Summary: Was there anything that *wouldn't* go wrong on this mission? No, seriously - Jack wanted to know.
Info: Written for the Cliche-athon on Livejournal. I couldn't decide which cliche to go for, so I went for as many as I could. Many thanks to Mare for the beta.
Jack idly tapped the butt of his weapon, drumming out an aria from Madame Butterfly to the rhythm of his footsteps as he guarded the main door to the temple, glad that for once he was making his rounds from inside the building. His route went from the top of the steps at the entrance, through the open vestibule, and into the temple where the Daniel and Carter were working. It was good to see the Science Twins back in action. After that whole debacle with the Enkarrens, the two of them had been brutally polite to each other for weeks. The tension between them had eased recently and now it looked as if things were back to normal.
Like many of the temples they ran across, this one was composed of large stone blocks laid out in a rectangle with a single room and vaulted ceiling. One lap around the eighty feet by one hundred feet interior, with a quick check that the small back door was still sealed and then it was out through the vestibule for the start of another lap.
Teal'c was walking perimeter around the entire building, about one hundred yards out. Soon it would be time for Teal'c to come in and switch with him. He gazed out from the top step, checking the terrain as well as he could without leaving his designated post, then went back inside for another lap.
In the center of the room, Daniel was examining an altar similar in design to one of those Ancient keyboard consoles like the one that had started the time loop a while back. Carter was checking out an energy signature emanating from a smaller console on the wall across from the main mechanism. Behind him, he heard Teal'c enter the temple for the shift change and stopped to watch the brainier half of SG-1 as he waited for Teal'c to catch up. He heard Daniel say "hmmmm..." and saw him push one of the blocks on the console just as Carter said "huh!" and punched at something on her panel.
A brilliant white light filled the interior of the temple. It didn't seem to have a source, but appeared everywhere at once accompanied by a loud hum. The light intensified and the hum grew louder until there was nothing but solid white so bright that it hurt his eyes even through closed lids and the sound vibrated through him rattling his teeth. A heavy weight hit his shoulders, throwing him off balance and he staggered. Abruptly, the light and sound cut off leaving his ears ringing and his eyes seeing spots.
In front of him, he heard Daniel and Carter making similar "well that was unexpected" noises. Behind him Teal'c grunted. Jack bounced his shoulders up and down, trying to dislodge whatever was clinging to him, but the weight stayed. There was a flapping sound and as his vision cleared he realized that the olive drab and black thing moving in his field of view wasn't one of his team mates, but a wing. Two of them in fact. They were olive drab with a line of black feathers along the edge. Startled, Jack recoiled and the wings moved with him.
Like Carter, Daniel had gone straight back to fiddling with the bit of Ancient tech in front of him, trying to figure out what the hell had happened. Annoyed at the interruption, Daniel didn't look up. Instead, he jerked one shoulder as if shrugging off an unwanted touch. He didn't even give Jack enough attention to respond with an entire word. "Huh?"
"Little problem here." His voice sounded strained even to him. The strain was partly due to the shock of it all and partly due to the physical difficulty involved in staying upright while clumsily trying to furl a ten foot wingspan.
Daniel looked up. His mouth dropped open and his eyes widened. "Oh my god, Jack. You've got wings!"
"Already noticed that, Daniel. Now, get 'em off! Undo whatever you did."
Jack had to repeat himself to get Daniel to stop gawping and start moving. Frowning in concentration, Daniel looked at the console then checked his notes. Instantly engrossed in the problem, Daniel simultaneously wrote in his notebook, tapped his chin thoughtfully, and rubbed his eyes. Normally, he wouldn't be able to do all of those things at once, but then again, Daniel didn't normally have a tentacle coming out of each sleeve of his BDUs along with his arms.
Protruding a couple of feet from each cuff, they were long, slender, and flesh colored. There was a tentacle shaped bulge running up his arm, giving the impression that the tentacles had sprouted from his shoulders, the way that Jack's wings had. Each had a tip that was just a bit flatter and wider than the rest of it that Daniel had used for gripping. They seemed to be remarkably prehensile.
Just as Jack was about to point out the new additions, Daniel noticed them with a start. He made a strangled sound, dropped his notebook and pencil, and looked over at Jack just as Jack finally got his wings folded neatly down his back.
One of Daniel's hands and both tentacles pointed frantically behind Jack as he shouted, "Dinosaur! Dinosaur!"
Whipping around to face where Daniel pointed, Jack saw a large velociraptor with four sets of six inch claws and a mouthful of fangs perfect for ripping and tearing the flesh from nearby colonels. Its big brown eyes had round pupils and a gold tattoo adorned the middle of its forehead. It looked extremely annoyed.
