that funny.
I’m thinking her appreciation of my feeble attempts
at humour is not due so much to the actual material or the delivery as
it is to the champagne. She’s already on
her second glass and I haven’t touched
is going to be an interesting evening.
now we’ve got that out of the way, if I remember correctly the food
here is pretty good. What say you we find
out, and do our best to run up a Visa bill Pete’s never gonna forget?”
for me,” Lindsay says, and hiccups. This
time I’m pretty
sure it’s not because she’s nervous.
for me too. So, despite the disastrous
start, not such a bad evening after all. There’s
one thing still bothering me, though.
all this I still didn’t get to meet Pete!
“What? Trying to sleep
to me again why you’re bringing a date to Hammond ’s
up, Jack, it’s not a date. Lindsey was very considerate, she let me
I’m happy to hear she didn’t break your heart.”
no worries there, she was very gentle. Unfortunately,
also has some social issues so I thought
I’d give her a hand with them by way
of a thank you.”
know it. Pretty tightly wrapped to boot,
that is, until she gets a couple of glasses of champagne under her
belt, and then, she’s actually a lot of fun. You’d
Anyway, she’s been here a couple of
weeks and is having some problems with
fitting in, so I thought I’d take her
to the party, introduce her to a few
people - "
one person in particular.”
worry; I know what I’m doing. Margo’s good
talking about Doctor Seavers, right? SG-9’s
anthropologist. She’s... gay?
town, I didn’t know that!”
course you didn’t, she’s not exactly public about it, any more than we
taken. So how come you
a member of my staff. We… talk. She needed a shoulder to cry on about six
months ago while she was going through a messy break-up.
I happened to have
a spare one. It
sorta came out then.”
I guess you could say, so did she.”
wouldn’t have, but you, of course, can’t seem to help yourself.”
long as you keep pitchin’ ‘em at me you know I’m gonna keep knocking
‘em right out of the park.”
“Fine. Now you’ve got that
out of your system, can we go to sleep?”
yer rush? It’s still early. So, Seaver’s
break-up. That must have made for some interesting conversation.”
I’m not giving you details so stop fishing.”
you’re no fun anymore.
right, I’m a drag. Sleep now.”
a minute! I still don’t understand,
especially seeing how you yourself have had a recent narrow escape from
a felonious fix-up attempt, why you think turning around and doin’ it
to some one else is a good idea?”
it’s not about trying to get them together, per se, I
don’t honestly know if either of them are even interested
in starting a relationship at the moment. It’s about networking. Making connections. Margo’s
been here awhile, she’s made friends in the right places.
She’s very personable and eager to help, and I’m
sure she’ll be more than willing to take Lindsey under
Gotcha. Still, it would be pretty ironic
if they did hit it off. Not
to mention very probably put a considerable frost on Carter’s cookies,
seeing as how she was hoping to see some sparkage between you and
Novak. And speaking of Carter, what the
she thinking, pulling a stunt like
that? What did
you ever do to her? Oh, I got
it, I know how this was supposed to work, by pairing you off with the
geekette Carter was hoping you’d be so busy with your new amour you
wouldn’t have time to hang out with me anymore.”
this wasn’t about you.”
hell it wasn’t!”
got a boyfriend, I’m sure you’re the farthest thing from her mind.”
why did she do it? She was bored? Yeah, I can buy that one, ‘oh dear, I am so
bored, there is nothing in my lab to blow up and the colonel is
out of town, whatever shall I do, oh,
I know, let’s send Daniel on a blind
up and smell the set-up, pal! Carter tried
to gift wrap your ass and hand it to Novak on a Visa platter because
she’s still after mine!”
about a hair away from me handing it over to her.”
come on, Daniel, you know I’m right. What
reason could she have had?”
don’t know, maybe because she’s my friend, and maybe
she cares about me and thought she was doing
me a favour.”
keep thinking that Daniel, if it makes you happy. Me,
I’m gonna keep checking under the bed before I go to sleep. You just never know where Carter
is gonna turn up next.”
I don’t know why I bother talking to you.”
you’d explode if you didn’t. Never mind
getting pissy with
me though, seems to me I’m the injured party here.”
me, hard at it in Washington, up to my ass in bureaucrats, slaving over
a hot conference table, completely unsuspecting my main squeeze can’t
wait for me to
get outta town so he can bat on both
sides of the fence; hell, Daniel, my
side of the bed is barely tepid and
you’re stepping out with some science
it; you’ve finally lost my mind.”
can’t believe you wore the issey Miyake for another woman.”
“Are you listening
“Try to avoid it
as a rule.”
niiice… not that I’m complaining or
anything, but what was that for?”
“It’s a nice thing
you’re doing for the little geekette,
but then, you’re a nice man, Daniel
“Nice am I? That’s
a hell of
a thing to say to a guy! Well, don’t
get too used to it ‘cause I’m sick
of being nice. Don’t
wanna be nice, I want to be naughty. Very
naughty. Starting right now.”
“I thought you
wanted to sleep.”
“Changed my mind.
I can do that. You
gonna give me
any grief about it?”
“Who me? You
do you want me?”
glad you’re home. I missed you.”
“Me too. Oooh,
but… wait! Before we make
with the making out, there’s just one
thing bothering me.”
“Where the hell
am I gonna find a date
for the ‘que? It’s
so last minute; all the good geeks
are probably already taken… Daniel, Daniel that was a joke.
There’s no need to resort to violence – or that either.
Okay, you’ve had your fun, now put it down. Daniel? Not
kidding here, Daniel, put it down.
Don’t go there,
don’t think about it and for God’s
sake, whatever you do, don’t do it!
I mean it – put that down right now,
that’s an order – Daniel? Daniel, these
really expensive sheets and that’s definitely gonna
leave a mark. Daniel – don’t you dare –
I can’t believe I’m saying this, Daniel, but I’m having a great time.”
did I tell you?” I grin smugly at Lindsay. “Doctor Jackson would not steer you wrong. All you had to do was relax, trust me, have a
several. I smile at the woman across the
table from me finishing off her third. Me,
I’m still on my first. Gotta keep a clear
head because, well, aside from the
fact I’m the designated driver, all
things considered, I think it would
know you did, I know you did,” Lindsay giggles and sets the empty down. “I shouldn’t tell
you this, but what the heck,” she burps
and grins. “It
wasn’t that I didn’t believe you, but..."
didn’t believe me,” I lightly scold her and feign a pout.
throws me a bashful but engaging grin. “But
I guess you
figured that out already.”
wasn’t entirely unaware of your shocking lack of confidence,” I tease. “The hiccupping chorus during
the drive over sorta gave it away.”
“Damn.” She throws lower
lip right back at me. “Busted. I really gotta work on that.
But you were right, you were absolutely right. This is a great party, people here, really
great and these ribs!”
I beam back at her. “Couldn’t agree with
you more. I’m glad you’re having a good time.”
am, I really am,” she smiles gratefully. “Thank
you for being
so nice to me.”
think that’s my cue to move onto phase two of my cunning plan. Margo has been circling for the last ten
minutes, waiting for my signal. Yes, I
and went the extra mile, making the
effort to be slightly more intelligent,
not to mention considerate in my machinations
than my conniving co-worker; I approached
Margo yesterday, brought her up to
speed and elicited her whole-hearted
co-operation with ‘Operation Integration’. She’s
to meet Lindsay and help her feel more
at home at the SGC, which is what I
figured when I thought of this in the
was my pleasure,” I say to Lindsay, and nod to my eagerly waiting
Margo, now would be good. As much as I’ve
enjoyed Lindsay’s company, it’s more than time I found Jack and pried
him away from the barbeque pit. General
Hammond is a generous man, but that largesse does not extend to sharing
his duties as king of the grill. Especially
Jack is the one trying to wrest the
tongs and baster from his unwilling
fingers. Hammond takes
his role as chief burgers, steak and ribs dispenser very seriously and
Jack, well Jack, for all his hearty enthusiasm for all things barbeque,
put him anywhere in the vicinity of one and he’s a three alarm fire
just waiting to happen.
love him, so I have to put up with it, and him, but I figure the
general has suffered enough.
Doctor J, fancy meeting you here,” Margo enthuses upon stepping up
behind Lindsay. Lindsay visibly
starts at the vocal intrusion, but
also is clearly intrigued by its sultry,
mellow, alto sound, and honestly, I
don’t blame her, Margo’s voice is like
warm cognac for the ears and when she’s
had a few and can be goaded into singing
you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
that’s a metaphor I shouldn’t use. Anyway,
head whips around and once she gets
an eyeful of the 5’10” red-headed,
emerald-eyed Amazon author of the mellifluous
interjection her lower jaw drops open
and bottoms out about her waist.
far, so good…
“Margo!” I beam at her. “Nice
to see you. Having a good time?”
know it, Doc,” she grins back at me. “Mind
if I join
you?” She doesn’t
wait for an invite but slides her athletic
form gracefully down on the picnic
bench beside a still gaping and frankly
at all, take a load off,” I unnecessarily respond, for the lady in
question is already seated, and smiling warmly at my lightly blinking
mind if I do, Doc. Are you going to
introduce me to your attractive friend, here?”
still silently staring, gulps convulsively, her jaw abruptly clamping
shut. I hope she’s not going into shock.
course, where are my manners?” I quickly
pick up the cue. “Lindsay, this obvious
introvert who’s just joined us is Doctor
Margo Seavers, a member of my staff
and my favourite anthropologist. Margo,
“introvert’ comment elicits a hearty snort from Doctor Seavers. “Favourite anthropologist,” she scoffs. “You’re just saying that because I make the
best coffee in the mountain and you want me to tell you my secret
but unfortunately massively mistaken,” I counter, keeping the banter
so Lindsay has time to process and
adjust to the new situational parameters. “You
I’ll give you that, but you’ve got
a lot to learn before you can top me in the java
only is he in denial over the whole coffee issue,” Margo gently nudges
Lindsay and gives her a conspiratorial wink. “But
he knows damned
well my Mandarin is way
better than his and I can arm wrestle him under the table.”
Margo, I hope you and your delusions will be very happy together after
I’ve transferred you to P4N-689,” I airily return.
“How does spending the next month off world
cataloguing coprolite grab ya?”
one way to win an argument,” she laughs. “All
right, I concede, you are the boss.”
Lindsay faintly interjects. Her eyes have
not left Margo
during the whole course of our spirited
doubt she even remembers I’m still
seated at the table. Lindsay, that is,
Margo is very much aware I’m still here, and unless I’m mistaken, which
I don’t think I am, is about to tell me to piss off.
Doc, don’t you have a colonel to corral?”
while I have never discussed the exact nature of my relationship with
Jack with Margo, for obvious reasons, she is neither stupid, nor blind. I know she knows, and she knows
I know she knows.
all either of us need to know.
you go now, Doc,” Margo makes a quick shooing motion with her right
hand while keeping her attention fully focused on Lindsay.
