Summary: Over time Jack has learned to be open to his perceptions of new things. This time it's going to pay off like he never imagined
Jack didn't care for the guy who was currently talking with his kids, mainly Daniel and Carter, for he came off as slimy and without morals...i.e. dangerous. Maritine Xhone was dangerous, he was a bounty hunter, but not like Airis Boch from time gone by, who did what he did to survive, this guy did it for pleasure. The only reason this hunter was alive in Jack's personal book was because this hunter was not after his team. He was after a more 'elusive' and more 'profitable' prey and was in the process of sharing some basic information...for 'humanitarian' reasons, since this prey was lethal and non-discriminate to its targets. Jack suppressed his snort, the guy lost his target and wanted extra help without the cost of paying for it, but his kids had gotten caught up in the story about a shape-shifter prowling in the area of this otherwise non-interesting planet.
They hadn't expected to find anyone here, much less the bounty hunter who had made the error of firing at his team, who had quickly shown this idiot the error of his ways and captured him. Jack didn't bother suppressing the smirk that came to his face at this thought, and the greasy brown eyes of the bounty hunter looking...glaring at him, only made him smile more.
"Sir, this is fascinating," Carter expressed with her natural scientific excitement.
"Get too fascinated and you're a dead woman, Major Carter," Maritine interjected firmly.
"I find it hard to believe that such a creature who is able to...allude you so well, isn't a sentient being," Daniel thought out loud.
"I never said it couldn't think," Maritine griped at Daniel, not getting the responses he was wanting from these...Tau'ri. "It thinks alright...where it's going to get its next meal and who its next victim will be. It needs to kill...take its shape to survive, but it can't keep it for long, then it's off to the next one...long line of bodies," Maritine informed them. The humanoid hunter glared and once more looked at those who shared this planet with him at the moment. "Look, I have things to do. If you don't mind, I'd like to go now."
Jack could tell Carter wanted to ask more scientific questions on the matter and Daniel...he was smart and though he hadn't quite pieced it together, Jack could tell he was sensing a flaw in this 'man's' story also. Teal'c just arched a brow, his indication that he saw no need to detain the hunter any longer either.
"No...you're free to go. Just...watch where you step," Jack smirked, and you didn't need to be a genius to know it wasn't a warm and fuzzy one. He then was pleased to see Maritine scramble to get his techno-gizmos, that had Carter drooling over, and depart with much swiftness.
"Sir, we might have been able to learn something..." Carter tried to protest.
"The man is a liar," Jack replied without hesitation. He could smell his kind from miles away.
"A partial one at best," Daniel agreed, nodding as he looked at Jack. "He said there was a trail of bodies, but if that were the case, the creature would bring a lot of attention to its presence and then it wouldn't be so easy for it to hide, now would it? I'm not sure what the truth is, other than he wants to capture it...badly," he added looking at all of his teammates to know they too had taken notice of how dangerous Maritine was.
Jack felt pleased that some of the na´ve aspect of the younger man was finally falling away. "We still have eighteen hours here, and a mission to finish. Carter, you and Teal'c go tend to those soil samples while Daniel and I set up camp, since there are not fancy rocks for Daniel to play with," Jack grinned, knowing that Daniel was going to get a taste of what it was like for him and Teal'c when the wonder-twins were busy at work on a non-hostile planet; not that he wanted things to be dangerous, but that wasn't the point at the moment now was it?
"Yes, sir" Carter replied, her disappointment in not gaining any access to Maritine's doohickeys clear, but Jack knew she was a professional and would do her job.
The evening went smoothly, Maritine kept his distance and there didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary, but Jack had ordered watches none the less, Daniel first, as he was a night owl, then Carter, Teal'c and now he was on the last watch, which on some planets he rather enjoyed, for he got to see the stars and the sunrises, which he secretly marveled at constantly. This morning was no exception, filled with deep purples, soft pinks and a touch of lime green? In about half an hour he'd stoke up the campfire and get the coffee on and, if he were feeling generous, he'd even start breakfast. He didn't like to spoil his kids...too much, or they might expect him to make breakfast all the time. Nope, had to keep them on their toes, plus it wasn't easy transporting fresh ingredients either. Since his gut told him this was going to be a more 'relaxed' mission, the proverbial 'cake-walk' usually turning into 'pits of hell' not withstanding, he'd brought some pancake mix that needed only water, a container of egg mix in a heavy insulated thermos to keep them from spoiling and some bacon; it had been a while since he'd done breakfast and thought today would be a good one.
Relaxing a bit on a large rock, Jack once more marveled at the unique sky, but when the hairs on his hand that was resting on the rock started to rise, he jumped with feline speed and turned his P-90 at whatever it was that was about to disturb him. Forcing himself to remain calm, he noticed what looked like a small almost transparent blob, oozing its way up on top of the rock. It was about the size of a softball but a bit wider and seemed to...pulsate...breathe? Simply sitting there...staring...something back at Jack, not moving.
It didn't take long for Jack to wonder if this was what Maritine was looking for, and though the soldier in him wanted to shoot, his own instincts, and his time with Daniel impressing on him not to judge things by appearance, told him he should not be so hasty. "Make any rash movements and I'll shoot," Jack said to the blob, then suddenly felt a bit foolish, for one, he didn't know if this was that shape-shifter and two, if it could understand him, even if it was. Deciding looking foolish was unavoidable, he continued on, keeping his voice low at the moment. "You that...shifter...thingy, that slimeball Marintine..." Jack stared at the blob, "Er...no offense," he heard himself say, feeling that perhaps he should wake Daniel and the others.
Jack raised the P-90 just a bit as the blob shifted, literally before his eyes into a large section of moss, then a rock about the size of its original mass, then back to its own Jell-O like form. Arching a brow and lowering his gun a little. "If you can understand me, turn into that...moss like thing again," Jack said, wondering if this excitement he was feeling at seeing the Jell-O being immediately go into the moss shape, was what his kids felt when they made new discoveries. Jack may not care for scientists, but he himself loved discovery too, his love of astronomy and flying a big part of that, but this was something no one on Earth had ever seen, and he had a feeling not many out HERE did either.
"Okay, we'll do a bit of yes and no questions, unless you can talk to me more directly?" he asked, then waited and the blob just...sat there. "Okay...moss for yes...rock for no? How about that?" Jack felt a bit of pride at his success at being able to discover a form of communication with the...being, as it turned to moss for a moment then quickly turned back.
"Okay, now were getting somewhere," he nodded. "But for the record, you have any designs on making one of my kids your next meal...I'll shoot, or worse, worse, turn you over to that sli...er...low-life, Maritine, got it?"
The blob shifted once more to moss then back again. "Good," Jack said, relaxing only a little, though his instincts were not detecting any danger from this creature, even if he was a bit freaked out by it. He was about to ask another question when the blob melted into moss very quickly and Jack's ears twitched, company was coming. Jack, always having been a man of action, made a decision based on his gut, "Teal'c," he called out just loud enough for the Jaffa to hear him, knowing that Teal'c didn't Kel-no-reem deeply on missions.
Moments later, Teal'c emerged from the tent he and Carter shared, ready for battle. "O'Neill," he said, and then looked in the direction Maritine was approaching.
"Wake the others," Jack said as casually as he could, while moving to start the campfire. Sadly breakfast might not be achieved as desired. "Lost your way, Valentine?" Jack growled out, as the flames started to build in strength and the hunter coming into full view. He knew insulting the man by purposely using the wrong name from the get go should put him off his mark, or so he could hope.
Jack watched as Carter came out and a bit to his surprise, Daniel, but since it was Teal'c who woke him and not Jack as usual, Daniel had to know it was important for he got up, though it didn't stop the man from bitching so early.
"You woke me up without coffee?" Daniel growled a little, looking adorable as he normally did when he woke first thing in the morning, hair a mess, face a touch flushed from sleep and relaxed from the many layers of masks the man used to keep others out; something Jack understood very well.
"Patience, Grasshopper, we have company," Jack replied, moving the grate over the fire and placed on the ready to go, coffee pot to heat up. Then he rose to his feet and moved out to meet Maritine who was now practically on top of the camp, noticing that Teal'c had his staff weapon and had moved strategically to the side of the potential problem, as desired. "What do you want, Carmine?"
The hunter bristled at the insulting misuse of his name, "It's Maritine, and I have reason to believe that...thing is in the area, Tau'ri," he snapped, holding up one of his doohickeys, which was flashing.
"That can detect the shape-shifter?" Carter asked in genuine awe, her sleepy eyes growing wide with wonder, though she did a scan of the area with them first, the solider in her not to be denied, and threat-assessed as her CO had taught her.
"Yes, but not completely, just if it's in the general vicinity," Maritine replied, trying to move forward, but found his way blocked by Jack. After seeing Jack was not going to move right away, he pulled out another item, then heard the sound of a staff weapon warming up and looked to see Teal'c had him in his sight, "I'm just making sure none of your people were taken," he replied, moving out the small box from his vest very slowly. "It's just another scanner," he said, and pointed it at Jack, and then looked displeased, "You're...you," he replied.
"Thanks, I'd hate to wake up and not be me," Jack countered. "Carter," he called her forth, and let Maritine, take a quick 'scan' as it were, then Daniel, both coming up 'normal' to the disappointment of Maritine. "You'll have to be real nice with the big guy, if you want to scan him. He's not as easy as we are...you might have to resort to flowers and chocolates, soften him up first," Jack smirked.
Maritine looked disgustedly at Jack, then his other gizmo beeped and he picked it up and pointed it in upward, where they saw a bird flying away fast. He grabbed for his weapon, but halted at the P-90 in his face. "It's the creature!" he shouted. "You're letting it get away!" he growled as it flew out of sight.
Jack noticed the moss was gone and felt a bit...sad, that the little guy had gone, but at least it had a head start on this creep. "I have no idea what you're talking about...that was bird, you moron. Perhaps you should go home and have your mommy explain real and imaginary friends, hmm?" Jack sneered at the hunter.
"Jack..." Daniel started to interject, but a look silenced him, and Jack was grateful that the archeologist listened for a change. It also meant that he had figured out what Jack had been up to; they didn't call Daniel a genius for nothing, even if he was a flake much of the time.
Jack backed off, then with a gesture of his rifle, indicated Maritine was free to go his way, which he did, in quite a hurry. "Carter, if you're done here, we can pack it in," he said firmly, watching Martine vanish into the woods after his prey.
"Sir, what was...that all about?" Carter asked, for though not always as quick as Daniel she too was smart.
"You were protecting the shifter?" Daniel asked, his eyes amazed and curious if that was indeed the case.
Jack didn't like to show he had a soft side, it was a sign of weakness, and weakness got you dead, but he couldn't outwardly lie to his kids...not on most things anyway. "It was just a little guy..."
"Sir," Carter spoke up, her concern clear, "That thing could have been dangerous..."
"Hey, we were getting along just fine, thank you very much. We were about to have a nice bout of twenty questions when we were so rudely interrupted," Jack replied a bit defensively.
"You...you were talking with it?" Daniel asked in amazement. "Why didn't you wake me? Er...us? Why..."
"I didn't have that much time, and we weren't actually...talking," Jack clarified, gathering his stuff, which was already mainly together, then moved to get a cup of coffee...breakfast of choice at present. Denny's might be on the menu later, if they could hurry things up. "It was more like...yes, it turned into moss and for no it turned into a rock...that kind of thing. We were about to get rolling when Merrit-face, showed up."
"You knew he would search the camp, so you brought us to him, so he knew we were safe, then agitated the hell out of him, to buy it time to escape," Daniel nodded, understanding Jack's actions and in this case approving.
"Sir, imagine what we could learn from..." Carter piped up excited that a shape-shifter really existed.
"I don't think it wanted to be a lab specimen anymore than it wanted to be dead, Carter...let it go. In fact, it might be best if we don't even mention it..."
"But Colonel, the prospect of..." Carter tried to protest.
"He's right, Sam," Daniel said, shaking his head, "it doesn't happen often," he teased, then looked seriously at Carter, "But from what Maritine was saying, it's probably one of the last if not the last of its kind. If the NID find out, they'll send others to try and hunt it down and I don't think for peaceful negotiations. No, I did rather think Maritine was making up a lot of what he was saying in order to illicit our help, and besides, if it likes Jack..." he grinned.
"HEY!" Jack protested. "I happen to be a likable kind of a guy," he added, finishing his coffee.
"Yes, Jack, of course you are," Daniel said with mock assurance.
"Can I help it, not too many aliens and people just don't have taste?" Jack replied on the defensive, not going to show the barb touched a tiny nerve. "The Asgard adore me."
"As you said, sir, no accounting for taste," Carter snickered, and then dashed to get her things together seeing the scowl her way.
"Let's blow this Popsicle stand, and if we can manage to get out of the mountain quick enough, I'll buy breakfast at Denny's."
"You're not going to cook?" Daniel pouted, for Jack didn't do it often, but he was a really good cook, and for some reason his pancakes no matter if cheap store bought mix, always turned out the best. Seeing Jack was surprised he knew, "I saw the mix container last night," he clarified.
Carter even dared to exit her tent at hearing this. "You brought mix? You were going to cook?" she asked, eagerness in her young face.
"I believe it would be sound advice to have the prescheduled first meal here, O'Neill," Teal'c said, which was clear enough to be said, he too liked Jack's cooking.
"I think you're out voted, Jack," Daniel smirked, "Unless you really want to hear about the many ritualistic ceremonies in which fasting is a prominent part of all of them?" Daniel threatened.