Somehow, just the act of turning its head to face him directly spoke volumes as to the stupidity of Jack's question. Do you see another extinct reptile with the mark of First Prime of Apophis in this area, O'Neill?
Jack had to concede that he didn't.
Addressing Daniel over his shoulder, he ordered, "Fix that too, while you're at it."
Daniel cleared his throat. "I"ll add it to the list."
Crap. Three out of four of them had suffered some kind of transformation. Maybe Carter had been spared. Crossing his fingers, Jack slowly pivoted in her direction.
"Um..guys?" Carter's voice was about half an octave deeper, the way it got when she had a bad cold, only she didn't sound congested at all.
She was standing in the same spot she had been before the light hit them. Her shoulders looked wider, her hips narrower, and she had an Adam's apple bobbing in her neck. She had pulled the waistband of her pants out with both hands as she stared down inside them.
"Oh my god, you're a man." Jack wasn't sure if that was him or Daniel who said that. Might have been both of them at once.
"No! No, I'm not," she said. "Not on the inside at least. I've just got this...this...thing! And it's...it's..."
Carter was blushing heavily and looked mortified. A quick glance down at her crotch confirmed the problem.
"Oh it does that," Jack assured her.
"But I'm not, you know, thinking of anything...you know..."
"It doesn't matter," said Daniel.
"After all these years bivouacking together off-world, you had to have noticed me and Daniel sporting hard-ons when we wake up."
"And Teal'c, too," Daniel reminded him.
Jack shuddered, startled by the way it resonated in his wings. The resultant quiver caused the unaccustomed weight of them to pull at his shoulders. "I didn't want to mention him. Now that he's a critter, I don't want to think about it."
"Oh, but you did before?"
"Think about Teal'c's morning wood." Daniel sounded jealous.
"Will you quit listening to what I'm saying and pay attention to what I mean? Where was I? Oh yeah. Carter, a guy's love shovel--"
"--love shovel?" Daniel looked appalled. Even his tentacles had recoiled up his sleeves in horror. "That's the cheesiest and least enticing euphemism I've ever heard."
"Obviously, you've never played poker with the Marines."
"It has a perfectly acceptable designation," insisted Doctor Pedantic.
"Fine! A guy's penis has a mind of its own." Jack waited for Daniel's nod of approval before continuing to address Carter. "He may not be feeling the least bit frisky and the damn thing swells up. A good example of which is morning wood."
"It also happens during the night while he sleeps or even at random during the day," added Daniel. His tentacles were creeping back out of his cuffs as he relaxed, slithering down the back of his hands. "It might happen during a briefing or in the commissary. Maybe at the library or while shopping."
"Right. And always at the airfield."
"What?" Daniel's tentacles came to a dead stop.
"What, what?" Jack thought he must have lost track of the conversation since he had only been half listening to Daniel.
Instead, he had been wondering whether not wanting to think about the personal area of a transformed Teal'c was hypocritical considering that Jack himself was now blessed with bird parts. He and Daniel were listing places where Mr. Happy got happy all on his own, weren't they?
"Always at the airfield?" Daniel blinked several times. "Always?"
"Hey, me too!" The tips of Jack's wings fluttered in surprise. Who knew Daniel shared his enthusiasm for aviation?
Daniel stared at Jack, eyebrows furrowed. To one side, Jack could hear Sam muttering under her breath. Behind him, Teal'c growled.
Sam craned her head to get a better view of Teal'c without moving from her place. "Dinosaurs don't growl do they?"
"This one seems to." Jack had no idea if they did or they didn't. What mattered was that the question was taking Carter's mind off of her predicament. Or not. She'd already returned to the subject closest at hand, so to speak.
Daniel said, "It's hard to tell what sounds they made since all we have is the paleontological record, but it does seem odd."
Jack made a rude noise. "If you want to tell Teal'c-asaurus that he's doing it wrong, go right ahead. Just be sure to let me know first so I can get out of the way when he shows you his overbite in pointy detail."
"That may be moot, because I think I can reverse this." Daniel picked his notebook up off the floor. "I"m going to reverse the combination of blocks that I had pushed right before this happened."
Jack didn't ask for Carter's opinion. Considering that she now had both hands elbow deep down her pants and looked to be on the verge of tears, he thought it best to give her time for a well deserved freak out. Politely ignoring her, he gave Daniel the order.
"Give it a go."
Daniel slowly pushed one block, then another, then took a deep breath and looked at Jack and Teal'c. Jack braced himself as Daniel pushed the last block down.