“I’ve got things covered here.”
do believe I’ve been dismissed. Even
though I have no doubt I’m no longer needed here, I feel peculiar about
just… going. I shouldn’t just assume Lindsay is okay with me taking
off; I mean,
I don’t want her to think I’m abandoning
her. Even though
technically, I am.
are you okay if I…” I venture.
and a frantic ‘get the hell out of here’ wave of her hand is her only
my job here is definitely done.
General, lemme sauce that one a little bit more for ya, won’t take a
O’Neill, if you wouldn’t mind! Jack! Please don’t help any more!”
oh, from the sound of Hammond’s voice, Jack has more than over-basted
his welcome. I’d better get him outta
there right now before the general decides to transfer him to Antarctica or some other place equally remote,
frigid and barbeque-less.
there you are!” I slip up behind Jack,
quickly wrest the baster out of his grasp and hand it over to Hammond
with a huge smile. “I’ve been looking
all over for you. Heck of a crowd, great
a wonderful time, General, the food
is great, Sir, as usual, and speaking
of food, Jack, have you eaten yet?”
is staring down stupidly at his empty hand. “Well
no, I – I - " he stammers, and then shoots a sulky ‘how the hell did
you get the drop on me?’ glare at me.
Surprise! Yeah, I got some
moves too, my man. I’ve been practicing,
and I’ve had a very good teacher.
course, it helped my highly-trained, senses honed to a razor’s edge,
lightening-reflexed colonel was unfairly distracted by a barbeque.
you gotta go with whatever advantage you can get.
been busy!” he finishes defiantly.
to take a break,” I curtly inform him, then grasp him firmly by the
shoulders and wheel him about before he has a chance
to protest. “General,” I nod at Hammond
shoving Jack on his way.
you, Doctor Jackson,”
Hammond mouths at me, naked
gratitude fairly bleeding from his
I have a feeling I’ve just scored the additional personnel I’ve been
trying to get for my department for the last six months.
Not to mention permission to return to P8R 901 for
oh, let’s say a month,
to have a proper go at the temple complex there.
life is good.
what the hell is the matter with you?” Jack
figured out he’s been strategically
withdrawn and starts balking and resisting
my determined effort to propel him
even further away from the barbeque. “I
was cookin’ there
– hey, leggo!”
listen to me carefully,” I instruct while continuing to motor him away
toward the buffet table. “If I let you go and you go back there, next
time I want to see you, it’s gonna be a hell of a commute.
was a hair away from sending you on a trip you
wouldn’t particularly enjoy and wouldn’t be coming back any time soon
and we’re not talking going through the gate here.”
stops, whirls about in my grasp and stares at me, astonished.
taking about, I was just, I wasn’t doing anything!” he indignantly
love this man, but honestly, he can be so obtuse at times.
I glare at him accusingly. “You were
nuts and you know
think?” he blinks innocently at me.
cross my arms and narrow my eyes at him. Not
giving him an
maintains the indignantly innocent act a few more seconds before
maybe I was... getting a little… over-enthusiastic,” he grudgingly
admits, lowering his eyes.
Jack, if you could have found a way
to get away with hog-tying the general
and locking him up in his own basement
in order to completely hi-jack the
barbeque, you’d have done it!”
a lot over the top,” he sighs.
I wearily shake my head. “Consider
yourself officially relieved from grill duties for the rest
of the day, okay?
he pouts and hangs his head. Honestly, all
he needs to do
is start stubbing his toe in the ground
and he’ll be the complete epitome of
the chastised ‘bad little boy’. He looks
so bad, so sad, that little twinkle
gathering speed in his eyes as he’s
covertly gazing at me to see if it’s
working and he’s making me go all soft
and squishy inside because he’s just
it!” I growl at him, slap him on the
shoulder and start pushing him again. “Stop
trying to start something you can’t finish.”
not here, sure, that’s a given, but there’s always later.”
assume anything! You, food, now, and for
God’s sakes, behave yourself!”
“Hey! Jack blusters,” “Don’t
I always? But about Hammond ,
do you really think he woulda sent me somewhere nasty?
Washington, maybe? That
I was thinkin’ Antarctica.”
“Really? Naw, he wasn’t that pissed
yeah, he was, he really was. Trust me, he
was getting so steamed Antarctica
woulda been him letting you off easy.”
that’s pissed! So maybe I should be
thanking you for – oooh! That looks really
good! No, I don’t want any of that crap,
give me some of those! More!
Oh yeah, and lots
of that. Screw
the salad, get that green crap off
my plate, this is a barbeque; I don’t
have to eat veggies if I don’t want
to! Oh yeah,
is there any pie?”
gonna eat that?” Jack casts an avaricious eye at the untouched sliver
of pecan pie to the right of my cup of coffee while cramming the last
of his third
piece into his mouth. I don’t know where
he’s putting what he’s already consumed,
but apparently he’s got room for more.
at least thinks he does.
go ahead,” I push it toward him and then snatch my hand back before he
accidently amputates one of my fingers with his eagerly stabbing fork. “I know I took it,
but I really don’t want it. What I ate
I was with Lindsay was more than enough.”
Jack manages to get out around the
huge hunk of pie he’s currently vigorously masticating.
– that’s – can’t you at least swallow first before
glares balefully at me and deliberately shoves another generous forkful
in his already stuffed-to-capacity mouth. The
very pretty, but it’s very Jack.
some days I don’t know whether to kiss him or kill him, but I don’t
know what I’d do without him.
I pray to God I never have to find out.
going fine,” I continue, opting to answer his original question while
ignoring his infantile antics. “Lindsay
seemed very pleased
to meet Margo.”
bet,” Jack snorts and shovels the last of the pie in his mouth. His eyes twinkling mischievously, he makes an
elaborate show of chewing
and swallowing before speaking again.
now there’s a woman who wasn’t exactly beaten up with an ugly stick. And she’s a hell
of an arm wrestler.”
me about it.
yes, arm wrestling,” I nod thoughtfully. “I’m
at the top of Lindsay’s list of requirements
for friends and potential partners. Anyway,
when I left
them, things seemed to be going very… what?”
is frowning down at his empty plate. He
can’t possibly be thinking
what I think he’s thinking.
you think there’s any more pie?” He says with a slight whine.
can’t be serious!” I exclaim. “You try and
cram one more molecule in there and you’ll explode!”
Jack grins and shrugs. “I’m just winding
you up. I’m full. So,
what do you
think, are we good to – that is, do
you think the geekette will mind if
you skip out on her with me, so we
can blow this party already?”
– I’m not sure. I don’t know if it would
be – I mean, I drove her here, I don’t think it would be right for me
to go, and leave her here, yeah, it’s highly likely Margo will be happy
to make sure she gets
home, but I shouldn’t assume – but
there’s nothing stopping you from going, that
is, if you want to.”
if I am henceforth forbidden from participating in any activities that
are barbeque-related,” he glares at me.
I’m pretty much done here, so yeah, I want to go, but I don’t want to
go without you,” Jack grumbles. “And I
really do think we should get while the going is…”
not saying it, but I know what he means. So
far, there hasn’t
been any sign of Sam. Which has, I’m
to say, made for an extremely enjoyable
did say she wanted to come, but apparently
Pete is also in town, so, maybe she
decided showing up here with him in tow wouldn’t be a good idea.
be honest, I’m torn between relief and disappointment.
Pete is all Sam has been talking about for the last
week. I will confess I’m becoming more
than curious about this apparent paragon, so after being so cleverly
of what I thought was going to be my
previous opportunity to encounter him
I kinda wish they were here today so
I could, and yet…
having her around has been…oh God, it’s been great. I feel like a total shit for
thinking this, but having this quiet time, alone with Jack, even though
we’re not really alone, we’re surrounded by most of the members of the
SGC, still, not having her hovering and watching us and hanging on
Jack’s every word…
drama, no tension, no pretence, no bad pizza…
eyes widen in alarm.
me I’m suffering from toxic pie shock and I did not just hear Carter
taking my rank in vain,” he leans forward and desperately whispers.
now, it’s over. Or, just starting.
she comes, cutting an unerring path through the milling, munching
throng, definitely bearing down on our position,
a dark-haired, extremely eager-looking
man hot on her six.
this must be the mythical Pete. Well, what
do you know, he actually exists. And he’s
sense things are about to become very interesting.
remember, I wanted to leave,” Jack heaves a heavy sigh and casts his
gaze heavenward as if appealing for divine intervention or hoping to
sight a passing Asgard he can cop a fast teleport outta here from.
start with me; it’s going to be fine.
the look on Sam’s face when she gets close enough to our table to see
me, with Jack, and not…
couldn’t be more shocked at seeing the last thing she was expecting
than if I jumped up on the table and mooned her. And
the reason the
perfectly normal and usually usual
sight of me and Jack together has thrown
her such a curve?
up everybody at this table who’s been a bad, bad boy.
Oooh, that would be me. I
have, I really have, and you
know what, confronted with the tragic disappointment on Sam’s face, I’m
actually feeling more than slightly remorseful at the moment because
I’m pretty sure the reason why she’s currently looking like someone
her in the teeth; probably my fault. You
see, it’s entirely
possible, although, if confronted I
will deny everything, I may have given Sam the
impression Lindsay and I were… dating.
okay, you beat it out of me, Sam kept pestering me for details about
the night at Alfredo’s and asking me if Lindsay and I were going out
again and I cracked and told her about asking her to come
with me… today, and I may have, possibly, perhaps, made it sound like
going on a date, but she made me do it, the only
way to make her stop interrogating
me was to give her the impression… make
Well, you know damned well what you made
her think, Daniel.
“Daniel!” she blurts, coming
to such an abrupt stop the man I presume
is Pete has to take a quick step to
the right to avoid barrelling into
her back. “What
are you doing here – um, I thought
you were with – where is Lindsay?”
the time she gets to the end of her interrogative it’s almost an
accusation. Not that I owe her an explanation or anything, but before I
have a chance to respond…
“Daniel! There you are!”
no! The other one! Quick,
somebody hide me!
turn desperate eyes to Jack to see him leaning slightly forward, his
elbow on the table, chin resting in his cupped hand.
He stares innocently
back at me, his eyes sparkling with
amusement, a huge, happy grin on his
eyes light up at Lindsay’s approach but when she spots who’s got her six she gets that confused, unhappy look again.
Carter, Colonel O’Neill,” Lindsay mutters, after shyly sidling toward
me. She throws a curt nod their way and turns into me and away from
them before addressing me in a low, hesitant voice.
not low enough for everyone else assembled, particularly Sam to not be
able to hear every word.
thanks for bringing me, you were a dear for driving me over and
introducing me to… everyone, but I was wondering, that is, do you mind…”
casts a shy look at the woman hanging back a discreet distance waiting
I don’t mind at all,” I tell her softly. “Feel free to ditch me with my
blessings. Go, have fun.
flashes me a brilliant smile of genuine gratitude.