"And the natural breakdown of cells without proper nourishment," Sam added, getting with the program.
"I would be glad to contribute the many reasons why Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, O'Neill," Teal'c said, his brow arched to express he too wanted his hot meal and now.
Jack sighed the sigh of a martyr, "Fine, fine, but I don't want to hear about ANY of that crap...ever," he added, as he turned to get his stuff, hiding the smirk of his kids wanting him to cook. It was nice to be wanted, even if just for his cooking.
Jack was glad he'd decided to cave and make breakfast, otherwise he'd have had to make do with the base commissary, as General Hammond not only wanted their reports right away, but he wanted Jack to get the 'rest' of his reports done. It was a well-known fact, that Jack hated paperwork, even if in some minor cases there was a need for it...very minor. He was glad that he had been allowed to shower and change into a fresh uniform first, so he could relax better and tackle this mess on his desk. He swore, the inbox was a greedy SOB and refused to share with the out box, making it the reason it was constantly full and the other empty.
His door closed, a good indication that he didn't want to be disturbed unless an emergency or by his kids...depending on what they wanted, Jack headed to his desk, fresh coffee, stolen from Daniel's office and a few donuts to hold him over while he worked, in hand. Jack made himself comfortable, booting up his PC, well versed in the use of the item, not that he would ever tell Carter, for it was so much fun to watch the many expressions on her face, when he mixed his terms up and feigned not knowing the difference between Software and Hardware had nothing to do with texture.
Leaning back in his chair, he reached out with his left hand, to grab his cup of coffee when he felt it - something was moving on his wrist. He turned and saw his watch melting off him and he immediately snatched his hand back, as he watched the wristwatch turn into a bit smaller glob of Jell-O than he had seen on the rock back on the planet, here on his desk. "What the...!"
Jack was torn between being thrilled the little guy had outwitted the SOB to being startled at how it easily had gotten back here to the SGC, breaching their security. Jack thought for a moment and though he was tempted to go into one of his many 'known' tantrums, he one, realized it wouldn't serve him and two, there was no one to witness it, which was part of the fun in getting your way. "Ah...you okay? I mean...you look...ah..." He couldn't help the smile crossing his face as the blob turned into moss over his desk.
"Ah, you might want to use something more...or less...um...obvious that you don't belong here," he heard himself reply, then felt a bit...stupid for making the suggestion, as this was an unauthorized alien in his office. He reached slowly for the phone, "I'm just going to call Carter...don't want people shooting up my desk now do we?" he smiled a little as he picked up the receiver, "Unless it'll get me out of my reports," he mused out loud, then dialed Carter's extension, "Just kidding," seeing the blob turn into a rock, showing the little guy understood a great deal of what he was saying.
"Major, I need you to get Daniel and Teal'c down to my office ASAP, we have a little visitor from our little jaunt this morning," Jack informed her.
"I thought the shifter left with the bird?" Carter replied, then quickly realized it was best to hold her questions for later. "We're on our way, sir. Um...you in any danger?"
"No, I think I'm fine. If it wanted to hurt me it could have and it made itself known to me, having plenty of opportunity to slip out if it wanted too," Jack informed her.
"Okay, we're on it," she said then hung up.
Jack looked at the small blob, "So...is my watch still in one piece some place?" The blob turned into a replica of his championship hockey puck from his glory days, which he kept on his desk. "I take that mean's yes?" he asked again, after it reverted back to blob form. Seeing it once more turned into the puck, he smiled. "Alright...cool, that was an expensive watch, and I would have reported it damaged in line of duty....making Uncle Sam replace it...ah. I guess I should ask, do you have a name?" Seeing the blob turn into a puck indicated yes. "Good, now...any chance of being able to tell me?" The rock indicated there was not. "Well, unless you want to be known as blob or Jell-O..." the rocks reappearance indicted the blob didn't like the idea of being known as such, made Jack smile. "Okay...how about...Julian?" he asked.
The blob lingered motionless for a moment, then turned into the puck. "Great. Okay, Julian, if you didn't know, I'm Jack...and entering is Major Samantha Carter, Carter for short, and Doctor Daniel Jackson...careful, he'll probably wear your...shifting batteries out with questions," he teased as Teal'c followed Daniel into his office, a zat gun, in his belt.
"It's okay, Big Guy," Jack said noticing the weapon. "And the big Jaffa with the gun, who is NOT going to use it at the moment, is Teal'c. Guys, I'd like you to meet Julian," Jack introduced his team to his...new acquaintance.
"It told you its name, sir?" Carter asked with awe.
"Ah...well..." Jack hesitated.
"You NAMED it Julian?" Daniel asked, stunned at Jack's actions and his choice of name.
"Hey, he agreed to it since he can't give us his own name. Besides, Julian's the name of that shifter on that DS...niner show," Jack defended.
"Deep Space Nine or DS9 and the shape-shifter was indeed called Odo," Teal'c corrected looking at a blob that very much indeed looked like what the fictional show had portrayed the bare essence of a shape-shifter to be.
"Odo?" Jack looked like he tasted an overly sour lemon, "who would want to be called Odo? Would you?" he asked the blob, which immediately turned into a rock. "See, he said no, and I'm sure with that speed that was a 'no way' with attitude."
"It turned into a rock, sir," Carter pointed out.
"You established basic communications," Daniel said with some awe that Jack O'Neill of all people had managed to do so. "One shape for yes, one for no...quite..."
"Simple I know, but it seemed like a good idea at the time," Jack interrupted, not wanting to listen to Daniel prattle on, not that he didn't like the sound of his voice or how he looked when he got rather passionate over a subject, he did...a lot, but now was not the time.
"We're going to have to inform General Hammond..." Carter stared to point out.
"I'm well aware of that fact, Carter. But his first question he's going to want is to know how it got here and then second, if this is going to be a problem?" Jack replied firmly, a little miffed that Carter didn't think HE understood the rules and protocols of the base. Hell, he'd suggested over half of them. He saw Julian shift to a rock on the last part of his comment. "I thank you for letting me know you won't be a problem, but since it's yes and no questions at the moment, General Hammond won't be too...convinced," he said to the little guy. "Ah...we're going to have to...find a way to...transport you..." Julian turned back into Jack's watch.
"That's how...Julian got in here?" Daniel asked, looking at Jack.
"No, I doubt it," Jack said, carefully picking up his watch as he gestured they should all head out to inform the General of what was going on. He could see in Carter's eyes she wanted to put Julian in a container of some sort, as it was a shape-shifter, and his carrying the little guy was no guarantee it wouldn't slip away someplace, but Jack's gut told him it was okay and...he felt drawn to the little guy, not that he could explain it. "It'll be okay, Carter as long as we don't try anything...funny," he said, knowing just what many scientists would want to try.
"I guess it's a good thing we haven't turned in our reports yet," Daniel smiled, amazed once again by the many faces of Jack O'Neill. He would have expected Jack to be the first one to order a container...with a lid and lock, then hold a zat toward it unless it provided the correct answers, yet, here he was, the first to establish basic communication with the unique being and...protecting it? He noticed how Jack carried his...watch, at the moment, and knew that Jack had on some level identified with the being, especially since he had tried to protect it from the hunter.
"Yeah, I guess," Jack muttered, for he was now worried what would happen. This little guy was a possible security risk not to mention what would happen if...when the NID found out. He also didn't relish the lecture he knew he'd get from Hammond for 'neglecting' to mention this little aspect in his briefing earlier. Seeing Carter dash up to get the elevator and Daniel prattling on about what a unique culture Julian must be from, Jack just tuned them out and lifted his hands upward a little. "You better be good, Julian, as I'm already going to be getting nine kinds of hell for you being here," he whispered, not caring if Teal'c heard him or not, at least Teal'c kept his razzing to a minimum.
"What's going on, Colonel?" Hammond asked once they reached his office, looking up from his paperwork.
"We have an unexpected guest, sir," Jack informed him, moving forward with his watch.
Hammond saw Jack holding his watch, "Colonel, giving your watch a tour of the base doesn't count as a guest," he teased, for Jack was a bit of an eccentric and he did pull some very, if he was forced to admit, weird and often silly if not admirable, pranks and jokes.
Jack didn't know why, but he found that little comment hurt. Sure he played dumb and was a bit eccentric, but he would never BS over security issues or potential security issues of this base, but he just pushed it aside as he did most things. "I'm not giving my watch a tour, sir," he said as he lowered Julian onto the desk. "Okay, Julian," he prompted then watched as his watched melted into a blob of clear Jell-O again.
Hammond didn't jump far, but he sure was startled to see a watch melt into a blob, or see his 2IC call it Julian. "Colonel O'Neill, just what the blazes is going on here?"
"An unexpected visitor from P7X-983, sir," Jack clarified. "Ah...for the record, we ah...left something out of the record...ah...sir," Jack said, looking humble, knowing his ass was going to be grass for this.
"It was a mutual decision," Daniel added, not wanting Jack to face the fire alone. "Ah...Julian, as Jack dubbed the being, is a shape-shifter, probably one of if not the last of his kind," Daniel added. "We..."
Seeing Julian shift to a hockey puck was unexpected, so Jack decided to interrupt Daniel to explain, "Ah, hockey puck for yes and a rock for no, sir. He can't talk with us, but he understands a great deal. I'm guessing he was agreeing with what Daniel was saying about it being one of the last of its kind, sir."
"Do you care to explain why you didn't mention THIS in your verbal report?" Hammond asked, giving the benefit of the doubt he might have 'read' about it, though from the looks of things he truly doubted he would have.
"It was being hunted, sir," Carter spoke up.
"You MET hunters on the planet?" Hammond asked, having been told there was nothing really to report. "Care to revise your report, Colonel?" he glared at Jack.
"Ah...on the record...not really, sir," Jack replied, not sure if he was ready to wash his career down the drain for a blob of Jell-O, but that seemed what he was going to do...sadly.
Hammond was surprised to hear Jack's reply, and seeing his hesitation and knowing that all of SG-1 had agreed to not mention this, he knew there had to be a reason. "What about 'off' the record?" he asked, wanting to get to the bottom of what was going on.
"Yes, sir, I would," Jack replied, relaxing a bit that George was going to offer him a chance to explain. "We met a sleezeball, called himself a hunter. Gave us come cock-n-bull story about hunting a deadly shape-shifter going around committing mass murder..." Jack started to inform the General.
"Not mass murder, Jack, he said that it killed its victims, when taking on their form," Daniel corrected. Then gave a little smile seeing the being now known as Julian shift rapidly from blob to rock several times.
"Now THAT is a major NO WAY," Jack said on behalf of Julian, he smiled, then reached out and patted the rock briefly, "we got the point, you can relax now," he suggested warmly, then felt the rock shift back to a blob of Jell-o. "Sir, Julian has had several chances to do us harm and if he wanted to be a security risk, he would not have made his presence known to me," Jack added.
Hammond smile, "I never thought I'd see the day I'd say this, but I think you've been hanging around Doctor Jackson too long, son," he smiled, then looked at the blob on his desk. "You say...he, understands what we're saying?" choosing to use the personalization pronoun designated by Jack in reference to the being in question.
"It does appear to be intelligent," Teal'c replied.
"The Colonel does have a point, it has not made any menacing moves and has revealed itself...since we didn't know it had accompanied us through the gate." Sam quickly added.
"It may not be able to communicate with us directly outside of yes and no, General, but it was able to somehow fool the hunter and slip among our belongings. Plus," Daniel grinned teasingly, "it likes Jack."
Jack stood up straighter at the comment, "I think I was just insulted," he sniffed. Before he could protest more he felt a little light tickling on his arm and noticed Julian had moved over to him and crawled back on his wrist as his watch again, he couldn't help but smile. "Well, in this case I'm taking it as a compliment."
"It was meant as a compliment," Daniel clarified, though he was still chuckling, as were Carter and Hammond. Then he got serious. "We chose to not mention this, for as Jack pointed out, if the NID find out about Julian..."
"They'll want it...er...Julian?" Hammond looked at SG-1 unsure of why such a name was chosen.
"The Colonel chose it," Carter said as if by way of explanation.
"He had been thinking of Odo, but referred to the wrong crewmember," Teal'c added as if THAT would help explain further.
"Never mind," Hammond said, seeing he was better off not knowing on this minor point. "And I agree to your assessment of the NID, though for FUTURE reference, it is best to make the decision a JOINT one," he said, referring that he better be kept in the loop at all times.
Jack looked well scolded as he glanced downward, "Ah, yes, sir, of course, sir."
"Now that I know, what are we going to do with...Julian? If he stays, the NID will find out eventually."
"If Julian won't mind, I'd like to ask him a few questions?" Daniel asked.
Jack for a moment felt his watch was vibrating, as if...laughing then melted off his wrist into a hockey puck. "I guess he doesn't mind, but try not to overdo it," Jack said, feeling a tad overprotective of the little guy.
"While you're asking him questions, see if you can find out if he eats or needs water or what kind of environment Julian prefers," Carter suggested, then looked at the others. "This way we can find a more fitting home for him through the gate."
Jack smiled; he knew he could count on his kids to come through. "Great idea, Carter," Jack praised. "T?" he asked, seeing his Jaffa friend being his usual quiet self and wanted his input.
"Other than keeping a watchful eye on...Julian," it was almost readable on Teal'c's face that he did not prefer this name since it was Odo Jack had really been referring to. "For security reasons, I sense no danger from him at present."