There was a white light. There was a hum. This time it was localized, covering Teal'c from their view. When the phenomenon died away, the dinosaur was gone. Unfortunately, in its place was a weird, mutant, mangy, half bald, creepy looking, doglike thing. Its eyes were dark brown and there was a gold crest on its forehead. Even though it only came shin-high to Jack, it looked pissed enough to take his leg off at the knee if it wanted to.
Despite the menace radiating from Teal'c, Jack couldn't help remarking, "Man, these alien creatures get more bizarre with every mission."
"That's not an alien. That's a Chinese crested hairless dog." When Daniel talked, even his tentacles gestured.
Jack's feathers ruffled up in surprise. "You gotta be kidding me! No way that's an Earth dog."
Carter's tenor voice drifted over. "Yes sir, it is. Teal'c and I were watching the Cruft's Dog Show a while back and that was one of the breeds in the competition."
Glancing over to get an idea of how well Carter was coping, Jack was relieved to find that she seemed to have herself under control. Instead of investigating the contents of her panties, she was holding her laptop and reviewing her notes. Jack was proud of how quickly she had pulled herself together.
"I think we need to work both control panels at the same time, Daniel. I recorded the sequence that I had been working on and you've got the sequence you used. I think we accidentally did them simultaneously which is what caused such a strong and varied reaction. Reset your panel, then on my mark we'll work the sequence together."
Daniel nodded and the two of them worked quickly to set it up. Right as Carter was about to start the countdown, there was a hub-bub from the front of the temple.
"Blasphemers! Defilers of the holy sanctum!"
Jack cursed under his breath. The nearest village was a couple of miles off on the other side of the temple away from the gate. Judging from the way the small crowd of stout old men was huffing and puffing, they'd run all the way. Of course, carrying those big cudgels, pitchforks, and rocks hadn't made it any easier for them. The shouting guy was a few steps ahead of the others and acted as if he was in charge. Shouting Guy's weapon of choice was a nail-studded mace with a three foot long handle.
While SG-1 did its best to avoid bloodshed, there was no freaking way Jack would let his team be slaughtered in the name of pacifism. He figured a burst from his P-90 right over their heads would slow that group down. Of course, that could also mean a lecture from Daniel on the damage inflicted on the artwork in the temple where the rounds impacted, but as long as Daniel was still alive to chastise him, Jack could sit through it.
Reaching for the weapon clipped to his vest, Jack stepped forward.
There was no weapon clipped to his vest. There was no weapon on the floor around him. There was no handgun nestled reassuringly in the holster strapped to his thigh. A quick visual inventory showed that Daniel's Beretta was missing also and Sam's P-90 and zat gun were both gone. Come to think of it, although the rest of the team still wore their BDU's, Teal'c's clothes had disappeared as had his staff weapon and zat.
Barring major injury, Jack had never been so distracted that he'd lost track of a weapon before. He should have realized long before this that their weapons were AWOL. Granted, there was kind of lot going on, but still--he'd made a huge tactical error. The group of yahoos bearing down on them could easily kill them with their low-tech weaponry.
When Shouting Guy halted a few yards away, his raggedy posse stopped also, staying a couple of steps behind him. Looked like Jack was right--Mr. Shouty was the leader hereabouts.
"No one may touch the holy relics without first being purified! You have defiled our temple!"
Stepping closer to the man, but staying well out of range of his mace, Daniel tried to open a dialogue. "We extend our sincerest apologies. We were unaware of any ceremony that--"
"Ignorance does not excuse!" If Shouty pointed that finger any harder, he'd start poking holes in the atmosphere around him.
"I understand, but is there--"
"Foul besmircher! Outsiders! Unbelievers! You have tainted the holiness and it must be cleansed!"
Jack wondered how much longer Shouty could keep up the volume. His own throat was starting to get sore in sympathy.
"Fine," Jack spoke before Daniel could get another word out. "We'll cleanse. Is there a ceremony for that?"
"You must show submission to the gods by returning the fluid of your body which they gifted to you in their benevolence."
"Rrrrright. And that fluid would be?"
"The full measure of lifeblood coursing through your veins must be spilled to appease the gods!"
"Not gonna happen," Jack said flatly as he spread his wings out to their full span and radiated intimidation.
Hairless crested Teal'c's high pitched growl would have been funny under other circumstances, but any humor at the sound was negated by the aura of ruthless viciousness he projected. In his peripheral vision, Jack noted Carter drifting closer to him and Daniel, ready to mix it up if need be. In front of him, the posse bunched up a bit more behind their leader as if in defense and Shouting Guy finally toned it down.
"It has always been thus. You must all be sacrificed to appease the gods. "
"How about some other gift to the gods?" asked Daniel.
Shouting Guy shook his head. "For outsiders there is only one punishment, although it has been many generations since it has been meted out."