“You really are a nice man,” she murmurs. “Thanks. For
everything. And I do mean everything. See you around the SGC sometime?”
bet.” I grin at her. “Now
scoot, get the heck out of here.”
they’re gone. You know, it would be a lot
easier to bask quietly in the glow of the satisfaction of a job well
done if I didn’t have Sam’s eyes drilling holes into the back of my
a minute,” Sam says. “Where is she going,
what does she mean, ‘see you around some time’, I thought you two were
– I thought - "
know what you thought, Sam, and it’s my fault you were thinking that
because I thought it would be fun to make you think what you’re
thinking, but now I’m thinking I don’t know what the hell I was
want to lie down now.
Carter, who’s your friend?” Jack suddenly
Omigawd, I’d completely forgotten about him! Thank
you Jack, you’re my hero again.
from her intention of grilling me silly by Jack’s timely and surprising
interjection, Sam forgets all about me and the one that got away and
on him. I know I’m gonna owe him later for
drawing her fire now, but I figure I’m up for the job.
isn’t always a bitch, lemme tell you.
“Oh!” Sam exclaims. “This
is my… this
is Pete Shanahan! You may have heard me
him, once or twice? Pete, this is Colonel
O’Neill. He’s my - "
her boss,” Jack says smoothly, extending his hand towards the man
stepping eagerly forward to accept it. “Pleased
to finally meet you, Pete,” Jack continues while being subjected to a
hand pumping enthusiastic enough to sprain his wrist.
“You’re all Carter
talks about these days.”
boss? It’s good to meet you, Sir! Colonel,
Colonel O’Neill, Sir,” Pete gushes, still pumping, and gives Jack an
ear splitting grin. “You’re a colonel? Air Force, I presume, same as Sam? That’s really impressive.
I’ve never met a
genuine colonel before!”
he certainly is… eager. Not to mention
apparently easy to impress.
it’s a living,” Jack shrugs deprecatingly. “I
could say I’d never met a genuine cop before, but then, I would be
funny, Sir,” Pete beams while Jack finally manages to reclaim his hand. “So you’re Sam’s boss. I feel like I already know you. Sam
talks a lot about you too.”
Really? How… creepy.
good, I hope,” Jack smiles generously up at him while surreptitiously
shaking out his hand under the table. “But
with the formalities, shall we. She
has to call me Colonel,” he tilts his head back towards Sam. “But you can call
blinks and gulps at Jack’s ‘colonel’ comment; while it’s obvious his
less than subtle remark has gone completely over Pete’s head, the shot
definitely hit the intended target and is stinging more than some. I’ll just jump in here now, move things along,
change the subject, give Jack a good, swift kick under the table…
I’m Daniel,” I tell Pete. “I work with Sam
too. Good to meet you.”
so you’re Daniel,” Pete acknowledges, subjecting me
in turn to his hyper-achieving handshake and an interestingly scathing
once-over, not unlike the visual search he conducted on Jack earlier
under the cover of hand-pumping and misdirecting babbling.
speaking of hand pumping…
Ow. Quite a grip. You
can let go now.
Ow. Thank you. Now,
if I can just get the feeling back in my fingers…
the reason I’m working overtime to pay off my Visa bill this month,” he
grins. “Thanks for that
by the way.”
it wasn’t my idea,” I shrug.
got me there,” he chuckles. "Anyway,
pleased to finally meet you. You’re not military?”
he asks, unexpectedly,
but it’s not really a question.
he’s a cop all right. And he’s good. While
he might look
and act like a big puppy dog and seems
three times as desperately eager as
one, this man is no fool. A quick glance
at Jack confirms he’s come to the same conclusion.
Sam’s new man has more than sussed out the gaps in
her cover story and because he cares about her, a definite point in his
favour, he’s trying to
fill in the blanks. I can’t say I blame
him; mysteries are compelling at the best of times, but add to that the
of new love and wanting to know and
embrace everything about the newly
discovered beloved: potential recipe
for security issues. Unfortunately
for Sam, and possibly for us, that
burgeoning concern and insatiable curiosity
comes all wrapped up in a package labelled
‘cop’, even worse, a homicide detective,
a trained observer and someone who
makes a living tracking down clues
and solving puzzles…
going to have to be on our toes around this guy.
I answer Pete. “I’m a civilian consultant.”
you work with Sam?” he presses. “Doing…?”
he’s definitely fishing…
he does,” Jack smoothly interjects, his tone low, and friendly, with
just a hint of ‘don’t mess with me, you won’t like what happens’.
Sam, and all these people. You all work
together. What was it again,
deep space radar telemetry?”
fishing. Also, apparently not easy to
intimidate. He’s meeting Jack eye to eye,
not backing down an iota.
impressed. So is Jack.
right. Kinda has a cool ring to it, don’t you think?”
Jack smiles, and pats the bench beside him. “But enough about us, let’s hear about you. Come on, you two, sit down, we’ll chat, have a
couple of beers…”
gets and accepts the fish aren’t biting; the interrogation portion of
the afternoon has been officially terminated. His
far from slaked, but he knows when
to back off.
definitely smart. Which means he could be
a whole bunch of eager, well-meaning trouble, but I sincerely hope not,
for Sam’s sake.
beer would be great, Colonel – I mean Jack,” Pete grins, shifting back
into enthusiastic puppy mode and moving to settle in beside Jack.
ya go. Carter, how about you? Beer? "
– no thank you… Sir, I’m… we… we weren’t going to stay, I just wanted…”
pshaw, Carter, what’s your rush; pull up a picnic bench and park it for
awhile. “Hang out,” Jack
finishes with an ironic smile.
settles herself beside me with a softly expressed, but extremely
unhappy sigh. The whole time Jack
and Pete have obviously been bonding
Sam’s expression has been growing progressively
she’s doing her best to brave-face
this little confrontation it doesn’t
seem to be sitting well with her at
all Jack has been manifestly cavalier about Pete’s existence and even
more accepting of and willing to accommodate his presence.
beer thing has really set her world on its ass.
thinking this wasn’t the reaction she was going for when she decided to
bring Pete here and present him to Jack. I’m
was hoping meeting the ‘competition’
would have elicited quite a different
response from our favourite colonel.
it’s apparent Jack is perfectly fine with his ‘rival’ to the point of
partaking of the male bonding beer ritual with him she doesn’t want to
stick around and have her nose rubbed in yet another rejection, but
short of throwing
a hissy fit and dragging Pete out by
one ear, she’s kinda choice-less at
it’s more than plain to both her and me Jack’s not in any hurry to let
them get away and her off the hook.
thing I said earlier about payback not always being a bitch?
know why Jack is doing this, and part of me understands and realizes
it’s unfortunately necessary but the other part so wishes it wasn’t. Sam’s clearly not enjoying having to swallow
yet another sharp slice
of reality being served up to her a
la carte and to be honest, neither
am I. I’m sorry,
Sam, I really am, but it’s for the
got a good guy there, a chance for
genuine happiness with someone you
actually have a chance with. Grab him with
both hands and run like hell.
this will finally do it. Make her wake up
and see she’s been sniffing up the wrong colonel.
that didn’t come out quite right.
Jack says after throwing his arm around Pete’s shoulders.
“How would you like to rustle up a beer for my
I nod and push myself to my feet. “I
presume you want
one as well.”
long as you’re going, I wouldn’t mind,” Jack shrugs.
doke, and one for you, Sam?”
why the hell not,” she grumbles and casts a baleful glance at Jack he
ignores and Pete completely misses. “Hold
on, I’ll help
make a break for it, taking a swift, circuitous path through the
partiers for the bar, hoping to secure the requested beverages and
return to the table before Sam catches up to me.
I throttle back and allow her to catch up with me.
happened with you and Lindsay?” she asks as soon as she reaches me. “I don’t understand, you said things were
concerned expression cuts deep, and I feel like a total ass.
– I – I know what I said, but I was wrong. We
weren’t…” I struggle for something plausible to tell her but I’m having
trouble lying around my guilt while watching every word coming out of
my mouth making her face get longer and sadder for me.
wasn’t her type,” I finally blurt. “And
I'm really not ready... just wasn't meant to be, I guess,” I shrug
while wanting to shoot myself.
God, look at her, if she could weep tears of blood for me now, she
would. I am such a schmuck!
Daniel, I’m so sorry to hear that,” she murmurs, her voice reeking with
almost overwhelming sympathy. “I really
hoped you two would
be good for each other, for both your
sakes, but especially yours. Daniel, I
think you're not ready but you need
someone in your life and I really thought
I’d found her for you.”
puts her arm around my waist, leaning her head against me and we walk
on towards the bar that way, not saying anything more about it. I can feel the heights of her hope and the
depths of her disappointment swirling around me, mingled with her
pity and concern and it touches me,
more than I can say, feeling how much
she cares about me and my happiness
and there’s a part of me, deeply buried
and restrained by unfortunate necessity, the part that loves her so
much and wants to turn her around and tell her everything, share my
secret with her and tell her what she
wants for me I already have, I’m so happy, I’m so loved, she doesn't
to worry about me. I want to tell
her, I want to, oh God, how I want to and
so close to breaking and giving in
to the almost overwhelming desire to
tell her she doesn’t have to grieve
for me, but that shadow of uncertainty,
that small, warning bell inside me…
loves me now, as long as she thinks I’m something I’m not, never
dreaming I’m any threat to her own dreams about our colonel but if she
knew, really knew
I already have a special someone and
his name is Jack…
she love me then?
look who’s finally coming to bed.”
you’re still awake.”
“Obviously. What time is it
don’t want to know.”
late? Did you turn off all the lights?”
do you think?”
all the doors were locked?”
about - "
Jack, you’ve found me out, I confess all, before I came to bed I went
around the whole house turning on the lights,
I opened all the windows, left the
doors wide open, turned on all the
faucets and the appliances and for
good measure I threw a handful of carpet
tacks along the hallway and down the
“Fine. Point taken. Stop
a sarcastic bastard and come to bed
“Okay. Move over.”
“Snuggling. That’s nice. Daniel?”
you sure you locked all the doors?”
okay, I’m just saying… So, did you have a
good time today, baby?”
one, and for the most part, yeah I did.”
like the geekette made out all right too. Or
maybe she is
as we speak.”
really don’t know about that, I’m just happy it all went well. So…”
do you think about…”
“Pete? Seems nice enough.
Talks a lot. Smiles
even more. Impressive
clearly nutso about Carter.”
I got that. He’s definitely smitten. Honestly, I’m not so sure about… Sam. About him, I mean. I
know what she says, but…”
me, Daniel, that guy’s not going anywhere any time soon.
He’ll wear her down eventually.”
there’s a nice image.”
know what I mean.”
Pete’s sake, I hope you’re right.
it just me, or does the guy remind you of a – a - "
“Yeah. Big, babbling, bouncy,
panting and drooling. At one point I was
tempted to throw Carter to see if he’d
that’s droll, Jack. It’s the eyes. The
‘eager to please’ desperation. Very
and the wet nose.”
can we not talk about this any more?”
“Fine. So, the fourth is
over and done with. Always a good time,
is hosting the party, but not my favourite holiday in July. The main event is yet to come.”
are you talking about, there isn’t another… oh. That.”