"Keep a lid on this," Hammond ordered. "Though we do our best, we know the NID has its moles."
"Can do, General," Jack smiled, glad to see the little guy wasn't going to get dumped into a lab tank. "Daniel, why don't you take Julian back to your lab and I'll get a variety of..." Jack didn't get to say much more when Julian oozed, with no wet trail he might add, to his wrist and once more turned into his watch, since his wrist was still reachable, Jack not having lifted his hand since laying it there from earlier.
"I think Julian wants to stay with you, Jack," Daniel grinned, then smiled wider seeing how pleased Jack was that this new being preferred him over everyone else...just like the big kid Jack really was, this was like getting picked first for kickball or something like that.
"Sweet," Jack grinned. "Well, then I guess...WE will meet you in your office after a stop at the commissary to get a variety of food to see what the kid likes. Sir?"
"Dismissed, Colonel," Hammond said then watched Jack leave and with a gesture held Carter, Daniel and Teal'c back. "The Colonel seems very...taken with...Julian. Keep and eye on him," he advised with caution.
"You think he's being influenced in anyway?" Carter asked, seeing the concern in Hammond's eyes.
"This is the SGC, Major, weirder things have happened, and I've learned to err on the side of caution," Hammond replied.
"Yes, sir," Carter agreed.
"A wise decision," Teal'c added.
"He does seem rather happy with his new...association. Though I'm beginning to think he's considering Julian a pet..." Seeing eyes on him, "I'll make sure he knows better,' Daniel added quickly, though he didn't mean it quite like that. Jack was making an attachment, one that could not be maintained.
"Good. Keep me informed," Hammond replied then dismissed them.
"Wow, for a little guy, you sure packed it away," Jack said with awe, seeing everything he brought from the commissary, which was a lot, all gone.
"An absorption process, breaking down proteins...."
"ACK...please, Carter, Julian just ate, he doesn't have to be subjugated to that so soon...it might come back up," Jack said, a smirk fighting to show on his lips.
"I don't think that is likely, Jack," Daniel interjected, fascinated by what he saw and he was also eager to learn more about Julian. "It is good to know he digested all the organic material..."
"Daniel..." Jack interrupted. Catching Daniel's eyes, "Julian is sitting in front of you..."
Daniel felt a slight flush on his face as he turned back to Julian, "I apologize, Julian, I didn't mean to sound like...well, you're obviously an intelligent being...I just meant...sorry, I'm usually much better with people than this," he flushed.
"It's alright, Daniel. Julian is unique and there is no body language or eye contact to be made," Jack, explained gently.
"I find it slightly disturbing that you, of all people, Jack are explaining THIS to me," Daniel mumbled, then shifted to a seat nearby with a large notepad where he had previously started writing out questions that only needed a yes or no response.
Jack just snickered and looked at Julian, still in Jell-o form. "He really is very good with people, you know. Give him a moment, perhaps if you had something with eyes..." Jack was a bit twitchy when Julian started to shift and formed a very small or young version of the bird they had last encountered on the planet and chirped at them. "...that's a...wow..." Jack said rather smoothly, his eyes alight with amazement.
"Proportional mass," Sam gasped out with excitement. "Julian, your limited to what you can change into by the amount of mass you...posses, right?" she asked, the scientist in her in full gear.
"One chirp for yes, two for no," Jack said quickly not seeing any reason for Julian to constantly change shapes...it made him tired just watching, it must make the little guy tired too....right?
Julian chirped once, then hopped once testing its small wings, and then in a short flight landed on Jack's shoulder, which pleased Jack very much. "Just don't exit any of your meal on my shirt or me, and we're fine," Jack teased.
"Julian, do you know where you come from?" Daniel asked, eager to get started. He received one chirp. "Does it still exist, your...home world?" Sadly he got two chirps.
"Are there many of your kind left?" Sam asked quickly, not noticing the frown on Daniel's face at being interrupted, and again another two-chirper response.
"More reason to make sure this little guy stays out of the hands of the NID or that hunter's...speaking of, Carter..."
"I need the information we discussed before I can even begin to look for a safe place, sir," Sam reminded the Colonel, whose protectiveness over the alien was showing...oh boy.
Daniel's phone rang, "Jackson...yes, I'll let him know," Daniel finished then hung up. "The General wants to see you, Jack, in his office, ASAP."
"Okay, Julian, I need you to hop down, I got to see the General," Jack said easily. He got two chirps. Jack's smile faded for a second, and then turned up the wattage, as he suddenly understood. "You trust me, Julian?" he asked knowingly. He got one chirp. "Then trust my kids...they'll take care of you for me, I promise...I trust them with my life," he smiled warmly. He was very pleased to see Julian fly down to the desk, looking a little tuckered out.
"He's looking tired guys, don't overdo it...Carter send for more food and drink, I think all that shifting is taking it out of him," he suggested, "I'll be back, promise," he said to Julian and headed out, knowing he could trust his kids to watch over the little guy. As he headed down the hall, he realized his kids were not the only ones who needed a reminder that Julian was NOT an object or...PET, as he was becoming aware of how he was thinking toward the little guy. Julian was a smart...being, but Jack couldn't help it, he was drawn to Julian and liked him as he did Thor, dogs...and Daniel...beautiful Daniel.
Jack gave himself a mental shake. He'd come to terms with falling in love with Daniel a while ago, but then Daniel was married, and even if it hadn't been very long since Sha're died, he still had said nothing, fearing Daniel's reaction. They were friends, but over several months...things had been falling apart. He knew part was his doing and part was Daniel's, for he griped at the younger man for taking foolish risks and snapped at him from time to time, but hell, Daniel was 'death' prone. Before losing Sha're, he'd gotten even more...clumsy didn't seem appropriate, for Daniel dived in front of death and danger with grace, but that is what he did. He wondered deeply had Daniel not believed his vision of Sha're asking him to find the child she bore, would he have...left...worse? He wasn't sure, but one thing was sure, Daniel had withdrawn his friendship from Jack, everyone to a degree, but Jack felt it deeper or at least that's how he saw it, for Daniel and he had hung out almost all the time, and now, he was lucky if Daniel tossed him a breadcrumb and joined him for lunch.
Jack heard a small sigh and knew it was from him and was glad he was alone on the elevator. Truth was, he was lonely...and limited. He liked Teal'c and hung out with the big guy, but he couldn't take Teal'c all the places he wanted as the damn NID was keeping a lid on Teal'c's movements, which was stupid, the guy had more than proved himself over the years. Even so, Teal'c was okay, a good man, but...he had to admit, he didn't connect as deeply with Teal'c as he had Daniel, long before he fell in love with the pain in the ass archeologist.
As for Carter...besides regulation, Carter seemed to have a crush on him and he didn't want to encourage it, he cared for her, deeply, but not like that. He didn't want to hurt her or undermine her achievements. If anyone seriously thought something illicit was going on between them, that Carter was using her looks or sex to achieve...anything, she'd lose credibility, not to mention her career could be jeopardized. It wasn't fair that Carter had to work twice as hard as any male would have to, but the military as Daniel was fond of pointing out, was still in the Dark Ages; which showed just how good Carter really was. Now, if she could get a bit more of her solider part to step up a notch, she would be having her own command sooner rather than later. The woman had what it took, no doubt about it, or she'd have been off SG-1 long ago.
Reaching General Hammond's office, Jack knocked and closed the door behind him at the General's indication. "Sir?"
"I've got good news and some bad news, Colonel," Hammond informed Jack, as he watched the man take a seat. "The bad news is the NID are on their way here..."
"How the hell did they find out so soon?" Jack gasped in anger.
"Calm down, Colonel, that's where the good news comes in. From what I gather, it's one of their surprise inspections yes, but I think it has more to do with what SG-4 found, than our guest, as that's what was hinted at. I wanted to give you a heads up..."
"Sir, I don't think is safe to keep Julian here on base, even if he can shift forms, we don't know how long he can hold it and he looked pretty tired when I left."
"Colonel, he's an unknown alien I can't let him off this base. I've notified Doctor Frasier..."
"You can't go around subjugating him to test..." Jack interjected.
"Colonel, Doctor Frasier won't 'subjugate' Julian to anymore tests than she would any other visitor that first comes to the SGC. Colonel, you seem to be losing a bit of perspective here, do I have need for concern?" Hammond asked him outright.
Jack was silent as he thought about what he was asked and more important what was being said. He was losing a bit of perspective, his desire to protect the little guy was strong, as if Julian was already one of his kids...someone he wanted to protect. He cleared his throat, "No, sir. I admit, I'm concerned for Julian, I just don't want to see him...you know..." Jack gestured to Hammond, not wanting to put words to it.
"Yes, Colonel I do know, that's why I'm letting you know about the NID's presence. I also know, that YOU know that there are strict protocols on this base, a great many at YOUR recommendation, Colonel. Though this new alien may not be human, he may still be a carrier for a good many viruses. I want Doctor Frasier to at least...try and do an examination, while you and your team keep a VERY low profile, understood?"
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir," Jack said as he stood up, hearing the dismissing tone in Hammond's voice.
"By the way, how is...Julian doing?"
"He's eaten...a lot," Jack smirks, "and he can shape into a bird..."
"It's a small...young bird, we saw it on the planet. Carter mumbled about shifting within proportional masses..." he shrugged.
Hammond grinned, "Have your official reports on my desk within the hour, and I want an update on Julian in two."
Jack hurried out to get back to Julian and the others, wondering how best to hide Julian in plain sight of the NID guys. He realized he had to have a little Q&A with Julian on how long he could hold a shape and see if he could get a sense of what shape Julian would be most comfortable with.
Jack entered Daniel's office and closed the door behind him. He noticed another tray from the commissary already empty. "Hungry?" he asked, looking at the small bird who chirped madly with excitement at his return and flew to his shoulder. Jack laughed, "I told you I'd be back," he grinned, and then faced his kids to tell then what was up, but Daniel, glowing with excitement spoke up first.
"It's fascinating," Daniel glowed. "Julian has been to hundreds of worlds, though he prefers warm to hot, but not desert, and a population rather than none, and he has heard of the Goa'uld, seems to hate them too..."
"Daniel...Daniel!" Jack said, and then grinned seeing Daniel looking at him, wondering what he wanted. "Breathe," he teased, and then got down to business. "Hammond gave me some bad news and a bit of good."
"What's up, sir?" Carter asked, sensing something was off.
"The NID is going to be here in about an hour..." Jack started to say.
"How could they find out so fast?" Daniel asked with shock and anger.
"They didn't," Jack replied quickly to cut off the angry flourish that would soon follow. "Hammond believes they're coming for something SG-4 found..."
"We've barely had that for two days," griped Carter, seeming to know what he was referring to. Seeing she was alone on the matter, "They found a round...metal ball for lack of description, that was generating a huge amount of energy...enough to run this facility with plenty to spare, but we have yet to find a way to tap into it or how it is generated."
"Why wasn't I notified about it?" Daniel asked a bit shocked to hear about this discovery.
"Only because there are no markings whatsoever on it," Sam replied. "I've barely had a chance to even glimpse at it myself."
"What is your plan?" Teal'c spoke up, getting everyone back on track.
"Carter, it would be best if you were in the lab. See what you can learn of that gizmo before we lose sight of it forever," Jack replied, knowing that the NID would insist it go to Area 51...everything 'good' went there, never to be seen again. In this he felt for Carter, for like Daniel, she didn't get a great deal of opportunity to play and learn; one of the downfalls of being on SG-1. "Also, Hammond wants our 'official' reports on our last mission on his desk in the hour...and update on Julian here," he grinned at the bird, who was resting comfortably on his shoulder, "in two. Make sure you hide or get rid of any hard copies of notes," he said looking at the sheets of notes from Daniel's Q&A session. "We don't need to tip these creeps off."
"Ah...yes," Daniel agreed, and started to reclaim his many sheets of paper.
Jack then turned to Julian, "You understand what's going on here?" he asked softly, since the bird was right next to him. He got a soft chirp in return. "You're looking a little tired there, buddy. What's a good shape for you to rest in...and so we can hide you?"
Jack watched as Julian took a short hop down to his wrist and melted into his wristwatch again. "You have to admit, that is a place no one would suspect an alien to be," he grinned.
Just then there was a knock on the door then Janet came in. "Sir, I was told to report here...something about an exam?"
"You're timing is a bit off, Doc," Jack replied easily. "Our...guest is resting. I'll have Daniel and Teal'c fill you in on the particulars. Carter, you better get your report to me ASAP so I can get it to the General, and you need to get to the lab afterwards. Same for the rest on the reports," Jack added. "Doc, once you're up to speed and the NID are off base, we'll meet you in the infirmary," Jack smiled, and then with a slight nod, headed out to his office.
"We?" Janet asked, puzzled about what was going on.
"Janet, it's absolutely amazing," both Sam and Daniel said as one, again showing their wonder twin connection.
"Major Carter, it would be best to allow myself and Daniel Jackson to explain to Doctor Frasier what is occurring, as you have much to do and limited time in which to accomplish your tasks," Teal'c reminded.
Sam growled a bit in frustration, "Right," she conceded, looking disappointed. "We'll talk more," she said then headed out.
Janet looked at both Teal'c and Daniel expectantly. "Janet, it's absolutely amazing," Daniel said again.
"I got that part, but what I don't got is...what?" Janet asked, giving her tell me now or suffer latter look.
"An entirely new life form," Daniel said, then went on to explain all of what happened on their last mission and Julian.