"Oh, we're not outsiders," claimed Jack. Hopefully, Shouting Guy wouldn't notice the surprised looks his teammates gave him. "In fact, we're here because we heard about this great fancy temple you had and just had to come see it for ourselves."
"If that is so, why did you not stay outside undergoing the purification rites for three days?"
"We do things a little differently in our neck of the words," Jack blithely explained, which was even true. They did do things differently on Earth, starting with not worshiping false gods.
"If you are outsiders and we let you perform the cleansing ritual for believers, the gods will know."
"Tell you what," suggested Daniel, "why don't you let us perform the ritual for believers and then let the gods decide to accept it or not? They'll know, right? So there would be a sign or something, yes?"
"Well...I suppose we could do it that way." Shouting Guy lowered his weapon. Behind him his posse did the same. "Plus, after the spilling of the lifeblood comes the disposal of the bodies which is quite a lot of work." He took a moment to scratch one sweaty armpit while mulling it over. "Very well, then. In order to cleanse the temple you must offer up the act of creation, anointing the altar with the gift of life-creating fluids."
"Oh fer--How is getting joy juice on this contraption going to cleanse it? Huh?"
Beside him Daniel turned a delicate shade of green. "I've been touching this with my bare hands."
"Parts of the panel are really sticky."
In synch, Jack and Sam said, "Ew."
Hairless Crested Teal'c growled "Ew."
"How are we going to do this? Teal'c isn't people anymore and thanks to Carter switching channels, we've all got penises.
"A penis never bothered you before," huffed Daniel.
Jack hurried to reassure his lover. "Your penis is fine! It's more than fine--it's great. But you know that I'm only gay for you, Daniel."
He heard Carter gasp and realized he should have censored that last statement. Although Daniel had pressed him to divulge their romantic relationship to her and Teal'c, Jack had been putting it off, telling himself that they probably knew anyway. Guess not. Well, at least not where Carter was concerned.
Teal'c sneezed but Jack wasn't sure if that was meant as an editorial Your confidence in your powers of misdirection and level of discretion have been sadly mistaken if you believe I was unaware of your level of involvement with Daniel Jackson comment or if it was an ordinary dog sneeze. Then Teal'c glared up at him while widdling on Jack's boot and Jack knew without doubt it was the former.
"Jack, we've discussed this before. There is such a thing as bisexuality. Remember that Kinsey scale we talked about?"
Great. Was there any circumstance under which Daniel couldn't come up with a lecture? Jack clearly remembered hearing the term Kinsey scale. Daniel had used it several times during his little talk about sexuality and the varieties thereof, and at first it had freaked him out because all he could picture was that walking butt-munch Senator Kinsey. But since Daniel also had chosen that time to start fondling Jack's favorite body parts, the association had faded quickly. Unfortunately, he remembered precious little else from that talk. He had, however, gained a tendency to get aroused at hearing the term Kinsey scale.
Speaking to Shouty, Daniel asked, "Does your law specify the exact manner in which the act of procreation must occur?"
Shouty looked puzzled.
"I mean," Daniel continued, "does it have to be, um." Daniel made a circle with the thumb and forefinger of one hand and poked the index finger of his other hand through the circle a couple of times. "Or can it be anything that results in the, um, life-creating fluids?"
Shouty turned to his posse, gesturing for them to gather near him. They huddled up for a sharply whispered conversation. Eventually he emerged to announce that any act would suffice as long it was a productive one.
"Great!" said Jack. "And since we all came here as one group we should only need one of us to do the act."
The cudgels, pitchforks, and rocks came up again to aim at SG-1.
"You try my leniency! Already you have been given concessions such as no one has ever received and still you ask for more!" Shouty was turning the volume back up. Also, there was spit. Shaking his mace to show he meant business, he said, "You all shall perform the act or you all shall die!"
Undeterred, Jack tried again, "Yeah, but we're a team. One for all and all for one and all that horse crap. As leader of the local yokels, you act on behalf of all your people, right?"
Jack ignored Daniel's bitten off protest at his choice of words. Luckily, yokel didn't seem to be in Shouty's vocabulary because while he frowned at the term, he didn't protest.
It took twenty-two minutes of tense negotiation that included pantomime from Daniel, several displays of teeth-baring from Teal'c and a series of hastily created flow charts and diagrams from Carter before a final agreement was reached. Two members of SG-1, one for each control panel that had been touched, would participate in the ritual in the manner agreed upon by Shouty and his group with said participating team members to be chosen by Jack.
What SG-1 was unable to get was permission to use the panels again afterwards and without that, they'd never have a chance to change back. Luckily Carter's Spanish was nearly as flawless as Daniel's, and Jack's was good enough to get his plan across right under the noses of Shouty and his bunch. As long as the team moved quickly, they should have one shot at it.