Daniel, that. Only the most significant day in the
year, as far as I’m concerned. So, it
isn’t an official national holiday, but it damned well should
be, and you wait, I’m thinking one
day it will be.”
sir, have officially moved into la-la land.”
as you’re living there with me, I have no problems with that.”
“Sweet. Strangely delusional,
but still… sweet. Jack, it’s just my…"
it, Daniel, it’s not a dirty word.”
on, you can do it!”
“Birthday! My birthday, okay;
I said it, you happy now?”
good, it only took you one try to get it out this time.
Hot damn, we’re making progress here.
Maybe next year you’ll be able to say the ‘B’ word
without any problem at all.”
can say it just fine, what I don’t understand is why you are so
obsessed with making such a big deal about it, it’s just one stupid day
out of the year just like every other stupid - "
know, Daniel, you say this every year. ‘It’s
just my birthday,
Jack, just like any other day of the
year; you don’t need to do anything
every year you’re like a kid in a book
store when I spring my yearly extravaganza
you said, it’s kid in a candy store, not a - "
how much time did you spend in candy stores when you were a kid?”
“Oh. Right. What was I
trust me, baby, four days from now you’re gonna be a very happy man. I’m gonna show you
fireworks that’ll make the fourth look
like - like - "
sweet, Jack, but honestly, you don’t need to. That’s
two, by the way.”
I do. I really do. And
you love it.”
makes you happy.”
you’re talking. Give me some sugar, baby!”
what are you – aw crap, you know how hard it was to get that stuff out
the last – Daniel, come on, it’s just a little word, you don’t have to
get all – DANIEL!!!!!”
Daniel, what does it say?”
ignore the nagging noise behind me sounding suspiciously like
Jack...nagging and brush the dirt away from the symbols of the last
line of the inscription. If he would just
shut up and let me concentrate…
know; if you would just shut up and let me concentrate for a minute I’d
be able to tell you!”
said that ten minutes ago,” Jack dryly observes. “You
also said the lingo on that stone thingee - "
- is Ancient, you can read that crap in your sleep.
What’s the hold-up?”
I have to go through this with him every single – he doesn’t
I do it’s not like I can spit it out
on demand; even if you understand a
language, sometimes things just don’t
make sense, that’s what he doesn’t get
and it always makes me crazy!
I take several, calming breaths, then turn around and look down at him
from my vantage point on top of the stone podium the stele I’m studying
on. “Yes, I
can read Ancient, but there’s Ancient,
and then there’s Ancient, and this
is really ancient so trying to figure out what it
not as easy as you might think.”
cocks his head and blinks up at me like he hasn’t head a word I’ve said.
five more minutes, ten tops?”
Jack, whatever you say,” I snap at him and turn back to the mouldering,
cryptic symbols I’m struggling to decipher. “Why
don’t you go
and bother Sam and Teal’c for awhile. I’ve
got work to
on cue Sam and Teal’c enter through the wide stone portal of the vast,
domed chamber Jack and I were previously the sole occupants of. Sam’s head is bowed over her hand-held
detector and I can hear it humming from here.
“Carter?” Jack says.
were circling the building and I wasn’t picking up anything,” Sam
crisply reports. “All of a sudden I got a
spike. The readings are faint but I’m
definitely getting something now. Seems to
from there,” she finishes, pointing
at where I’m standing.
Of course it is. And
it here it comes.
what did you touch?” Jack says in a
sweetly indulgent yet incredibly patronizing voice.
there’s nothing to touch!” I bristle back
at him. “It’s just bare
stone, no machinery, no moving parts
no - "
wait, I did touch the inscription.
did mention you believe this structure pre-dates all of the Ancient
sites we have visited by many thousands of years,
did you not, DanielJackson,” Teal’c gravely offers. “That being the
case, while there might not appear to be
a mechanism in this location, such
as have been at the previous Ancient
sites we have discovered, perhaps the
stele is more than it seems, and the
Ancient technology we seek is here,
although not immediately apparent.”
Oh, I hadn’t thought about that. The stele
isn’t a simple monument, it’s actually…
I’d better get back to this translation.
“I see where you’re going with this, Teal’c,” Sam pipes up after I turn
my back on the assemblage beneath me to resume doing battle with the
baffling marks before me. “It’s clear the
power source is somewhere in the vicinity of that thing, but what
you’re saying is it might actually be inside it because it’s not simply
a monument, as we previously believed, the whole thing is the
a minute, wait a minute, I think I’m getting this.
Yeah, that’s the word for puzzle.
I’m sure of it,
such an archaic form, though, no wonder
I missed it.
you’re saying that stone thing, not
a big, horking stone… thing, but one of those freaky Ancient devices?” Jack says.
is, is not all. That’s what it says. Yup, definitely what it
says. That’s what it says, but what does it mean?
think so, Sir.”
dunno, maybe the next line will shed some light.
we don’t know what the hell it’s for and could go off in our faces
without any warning and do God only knows what? That
kind of freaky
puzzle, we got that one. What the puzzle? Examine? No,
that’s not quite right.
Explore! Okay, moving on,
almost cracked this thing.
got my back to Jack so I can’t see him, but I can hear it in his voice,
he’s getting edgy, I’d better hurry, he’s starting towards the stairs
behind me, gonna pull me off this thing, just a
few more seconds…
got it!” I exclaim, and whirl around just
as Jack puts one foot on the bottom step. “I
know what it
Jack prompts, looking up at me. He’s
paused for the moment,
but his foot is still on the stair
and if he doesn’t like what he’s about
to hear we are out of here.
“What is, is not all there is,” I read from the stele
after turning back around. “There
is also what could have been. Explore this
if you dare, but be warned, some paths
are best left untrammeled.”
still not so sure about the last line, I don’t think it’s complete,
there’s a bit there, underneath the text, a really encrusted section,
there could be more text, but I can’t tell without cleaning the stone
what are you doing?” Jack barks at me.
was just – I think there might be another line or two of text, but I
can’t be sure without - "
me a favour and don’t touch anything on that thing,” Jack says. “Not until we know more about it.”
are we going to do that unless I see if there’s any more to translate?” I stubbornly insist.
work with what we have for the moment,” Jack reasonably rebuts. “Which is, if you ask me, pretty damned
cryptic. All that hoo hah you just said. What does it mean?”
was afraid he was going to ask me that.
have no idea; I just know what it says.”
that’s not very helpful, is it?” Jack shrugs. “Carter
thinks this stone thing is some sort of Ancient device.
What do you think?”
possible. I – I don’t know.”
could be, but if it is, I wonder what it does.
it do?” Jack muses, narrowing his eyes while scanning the stele from
top to bottom.
an abrupt ‘bamf’ sound and the entire chamber is suddenly flooded with
blinding white light. And I do mean
really hate it when this happens.
“Crap!” I hear Jack yell.
as suddenly as it came, the light is gone. Blinking,
around, look down, trying to focus. Nothing
in the chamber
has changed; everything looks exactly
the same, Jack, Sam and Teal’c are
in the same places they were, they
look okay, thank God, everyone’s okay
all staring at me, why are they staring at me? Jack’s
eyes are fairly bugging out of his head, Sam’s got her hand clapped to
her mouth like she’s trying to hold something
back and Teal’c –
he’s just staring.
going on? I grow another head or something?
Jack chokes out; then clears his throat. “That
– that is you, isn’t
do you mean, is it me, of course it’s me, you can see that, what are
you talking about?”
the hell is he talking about and why is he – he’s staring at my chest. Why is he staring
at my chest?
only asking because…” Jack falters, breaks off, takes a deep breath and
clears his throat again. “I’m only asking
because you’ve – you’ve got breasts!”
clutch my chest, looking down at myself at the same time.
I’m fine, I’m still me, that is, as much of me as I
can see – I still look exactly the same.
do not!” I indignantly blurt.
yeah, you do,” Jack emphatically nods, his eyes widening as his gaze leaves my chest and moves slowly up
and down my entire body. “You most
do. Mind you, they kinda work with
the whole new look you’ve got going
for you at the moment.”
my God, what is he looking at, what is he seeing? Whatever
it is – it’s me, but I don’t think it’s me – me the way he’s staring,
his eyes get any bigger they’re gonna fall right out of his head!
do not have breasts!” I inanely assert.
right, you don’t,” Sam tells my crotch. She’s
staring at my crotch. Oh my God, what is that all about?
he does not, O’Neill,” Teal’c chimes in. I
don’t know what he’s looking
at, he seems to be staring past me, his eyes tracking something… moving.
you!” I acknowledge my allies, put my
hands on my hips and prepare to face off with Jack.
is still staring and gawping like he’s never seen me before. Oh my God, he’s almost salivating! He’d better stop it, it’s creeping me out!
starts to giggle.
so funny?” I yell at her. I’m bewildered,
sliding towards scared, way past steamed and becoming slightly animated
in my agitation. Sam giggles again and
snorts before giving way to peals of hysterical laughter and Jack’s
eyes are back on my chest, his head moving up and down like he’s
watching something… bouncing…
is not happening. Not, not happening.
sorry, Daniel,” Sam finally manages to gasp after regaining a tenuous
modicum of self-control. “Sorry for
laughing at you but I can’t help it, you’re just so adorable! You look – you look like you’re about five
years old and you’re so darned cute!”
did she just say?
you telling me when you look at me you see a little kid?”
hmmm,” Sam nods vigorously, smothering another giggle.
that explains why Sam is staring at my crotch. If
she’s seeing me as a five year old to her, that’s probably right about
where the top of my head is.
can’t believe I just said that. I can’t
believe how calmly I’m taking this. Okay,
what just happened here? The inscription
was talking about… then Jack said… we
were all subjected to a weird Ancient
light show and now when Sam looks at
me she sees my inner child on the outside,
and Jack, apparently Jack is seeing
can’t even say it!
look down at myself again. I’m still me to
me but to them, I’m… different. I don’t
get it, why are they still them to me, but to them I’m –
have to hear it again, I still don’t believe it!
me get this straight,” I manage to get out after staving off an almost
overwhelming urge to hyperventilate. “You
all look the
same to me but to you - " I point at
Sam. “I look like a little kid. That
nods vigorously, biting her lip.
you - " I point at Jack.
know, this started out weird, but I could get used to it,” Jack
thoughtfully muses. “How do you feel about
being called Danielle?” he asks hopefully.
from my perspective L’ll Danny would be more appropriate,” Sam snickers.
hate it!” I snarl at him. “Don’t do it
again if you want to live!” I tell him with all the sincere menace I
can muster. “And you,” I point
at Sam, my hand slightly shaking. “Don’t
even start with me. Okay,”
I turn to
the last, and up until now mostly silent
member of the assemblage. “What about you,
Teal’c, do I look like a little kid
or a - a - "
still can’t say it.
female,” Teal’c finishes for me.
that,” I nod gratefully, gesturing for him to continue.
“Well, do I?”
you do not, DanielJackson,” he assures me, bowing gravely.