Jack hated paperwork, but since there was nothing he had to do, he forced himself to work on all of it, taking small breaks here and there. The wall clock said it was coming up 1700 hours and the damn NID jerks were still crawling around, not having overstepped their bounds...so far.
Jack got up and stretched, turned off his PC and headed out to do one last round to check on his kids, his mind mainly on the hockey game he had taped and dinner. Teal'c was with the Marines, once more showing them why he's called Master Teal'c by the Jaffa; while Daniel was surrounded by his geek squad over something SG-11 just brought in; and poor Carter had her hands full with the NID trying to steal her geek squad's latest toy. Feeling tired and worn out, Jack headed down to the locker room and got changed, deciding to forgo the shower until tonight, and headed home.
Once home, he hung up his leather jacket, tossed his keys in the bowl nearby just for them, and headed to his refrigerator to see if the turkey he had was still good. He was in the mood for a big honkin' turkey sandwich, chips and beer on the side. Jack was pleased to see the turkey he had cooked on the weekend, not having anything else to do and no one to do it with, sliced and diced and bagged, was doing good, as he forgot to put it in the freezer before departing the other day. He pulled out one of the bags, a sourdough roll, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. He then got a plate and a knife for cutting and something for spreading and was about to begin when his watch melted off his wrist onto the table.
"HOLY...CRAP!" he shouted, realizing he had forgotten Julian, or more importantly that Julian was on his wrist. Damn, he was going to be in big trouble. He noticed Julian edge toward the food. "Oh...crap, I'm sorry, little guy, I...I forgot...hold on a second." He said and moved to get a plate and then placed out shares of everything he had, but the roll and mayo. "There," he grinned, feeling a bit better. "Oh, water," he said, then moved to get a bowl and filled it with drinking water, the good stuff, not tap...no reason to poison the little guy if it could be avoided.
Jack watched the Jell-o form of Julian move over the plate of food and noticed that even if it seemed he could 'see' though him, he didn't see the food being digested, but it was vanishing. "Interesting," he said, and then started on his own meal as his stomach, growled as a reminder. "Hammond is going to kill me when he finds out...and sooner or later...he'll find out," Jack commented.
Jack had retrieved more food from his refrigerator as it seemed Julian was a very hungry little guy, having finished his plate and nudged to the empty bag, then transformed to the little bird and chirped...a lot, so he made a huge turkey salad for him, as that was the meat of choice at the moment and Jack should use the veggies he had, because if he didn't soon they'd go bad. He was glad that Julian showed his intelligence and manners in the form of leaving Jack's meal alone...more proof he was no...pet, but a being.
Jack was about to gather his meal and head to the TV, when there was a scratch and a meow at his back glass door. "Chester," he grinned. "You are some cat," he smirked, "House is closed up and yet you somehow KNOW I'm eating dinner," he said to the animal as if it understood him. He grabbed some of the left over turkey placed it in a small bowl and then opened the door to let Chester inside. "Keep it down," Jack told the cat who is begging for the food...loudly. "If Katie knows you're here getting fed...again, there will be no living with her as a neighbor," Jack stated as he put the bowl down giving the cat a light scratch behind the ears and under the chin. "Now eat up and go home," he instructed, somehow believing the cat would listen. "Besides, I've got a reputation as a dog lover, we don't want it spoiled," he joked. He then gathered his meal and looked at Julian, "You going to be okay here alone?" Jack asked Julian. When he got a yes reply, "Okay, when you're done, I'll be in the living room, watching a good Earth sport called hockey. If you need anything...let me know," he said, knowing he could trust Julian to do just that.
Jack sat down and turned on the TV and hit the rewind on the VCR, a little voice telling him he should call Hammond and let him know what was happening. "Yeah, and he'll tell me to come right back," Jack muttered to himself, knowing it was true. "First dinner and hockey, then..." he sighed, "Hammond," he said, not noticing he was talking to himself. A bad habit he picked up over the last few years.
About five minutes into the game, Jack felt something jump onto his lap and looked down, "Chester, you need to go home," he grinned. When he got two very distinct meows, his instincts kicked in. He shifted his head and looked at the kitchen table in the distance and saw it was empty. Also, he noticed Chester was sitting on the floor, licking his paws. Jack then looked back and noticed, this 'Chester' was much bigger than the bird, but smaller than the original, about the size of a kitten just before reaching full maturity. "You are growing, aren't you?" Jack mumbled. Getting a one meow, he knew this was Julian. Before he could think of more to say, some excitement on the game caught his attention, and he grabbed the remote and rewound the tape and hit play. Soon after, Jack was relaxing, finishing his meal, and all the while, Julian lay comfortably in his lap, purring away as Jack was petting him and unknowingly explaining the game as it played out.
As Jack came to awareness, he realized two things, one, there was something soft nuzzling his cheek and two, someone was banging on his front door. He sat up and yawned, subconsciously picking up Julian the cat and gave him a little hug and stumbled out of bed, placing Julian down as he went. He didn't even get downstairs when he heard Daniel's voice.
"Hold your horses, I'm coming," Jack shouted back, grabbing his robe and lazily headed downstairs. "What are you doing here at..." he looked at the nearest clock, "0430, in the morning?" Jack yawned, for though he was military and he was trained to get up early, his body said he still had a half hour, plus he knew Daniel was NOT a morning person.
"Hammond is furious with you," Daniel told him, "and I'm not too thrilled with you myself," he added. "Where's Julian?"
That got Jack's mind in gear and he felt like an incompetent idiot. He'd totally forgotten...again...that Julian the cat was really Julian the alien. He also never called Hammond. "Crap."
"Yeah, and you're in it deep," Daniel told him. "You're just lucky Hammond bought my BS that Julian was one of my 'rocks' and was sleeping, as he never got your update or recommendations on...sheltering him," Daniel said, not caring for the word, containing, Hammond had used, though he understood why.
Jack arched a brow, realizing had Daniel covered for him and Hammond DIDN'T know he had accidentally taken Julian with him off base. Just then Julian the cat jumped up on the side table where he kept his keys and rubbed his head against his hand.
"Shouldn't Chester be home with Mrs. Warren?" Daniel asked, as he knew the slightly older woman worried over her cat like most people worried over their kids.
"It's Julian, Daniel, not Chester," Jack clarified.
Daniel arched a brow, doing a good Teal'c impression, "Julian?" He got large golden eyes looking at him with great intelligence, much more than he'd seen in the tiny bird's, and then got a meow. "He's grown," he commented to Jack.
"He was starving, Daniel, I think the shape-shifting takes it out him, plus, the more he eats, he's bound to gain weight, just like we would, right?" Jack replied, too tired this morning to play dumb. "Coffee?" he asked as he headed to the kitchen, totally taking for granted that Julian the cat hitched a ride on his shoulders.
"That's a rhetorical question right?" Daniel grinned and joined Jack in the kitchen. "Why did you bring Julian here?" he then asked as Jack started the coffee preparations.
"I simply forgot my watch was more than a watch," Jack admitted.
"Daniel, we came home, he let me know he was here, we ate dinner, he met Chester, decided he liked being a cat better, we watched hockey..."
"Hockey, Jack?" Daniel asked in surprise.
"Yes, Daniel, hockey, not everyone is against it you know, and Julian seemed to like it just fine," Jack said, the 'so there' a kid would add, left unsaid but still present. "Look, while the coffee is brewing, I'm going to grab a quick shower then I'll make us some breakfast, then we can head back to base, alright?"
"Okay," Daniel agreed.
"By the way, why are you here so early? Other than Hammond not being too happy, which brings me to why he was there so early...?"
"The NID has been keeping him hopping, and I can guess he won't be in today unless there is an emergency as he was there all night..." Daniel blushed a bit, "like me, working. I didn't know how late it was, or I should say early, until he came into my office making a comment about us both burning the midnight oil too far. Then he mentioned you forgetting to update him as I said and asked for my verbal report, but thankfully not until after he asked where you were."
"I guess I owe you one,' Jack admitted, "If Hammond knew...I'd probably be busted down to airman," Jack said then a tiny yawn escaped. "Let me hit the shower," he said, not noticing Julian the cat had already departed upon his first mentioning the shower.
Jack headed up to his room and more on autopilot got ready for his shower and while he was washing, got the strange feeling he was being watched. "Julian, so help me, if you're out there, curious little alien or not, I'm going to kill you," he called out; the tone clear there was no real threat at hand. Jack didn't notice that his hand towel melted to the floor and out the door.
It was discovered quickly that Julian's shifting ability was linked to mass proportion, when he meowed twice that he was not able to morph into the watch Jack had originally carried him home in. Not able to think of an item that would be appropriate for them to carry into work, since Jack left his briefcase in his office, they went with the secondary idea of borrowing a cat carrier and letting Julian remain a cat.
"This way, if people see him, they'll know where he came from...per se...and the NID won't get suspicious... or 'too' suspicious," Daniel said.
"What if someone asks why we're bringing in a cat?" Jack asked, not relishing having to go next door to asked to borrow a cat carrier, but it was too early in the morning for any known pet store to be open.
"I don't know...goodwill ambassador?" Daniel suggested.
Jack looked at Daniel for a long moment, "You haven't gotten any sleep have you?" he asked, keeping the smirk down to a small grin.
"No," Daniel admitted, suddenly feeling tired. "I guess I shouldn't have let that new translation SG-11 found keep me up so late."
"If what you say is true, then Hammond is not going to be at the Mountain today, and there is nothing pressing for you to be there so early, so why don't you go home? I'll take care of getting Julian back to the base. In fact, I'll follow you home to be sure you get there in one piece."
"Jack, I can take care of myself," Daniel whined a little.
"No doubts about that, Danny..."
"Daniel," Daniel corrected.
Jack didn't care for the correction, but went with it. "As I was saying, I know, but you're overtired...in fact, why don't you crash here in the guest room...?"
"No, I'd rather go home," Daniel replied fairly quickly, then headed to the door. "You better get Julian back, I'll catch you later," he said, knowing Jack couldn't follow him if he left now.
Jack watched Daniel leave, and sighed, "You think he knows?" he mumbled, a hand softly petting Julian the cat, as he stared at the now closed door. The hurt was evident, but Jack was not going to let it get to him. He heard a soft meow, not a yes or no, just a 'hey you' and looked down and then picked up a purring Julian the cat. "At least you like me," he grinned, gave the small cat a hug. "Ah, better go wake Katie and Greg, get that carrier. It probably won't be comfortable, but they won't let you on base without it."
Julian gave a meow, which didn't sound happy. "I won't make you stay in it any longer than you have too, I promise. Besides, we both know you could get out of it, when you want anyway," he grinned, and got a soft yes meow, and then headed out to start their day.
Over the next few days, the word of Jack and his cat had spread on base. Everyone knew the Colonel preferred dogs, and everyone speculated where he'd gotten the cat that followed as faithfully as any dog would if not more, and why the Colonel kept it, much less was very protective of it. Some figured it must have been a gift from some alien culture and if he gave it back, there'd be hell to pay, others just figured it wasn't important as it was just so darn cute.
Janet gave a basic exam of Julian in cat form as he had refused to resort to his Jell-o form and Jack didn't see any reason to push it. All she could report was all that the tests showed she had ran an exam on a typical American shorthair tabby feline, and that the samples she took held up just as long as any that she would or could have gotten from a real specimen. This news didn't go down well with Hammond as it made it even more important that the NID did NOT get wind of this, for the potential of having the power to transform into anything and be that anything...was just too dangerous.
Jack also learned on his one attempt to leave Julian on base, that the little guy was clever, having found a way to slip into Jack's truck, after slipping his...protection, in Sam's lab. He then had a lot of fast-talking to do and just barely convinced Hammond that Julian would be safe with him and was NOT a danger to anyone.
Soon it was Friday, Carter still had her hands full with experiments, though she had lost the one gizmo to the NID; and Teal'c wanted to visit his family, a well deserved activity; so Jack was at Daniel's door, Julian the Cat, now looking a little more like Garfield, at his feet. "Hey," he greeted, glad that Daniel at least acknowledged him. "It's Friday night, you up for a little hockey, pizza and some beer?" he asked, hoping that perhaps Daniel would say yes, as it had been a while.
Daniel sighed, "I don't think..." the act of a now large cat jumping on his desk startled him. Then the soft meows, as if mirroring Jack's simpler attempt to convince him to join them, got him to smile. "Okay...okay...sounds good," he agreed.
"Great, meet you up top in twenty, I'll order the pizza..." he looked at Julian, "an extra supreme just for you...wonder if they make lasagna pizza?" he teased. The strained meow from Julian the cat indicated he knew just what Jack was saying and wasn't amused by it. "Hey, if you're going to look like Garfield, I think I should start feeding you like him," he continued to tease.
Daniel laughed as it was clear Julian and Jack were definite friends and it was good to see Jack in a good mood again. "You two are something. Good thing half the base thinks you're insane as it is, otherwise you talking with a cat would cause a stir."
"Oh, what does the other half say?" Jack dared, smiling at Daniel, looking forward to spending time with the man.
"The don't...they KNOW your insane," Daniel chuckled. "I'll see you in twenty, I have to shut down.
"Great, come on Julian," Jack said, waited for the cat to join him and headed out.
Daniel sighed, "Work here long enough, you'll see everything," he laughed, then proceeded to shut down; thinking that tonight might be good after all.