But first--the mutual hand jobs.
Mindful both of their audience and the potentially lethal party favors they carried, Jack and Daniel shuffled warily over to the main console to stand in front of the mutually agreed upon target area which in their case was a specific portion of the right leg of the console. Jack's snarky comments about the physical dimensions of the guys who could stand on the temple floor and still hit the top of the console had derailed the discussions for several minutes before Shouty allowed a hit anywhere on the contraption to count as a bullseye.
Jack undid his own trousers as did Daniel and the ritual commenced. Daniel seemed to be suffering from performance anxiety and Jack had to admit that he wasn't up to his usual standard either. It was difficult to ignore the many pairs of eyes staring at them. Jack unfolded his wings, curving them around Daniel as a shield. It wasn't the total privacy they would have preferred, but it was better than being on display like some peep show.
Daniel's flagging interest snapped from half mast to full mast. Jack had a sudden resurgence of interest himself. Whatever Daniel was doing to him was different from his usual technique but it felt pretty damn good. Glancing down, Jack saw one of the tentacles curled in a spiral around Mr. Happy. Holy crap! Jack flushed and his heart rate nearly doubled. One of Daniel's hands was...and his other hand was...and oh my god was that the other tentacle? And with that, Jack completed the ritual. Once he could see again and had regained control of his fine motor skills, he made sure that Daniel followed soon after.
While he and Daniel tucked themselves back in place, Shouty came over to officially approve the ritual results.
Facing his people, Shouty raised his arms dramatically and proclaimed "The temple has been cleansed!"
Now it was time for Jack to implement Plan B.
Indulging in theatrics of his own, Jack gestured broadly toward the front doors, putting on his best gawking-in-terror face and yelled, "What the hell is THAT?"
As the yokels turned to stare where he had pointed, Daniel and Carter sprinted for their consoles. Making eye contact to be sure they were in synch, they pressed blocks as fast as they could. A cry went up from the locals as they realized they had been tricked. Jack moved forward, wings spread to run interference for his team. Something whizzed past his head and behind him he heard a thunk and Daniel exclaimed "Ow!"
Then it was bright light, hum, yadda. Sometimes knowing what to expect was more difficult to take than being surprised by it. The light seemed brighter and more painful to his eyes. The hum rattled more forcefully and was harder to bear. He felt a weight leave his shoulders and something brushed ever so faintly against his chest and outer thigh. The light and hum faded out. He could see again.
SG-1 had been restored to their original selves, complete with clothes and weapons. Daniel was just getting up from the floor, a big goose egg on his forehead and a plum-sized rock on the floor next to him. The yokels had been transformed into a clutch of very cranky looking turtles of varying sizes. Their homegrown weapons were nowhere in sight.
"Everybody okay?" Jack patted his beloved P-90 in relief. It was good to have Betsy back where she belonged.
Carter peeked into her pants then smiled. "I'm fine, sir!" Her voice was normal as was the rest of what Jack could see.
"I am myself again, O'Neill." Teal'c had a grip on his staff weapon that suggested he wasn't letting go of it anytime soon.
"Who are you guys and what am I doing here?"
Daniel was standing by the console, holding one hand to his head.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Very funny, Daniel. Come on - shake a leg."
Jack reached out, intending to put a hand on Daniel's back and guide him forward as he often did. Frowning, Daniel moved out of the way.
"No, really. Who are you? For that matter, who am I?"
"Oh fer cryin' out loud, Daniel--you have to remember your name!"
Daniel's forehead crinkled up as though he was thinking really hard then he hesitantly asked, "Is it...Leroy?"
For once, Jack found himself at a loss for words.
"O'Neill, I suggest we leave now and unravel this new problem at the SGC." Teal'c was using his staff weapon to push away two of the turtles which had crawled over and were snapping at his ankles. The rest of the turtles were heading their way.
"He's right, sir. We don't know how long the natives will stay like this. For all we know, they could change back any minute."
"I know, but it is still possible, sir."
Jack figured he must be looking as cranky as the turtles by now. "Fine," he said, though it clearly wasn't. "We'll go."
Daniel and Carter gathered up and repacked their various reference materials. On their way out of the temple, Daniel remarked on the similarity between the friezes on the temple walls and those of some obscure little Macedonian something other. Jack had heard the same thing in the briefing and he cared even less now.
The scrape of carapace over stone signaled the natives' determined pursuit. Hampered by their new form, their hell-bent-for-leather pace translated into something just this side of glacial creep. Still, it wouldn't do for SG-1 to dawdle. They never knew what other dangers lurked around any corner.