God, at least one sane person in the crowd. Now
we’re getting somewhere.
appearance is much the same as before,” he adds. “However,
I must confess I find the addition of the prehensile tail extremely
kidding. He has to be kidding.
can’t help it; my hands fly to my ass.
nothing there that shouldn’t be there. No
tail. No damned breasts either.
I knew that. As far as I can see and feel,
despite what my team mates are saying they are seeing, nothing about me
has actually physically changed.
still me. No additions, deletions or gender alterations.
They’re the ones with the perception problem. And…
apparently having way too much fun at my expense. Especially…
up!” Jack hoots at Teal’c with a grin so
big it threatens to swallow his face. “Danielle
has a tail? This I gotta see!”
leans forward, craning his neck so he can get a better view of my ass. I’m not sure if
looking for my alleged tail is his
actual objective or if he just wants
to check out my…
I’m officially as freaked out as I’m going to allow myself to be.
looking at Daniel, but we’re each seeing different… versions… of
Daniel,” Sam thoughtfully offers. “However, from Daniel’s perspective, we
haven’t changed and neither has he, so actually, it
appear none of the Daniels we are
seeing are actually real. It has to be the machine, Sir.”
think?” Jack snorts. “I
guess we found out what it does. Can’t
imagine why, though.”
don’t care why; I just want to go home, climb under
my bed and never come out again.
I might emerge occasionally for coffee, but that’s it!
Danielle,” Jack says, his grin getting smarmier by the second.
“Stop CALLING me THAT!” I
shriek at him.
God, I’m shrieking now. Not to mention
he soothes, still smiling. “Chill already. You sure you’re still you?
You’re acting kinda
not a… female… thing, is it? You know,
he leers, waggling his eyebrows at
can’t believe he just said that! Does he want me to shoot him?
course I’m sure! You’re still you and I’m
from what I’m seein’,” Jack responds with an apologetic shrug.
not sorry at all, damn him, he’s enjoying this way too much and I find
that disturbing on too many levels to count.
have to go along with the colonel, Daniel,” Sam adds with a rueful
must regretfully also concur with O’Neill and Major Carter,” Teal’c
chimes in. “Your outward appearance does
indeed seem to have undergone a noticeable alteration.”
don’t care what you think you’re seeing, you’re all wrong!” I’m starting to sound distinctly hysterical,
not to mention alarming alone in my belief in my own reality, but
I know what I see and feel.
you sure?” Jack frowns.
“How do you know; you can’t see your own face.”
can see enough to know I’m male!” I glare
at him. “A mature, adult male,” I fire at Sam.
so not even touching the tail thing.
a minute, I’ve got an idea.
give me your compact.”
I need a mirror.
do you assume I have a compact?” Sam bristles.
a girl, Carter, it goes without saying,” Jack sighs.
“Just – give it to he – him,” he quickly catches
mutters to herself and starts fishing around in one of her vest pockets. Okay, I can use
the mirror to verify I’m still me,
but, oops, detecting a slight flaw
in the strategy, I’m not the one needs
convincing, the mirror will work for
me, but not for them. And now I’m thinking
about it a bit more, if this device is doing what I think it’s doing,
using a mirror won’t prove anything at all.
even to me.
mind, Sam,” I sigh. “It’s not going
to help. I know what I see when I look at myself, and at you, but that
doesn’t mean what I’m seeing is any more real than what you
of what the machine could be doing to all of us?” Sam
stops rummaging in her vest and addresses my crotch.
really wish she’d stop doing that.
definitely altering your subjective perceptions of
reality with regards to me, specifically, but what
we have to determine somehow - "
whether your perceptions are also being altered, or
if you are exempt from the subjective effect and are simply the object we are being influenced to perceive differently. Which would of course automatically mean you
are the only one seeing actual reality.”
almost understood that,” Jack marvels. “Cool. Who’s reality is
really real, ours or yours.”
none,” Teal’c booms.
that’s a scary thought. I wish he hadn’t
wish you hadn’t said that,” Jack shudders. “So, sounds like a plan,”
Jack tilts his head and squints up at me. “Now
we all need a reality check, got any
ideas how we’re gonna do it, Danielle?”
you STOP calling me that!” I howl at him.
swear, if he doesn’t stop drooling and licking his
okay,” Jack holds up his hands in a gesture of surrender.
“Just, gimme a break and stop bouncing, will ya? It’s very… distracting,” he flushes.
am so angry at Jack right now. I want to kill him,
very slowly, very painfully, at the very least permanently
remove that shit-eating smirk from his face. But I can’t let my rage at the disturbing ease
with which he seems to have embraced ‘Danielle’ overwhelm me; I’ve got
to stay calm, focus, think. I might be the only one capable of seeing
what’s really real, the only one who can get us out of this, somehow
out how to get things back to normal.
do it. I’ll figure it out.
Pull another impossible solution to a seemingly
insoluble situation out of my ass Sam will later take credit for and
get our asses out of this.
I’ll kill him.
think, think, think!
I got it!
“Camcorder!” I blurt.
could work,” Sam nods. “If the device is
affecting us, our minds, and not our technology…”
camcorder should record what’s really, really real, and hopefully we’ll
be able to see the way things really are.” Jack
interjects. “Whatever the hell
that is. Good, go for it.”
on it,” I say while rooting through my pack. What
the hell, where is the stupid thing, I just had my hands on it. What the – what
is that doing in there…
it!” I jump to my feet, camcorder in hand and head down the stairs to
meet Sam, who’s stopped at the foot of the staircase.
She stands beside Jack, looking up at me.
half of me, anyway.
wish she’s stop grinning like that.
two steps above her about to hand off the unit when she suddenly
sorry, Daniel, I can’t help it, you’re just so darned cute!”
and suddenly reaches out like she intends to pinch one of my -
“Sam!” I squeak and frantically
backpedal before her hand connects
with a portion of my anatomy I’d much
rather she not become familiar with. At
all. “God, watch where
you’re – six feet tall, Sam, head -
up here!” I
wave the camcorder frantically over
my head. “Not…
half of that,” I finish, waving it
at waist level.
Sam gulps and grimaces. “Sorry about that!”
don’t think the cheeks you almost pinched were the ones you were going
for,” Jack drolly observes, still craning his neck in an attempt to get
a better look at my ass.
just toss it to you, shall I?” I mutter at
her. After she catches
it I cross my arms and wait, inwardly
fuming, while she fiddles, then aims
should be enough,” she says after several seconds.
“Let me just…” she fiddles with it some more while
Jack peers over her shoulder in order to see the playback.
that’s Daniel all right,” Jack nods with what I swear sounds like a
disappointed sigh. “Same as he ever was. So, that settles it, he’s fine, we’re the ones
who are screwed up.”
I’m saying nothing.
you!” I snarl at them. “So, now what?”
we must find some way to return our perceptions to normal,” Teal’c
we don’t even know why this happened in the first place,” Sam responds. “I could examine
the stele, but my perceptions are compromised,
I don’t know if what I’m seeing is
real, if I try to…fix it, how do I
know - "
don’t care what you do,” Jack barks at her. “Just do it!”
it stop now!” Jack and I simultaneously shout at her.
“Crap!” Jack yells again
as the room whites out.
“Daniel!” Jack gapes at me. “Wow,
are, breast-less. Not
that there was anything wrong with
them, the breasts, that is, they were very nice, but they weren’t
exactly you – okay, they worked with that you, but this you not so much. And now they’re gone,” he finishes sheepishly. “Welcome back?”
must be going crazy, he can’t possibly have preferred me as Danielle
but his face, his expression – he actually looks sorry I’m
me again and not…
can’t say it!
Teal’c echoes. “DanielJackson, you have
resumed your accustomed appearance.”
for me. And guess what, if today’s
alternate offerings of Daniel Jackson haven’t been entertaining enough,
here’s another treat for you; this is what I look like when I’m leaving.
silently stomp down the stairs, intending to put as much distance
between me and my team mates, but most especially Jack,
as quickly as possible.
just happened here?” Sam blinks and
the hell am I supposed to know,” Jack shrugs. “Whatever that thing was
doing to us, it’s not doing it any more, so we’re so out of here.”
ahead of you, folks. Talk amongst
yourselves if you please, me, I’m gone.
don’t look at Jack while stalking past him, I’m making for the exit and
I’m not stopping until I’m home.
own bought and paid for with my own damned money I hardly ever see
because I’m always at Jack’s but after what’s happened here today that
might be changing… home. Jack had better
take a good look at my ass, commit it to memory, even, because it’s
going to be awhile before he sees it again.
– I can’t stand it, I gotta know, what was the deal with the tail?” Behind me, I hear Jack inquire
of our Jaffa
keep walking. Really not interested in the
Teal’c rumbles in response.
maybe slightly curious.
again?” Jack says.
have always been curious why you assigned that particular appellation
to DanielJackson,” Teal’c explains. “All
the years I have known
him I have never observed him to evidence
the slightest resemblance to an extra-terrestrial primate except for
the occasional tendency to bounce when extremely agitated.”
that’s nice to know. However, while it’s
weird enough to think Teal’c has been secretly scoping me for simian
characteristics all these years, apparently he’s not the only one.
only does Jack fancy me as a woman, but…
don’t go there, Daniel, down that road lies only madness.
the machine detected my confusion and sought to satisfy it.”
that makes a certain amount of twisted… but disturbing sense. So, that takes care of Teal’c’s reality
issues, but what about the other two?
that’s… disturbing,” Jack answers. “I
swear, it was
just something that popped into my
head, I never meant it to mean anything and certainly
never intended to suggest I thought
Daniel looked anything like a monk – you
really saw him – Daniel - with a tail?” he finishes with a loud whisper.
Teal’c replies. “However, as sharing that
fact with DanielJackson seemed to upset him, I deemed it prudent to
refrain from mentioning the ears.”
thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I
really have to
get out of here now.
of yourself, O’Neill,” Teal’c continues. “Does
DanielJackson know you are harbouring a secret desire he become a
member of the opposite sex - "
does now. And that pretty much does it,
take off down the path toward the gate, not caring if any of my team
mates are following me, or are within a hundred mile radius of me, for
that matter, truth
be told. That part of the inscription
about some paths best left alone? Right
now, I’m with
them. I could have gone a whole lifetime
without going through what’s happened
to me today and subsequently finding
out… what I’ve been shown today. Never
mind what they saw, that was humiliating
enough but I can learn to live with
it, what I have no idea what to do with is why they
me the way they did, what it possibly,
and very probably means.
does it mean? Everything? Nothing?
prefers me pint-sized, Teal’c has been making a monkey’s uncle out of
me and Jack?
can’t even – I can’t even go there.
does it mean? Why would he – how can he –
he really feel that way?