As planned by the time Daniel had pulled into Jack's driveway, the pizza delivery guy was there, with four extra large pizzas and Jack had paid for them. The evening quickly moved into a relaxed atmosphere, the game on the TV, both Jack and Julian relaxed on the couch, a slice of pizza each, water for Julian, beer for Jack and to his surprise, some wine for him...Jack had really been hoping he come over, Daniel thought for Jack to have had his favorite wine on hand as Jack was not a wine drinker by nature.
After a while, as the evening drew on, Julian left, as it had been discovered that as a mammal he did have waste issues to take care of, and was smart enough to know 'how' humans handled it as well. The game had ended moments before, and Jack and Daniel were sitting close and relaxed on the sofa. "Daniel..." Jack said softly, his voice unsure and hesitant.
Daniel picked up on this and sat up a little and faced his friend, "Jack?" He could see Jack was struggling to say something. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong...it's...I've wanted to say something to you...for a while now, but...I'm not sure," he heaved a sigh, showing he was frustrated with his own lack of words and hesitation.
"Jack, you can tell me anything, you know that right? We're friends," Daniel insisted.
"Are we?" Jack challenged, his voice serious, his eyes unsure. "I mean...I know things have been strained between us, and I take responsibility for my share, but..."
Daniel looked down, "I pulled away too," he admitted. He then looked up, his own yes showing he too was sorry. "I just...it was...we needed space...I needed space," he corrected.
Taking a deep breath and bracing himself, "Daniel, I've been wanting to tell you...tell you that I...that I'm..."
"Don't," Daniel said quickly and a bit harshly, and then looked contrite, "Don't, Jack. We're...we're friends Jack...good friends, at least we were and I hope to be again...but friends," he said softly, hoping Jack understood what he was really saying.
Jack just looked at Daniel for along moment, and then as if struck by lighting it was clear to him...Daniel knew! Had known for a while now and THAT was why he had pulled away...CRAP! Jack slowly got up from the sofa and wiped a hand over his face, trying to balance himself and push the hurt aside. Drawing on years of experience and a poker-face that had won him big back in Special Ops, he nodded and gave a small grin, "Yeah, good friends," he agreed.
Daniel wasn't completely fooled and didn't relish hurting Jack on any level as he got to his feet. "I should go," he said softly.
Jack was torn on making Daniel stay and 'prove' all was well and just letting him go. He decided it was best to let him go, give them both space, so by Monday, all would be well again. "Yeah, it's late, but perhaps next Friday...?" he asked, hoping Daniel wouldn't pull away anymore, now that the boundaries were clearly set.
Daniel took a moment then gave a sincere smile, "That sounds like a plan, Jack," he agreed. Then gathered his things and headed out, hoping things would now be able to regain the norm, now that Jack understood that Daniel couldn't return his feelings beyond friendship.
Jack watched him go and then went about cleaning up but after a few, plopped down in his kitchen chair, feeling empty. It wasn't until he felt a soft paw on his face did he realize he was crying and Julian was there trying to comfort him. Slowly Jack gathered Julian the cat up to him and hugged him while he silently cried his hurt, that the man he loved didn't love him back.
Jack had decided he needed some time to process what Daniel had told him and, to gather his thoughts and emotions so that when he next saw him, he would be able to face him. He had called General Hammond and asked for some time off to go up to his cabin, and was grateful that George had given it to him. So, Jack packed up his truck first thing Saturday morning and he and Julian the cat, headed out to Minnesota. It really never occurred to him to leave Julian behind, as the little alien shifter, now cat for over a week, wouldn't stay with anyone but Jack for more than a couple of hours, and deep down, Jack was thankful for the company.
They arrived late that night, driving straight through, stopping for breaks and snacks along the way. Jack played his arias with Julian curled up next to him, purring, and Jack....Jack found himself pouring his heart out, telling his companion all about their first mission to Abydos and how he thought Daniel was such a geek, and how that so called geek saved his life and unknowingly saved his soul. By the time they pulled up the long drive to Jack's cabin, Julian the cat knew all about how one Jack O'Neill felt about one Daniel Jackson and why.
05:00 found Jack lazing on his chair by his dock, fishing rod in hand, line dipped in the water and sadly Jack had two beers to his count. Jack came out of his reverie at the sound of a meow. "Hey," he greeted, the warmth sincere, but the energy lacking as he placed the beer bottle between his thighs and reached with his left hand down to the hefty feline that nuzzled his leg. "I know, but I...I need time to deal with this. I don't want to lose our friendship and I know Danny...Daniel..." Jack snorted, "He doesn't like Danny...wonder if that should have tipped me off? Danny is personal, intimate and he..." Jack shook his head. "He's straight, he cares, but...just not that way." Jack sighed as he leaned back in his chair, taking the beer and gulping it. "It really shouldn't be so difficult, you know. I knew there would never be a chance, I honestly did," he said, looking at Julian who with a bit of effort, hopped on Jack's lap.
"You know, get any bigger and you're going to be two cats," he teased lightly. Julian meowed, sounding concerned. "I'll be okay, I'm actually used to shoving my feelings into a nice tight box," he said a bit bitterly. "You see, I'm in the military, and they don't like their soldiers to have feelings that aren't regulated," he smirked but it wasn't a pleasant one. "They want us to be married, have a family...but then they don't let us be a part of it," he said finishing his beer. Then he reached into his fully stocked cooler next to him and pulled out a third one. "I had a wife, I had a son, even before I screwed it up and got my son killed, being an impulsive idiot..." he closed his eyes the memory of what happened to Charlie would always hurt on some level. He let out a deep breath, "Even before, things had been a mess. I remember how many of my 'friends' congratulated me on getting a good woman and how they joined me in being so proud to be a father...and I recall how often I wasn't there to be with them. I mean really...what the hell is the point of having a wife and family if they keep shipping you off to who the hell knows where? I was in some cesspool in South America when my son was born, lost two good men and got grazed..." he reached up and fingered the scar on his left temple just under the hairline. He then looked at the fat cat, "Charlie was a month old before I got to lay eyes on him," he smiled, but the pain of a lost moment was there as moist eyes blinked back the tears. "This may sound crazy, but I only got to hold him seven times before I was called out again...emergency search and rescue in the Baltic, it would be another three weeks before I would get to see him again."
Jack wiped his eyes with the back of his arm and then drank more of his beer. "After his death, I actually calculated how much time I spent with him...spent actually being with my son...two and half years," he laughed but no warmth reached his eyes. "Ah...you don't get the joke," he nodded toward Julian who promptly meowed no. "You see, Charlie was ten and out of his short ten years, he only had a father for two and half...FUCKING years," he growled, gulping down the last of the beer and chucking the bottle deep into his lake.
Julian had dropped to the dock when Jack shifted forward to toss his bottle, then sat staring up at Jack who was panting heavily for a moment, but was quickly calming down. "I was a good solider...still am...pushed heart and soul in the box then, kept them just enough at arms length so I could do my job..." he secured his pole and reached for a fourth beer, getting two meows from Julian. "I'm not driving, quit your worrying."
Instead of opening it right away, Jack wiped the condensation and coolness from the beer on his face and neck and then sat forward, his forehead leaning on the bottle in his hands, his elbows resting on his knees. After a long moment of silence, Julian came forward and nuzzled his leg. Jack leaned up a little bit. "I'm sorry," he muttered. "It's just...I learned first hand, that the box you get when you become a solider is only so big and when it's full...it begins to crack. It split wide open when Charlie died...I split wide open when Charlie died and the only way to get from day to day back then was to tape it shut and bury it...bury it so deep, that nothing could ever touch it, and nothing from it can touch you..." he leaned back a bit and opened the fourth beer giving a little smile to the cat who looked up at him, listening. "You know, other than Daniel, you're the only one I've told any of this...crap to," he snickered, but it was hard for him to find the humor in his own joke. "Tell me something, you've traveled the universe...just how pathetic is it, that I've spent my whole life in service to my country and all I have to show for it, is a divorce, a dead son, I'm in love with my straight best friend, and the only one I can talk to about this..." he really started to laugh, a few tears started to escape as he did so, "...all I have to talk to about it...is an alien shape-shifting...cat," he said, trying to sip his beer, laugh and cry at the same time. "CRAP," he growled at himself, then took his shirt and wiped his face clean. "Sorry," he said softly looking at Julian. "I'm just having a pity-party, perhaps I should have asked you to RSVP instead of dragging you along," he joked weakly.
Jack patted Julian on the head. "Sorry, I'm lousy company. You going to be okay?" he asked and was pleased with the confidant meow. "Good," Jack replied and leaned back in his chair. "I just need time...and a bigger shovel," he muttered and went back to fishing...and drinking.
Jack started awake and regretted it at once, the light was too bright and his head was spinning. Slowly he shifted and he recalled, he had been drinking heavily while fishing and passed out here. "Five fucking feet," he grumbled, thinking that was how far he had been from the edge; he wasn't sure if he was upset that he could have fallen in or didn't fall in. It took him a bit to get oriented when something nuzzled his hand. He barely opened his eyes and saw the Tylenol bottle being dropped before him. Jack reached for it, slowly raged war with the childproof cap, but he was a kid at heart, got it open, and then picked up the water bottle that had been placed where the Tylenol bottle had been and drank. He was over half down with the water before he realized just...who...provided these items. He looked and saw a very large Irish setter, sitting, waiting and looking at him. He tilted his head slowly to the side, puzzling why a dog was here and just how...? "Julian?"
The dog came immediately forward and barked once. "Ack! Shhhh...head," he said, his head sensitive to sound. Once he could open his eyes again, "Just put your paw up here," he motioned at his thigh, "If it's you." He saw the large dog do so. "You...changed again, huh?" Finishing up the water, Jack didn't feel any better and thought was returning in full swing and why he was up here. It was late afternoon, soon to be evening and all he had was beer, and at the moment that was all he still wanted. He reached for the cooler to be surprised to see Julian the dog, move quickly and push the cooler out of reach with his head. "HEY!" Jack shouted, and then regretted it, grasping his head. Then the sound of a large splash caught his attention, as he opened his eyes to see Julian the dog dumped his cooler in the large pound. "H...hey," he snapped, but in a much softer tone. "That was my cooler!" Jack was sure the soft barks he got were Julian's way of saying he knew and so what. "Crap! If you didn't want me to drink so much, you could have just said so," he griped. Julian barked with a tiny growl. "Okay, so maybe I wasn't listening then...but...?" Jack just shook his head, and regretted that. Then he was at the edge of his deck, making his own contribution to his pound.
When Jack was finished, he sat back, slowly breathing and after a moment felt something drop onto his deck...another water bottle...cold. "You getting it from the fridge?" he asked and got a soft bark. Jack drank the water down, then slowly got to his feet and at the moment he was glad Julian was such a big dog, for he was able to lean on him a little and made it back to his cabin, where he promptly went to his refrigerator to get another beer. "HOLY...you dumped ALL MY BEER?" he shouted, not caring about the pain spike that zapped through his head at the moment. The defiant bark was enough to know that Julian indeed get rid of all Jack's beer.
"FUCK!" Jack snarled and moved to plop down on his couch. The sound of his refrigerator being opened got him to look and he saw the big Irish setter manipulate the door and pulled out another water bottle, since he bought a case of them, and closed the refrigerator and bring him the water. Jack was torn between anger and touched at the concern the little...not so little alien had for him. "Probably a good thing Hammond forgot about you," he smiled, accepting the water. He drank some more, and then patted Julian, "I know you're not really a dog...and...well, I'm glad you're here," he added softly.
Julian put his head on Jack's lap, his big brown eyes looking up at him with concern. "I'm okay, a bit hung over, but okay. Have you eaten? I know I set food out..." he got a soft bark. "You know...I'm beginning to see what Carter was saying about the Mass proportion thing...you eat you get big. You get so big, that you have to turn into something bigger, then you eat some more and soon, you turn into something even...bigger..." he said as if lighting had struck. Jack narrowed his eyes at Julian, "It's not just animals you can mimic, is it?" he asked. Julian's bark didn't surprise him, but the epiphany of what was happening all this time did. Though his head hurt, the idea was solid, "You need a lot of mass to turn into something big, because from what Frasier says, you're whatever you are, inside and out. So..." he looked at Julian, "you're trying to eat enough so...you can turn into...a person! I'm right aren't I?" he looked at Julian, a bit excited that he of all people figured out what was going on. Julian moved back and sat on his hindquarters and barked yes.
"Ah...idiot," he growled at himself, but the two barks from Julian made him smile. "Well, I do have the luxury to know that neither Carter nor Dan...Daniel figured it out first," he said, trying to ignore the emptiness he felt when he thought of Daniel. Drinking some more water, "You're big enough for a kid..." Julian barked no. "You don't want to be a kid?" Julian barked no again. "But you do want to be an adult....right?" Julian barked yes.
"I need coffee," he said, moving up and going for the instant, he didn't have the patience or the stamina for more at the moment. After a minute the microwave beeped and he sipped his coffee while sitting at the kitchen table, Julian moving to sit next to him. "Okay, if I were to guess, you don't want to be a kid because you'll get treated like a kid?" he asked and got a yes bark. Jack felt his face flush, "I guess I have been treating you like a pet, but..." the no barks made Jack feel better. "Thanks, but...I don't understand, if you were at least a kid, we could talk...but I'd see a kid...I got it," he answered his own question. It was one thing to talk to an animal, even if in the back of your mind you know they really CAN understand you, but you see only the animal and don't think about what you talk about. But with a kid...it wouldn't be the same and Jack would probably feel uncomfortable, much less how Julian might feel. "You're a nice person, Julian, thank you," Jack nodded, feeling better.