The trip back to the gate was made in haste with one eye out for hostiles, but they got there without incident. Either the turtles hadn't changed back into natives or, if they had, they thought better of chasing after SG-1. Jack didn't really care what the reason was, as long as his team got home safely.
When they got to the gate, Daniel went straight to the DHD as usual. Unerringly, he entered the address for Earth then tapped in the iris code on his GDO.
As they arrived in the gate room at the SGC, Daniel came to a dead stop in the middle of the ramp and was looking around with an air of wonder. Brushing past him, Jack continued to the end of the ramp where Teal'c and Carter were giving the bullet point summary version of the mission to General Hammond and Janet Fraiser.
His attention drawn by the sound of the kawoosh collapsing and the iris receding, Daniel wandered back up the ramp to examine the gate. He stared at it closely, then pulled back to peer from farther away before getting up close and personal again. The whole time his hands were running over the lines and symbols etched into its surface.
"I'm going to order all of you to the infirmary," said General Hammond. "Doctor Fraiser, in light of the physical changes they underwent, I want extra tests done. I want to be sure my people are well, understood?"
"Janet, there's something wrong with Daniel." Carter cast a worried look Daniel's way. "He doesn't remember who we are."
"Then we'll start the tests with him." Raising her voice slightly to get his attention, Janet said, "Daniel, why don't you come with me to the infirmary?"
Daniel didn't acknowledge her but continued feeling up the gate.
"Hey!" called Jack. "Leroy!"
Daniel looked up enquiringly.
"You. Me. Infirmary. Now."
Jack felt a shiver run through him at the wrongness when Daniel immediately obeyed. On the walk to the infirmary Jack, with the help of Carter and Teal'c, filled the Doc in on the details of their physical transformations. By the time Fraiser had Daniel seated on a bed, Jack had finished relating the details of the rock and Daniel's subsequent memory problems.
"He can't remember anything from before he got hit in the head, not even his name. He thinks his name is Leroy for pete's sake. Leroy!"
"But he still has all of his educational knowledge, has no difficulty retaining new memories, and his motor skills are completely normal, right?"
"Yeah, Doc. How'd you know?"
Janet shined her penlight into Daniel's eyes. "It's a classic case of Movie Amnesia."
"Is that a common condition?" Carter asked curiously.
"Oh sure." Janet pocketed her penlight. "Happens all the time on soap operas."
"Indeed," said Teal'c. "When Bethany Serena Lamont-Beaumont-Dupree was nine and a half months pregnant with the triplets resulting from her affair with her twin sister's stepson, she was kidnapped by a rogue band of manicurists who had a grudge against the strip mining practices of the glue-on false nail manufacturing corporation owned by her adoptive father, Terrance, who formerly had been her aunt, Teresa. While being abducted, Bethany Serena received a vigorous blow to the head from an unusually large pumice stone which caused her to lose all of her memories prior to the incident. Luckily, she soon went into labor, a condition which is well known among daytime dramas as a cure for amnesia."
"We have got to get you a hobby," said Jack. "Model cars. Stamp collecting. I don't care. Just, for the love of God, lay off the soap operas."
"I will give up my daytime serial dramas when you admit to the true reason you retreat into the woods alone with an issue of Advanced Aviation magazine at least once every other mission.
There was a split second delay before Daniel made a face and said, "Ew!"
"What? What?" Carter looked back and forth between them, like a person watching a tennis match.
Daniel made a hand gesture similar to that of a person shaking a pair of dice, only he held his hand lower. Much lower.
"Ew!" She wrinkled her nose at Jack. "To photos of airplanes?
"Hey! Those airplanes happen to be the cutting edge in military and commercial aircraft." Jack's chin lifted defensively, as if preparing for a physical fight.
Janet patted him on the arm. "Your kink is not my kink, Colonel, but your kink is okay," she soothed.
"I'm not kinky!" he insisted, focusing on Carter. For some reason it was more important that she understand than the others. "It's a perfectly normal reaction to seeing the latest in shiny, high-tech, titanium, airborne, muscle power printed in all its glossy full-color glory. It could happen to anybody. Really."
"I do not believe that to be so, O'Neill."
Crap. There was a reason Teal'c had morphed into a predator earlier. Once he targeted prey he was relentless in pursuit. Jack half wished he was still dealing with the mutant dog version of transformed Teal'c. Not only would Teal'c be unable to speak as a dog, but he'd be small enough to control. Problem solved before it even started.
"Oh yeah? Then why do they always have a centerfold photo, huh?" Jack played his trump card, but it didn't have the effect he had hoped. In fact, it didn't seem to have any effect at all. When he tossed that bit of info out there he'd been hoping for a resounding splash but it was more like trying to track the ripples from one raindrop on the ocean in the middle of a storm.