“Daniel!” Jack hollers from
behind me. “What
the hell, why are you – wait up, for
crying out loud!”
quicken my pace, trying to block out the sounds of Jack’s running
footfalls behind me. I know this is
stupid, it’s probably – it probably means nothing, but it’s just – I
feel so – how long has he been feeling like this, is it something
recent, or has he always, as long as we’ve been… together and if he
does, why - why would he…
wrong with me the way I am, am I not good enough for
why not, why would he want me to be…
“Daniel!” Jack chides after
he sliding to a stop and falling into
step beside me. “What’s the matter
with you, why did you take off, without
us, you know better than that!”
away, Jack,” I snarl at him, fiercely blinking back any betraying
indicators of how shaken and upset I really am. Which is… really upset;
and I think that scares me the most of all.
me alone. I don’t – I don’t want to talk to you right now.”
don’t, I can’t, not now I – I have to sort this all out somehow before
“What?” Jack gapes. “What
the hell brought
can’t believe what I’m hearing. How can he
be so damned obtuse! Doesn’t
he realize what happened back there, doesn’t he understand…
you’re really upset!” he softens his voice, realization setting in as
he gets a better look at me and sees, even though I’m trying
desperately not to let him.
you’re kidding, right? You’re not
seriously letting a stupid little thing like - "
“Stupid!” I hiss at him. “Stupid? You don’t think
I should find learning you secretly
wish I was a woman upsetting! Oh, silly
can’t imagine why I should take such
a trivia detail like that personally! How
long have you
been feeling this way, Jack, and how
inconvenient has it been for you to
have to deal with me as I am when all
the while you’ve been wishing I had
– had - "
have to stop talking because I want to scream at him, vent this
terrible disappointment and rage swelling inside me but I can’t, I have
to keep a lid on it, can’t get too loud, can’t say what
I really feel because Sam and Teal’c
are right behind us, have to remember
that, can’t let it out now…
wish you were a woman?” Jack exclaims. “Is that what you think?”
tone is incredulous, with more than a hint of hurt, but I don’t know
what to believe any more. I ignore him and
reached the ring of standing stone surrounding the Stargate. The DHD is just a few short feet away. Suddenly Jack grabs my arm and whirls me to
you’ve got it all wrong!” he desperately whispers.
I?” I spit back at him.
“Seems to me maybe I’m seeing things clearly for the
first time. Teal’c’s explanation seems
plausible enough, and Sam, I can understand why she’s been nursing a
secret desire to infant-asize me but you – this – I have to think about
this, Jack, this, this changes things. I
have to think
about what this means for us – or –
or - if this is the way you really
feel about me, if there even should be an us!”
didn’t mean to say that and yet – and yet I did, I feel so confused,
don’t say that!” Jack tightens his grip on my arm until he’s hurting
me, his face shocked and stricken. “You
it’s not – it’s not like that, I don’t want - "
you do!” I shrug off his hand and he lets me. “I
saw the look on your face when ‘Danielle’ was gone and all you were
left with was me. She’s the one you really
Jack says softly. “No, Daniel, you’re
wrong, please, let me explain.”
me alone, Jack.”
abandon him by the stones and stride over to the DHD.
He doesn’t follow me, even if I wanted him to, which
I don’t there wouldn’t be a lot of point; this conversation is over. Sam and Teal’c have caught up to us. The window of opportunity has just slammed
the matter with Daniel?” Sam asks Jack. I ignore all three of them and start dialling
hand is hovering over the centre crystal when the staff blast shears
past my left shoulder.
“Cover!” Jack howls, and
strafes the return path of the blast. Shaking
at how close
the blast came to me, I throw myself
down behind the only cover available
to me – the DHD itself. I cower behind my
meagre shelter while my team mates fan out in front of me along the
ring of stones, staff blasts raining down on our position from three
Jaffa ! Oh God, why them, why now?
can’t think about that right now, we’re in trouble, Jack and the others
are doing their best to cover me, I have a job to do.
“Daniel!” Jack barks, scurrying
quickly to the next stone down the
line so he can fire at the
just popped up from behind the tree-line
to my right in order to take a shot
at me. The Jaffa goes
it!” he yells at me while all three of my
team mates lay down a withering blanket of covering fire.
don’t hesitate, leaping up to push the centre crystal, then diving back
down behind the DHD. The gate boils into
life behind us, the lapping sounds of the active event horizon barely
audible over the deafening din of thundering staff bolts and P-90 fire.
team are doing their jobs, I have to finish mine.
hunkering behind the DHD I quickly send the Iris code and then hit my
is Daniel Jackson,” I yell into the comm while peeking around the
pedestal in an attempt to see what’s going on behind me.
“General Hammond, we’ve been pinned down at
the gate by a Jaffa
patrol. The rest
is returning fire, but we can’t come
hard to tell, so many staff blasts, but three, I think it’s only three Jaffa . Not sure.
Shit! Staff blast! Close,
is it coming from? Cover, I need to find
more cover. There is none, nowhere to go.
many, son?” Hammond ’s tinny, barely audible
voice sounds in my ear. “Do you need
is moving again, skirting the stone ring, darting to the next one,
making his way closer to me as another staff blast
slams into the earth mere feet away
from the base of the pedestal. He’s trying
me, to protect me, knows I’m pinned
down, can’t move. Sitting
a flutter of movement in the trees
to my far right, ah, gotcha! I throw
myself to the ground, rolling away from the DHD, bringing up my P-90 to
sight on the Jaffa who’s been taking pot shots at me when I’m blinded
by a deafening flash, there’s a huge ‘whoosh’ of sound battering my
eardrums, and I hear a loud, horrible, hollow, whumping sound.
eyes still dazzled, vision wavering I can barely see Jack stumble,
pitch forward and fall heavily to the ground, a huge, ghastly smoking
hole in his back.
God, Jack, Jack’s been hit. Oh God, oh God! He’s not moving.
“SIR!” Sam shrieks. The
sound of her voice jerks my attention
from Jack’s broken, still body. What’s she
she’s jumped up, she’s running, she’s
running to Jack. She’s completely out
in the open – what’s she doing?
feel like I’m the grip of that Ancient machine again, only now it’s my
perceptions it’s affecting, making everything slow down, become so
should be… but I feel so calm. Sam is
running to Jack, shouting something but her words are being carried
away by the noise and thunder. Behind her,
doesn’t see him, the Jaffa
cover, standing up, sighting on her
doesn’t see him either; he’s firing
at the Jaffa
who took Jack down.
see the Jaffa
about to kill Sam. I see him.
Calm, still calm. I… I
know what to
ignore Sam, still running to Jack, completely heedless of her own
danger, look past her, I know what to do. Raise
my weapon... brace... sight... acquire the target, there he is, there
he is, calm, steady... hold my breath... squeeze the trigger, don’t
jerk. Got ‘em, he starts
to fall. Good,
that one dealt with, out of the corner
of my eye I can see Teal’c has taken
out the second Jaffa. That leaves…
last Jaffa has
thrown his staff weapon down, abandoning his position, running away in
panic. Teal’c smoothly pivots, fires. He's
Clear. We’re in the clear. Sam
Jack, and thrown herself to her knees
beside him. She’s
safe. And Jack…
oh God, Jack.
fall back against the DHD, trembling, feeling weak and dizzy, like I
want to toss my cookies into the middle of next Tuesday.
Somewhere in the distance I can hear Sam, she’s
saying Jack is alive, God, oh thank God, he’s alive, her voice sounds
strange, too high and wild. But I can’t –
can’t worry about her now. I have
to… I have
to get help.
Command, we need help here,” I babble into my comm.
has been neutralized.
We’re in the clear, but Colonel O’Neill…”
can feel the eerie envelope of calm formerly insulating me beginning to
drain away. I feel cold; my hands are
shaking, my teeth starting to chatter. “We
need medical assistance, Sir,” I manage to get out.
“We have a man down.”
the gate down now, son,”
Hammond responds. “Help
is on the
Good. Good. Help is
good. I wrap my arms around
my drawn up legs and rest my forehead
on my knees. I can’t think I can’t
move I can’t
Birthday to me. Yippee.
me if I don’t exactly feel like celebrating.
oh God, what a difference a few days makes. Four
days ago, I had everything, I had… I had him. Four
lousy days ago I was happy. I had a reason
to celebrate. My ‘special’ day,
my ass. He's the one who made it special,
who made everything make sense, worth
living for, he is everything
I can still hear his voice,
feel his kisses on my skin. Promised
me, he promised me he was going to
rock my world today. He couldn't wait
for it to get here. My birthday. God,
I’ve always hated this
day, at least, before, I did, before he – before he came into my life
all it was, was another reminder I was alone, and it sucked and I hated
it, but never so much as I do… now…
I want – all I want is for him to wake up, for him to be okay, so I can
tell him… tell him…
I’m so sorry, please, please wake up so I can tell you how sorry I am
for what I said, what I thought.
gonna wake up, he has to. He’s still alive. He
made it through the surgery, he’s still with us. I
have to hold onto that, even though he’s been in a coma ever since and
Janet says she doesn’t know if he’ll ever come out of it. Can’t think
that way; I
have to believe he will, he will, he
wake up, he’ll be okay, he won’t…
leave me, Jack, not – not like this.
wipe the tears out of my eyes and try to focus on the text in front of
me, but I can’t, it’s all so much… crap. What
the shit do
I care about the judicial code of a
bunch of dead aliens when Jack is lying
in the infirmary in a coma he might
never come back from, and the reason
he’s there, hovering between life and
Me. He was trying to protect me.
My fault he was
hit, and maybe, because of what I said
to him, before we were ambushed, what
if he didn’t see, let his guard down
don’t know, I don’t know, maybe I’ll never know but it’s neither here
nor there, all the blame in the world won’t change what’s happened,
won’t make Jack not hurt, give him back to me. I
want him back,
I want to be there, with him, I need
to be with him, but I can’t, I don’t
deserve to be, and besides, she’s there,
she won’t leave him, won’t let me be
alone… with him.
I can’t stop thinking about Sam, what she did, what almost happened to
her out there. She’s okay, but it was
close, too close, she could be lying in the infirmary beside Jack,
right now, instead of glued to that chair by his side where I should be
sitting, or worse, she could be
in the morgue.
lost it out there, totally lost it. Jack
went down and
could have been a casualty as well. Should
would have been.
the only one who knows, and I don’t know what to do about it.
want to hate her for being so stupid and nearly getting herself killed
but I love her, I’m glad she’s okay, she’s okay but Jack, Jack’s not
okay I want, I want Jack back, I want none of this to have happened, I
don’t want to know, what
just want everything to be okay. Even
though I’m scared, so scared everything has changed and nothing
is ever going to be okay again.
don’t know what to do. Jack, please Jack,
wake up and tell me what to do.
by the sound of her voice I look up and see Lindsay standing in my
office doorway. She looks absolutely
petrified with the presumption she’s
taking, like she’d as soon bolt as
be here, but she’s here, and she’s…
I know you must be feeling…” she ventures, a slight quaver in her
voice, “…really scared, and the last thing you want is someone, in your
face, mouthing platitudes, but I’m sorry. I’m
about Colonel O’Neill.”
is; she really is. I know how hard this is
for her, even though courtesy of Sam’s dating debacle we’re token
acquaintances in reality we barely know each other, and she has no
concrete reason to expect I’d want or need this from her and yet,
the fact she’s here, reaching out to
me, battling both her better judgment
and her own basic, reticent nature…
deeply... very touched.
just wanted to say that,” she says softly. “And
if you need, if you need anything, if there’s anything I can do…”
already have,” I tell her sincerely, even as thoughts start whirling
around in my brain it shouldn’t be her, here, now, seeking me out to
offer a shoulder, comfort and reassurance, it should
be Sam, why isn’t it Sam, when did
I lose her, why isn’t she here, I want
her to be here, to hold me, tell me
Jack’s going to be okay.
already have,” I tell her again, and force a smile.