After a few moments of silent contemplation, Jack smiled, "Well, then I guess I need to fatten you up." Then his smile faded a little, "It's only a matter of time before Carter finds a place safe for you or Hammond insists you go...it would be nice to actually talk before you leave," Jack said sincerely.
Julian barked yes, then moved to get Jack's keys, placed then on the table before him and brought over the empty grocery box Jack had used to bring in the few items that weren't beer or water. "Yep, we need to go shopping," Jack grinned. As he got to his feet, feeling better and motivated, he saw Julian go get his jacket and chuckled. "Okay, I'm coming, sheesh," he said, taking his jacket and moving out. "You can fatten up on bargain beef...right?" he asked, thinking about how much it might cost him to feed Julian enough so he could make the transition. He wasn't sure the no was sincere or a joke as Julian headed to his truck and waited by the passenger side. "I wonder if I can claim him on my taxes, or perhaps Hammond might see his way clear with a reimbursement...in the interest of interspecies goodwill?" he mumbled as he got in the truck, after getting Julian settled, then smiled. It was going to be an interesting few days, as he was due back Wednesday.
Daniel entered the conference room, seeing Sam and Teal'c there, along with General Hammond, knowing he was late. He was surprised not to see Jack there or more importantly his tag along Julian. Once more Daniel played cover up while Jack took the little alien out of the mountain. If he didn't know how much it seemed to help his friend to hang with the little guy, he'd be worried...okay more worried. He knew that no matter how well Jack appeared to take his technical rejection of him, that Jack would still be upset by it. Daniel did love Jack, just not that way and he hoped his friend could accept it, for Jack was one of his best friends ever and he'd hate to lose him.
"Good morning, General, Sam...Teal'c," he smiled, placing his folder down while taking a large sip of his coffee, before taking a seat himself.
"Morning, Doctor Jackson," Hammond greeted. "Do you by any chance know where Colonel O'Neill is?" his face showing he was not pleased with Jack being late to the morning briefing.
"Right here, sir," Jack's voice rang out.
Daniel turned to see Jack move in the room, dressed in his BDUs followed by a young boy, teenager...probably eighteen or nineteen in age. "Ah...Jack?"
Jack grinned, "Technically we don't need introductions since you've all met, but...to be a gentleman," he smirked. "General Hammond, Daniel, Carter, Teal'c I'd like you to meet Julian...he's grown again."
Carter's eyes practically bugged out of her head, "Sir...wow...I mean, is there no limit...?"
"Yes, Major Carter, there is a limit," Julian's soft young voice replied, a knowing smile upon his youthful face. "I know my time is limited among you, and I wanted to be able to properly communicate with you before I finally depart," he added as he walked up to General Hammond. "I want to thank you and the SGC for your gracious hospitality," he said, offering his hand.
General Hammond shook it, still a bit shocked, but rallied well, "You are most welcome, son," he said, automatically reacting to the youthful appearance.
Julian's smile grew at the endearment, "Actually I'm probably older than all of you combined, though I can not say for certain. Much of my life has been lost to me," he said, looking at the others, mainly Daniel, since this was the area he was most interested in.
"Sit," Jack suggested and guided the young man to a seat, Jack sitting next to him, not taking his usual seat next to the General so he was close by.
"Thank you," Julian replied easily then looked once more at Daniel, "As I was saying, during my time on the run, it had become necessary to...separate small parts of myself to act as decoys..."
"Like the bird on the planet," Jack interrupted.
"Yes," Julian grinned warmly at him. Then turned back to face the others. "Had not Colonel O'Neill and the others run interference for me, there was a good chance that hunter may have captured me."
"What would he do with you and why is he hunting you?" Daniel asked, knowing it was a main question on everyone's mind.
"A long time ago, when my kind were many, but still rare among the universe, we were visited by a race I have come to know as the Goa'uld," Julian explained. "They could not use my kind for hosts nor could they find a way to control us for their lust for power, so as evil will do, they attacked. What few of us were left, enormous rewards were offered for our capture and after proof was given that we where indeed captured, we would be killed," he added softly. "For a while some survived, but then a race called Quill'Waser'ek, like the hunter you met on that planet, developed a way to detect us and hunt us. Those of us that survived fled in various directions in order to hide throughout the galaxy and hopefully avoid detection or being captured. But the hunters are most persistent and losing them has become more and more difficult over the years; especially as we decline mass, so does our ability to think and respond to the situations at hand."
"My word," Carter gasped. "So you're saying that intelligence and thought are on the cellular level, and with its decline so goes your ability to process complex thought?" she asked amazed at what she was hearing. "Does this mean, if you grow you can contain more...gain more?"
"Carter," Jack scolded lightly, not thinking now was a good time to be interrogating Julian.
"It is alright, Jack," Julian said softly, seeing his friend's protectiveness over him. "I was aware that I would be...bombarded..." he grinned at Jack, "with questions once we reached here. I am prepared to answer as many as I can, though as I said, a great deal of my past has been lost. I made a conscious effort to maintain the cause of my journey and some relevant facts, but sadly not nearly as much as it should have been," he said sadly.
"When you take on a shape or form...like a person," Carter began to ask, "Do you gain their knowledge as well?"
Julian chuckled and shook his head no, "With a minor sample of DNA I can duplicate shape and form, but that is all. Knowledge, though cellular, is not withheld in the normal DNA found about the body. For example, this body is patterned after a young man I encountered at a retail establishment, however my knowledge is based on my experiences with you. I know nothing of the history of the young man. It is never my intent to do harm, thus my kind flee whenever possible, using smaller parts of ourselves as decoys, though that little portion will only be what was basically formed. When the hunter finds the bird, though his instruments will tell him, it is me, he will have nothing but a bird, it can not change to anything else."
"Indeed a power the Goa'uld would wish to possess," Teal'c nodded. "Being unable to do so, would result in them destroying it, so it could not be attained by others."
"Well, Julian," Hammond replied, gaining his thoughts. "Anything you can share with us on the Goa'uld or any other race you have come across would be most helpful."
"I would be glad to share what I do recall, General," Julian smiled easily, then looked at Carter. "Major Carter, if you could find me a place where I could be among kind people, not too technically advanced, where I could blend into the background without them knowing about me, I would be most appreciative."
"I'll see what I can do," Carter replied, "But I also have a ton of questions..."
Julian laughed, "I have no doubt you all do. I will endeavor to answer what I can." Then he looked at Jack, "I'm hungry, Jack."
"Yeah, kind of skipped breakfast to get here on time," Jack nodded. "Sir...?"
"I'll have a SF escort him to the commissary, we have a briefing," Hammond replied, also wanting to discuss their young friend without him being present. He also now knew that Daniel had been covering for Jack, for he or someone would have known if a young man had suddenly appeared on base without proper clearance...but that was a matter he'd deal with at another time.
"It'll be okay," Jack said to Julian who accepted this and headed off with the SF, leaving SG-1 and the General alone.
"Colonel, Doctor Jackson, we'll discuss the whereabouts of our...visitor, later. For now, it has become crystal clear, that though he may be a fine asset not only in what knowledge he may possess, but his abilities, there is no possible way we will be able to keep him safe and out of the hands of the NID. The very fact they have not caught wind of him, is clearly based on the fact that they are not able to think that far outside of the box and imagine that a cat can eventually turn into a person. We need to find him a safe location where he can go...and I'm sorry to say, a place that will then be locked out of the SGC computer..."
"General, he's a walking, talking fountain of knowledge..." Daniel started to protest.
"Not to mention he is a unique perhaps one of a kind...I mean, sir, a Shape-shifter?" Carter added, her own excitement of perhaps getting a chance to study Julian beaming in her eyes.
"And how do you propose to keep the NID from finding out, perhaps gaining the President's approval to 'study' Julian....and knowing the NID as I do, it would be without regard to his thoughts on the matter," Hammond replied firmly. He knew the only way to keep Julian safe was to get him off Earth and fast. "He has been here too long as it is. Major Carter, I want the determination of several safe locations on my desk before the end of the week, when we will then propose them to...Julian."
"General..." Daniel tried again, no so much disagreeing with getting Julian to safety but with locking out the address.
"You all have until Friday, make the best of it," Hammond stated firmly. Seeing a few more protests from the young scientists on their lips, "Do I make myself clear?" he asked, noting how quiet Jack was, which surprised him.
"Yes, sir," replied Carter.
Daniel just sighed his defeat and nodded. He then looked over at Jack and noticed how sullen he was. "Jack?"
"He's a nice guy," Jack said softly, and then pulled himself together, "the General is right, it would be best he wasn't here, someplace the NID or any hunters wouldn't find him."
"How do we do that?" Daniel asked. "They've been hunting Julian's kind for a long time."
"Mainly through the Stargate," Jack replied, since he and Julian had talked a great deal on the way back to Colorado and the base. "We not only find a nice planet, far from where we found him, not only do we lock it out of our system, but we disable the DHD too. If the hunters can't dial in, they can't get to the planet, and more likely, won't even know about the planet at all," Jack advised.
"Hmmm," Carter said softly. "But we'll have to be sure to chose a place that won't care if their Stargate is essentially...taken off line," she thought out loud.
"Then I think you should get right on it, Major, just as soon as we finish with this briefing...if you'd be so kind as to start, Major," Hammond instructed, wanting to get things moving, as he had a busy schedule ahead of him as it was.
"Yes, sir," Carter replied and got up and started her Power Point presentation, while not noticing Daniel as well as Jack were paying little to no attention to her.
Daniel was in his office, looking over his notes for a translation he had to get done for SG-4 in the next few days when he heard the knock on his door. Immediately he knew it wasn't Jack...Jack didn't knock, and Sam would knock but open it as she did so, and Teal'c...well, it could be him, but he didn't see why. "Come in," he called out, saving his work out of habit, since Jack liked to play with things, and one time accidentally shut the power off to his PC...not a good moment.
"Doctor Jackson," Julian's soft voice echoed off the walls of his office.
"Julian, come in," he said, seeing the young-ish looking man standing in the doorway, his escort remaining outside. "And it's Daniel, please," he corrected, gesturing for Julian to take a seat on a nearby stool if he wished.
"Thank you, Daniel," Julian smiled, closing the door behind him and moving to sit on the stool.
"What can I do for you?" Daniel asked, seeing something was on the young...alien's mind.
"Besides wanting to escape Major Carter's little 'tests' and those of Doctor Frasier," Julian grinned, then got a bit serious, "I wanted to talk to you...about Jack?"
Daniel arched a brow, as he didn't expect this, "What about Jack?"
Julian gave a very human sigh, "Daniel, I was there that night, remember? I know what was said, and more importantly I was there after you left. I can see you care very much for Jack..."
Daniel now understood fully what this was about, "Ah," was all he said, "First of all, I do care for Jack...very much, but only as a friend, and second, and I hope you will understand and not be offended, Julian, but this is none of your business," he said as firmly without sounding offensive as he could.
Julian was quiet for a moment, "Over the short time I have known you, Daniel. You have struck me as an open-minded individual. I would think that one as yourself would not close the door on love, simply because of how it is packaged," he added, looking to see Daniel's response.
Daniel was a bit miffed that Julian continued on with the subject, and it didn't help that Julian sounded a bit like Jack as he spoke. "Did Jack put you up to this?" he asked, hoping he was wrong, for if Jack had, it would not say much about their friendship.
Julian now looked offended, "He did not," he replied firmly. "I have seen he is a good, kind and decent being, whose passion for you runs very deep," he went on. "I only felt, as a favor for all you have done for me, that I should at least attempt to see that you do not pass up one of the universe's rarest wonders..."
"And that would be?" Daniel asked, feeling a bit defensive at the moment, unsure why, just that he had made his decision and never felt he had to justify himself to anyone, much less an alien. He knew Jack was special, and in his own way, loved Jack very much, but he did not feel anything more, and that was that.
"Love, Daniel, surely you of all people knows this?" Julian asked, and looked into Daniel's eyes for a long moment, then shook his head. "I am sorry, I have offended you, it was never my intent. I only wanted you to consider or perhaps reconsider what it is you are passing up..."
"I have given it a great deal of thought..."
"Just please, Daniel, consider it," Julian urged once more. "And I will say no more on the matter," he added with a soft grin.
Not wanting to be considered closed-minded, he nodded, "Very well, I don't think it will change things, but I will...reconsider it," Daniel promised.
"It is all I ask," Julian smiled. "Now...tell me about what you do, and I will share what I know in return," Julian offered, his young dark eyes growing wide with wonder.
It was not long after, both lost in the wonder of discovery of ancient lands, people and history, that Jack arrived to take his new friend home...this time with permission, after the long...long...very long discussion (where he just listened a lot) on the subject of protocols and security from the General. "Who's up for steak?" he asked, more than willing to have Daniel join them.
"I would, but I have to get this done," Daniel said, realizing he had lost so much time in his discussion with Julian. "I'm sorry, Jack," he said sincerely. "Rain check?" he asked hopefully.
Jack nodded, "Sure, no problem. Julian?"
"We going to that O'Malley's place you mentioned?" Julian asked, as he stood behind Daniel, having been overlooking his computer screen while Daniel was showing him things about Earth and other aspects of his job.
"Yeah sure youbetcha," Jack grinned.
"Sweet," Julian grinned, and patted Daniel on the back, near his shoulder. "I'm starved."