"Oh, my God," Daniel exclaimed. "That explains the time you wanted to play 'Top Gun' with me. I always wondered why you were so intent on watching Navy pilots. "
Carter, blushed but spoke anyway. "To be fair, Daniel, I think more than one couple out there may have played some version of that. I mean, hypothetically speaking, some women wouldn't mind picking up a guy to play Tom Cruise to her Kelly McGillis which I myself have never ever done. Ever. Certainly not several times a year. Not that there would be anything wrong with that if I did. Which I haven't. Ever.
"Maybe." Daniel crossed his arms. "Except Jack wasn't Tom Cruise."
"Hey, now!"Jack had the feeling that Daniel was deliberately getting revenge for the TMI that Jack had let slip back on P-Mess-With-Your-DNA. "You know the rule. What happens at the cabin stays at the cabin!"
"It wasn't the cabin, it was the supply closet on level 28 during the last quarantine drill and you were a fighter jet!"
Shushing and waving his hands frantically, Jack tried to stop the conversation, but it was no use.
Ignoring Jack's outburst, Carter asked, "If the Colonel was a jet, were you Tom Cruise? Or Kelley McGillis?"
Daniel hmphed. "Neither. I was the aircraft carrier that Jack the Jet had to land on at night in rough seas."
There were snickers from both women and a suppressed smile from Teal'c.
Of all the times for Daniel to mouth off about their private exploits, this was...hey. Wait a second...
"Hey! Wait a second! How come Daniel can remember stuff again?"
"Simple." Janet pointed to a small white jar on the bedside table. Next to it was one of Siler's wrenches. " While everyone was staring at the big pervert with the airplane fetish, I used the standard technique of applied phlebontinum in combination with a kinetic therapy. In this case that means I rubbed Daniel's temples with a cream the Tok'ra gave us after which I bonked him on the head a second time. Instant cure!
Teal'c nodded his approval. "It has worked every time on "Days of Our Bold, Young, and Restless General Hospital Doctors In Love".
Jack said nothing but made a mental note to get Teal'c out of the Mountain and away from cable television more often.
"Now that Daniel's all sorted out, the rest of you need your post-mission physicals. Oh, look." Janet pulled on a rubber glove with a snap. "There's a glove here with your name on it, Colonel."
Alarmed, Jack moved out of her reach. In his haste, he tripped over over his own feet and lost his balance. Arms flailing, he hit the floor with a thump.
Instead of concrete, Jack was laying face down on wooden floorboards. Cold wooden floorboards. He shivered as the chill leeched through his threadbare flannel pajamas to his skin. He was in the cabin and, it seemed, had fallen out of bed. Jack rolled over on his back. The light from a barely risen winter sun seeped through the bars on the window, striping the room with palest yellow. He shivered again. It was mornings like this when he missed electricity the most.
"What're you doing down there?" Daniel's head poked over the side of the bed to peer sleepily down at him.
"Rerun of Planet DNA Mixmaster."
Daniel reached a hand down to help Jack up. "You dreamed about that again?"
Jack shoved Daniel over and climbed back under the covers. They lay on their backs, side by side, close enough to touch. "Yeah, it all unfolded exactly as it did on the mission except for a little bit at the end of the dream when you were in the infirmary. You have to admit, that was the most memorable mission we ever had."
Daniel nodded. "And one of the last, before it all went to hell. Was it the version where Janet is completely unlike herself and comes after you with the glove?"
Jack nodded. "Yeah, and while Fraiser was fixing your amnesia there was this weird conversation right before she came at me."
"Ah. Teal'c and his soap operas. I remember that conversation."
"But that's ordinary weird. This other one was weird weird."
The airplane conversation replaying in his dream had occurred, just not at that time. It had come at the tail end of a team night at his house that included Janet as well as SG-1 and involved a pot of chili, a huge spread of make-your-own tacos, a case of Corona, and two bottles of Tequila.
Daniel had conked out at one end of the couch before the drinking games had gotten started in earnest and thereby completely missed Jack being outed as an airplane enthusiast of a different sort. At the time of the revelation, Carter had been shocked way into TMI territory as she tried to make Jack feel less like a weirdo, Teal'c had been way too amused at Jack's expense, and Janet's laissez faire attitude had been a relief but also had made Jack wonder what bedroom quirks she might be hiding. Apparently, none of them had ever mentioned it to Daniel afterwards.
"You'd think that mission would be wild enough by itself. I don't know why your subconscious keeps insisting on adding extra oddness." After a moment Daniel added, "You know, I kind of wish you had kept the wings. Just for a little while. You looked really handsome with them."