“Thank you for your concern.”
pulling for him, Daniel. He’s gonna be
I nod sharply and bite my lip against the sudden shard of pain cutting
through me. “I know he is; I
gonna lose it, I can’t talk about this, him, with her, I thought I
could, but it’s too much, go, she should go…
– I’ll – I’ll go now,” she says, ducking her head.
nod. Can’t speak.
be okay? If you need anything, anything at
all - "
swivel my chair sharply around as the first sobs shake me.
I’m praying she’s gone, but I can’t tell, and it
isn’t until several seconds of silence ensue I’m sure.
Janet looks up from the file she’s studying and frowns at me. “Daniel, you look awful; when
was the last time you slept?”
don’t know and I don’t…” I sigh and silently beg her to not go all
medical on me. Just this once. “How…how is Jack?”
still in a coma, Daniel,” she tells me honestly, closing the folder and
rising from her seat. A few steps and
she’s by my side, her hand warm and comforting on my arm.
“He’s holding his
own, but there’s been no change.”
he’s not getting any worse.” I search her dark eyes for whatever small
spark of hope I can grab onto. “He’s going
to get through this. He’s going to wake
up,” I hear myself saying.
I honestly don’t know.” Her smile is
tremulous, but tender. “He’s strong, and
nearly as stubborn as you are. There’s a
he’ll make a full recovery but I can’t
make you any promises.”
will; he has to. She believes; I know she
does but she can’t – she can’t say any more than
maybe, but she’s expecting a miracle.
Jack, we need one.
don’t you go and see him?” she gently suggests. “In
fact, I’m kind of surprised you’re not already there, with Sam and
Teal’c? Teal’c is there
is there something wrong?”
want to, I want to be by his side and I – I should, there’s so much I
want to say to him, have to say to him but I can’t, they’re there,
before me, but maybe that’s just as well. He
alone, someone should be with him,
someone who didn’t hurt him, make him
careless, get him…
need to tell him it’s okay, I didn’t mean, what I said before… but I
– Janet’s talking to me better answer.
I’m fine,” I manage to get out.
you’re not,” she gently calls me on the monumental lie. “Go
on, go see him,” she urges, patting
my arm. “It’ll do you both good.”
wish, oh God, I wish...
nod and turn away, making my way through Janet’s antiseptic domain. It’s dark and silent, and the rows of
pristine, tightly made beds
lining my passage are empty. It’s been a
week for casualties at the SGC; Jack
is currently the only resident.
slowly approach our customary niche, there, tucked away in the furthest
corner of the infirmary, the privacy curtain partially drawn, blocking
most of the silent, swaddled figure lying in the
bed. Teal’c… I don’t see him, Janet
said he was here, but I don’t see him. He
should be at
the foot of Jack’s bed, standing vigil,
but he’s not. I can’t see Sam either,
she’s probably sitting close to the head of the bed, concealed by the
curtain, but even
though I can't see her, I know she's
there, all right; I can hear her softly
have to get better, Sir. Please, Colonel, please wake up.
Oh God, why did I wait, why didn’t I tell you? It can’t be too late, it just can’t.”
clear my throat as I round the screen, as much to let her know she’s no
longer alone as not wanting to hear any more of what she’s saying. Her head jerks around guiltily
at the sound, her tired eyes widening
with relief and need when she sees
she looks… she looks like I feel. Horrible and hopeless and oh, so
lost. Her face is gray
and haggard with exhaustion, her eyes
and nose red and swollen.
been crying. The tracks of her latest
tears are still drying on her cheeks.
not the only one. But I’ve been shedding
mine where no one can see.
I barely have time to say before her face crumbles, her eyes fill and
where have you been?” she chokes, her lower lip starting to tremble. Huge tears bouncing
down her cheeks, she leaps to her feet
and throws herself into my arms, almost
knocking me over with the vehemence
of her embrace. Her
face buried in my chest, I feel her
start to shake.
Daniel I’m so scared,” her muffled voice cracks. “I
can’t lose him like this.”
not going to die, Sam,” I try to reassure her, my voice gruff and
rasping with grief. “He’s going to be
fine; we just have to believe… he’s going to be fine.”
Daniel, I’ve been such a fool,” she sniffs. “Why
did I hold back, why didn’t I tell him and now, it might be too late,
he’s going to die, and he’ll never know…”
can’t believe this. Jack is – is clinging
to life and all she can think about is her stupid, ridiculous crush. Is that why she’s been hovering at his bedside
all this time, so she
can spring the good news on him the
instant his eyes open?
know the colonel loves me, Daniel, he needs to know how I
can’t stand it, can’t listen to any more. I
grab her by the arms and thrust her away from me, some thing in my head
red, raw and howling for release.
does Jack need to know, Sam, what?”
I hiss at her and shake her. “That’s
talking about here, Jack, not the Colonel. The Colonel is something he
does, not who he is. What
do you know about Jack? What,
Sam, tell me! You think he loves you, and
you love him? How can you possibly
love him, you don’t know anything
about him! What’s his favourite
colour, Sam, pretty basic stuff, do
you know that one? Do you know he likes
his eggs over easy, his bacon chewy but not too crispy and if you put
fruit on his pizza it’s more than your life is worth?
Do you know where he buys his
gas, takes his dry cleaning, the name
of his mechanic? How about his favourite
hockey team, got a clue about that one? No,
so. Do you know
where he went to school when he was
a kid, that he’s an only child, what
about his mother’s name, his father?
Do you know when his grandpa first took him to the cabin in Minnesota,
where he met Sara, where Charlie’s grave is? Do
you know what he dreams, what he fears, what he wants, do you know anything about Jack, or have
you been too busy making plans for the Colonel to take
him into account?”
looking up at me her face white, eyes wide and staring with dumb pain. I know I’m hurting
her, and I’m starting to yell, but
I don’t care, I can’t take any more
of this, she has to wake up, she has
to see this stupid, stupid obsession she has with Jack
almost got her killed today, why won’t she understand she’s living in a
fabrication completely unfounded in any scrap of reality, why won’t she
wake up and realize she has to let go of this ludicrous, absurd fantasy!
Sam, please, wake up!
still staring at me, gulping convulsively, tears streaming down her
face. Her eyes are so
shocked, so… uncomprehending.
she stops crying, and her face changes, she’s studying me with pitying
I know you don’t mean to hurt me,” she quietly says.
“You’re not an intentionally cruel person. I don’t
want to hurt you either because I really care about you, but I’m sorry,
you’re going to have
to stop thinking about yourself and
face the truth.”
now it’s my turn to stare at her.
what?” I stupidly blurt.
know how the Colonel feels about me,” she calmly insists, chin jutting
forward defiantly. “So do you, and that’s
your problem. I’m sorry if our relationship makes you feel threatened,
Daniel, but you have to realize, you can’t keep him to yourself and
away from me forever,
he deserves to love and be happy again,
and sooner or later, he’s going to
come to me and leave you behind. You’re
to have to learn how to deal with that.”
I say with a heavy sigh, all my former anger swiftly draining away. I’m
so tired right now I can barely stand and I’m in no shape, physically
or mentally to deal with the full scope of the delusion, but I started
this, I have
to see it through, have to make her understand whatever Jack does or
doesn’t feel for her isn’t the issue – her
the field is. She almost died out there
today because she let her feelings
for Jack over-write her training and
her judgment and she doesn’t realize it.
forget about all of that now and please listen to me - "
Daniel, you listen to me!” she insists. “I’ve
really tried to understand this – this obsession you
the colonel, but it hasn’t been easy.
I know he’s really all you’ve had since
Shau’ri died, and he knows that too,
that’s probably why he’s been putting
up with it as long as he has, he doesn’t
want to hurt you. But you have to see
by holding on to him the way you are,
you’re standing in the way of his happiness.”
so astonished by the words coming out of her mouth I can’t do anything
but stand and stare at her. It sounds like
a whole, huge whack of arrogant presumption based on total ignorance of
what is going on between
Jack and me and yet, from her perspective,
the way Jack and I must look to her,
because she doesn’t know the truth, what she’s saying
makes a strange sort of sense. To anyone
know Jack and I are, what we are, which
hopefully is almost everybody, and
certainly is her, our ‘relationship’
probably appears exactly like what she’s saying.
when you look at it that way, from the outside without a clue, I don’t
know who must appear to be more pathetic, him or me.
not doing yourself any good either,” she’s going on.
“You deserve to be happy too, Daniel, and that’s
never going to happen if you’re always standing in the colonel’s shadow. I wish you’d wake up and face the truth;
you’re never going to find anyone to love if you don’t let go and move
on. I engineered
that little date with Lindsay because
I love you, and somebody had to do something because
obviously you weren’t
going to. I know you blew Lindsay off
because you’re not ready to face the
truth and let go of your only friend,
but Daniel you have to, you’ve got
to try to connect with
someone else or you’re eventually
going to end up without anyone.”
Jack finally dumps me for you, you mean.
has no idea what she’s saying but she means every word of it. She thinks I’m a lonely, pathetic loser who’s
using Jack as a substitute for a real relationship and she wants
to save me from my solitary, loveless
I feel awful, for everything I’ve been thinking, everything I’ve said…
it breaks my heart to think of you spending the rest of your life
alone,” Sam tells me, a small tear trickling down the side of her nose.
Sam, you’re so wrong, it’s not like that, not like that at all. I love that you care about me so much, but I’m
okay, really I am.
have to tell her, I have to take a chance she’ll understand she doesn’t
have to worry about either me, or Jack. She
has to know
the truth, here, now, Jack will kill
me later but…
for the best. We care about each other, we love each other. She'll understand. She’ll be happy for me,
eventually, maybe not today but, she will, it’ll be okay.
I can get another word out there’s a faint, rustling sound coming from
the bed behind us.
he faintly grunts.
leaps on the sound like he’s just thrown her a personal life-line.
she cries, wrenching herself from my grip and whirling to rush to his
bedside. “Colonel, it’s me,
it’s Sam, can you hear me?”
bending over him, brushing the hair back from his forehead, staring
entreatingly at his face. Jack is indeed
coming back to us, and true to form, he’s not coming quietly.
– Dan – “he faintly mumbles, his eyes still closed, head starting to
thrash restlessly on the pillow.
Sir,” Sam insists, drawing closer to him while tightly clutching his
hand to her chest. “Sam, it’s Sam.”