"Jack, do you..."
"Yes, Daniel, I have permission from the General to take Julian off base," Jack replied, knowing what his friend was going to nag about. "I already had my two hour lecture, not up for another one, especially on an empty stomach," he said, just in time for his stomach to provide proof with a little growl.
"Okay, okay, get going, I'll see you later," Daniel smiled, but he noticed the slight hidden pain Jack tried to hide, and to most was successful, but he could see. Jack was doing his best to move forward under the terms of their friendship and he was touched by the effort and thought perhaps he should think a bit more on how he felt for Jack...just to be sure.
Julian joined Jack and they left, as Daniel turned back to his computer, thoughts of Jack and their history filling his mind. "Have to focus," he chided himself and did his best, though a tiny part of him still went on about its first mission...Jack.
Unfortunately it was not unusual to find Daniel slumped over his desk asleep in his office, Jack almost always caught him before he spent too long at it. Sadly, after taking Julian to O'Malley's, he got caught up in conversation about the game that had been on TV in the back room of the restaurant, and the hour had grown late. If the General had not been very specific that Jack had to return Julian to his on base quarters, Jack would have had the young alien sleep in his spare room, but seeing how it led him to finding Daniel like this, it was probably a good thing.
"Hey, sleeping beauty, wakey, wakey," he said gently as he shook Daniel's shoulder.
Daniel groaning upon being woken up was not new, but seeing Daniel looking so pale was. "Daniel?" he said a bit louder and saw pain filled blue eyes look up at him. "What's wrong?"
"Head hurts..." Daniel moaned, closing his eyes as the light hurt.
Jack jumped on the phone calling for a medical team to Daniel's office, glad that with life at the SGC being as chaotic as it was, there was always one on duty. He then hung up the phone and helped Daniel to sit up. "Can you tell me what happened?" he asked, wondering if something happened.
"Migraine," Daniel muttered moments before the first of the medical team dashed inside.
Jack was pleased at their quick response and having seen how ill his ex-wife had gotten with migraines, he knew it was not something to be taken lightly. It took only a little insisting on Jack's part, for Daniel to get on the gurney, which was another indication it was bad and then Jack followed the medical team back to the infirmary.
An hour later, Doctor Frasier came out to where he was pacing, having not seen a reason to wake Carter or Teal'c at this late hour until he heard something. "Well?" he asked with great concern.
"He's okay," Janet told him sincerely. "It's a bad migraine, but Daniel has had them before in the past, but never this bad I admit. I've run a few tests, everything checks out okay and supports that it's only a migraine..."
"Doc, he was pale as a ghost, and my Sara used to get them and I remember how ill she got," Jack replied, not thinking migraines fit in the 'only' category.
"Well, as you may or may not know, there has been and still is a lot of testing on the causes and factors that trigger migraines. There is some blood flow restriction, but not enough to cause brain damage, but enough to bring about pain, which in turns causes the body to react..." Janet began only to be cut off by Jack.
"What brought this one on?" Jack asked with concern.
"Probably the usual, stress, overwork, exhaustion, and in Daniel's case, his allergies could have contributed as well. We can't pinpoint any one cause. I gave him strong dose of Vicodin along with a mild muscle relaxant, as he had a great deal of tension built up at the back of his neck, and and I've hooked him up to an IV to keep up his fluids. I'm going to keep him overnight for observation, as his blood pressure was a bit high. But by all indications he should be fine by morning, when I'm going to send him home with strict orders to rest," she finished.
"Maybe we should send him to my house, you know how Daniel can get," Jack replied, a smile showing he was relived that Daniel was going to be all right.
"Well let's see how things go in the morning. In the meantime, I want you to go home and get some rest," Janet ordered.
"It's late, I'll just to my room here on base," Jack replied, "But can I see him first?"
"He's sleeping...okay, for a minute and don't wake him," she instructed and headed off, personally glad she was pulling the night shift this week, so she had been there when Daniel got sick.
Jack walked into the infirmary over to where he knew Daniel would be resting, and silently pulled the curtain back just enough to walk inside. Daniel had gained back some color as he lay there sleeping. Jack couldn't help but smile, seeing that Daniel was okay; it did his heart good, as he loved him and couldn't bear to see him suffering. He moved over very quietly and caressed a stray lock of hair off his forehead. "Rest well, Danny," he whispered and turned to head out, not seeing the soft smile that filled the young face that responded to him, even in sleep.
First thing after getting showered and dressed, Jack headed to the infirmary where he saw that Daniel already had visitors; two of whom didn't greet him with a lot of friendliness. "See you're doing better," he said to Daniel, ignoring Carter's and Teal'c's glare of disapproval.
"Sir, why didn't you call us last night?" Sam asked, not having enjoyed hearing her 'little brother' was in the infirmary...again.
"What was to call you about? Daniel had a headache, bad one I admit, but the Doc said he was going to be fine. No reason to wake you up from a sound sleep to tell you that," Jack replied, standing firm to his ground. "You know if it was serious you'd have heard from me," he added, letting her know that she should be glad he didn't call.
"He's right, Sam," Daniel said softly.
"I don't believe I understand?" Julian asked, having asked to join up with either Jack or another member of SG-1 this morning and was escorted here to Daniel's bedside. "What is a headache?"
"Pain...here?" Daniel explains.
"Though most folks can take a mild pain reliever and it goes away," Jack adds. "But like all Daniel does, he goes to the extreme," he teased.
"Jack..." Daniel scolded lightly. "It's not like I did this on purpose."
"I know," Jack replied as lightly as he could, while rocking on his feet, hands in pockets to cover up how worried he had been and to some degree still was. "So, you look better, feeling better too?"
"The headache was pretty bad," Daniel confessed, which meant it was too horrible for words. "But I do feel better, though my neck hurts now, like a pin is in it, kind of going upward, you know?"
"Could be from sleeping so heavily," Janet replied as she moved in to check her patient.
"When can I get back to work?" Daniel asked, more than ready to depart the infirmary. "I have a translation that needs to be..."
Janet cut him off, "Ah...not going to happen, Daniel. I've already informed General Hammond that you are to take the next two days off..."
"But Janet, I have important work to finish..." Daniel tried to protest.
"You have your health to look after," she countered.
"I can work at home," Daniel tried to compromise.
"No you can't. I know how you work at home and it's no different than here," Janet scolded. "No. I've already posted an SF in front of your office, with the General's blessing. You are going to be driven home, where you will stay and rest," Janet told him firmly.
"You can come stay with me," Jack offered, wanting to look after his friend.
Daniel was about to say yes, but recalled how things were not at their best between the two of them, and thought better than to put themselves in a more awkward position. Besides, he'd promised the alien Julian that he would think about things between him and Jack, and he wouldn't be able to do that with Jack hovering like a mother hen. "Thanks, Jack, but I'd rather go to my place...I have all my books and things," he explained, then for a brief moment he saw the hurt in Jack's soft dark eyes, but in an instant it was covered up. "At least for today. Perhaps later?" he offered, wanting not to hurt his friend's feelings.
"Sure, no problem," Jack replied, but Daniel had already seen the hurt was done.
Before Daniel could say more, "Well, kids, I have an important meeting to attend to...got to help the General determine which toilet paper chafes the least," Jack joked and with a smile headed out to his briefing with the General, which probably had nothing to do with toilet paper, at least probably not today.
"We better get going too," Carter said, knowing she too had a lot of work ahead of her. "If you're out of here before lunch, I'll call you at home tonight, okay?"
"That would be great," Daniel replied, making sure he had a smile on his face and it became a bit more sincere with the hug Sam gave him before she started out.
"Be well, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c offered with a nod.
"I am sorry you are ill, Daniel," Julian said softly. "I was hoping to spend more time with you today. Perhaps when you return, for I would like to know more about what you do. I found it very interesting how you unlock so many ancient puzzles."
"I would like that too," Daniel replied, having wanted to spend more time with the young alien, for there was so much he could learn from him, he was sure of it. "Seems that time is not on our side at the moment. What are you going to do for the day?"
"Since you are not available, and Jack is in a meeting, I will have to choose between Doctor Frasier..." he said eyeing the good doctor who only gave a small smile, "...and Major Carter, though Teal'c is an interesting person to speak with as well, though I know Major Carter has much she wants to learn. Sadly, I do not think she will learn much of anything and I am not willing to break of a part of myself for...study," he said, his eyes darkening, indicating he was not happy at the thought or the request.
"You don't have to do anything you don't want to, other than follow the rules," Daniel informed him.
"That is essentially what Jack has told me," Julian replied, his expression easing up.
"I think Teal'c would be your best bet today," Daniel chuckled gently, still hurting a little.
"I should take offense to that," Janet said, but the smile eased any sting that might have been there, as she injected a mild pain reliever into Daniel's IV. "There that should help you feel better. You rest and by lunch I'll have a driver take you home, your blood pressure is up just a little, I'd like to see it down before I let you go, okay?"
"Okay," Daniel agreed.
"Be well, Daniel," Julian said softly, patting Daniel on the shoulder as he had seen Jack do many times in the past and like he did last night. Then he saddled up to his escort and asked to see Teal'c.
Daniel sighed and settled down in his bed, his thoughts mixed. He had seen the hurt in Jack's eyes and that had upset him. He cared for Jack, he cared a great deal, but the thought of a physical relationship with him...well, he had tried to picture it, and he couldn't. He had never been attracted to men, but then again he never had a best friend either. Daniel wanted Jack to be happy, but he was unsure if he could provide that. Not sure what to do much less think, Daniel pulled the blankets up over him and closed his eyes, realizing the sharp pain in his neck had gone, and went to sleep.
Jack wasn't happy, but he had known this day would come. During the last several days, while Julian and Daniel spent their time chatting about history during the day, Carter had been running planets by him for approval to propose to Hammond before proposing them to Julian. Eventually they found a few that fit the basic build, kind natives, not too primitive, not too technical so they would stay off any hunter or Goa'uld radar, and wouldn't care if the gate was closed.
After some quiet deliberation between his team and Hammond, the options approved of, were presented to Julian along with their pros and cons of each place being offered. Julian had asked to think over the matter, and Hammond had agreed. It was the first night that Jack had not spent with the young alien since he arrived over two weeks ago and he missed him. The next day Julian informed everyone he had decided on P9X-375, a nice planet, much like Earth, the people of a Greek decent and the populous spread out so they wouldn't notice one more among their ranks.
"Also, they have lovely ruins," Julian grinned easily. "After what Daniel has taught me, I would very much enjoy studying them and see if I can unlock their secrets, especially since they were from a race before the people there now dwelled," Julian added with excitement.
"Ruins?" Hammond asked, since he didn't recall that being in the major description of the planet.
"They were deemed unimportant," Daniel said, now recalling how he had tried to get the planet on the list for archeological exploration, but with so few teams and so much more 'important' things to look at, it was given a pass.
"Ah," was all Hammond said on the matter. "Well, son, I hope you'll be happy there," he said to Julian.
"I'm sure I'll be fine," he smiled easily. "Though if I may, I'd like to request some books...I'll never be able to do anything without them, and I certainly haven't had enough time to learn much in the time I have spent with Daniel," Julian grinned. "From what Daniel explained there is a great deal there to be uncovered and I know I'll enjoy the mystery."
"I'm sure that can be arranged, Doctor Jackson?" Hammond asked.
"Of course. I can have them packed and ready to go by this afternoon, along with notebooks and other items you may need," Daniel nodded.
With that they were dismissed and Julian walked with Jack back to his office. "Will you be okay, Jack?" Julian asked, seeing the sadness in Jack's eyes.
"Just going to miss having you around," Jack said, trying to sound dismissive, but he had grown very fond of his new friend. They had grown very close, even closer than he and Daniel in some respects, though there was a lot he had never revealed to the young alien...just Daniel. "I should be asking you that?"
"I will be fine, Jack. I have been on the run for a long time, it will be good to find a place to relax and make a home," Julian said gently, moving up to Jack and placing a gentle hand on his arm. "Don't give up on Daniel, I see he cares deeply for you. Perhaps with time...?" he shrugged, having picked up that gesture from Jack.
"I have his friendship, that's good enough," Jack replied, a partial lie, but it would have to do for now. He then moved to the corner of his office where he had a small backpack already packed. "Here are a few items, you know, case you get bored with all that chicken scratch," he teased.
Julian opened the back and saw a few books on astronomy, a Rubik's cube, and a Gameboy with a small ton of batteries and some games. "I do not think Hammond would approve of me taking technology through the gate," Julian said, though the smile on his face as he pulled out one of Jack's favorite hockey games, showed he wasn't going to reject it.
"Well...what he doesn't know won't hurt him," Jack replied casually, then cleared his throat. "Let's get the rest of what you're taking with and get you ready to go," he said, not wanting to drag this out any longer than it had to be.
Several hours later found them on the planet, Julian sporting the backpack Jack gave him and several backpacks supplied by Daniel, Sam and Teal'c. "At least the natives haven't come out to greet us," Jack said as he didn't really want to play meet and greet today.
"I think it would be best if I go to the ruins with my belongings. I'll be able to...scout...things out, and decide how best to approach them when the time comes," Julian suggested.
"Well, then I guess..." Jack started.
"Jack, if you don't mind, I'd like to walk Julian to the ruins, I'd like to talk to him...privately for a bit?" Daniel asked, his eyes pleading for understanding that it was a personal matter and not to ask.