"I wish you still had tentacles. Flexible, yet strong with full gripping power."
"Pervert," teased Daniel. "Now that it's morning, I can officially say merry Christmas."
Jack kissed him. "Merry Christmas, Daniel. I suppose I should get up and get the fire stoked but I'd rather cuddle up here with you a bit longer."
"Well, then it's a good thing I brought this with me last night instead of putting it under the tree."
Sitting up, Daniel rummaged in the nightstand on his side of the bed for a moment, then produced a thin flat rectangular item covered in cloth.
As Daniel handed the Christmas present to Jack, he sighed and commented, "I'm sorry I couldn't do better. Nothing's been the same since the apocalypse."
While Jack agreed, he automatically fell into 'cheer up Daniel' mode. "Aw, it's not so bad for the most part, aside from the occasional zombie of course, but at least they migrate south for the winter. We finally have plenty of time together here in the peaceful Minnesota wilderness where the fish are always biting." Jack looked at his present again, wondering what shape the item, probably a magazine judging by the outline, would be in after all these years. "Though I have to admit, it has sucked all the fun out of Christmas. How many essential supplies or pretty rocks or perfect pine cones can you exchange before it all seems pointless? Where'd you get this, anyway?"
"On that scavenging trip last month. Remember when you were loading up on canned goods from the general store, and I told you I was going off to the bathroom? I snuck off to the convenience store one street over instead." At Jack's glare, Daniel rolled his eyes. In the long-suffering tone of someone who has heard the same warnings over and over again, he said, "Yes, Jack, I was careful to avoid the plague-riddled corpses. Besides, there's little left but bones by now so I'm sure any contagion is long gone."
"So, the whole trip back to the cabin when I was lecturing you on the benefits of fiber, you were carrying my Christmas present?"
"Yep." Daniel nodded then shrugged. "It did take me longer to accomplish my errand than I had estimated so it's no wonder you were so obsessed with my intake of roughage. You thought I'd spent all thirty minutes on a bathroom break."
Jack slid the magazine out of the pillowcase that had served as wrapping paper. The glossy finish had long since vanished from the faded pages, all of which were wrinkled from water damage and the spine was mildewed. His gaze shifted from the state of the magazine to its content and his breath caught in his throat. Daniel had gotten him what could well be the only remaining copy of Advanced Aviation. With a trembling hand, he carefully opened it at the center, revealing the two-page photo of the most innovative aircraft of its day.
"So...it's a little banged up, but you like it right?" Daniel looked at him anxiously. "I thought I remembered you always bringing along the latest copy when we went off-world."
Suddenly reminded of his dream, Jack cleared his throat. Despite what the Daniel in his dream had said, he had never shared this particular fantasy with him. They'd done a lot of things in that supply room, but never the jet fantasy.
Well, hell. He'd never know if he never asked. Besides, it wasn't like they had anything better to do since the apocalypse had cut down their entertainment options as well as gift giving ones.
In a voice shaky with nerves Jack said, "There's a reason I liked watching the movie Top Gun together. The sex afterward was always fantastic and I can tell you the reason why."
There was a tiny gasp from Daniel, then big blue eyes turned his way. "Oh god. You know, don't you?"
Okay. That was unexpected. And why did Daniel sound nervous? Jack was the one about to admit to a long held and mostly private fantasy. What was going on here? "And just what is it that I know?"
Daniel nibbled at his bottom lip. "Every time that movie played, I'd watch those hot alpha pilots land those powerful jets hard and fast, pounding their machines against the rolling deck of the aircraft carrier again and again, and...and..." Daniel faltered then took a deep breath and blurted out, "I used to pretend I was the carrier servicing jet after jet and it got me hard as hell."
Stunned, Jack sat with his mouth open and his brain shut.
Daniel had fantasized...this whole time while Jack was...Daniel had...
"Um, Jack? You, um, you don't think that's too bizarre or disgusting do you?" Daniel crossed and recrossed his arms as if he wasn't sure what to do with his hands.
Jack's brain clicked back on and he smiled. After setting the magazine carefully on the nightstand, Jack rolled on top of Daniel. Holding Daniel's arms loosely over his head, Jack kissed him thoroughly. Daniel moaned and rolled his hips up against Jack's.
Jack pulled his head back just long enough to make eye contact and say, "Daniel, this is your lucky day." When Daniel looked at him quizzically, Jack put his mouth right by Daniel's ear and whispered, "I've got my tail hook deployed and I'm coming in hot for a landing."
And the game was on.
Author's Note: I really appreciate feedback. Also, check out my J/D friendship fic under Catsmeow at The Alphagate http://www.thealphagate.com/viewuser.php?uid=381