– Daniel,” he blurts again, louder, his tone laden with desperate
insistence, struggling in spite of his weakness against Sam’s efforts
to restrain him.
take it easy, Colonel, you’re hurt, you have to lie still!”
can’t get to him, I need to get to him, she’s in the way, she won’t
move, won’t understand she’s not what he wants, he’s calling me, he
roars, his eyes flying open, his back
bowing off the bed.
here,” Sam futilely babbles, trying to be heard over his frantic
all her efforts to restrain and soothe
him are making him more agitated. “I’m
here too, Sir,
you don’t have to – please, Colonel,
please calm down!”
“DANIEL WAIT!” he screams again.
don’t understand, it’s like he doesn’t
even know she’s there, he’s fighting, fighting so bitterly
to get to me, the terror in his voice,
why is he so scared? Oh God, I know, I
he’s remembering… the last thing he
remembers, the last thing I said to
“Sam? Daniel? What’s
here? What’s wrong with the colonel?”
that’s Janet. I have to
get to Jack now!
don’t have time for finesse; I grab Sam and bodily lift her out of the
way, have to reach Jack, make him understand everything is okay so
he’ll stop this before he hurts himself even more.
I’m the only one
who can, and I can’t and don’t have
the time to explain that to Janet!
“DANIEL! DANIEL!” Jack screams again.
He’s so weak and
yet, I can hardly believe this, he’s
batting at my hands, pushing them away, pulling
at the covers, trying to fling them aside, oh my God he’s trying to get
out of bed!
get to me.
Jack, it’s okay, I’m here,” I firmly grasp his face, to focus his
wildly darting gaze, make him look at me, see me.
here, I’m here, amacuse,” I soothe, lowering my voice so only Jack can
hear me. “I’m here. It’s
all right, you can rest easy.”
“Daniel?” Jack’s voice is
weak and pleading, filled with fear
and need. His
eyes, welling with tears dart back
and forth, finally focusing on my face,
just inches from him.
in the infirmary, Jack. You’re safe. Sam and Teal’c are okay, we’re all okay, but
you, you have to calm
down now, Jack and be quiet. Do you
what is he saying, is he asking for me? Colonel?”
Sam, everyone, please, I have to ask you to leave now.”
Sam. Janet. I can’t
them right now, Jack needs me.
hand knots in my shirt with terrifying ferocity, and he pulls me closer
while struggling to speak.
have to – have to tell you – “ his breath is warm in my ear as he
struggles to get the words out.
amacuse, it’s all right, don’t try to talk. You
can tell me later.”
no,” he weakly insists. “Now.”
you have to leave. I have to see to my
– please, not now.
Fraiser, all is well, please allow O’Neill to speak to DanielJackson.”
Teal’c? Where did he come
from? I don’t
know but as usual, his timing is impeccable,
thank you my friend, Jack and I we
need, we need a little time.
be one… Daniel,” Jack gasps, his voice
thready and barely audible. “but if you
were… what I want… for you… to give you… not fair I can’t give you… be
with you like I could if you were… hate… hiding… deserve… you deserve
God, I know what he’s saying, what he means. We can’t be, what we are
to each other, because society isn’t ready to accept love transcends
any barrier. We shouldn’t be
denied the right to love each other
simply because we are the same gender. And
yet, we are. It’s not fair, it’s
not right, but, there it is. We could…
other for all the world to see if that
wasn’t so, if one of us were… different,
and that’s what the
Ancient device saw, the ‘what could
be’ that isn’t he’s wished for, not
a gender change for me, but being able
to ‘be’ with me, the same way he could,
if I were.
of course, being Jack, when the device took him so literally…
want to laugh, I want to cry. I’ve been such a fool.
He humbles me, his devotion and determination, he
fought to stay with me, fought even harder to come back to me and his
first conscious thought, the only thing he wanted, God, look at him,
barely clinging to consciousness, and
yet he won’t let go until he’s absolutely certain I understand how much
my love, you’ll get your wish, we’ll be able to stand hand in hand
before the whole damned world and on that day no
one will be prouder than me.
gonna stop me… no machine… screw… screw the world… you… only you… no
love you so much, Jack.
I gently reassure him, brushing my lips against the side of his face,
as much of
a caress as I dare given there are
at least three pairs of eyes on us. “Te
hand loosens, falls limply away, I feel him sag back with relief into
the pillow. Released from his emphatic grasp I
can lift my head and resume a more
he mouths at me. “Infantia.”
eyes, heavy-lidded, manage a mischievous twinkle before they finally
flutter closed. A soft, contented sigh
seeps past his slightly parted lips.
step back from the bed, Janet immediately muscling past me, her full
focus on Jack. I make my way blindly
toward the nearest chair and sink into
it, relief crashing through me as swiftly
as the adrenaline is draining out. I don’t
to tell me Jack is going to be okay,
and now, I can let go. I can feel every
sleepless, anxious hour I’ve endured
over the past few days weighing me
down. Tired. Okay,
okay to be
tired, it’s almost over, Jack’s okay,
he’s okay, I can sleep soon.
know Sam and Teal’c are somewhere near but no one is speaking and I’m
too exhausted to open my eyes, so I’ll just sit here until someone says
something. Or maybe I’ll… I
could fall asleep, right here, right… now…
okay, he’s okay, he’s okay, thank God, he’s okay.
work, Daniel,” Janet’s soft voice penetrates the fog cloaking my
awareness, jerking me roughly back from the fringes of sleep. “Whatever
you said to the colonel to calm him down, you did a
good job. He’s got some recovery time
ahead of him,
but the worst is over. He’s going to be
knew that, I knew that but to hear her say it...
is indeed good news Doctor Fraiser,” Teal’c says for all of us.
best. Now, I want all of you to get the
heck out of my infirmary and let my patient sleep, oh and by the way,
go get some sleep yourselves. Oh Daniel,
before I forget, the colonel wanted me to tell you something. He said to wish
you Happy Birthday.”
that’s right, it’s my… Well, for the next…
ten minutes, anyway.
that always the way, here’s me with the best reason I’ve ever had to
celebrate my birthday I can remember and it’s almost over.
okay. I’m good. Partying on the inside. Now I know Jack’s okay, I’m better than good,
I get some sleep I’ll be even better.
no. Oh wait. Sam…
I still have to find a way to speak to Sam about…
have to talk about what almost happened to her on P4H um…um...
tired to remember…
I force my eyes open.
is standing closer to me than I realized, and Teal’c is beside her. She’s staring at me, her lips pursed, her eyes
smoky with a lurking, sparking emotion I can’t immediately identify and
I’m too tired to work
out right now.
called for you,” she softly murmurs. “He
blinks hard, several times, her face turning into an expressionless
mask. As I gape stupidly
at her, not quite getting where this
sudden mood shift is coming from she
pivots about and stomps toward the
thinking maybe this wouldn’t be the best time for that talk.
we’ll do it… do it later. Once we’ve both
had some sleep.
will accompany Major Carter,” Teal’c gently informs me.
“I think it would be best if you remain here,
just stay here, then, shall I? For a
minute, only a minute,
in this nice comfy chair… rest my eyes…
I just walked into the grocery store, keep your shirt on, I won’t be
“I know that, I just wanted to go over the list again,
double-check, I think there’s one or two essential items you might
you know damned well what’s on the list and because you’ve only been
released from the infirmary I’m sticking to it
so get over it already, I’m not going
to be picking up any beer - "
“Doughnuts? Daniel, have a heart,
tell me you’ll get me some doughnuts!”
okay, I get it, the snack situation around here is gonna majorly suck
but if I can’t have the doughnuts,
or the chips, or the beer I’ll settle
for a consolation prize.”
Daniel, I’ve been thinking, yanno, you made a hell of a good looking
woman, and while we’re both agreed a full-time Danielle wouldn’t work
for either of
us, have you ever considered…”
mean it, you were totally hot! Think about it, not all the time, of
course, that would be weird, but every once and a while, you might
wanna slip into something… different. Maybe
a dress, nothing too fancy, basic black, a short little sleeveless
number, some ruffles, if you’re feeling really wild and crazy.”
not! We’re not having this conversation
now, or ever again!”
I suppose a bustier is out of the question? How
about fish-net stockings?”
glad you’re home Jack.”
too. Now, hurry up and buy all that
healthy crap you’re determined to bore me
to death with and get your ass back here so we can fight about this
shake my head and put my cell phone back in my shirt pocket. He’s been home less than a half a day and
already he’s got me contemplating at least a dozen ways to put him
right back in the infirmary.
I’ve missed him so much.
now he’s well on the mend and home again, and as soon as I finish the
re-provisioning run I’m going back to him and whipping him up a welcome
home dinner he won’t soon forget.
while the dress thing is completely non-negotiable, I must confess, the
more I think about it I’m finding the stockings idea… interesting…
just keep mulling the possibilities
over while we stroll and shop, that
way we won't be thinking about a certain conversation I've tried to
Sam so far without success, a certain
incident I omitted to include in my
mission report and a huge, worrisome
secret I'm keeping from Jack.
get him better, then, we'll deal with
tell him, I will, but not yet.
trundling my shopping cart down the produce aisle and who should I see
ahead of me fondling an impressive head of lettuce but…
he looks very different without the pretentious monkey suit and the
slicked back hair, but it is, it definitely is.
my good buddy 'Pierre’. Well, imagine that.
Pierre . Small world. You
know what, I’m going to go over there and say hello.
maybe that should be… bon jour.
I’m bad, but you know what, I’ve earned this!
power my cart up to his, banging into it slightly to draw his attention.
me fait plaisir de vous revoir!” I
enthuse, once the guy’s bland gaze swings my way. “Comment allez-vous?”
pretty basic stuff; somebody with high-school French should at the very
least get the ‘how are you’ part.
he’s giving me the big, blank dumb stare. Major
signal, I’m thinking.
let’s have some more fun.
piges pas un mot de ce que je dis, hein?” I
continue cheerily, smiling, nodding and patting him on the shoulder
a long, lost buddy. “Je crois que non. Donne-moi cette
boite-là? Non? Voici mon livre? La
plume de ma tante est sur la table?”
just getting warmed up, contemplating moving on to insulting facial
features and body parts when he emits a long-suffering sigh.
a break, pal,” ‘Pierre’ says in a Minnesotan accent
so broad it would make Jack homesick. “It’s
just a damned
job, I don’t actually speaka da damned
lingo, and for the record, my name
Minnesota! Hah! I knew it!
tosses his lettuce in his cart and beats a hasty retreat.
Flushed with victory and blessed vindication, not to
mention a soupçon of payback I’m happily preparing to complete my
mission when my cell phone rings again.
Jack. What’s he want now?
Daniel, I’ve been thinking, if the dress thing is completely
non-negotiable how do you feel about picking up a nice black
wig on your way home?”
teneo – I understand
Daniel’s speech to ‘ Pierre
’ in English:
I’m pleased to see you again, how are you? You’re
not getting a word of what I’m saying, right? I
think not. Give me that box over there. No? This is my book? My
is on the table?
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