Jack wasn't happy, as this was hard enough and waiting wouldn't make it easier, but he couldn't deny Daniel's request and looked Julian to see if it was okay with him.
Julian knew what Daniel wanted to talk about. "It's okay, Jack. We shouldn't be long," he said, grabbing up some of the packs as Daniel grabbed up the others and headed off to the ruins just over the hill to the right of the Stargate.
"I want to talk about Jack," Daniel said once he was sure they were out of hearing range of Teal'c, perhaps Jack too, as the man had exceptional hearing...mainly when you didn't want him too. "I know you're worried about him."
"I am worried for him, yes," Julian agreed.
"I know, and I am too. I know he is a good man and I know he has a kind soul, but...I just can't think of him that way. I have tried, Julian. I have..."
"I don't think you have tried enough," Julian replied firmly. "You keep him at bay, not only physically but emotionally as well. Have you shared with him your secrets, your deepest fears and joys?" he challenged.
"What secrets?" Daniel replied on the defensive, already feeling a bit edgy with this conversation.
"I do not know, Daniel, but I know all living beings have them. I am only asking have you shared them with him?" Julian countered.
Daniel shook his head, "No, and it is not his to know. He is my best friend and that is special to me, but that is all he is to me. I don't want to see him hurt or unhappy, but I won't lie to him. I also won't push him away like I started to. I'll be there for him...as his friend, I promise, but that's it..."
"I think it is you to whom you are lying," Julian snapped, his frustration clearly showing. Damn, but Daniel was one of the most stubborn creatures he had ever encountered, at least as far as he could remember. "And if you just looked beyond the barriers of 'friendship' you've allowed to blind you, you'd see it."
Daniel glared at the young alien. He saw they were near the entrance of the ruins and knowing it was safe, since Jack and Teal'c had checked them out last time they were there, he stormed inside and placed the bags down. "Look, Julian. I understand you care about Jack, but the fact remains, it is my decision."
"I think you are making a huge mistake," Julian stated, placing his bags down too. "Jack loves you very much and he can make you very happy, I see this..."
"It is my mistake to make then," Daniel retorted. "And though I don't doubt that Jack cares for me deeply, it would be wrong for me to make false promises and hurt him even more. I can't do that."
Julian sighed, "I understand, Daniel, I understand."
"I should be going," Daniel stated.
"Yes, Jack will be waiting," Julian replied softly and watched as Daniel turned to leave.
Jack was pacing up a storm, hoping no natives showed up, but so far it seemed quiet. He also wanted to get this over with. "You're sure, once the gate is open and the crystal is removed, we can step through safely, right?" he asked Carter.
"Yes, sir. The gate will be locked and once the control room receives our GDO code, they'll maintain power to the gate. We return home, crystal in hand, and once it shuts down, it'll be essentially off line. No dialing in or out," Carter explained.
"You sure this is a nice planet, perhaps that little tropical one, P2...something or other?" Jack commented.
Carter smiled, understanding that her friend and Commanding Officer had befriended the alien and was concerned for him as if he were one of the team. "He chose this place, sir and the people are friendly, they have no interest in the gate, and with Julian's abilities, he'll be able to disguise himself well enough to learn the language...he learned ours quickly enough," she added.
"Yeah, funny how many places speak a form of English isn't it?" Jack mused.
"You'll have to ask Daniel about that, sir," Carter grinned.
"Speaking of..." he clicked his radio, "Daniel, this year would be nice," he said, wanting to get this over with.
"Sorry, Jack, I'm on my way," Daniel replied.
Several minutes later Daniel came running over the hill in the distance, not in a huge hurry, just making time. "Sorry," he said once he arrived; only a little winded, as he was an excellent runner.
"What took so long?" Jack asked.
"Julian and I had a bit of a disagreement over something...nothing major, just points of view," Daniel said casually.
"Okay," Jack nodded, making a mental note to ask Daniel about it later. "Let's go," he finally said.
Daniel dialed up the gate, Carter sent the signal, then waited for the green light letting them know it was safe to proceed. Once it arrived she opened the panel on the DHD and removed the large solid crystal. "Okay," she said, and everyone started up the ramp.
Carter was first followed by Teal'c, Daniel was about to go, when he stopped and saw his bag on the ground by the DHD, "Oops," he grinned and ran back to get it.
Jack just rolled his eyes and sighed, then saw Daniel heading back to him with bag in hand and heading to the gate, "Come on," Daniel said and grabbed his arm and dragged Jack along with him as they went through the gate.
"Hey?" Jack said on the other side as the gate suddenly shut down behind him.
"I was concerned the gate might shut down and we'd get stuck...as you saw it was close," Daniel said, gesturing how the gate did shut down moments ago.
"It shouldn't have done that," Carter murmured, not too pleased at how close a call it was for her friends. "I'll have to look into it," she added.
"Well, don't knock yourself out over it," Jack told her. "Even you admit you don't know everything about the thing and we're all here in one piece."
"Yes, sir," Sam replied then saw General Hammond enter the room.
"Colonel?" he said easily.
"Went like clockwork. Julian's settled in the ruins, DHD off line, exactly as planned," Jack informed his CO.
"Good to hear. There's no need for a briefing on this one. I'll see you all 0900 tomorrow then," Hammond told them, leaving them to attend to whatever duties that they had facing them outside of missions, be it lab work, translations, new recruit training, or in Jack's case, paperwork.
"Thank you, sir," Jack smiled and watched his team leave. He slowly wandered out of the gate room, one last glance, knowing he was going to miss his friend, but he was glad he was safe and in the end that was all that mattered.
Though a week had gone by since his alien friend Julian had to be left behind on a planet and he missed him, Jack couldn't help but be happy this morning. He couldn't think of anything that could ruin his mood at the moment as he lay in his bed, the sun rising, and he looked down at the beautiful man asleep in his arms....Daniel.
He recalled after a couple of days Daniel had come to him, explaining his conversation with Julian on the planet, and how he had thought about things between them, but couldn't for the life of him picture anything physical happening. Julian had impressed upon him that he was making a mistake, and he couldn't help but think on that more. So, Daniel had got into Jack's face and asked for a kiss. "Not a chaste kiss Jack, but a real one," Daniel had demanded.
So, Jack had kissed him with everything he had and WOW! He had expected Daniel to cringe when they kissed or just bush it off as a failed attempt, he'd never expected about halfway through to have him return it, but he had with zeal. It was also the first time in a long while that Jack had seen Daniel speechless much less admitting that he may have been wrong.
They'd agreed to date...which had lasted for three days, bringing them to last night, when Daniel, having felt he should treat Jack out, since they were partners and no one was the 'woman' in this relationship, had driven Jack home and accepted his invite to come in for coffee. It hadn't been long before the coffee was forgotten as they made out on the couch, which quickly built up into a frenzy of passion, both of them stumbling to his bedroom, as clothes were tossed off everywhere.
They hadn't gone all the way as it were, but they had explored each other and brought each other off to an exquisite orgasm each...twice, before sleep finally took over. Now, morning was here and Jack was thrilled they had the day off, last night being Friday, so he could lay here and watch his love...his lover sleep. He could also tell Daniel would be waking as he shuffled around a bit, coming closer to awareness.
"Morning," he whispered, leaning down and kissing Daniel's sweet lips as beautiful baby-blue eyes greeted him.
"Mmm," Daniel grinned and snuggled closer to Jack and kissed his chest. "Morning," he mumbled.
"We should shower, we're both sticky from last night," Jack grinned, feeling on top of the world.
"Coffee," Daniel said, his eyes half asleep, but still sparkling with affection up at Jack.
"Okay, I'll go put on a pot, leaving you the shower, but only because I love you," Jack grinned and started to shift off the bed, only to be held firmly by his lover.
"I love you too, Jack," Daniel said softly, his beautiful eyes showing just how much. "I know it was a long journey to get here, and I needed a kick in the pants to open my eyes, but I'm very, very glad I did. I would have missed out on something very special otherwise," Daniel told his love.
"I guess we both owe Julian," Jack replied softly and then placed a tender kiss on Daniel's lips. "Go shower, babe, I'll make coffee. Then after I clean up, I'll get us some breakfast, sound good?"
Daniel grinned, "Perfect." He watched Jack leave then he scooted out of bed and headed into the bathroom, closing and locking the door. He turned on the shower to let the water warm up, moved to the mirror and looked at his reflection. He spotted a bit of Jack's cum, mostly dried from last night on the outside of his cheek, Jack having shot high and hard both times. He grinned and then whipped his tongue out like a lizard and licked it up, his grin growing even wider afterwards. He then leaned forward and ran a hand through his short hair, "Can't say I didn't give you a chance, Dannyboy," he said with a dark chuckle, as he recalled their last conversation.......
....... "It is my mistake to make then," Daniel countered. "And though I don't doubt that Jack cares for me deeply, it would be wrong for me to make false promises and hurt him even more. I can't do that."
Julian sighed, "I understand, Daniel, I understand."
"I should be going," Daniel stated.
"Yes, Jack will be waiting," Julian replied softly and watched as Daniel turned to leave. "But you won't be going anywhere," he added in a firm tone.
Daniel turned and before he could react, Julian's fist shot out from his body, elongated beyond human means and socked Daniel in the face, dropping him to the ground, and soon all was black. When he started to come around, he realized he was cuffed with his hands behind his back and his feet tied. He also noticed he had been stripped of his clothes. As he looked up, he was only partially surprised to see himself standing there, placing on his glasses. "You won't get away with this. It won't take them long to see through you," he snapped with anger.
Julian/Daniel laughed, "Under normal means, you would be right, but with a little DNA from your brain, where all knowledge is kept on a cellular level, I know 'everything' you do," he replied with a smirk.
"That's not possible," Daniel protested.
"It is very possible. I'd have Sam explain it to you, but you won't be seeing her again," Julian/Daniel informed him.
"Why don't you just kill me?" Daniel growled, not understanding why Julian was doing this. "What do you hope to gain..." he started to ask, but suddenly he knew. "Jack?"
Julian/Daniel grinned knowingly, "I gave you every opportunity to love him back, but you wouldn't. I love him and I WILL make him happy. I have never killed in cold blood Daniel, only in defense. You said yourself once that you wanted to return to how it used to be, studying ruins with no pressure of the SGC...well, here's your chance. You get what you want, I get what I want...Jack! I should thank you, for you asking to speak with me, first...made things easier for me."
"I trusted you! I thought we were FRIENDS!" Daniel growled.
"I never said I was YOUR friend, Daniel," Julian/Daniel said pulling out a several keys on a long chain and placing it around Daniel's neck. "Don't want you stuck here forever. We'll be gone by the time you get out of this, as I know how agile you can be," he smirked. "One of those keys unlocks the cuffs," he added, showing he had this well planned.
"Jack will know," Daniel said in a knowing tone before the gag was placed in his mouth.
"No he won't. He wants your love and he will get it," Julian/Daniel replied.
"Daniel, this year would be nice," came Jack's voice over the radio.
Julian/Daniel clicked the radio in response, "Sorry, Jack, I'm on my way." He then clicked it off. "Arms under the butt and legs, hands free, get the key, you'll be fine," he said, and then moved to the exit. "Have a nice life, Daniel, I know I plan to," he stated and then ran out.
He needed to hurry, as he knew Daniel would already be struggling to get out of his bonds, and since he thought like Daniel, he knew he wouldn't waste time fiddling with the multiple keys. Once he could untie his feet he'd be right on his tail. He also couldn't look as if he was being chased, that would tip Jack and the others off too, and he couldn't afford that at this stage.
Once there, "Sorry," he said taking note that no one was much the wiser and forced his body to keep calm as he moved up near Jack.
"What took so long?" Jack asked.
"Julian and I had a bit of a disagreement over something...nothing major, just points of view," Daniel said casually.
"Okay," Jack had nodded. "Let's go," he finally said after taking a last look around.
Daniel moved to dial up the gate, now possessing all of Daniel's knowledge. He then watched Carter send the signal, and then wait for the green light letting them know it was safe to proceed. Once it arrived he watched her open the panel on the DHD and remove the large solid crystal. "Okay," she said, and everyone started up the ramp.
Carter was first followed by Teal'c, Julian/Daniel was about to go, when he stopped, "Oops," he grinned pretending his forgetting his bag was an accident and ran back to get it. He already had the grenade ready to go, which he tossed into the opening where the crystal was, just in case Daniel found another, so it would be useless to him regardless, then ran up the ramp, grabbing Jack along the way, for he didn't want him to see the DHD explode, nor did he know what would happen to the wormhole once it went off........
......with a pleasant smile, Julian/Daniel stepped into the shower, washing his body, as it was now his and this was his life. He had a clear conscious, as he had given the original Daniel time to change his perspective on what he had, but in the end, he was willing to let it go. Julian on the other hand was not. Jack was special, he had known that the moment they first touched and that feeling grew with each day. He loved Jack and he would make him happy and no one would know that the real Daniel Jackson was forever stranded somewhere else, for unlike that Daniel, he was willing to do whatever it took for love.
The sound of the door knob shifting, reminded Daniel that he locked it and he stepped out and unlocked it, conscious of the fact he needed to be on guard of his abilities, "Sorry, habit," he grinned shyly, as it was true, Daniel had, had a habit of locking the bathroom door...one he was going to change as of today.
"It's okay, I can wait..." Jack started to say only to be silenced by a powerful kiss.
"New day, new habits," Daniel grinned, and pulled Jack into the shower with him, for today was the beginning of the rest of their lives too.