Summary: A miserable Jack laments his latest assignment and separation from his favorite archaeologist.
Jack was humming quietly, though not quietly enough to avoid the stares of SG-3.
"What?" the colonel dared to ask the group of men surrounding him as he inwardly smiled at their sudden uneasiness.
Four nervous shaking heads looking forward was the response to the query, causing the colonel's smile to grow outward.
~Big, rough and tough Marines. Yeah, right,~ Jack snarked about the other men and their reactions to his intimidating snap and stare. Quickly, though, he focused on the important part of the moment. Jack had a lot to look forward to. He'd been sent on a special mission with SG-3 for over two days, but now he was headed home to Earth and his sexy archaeologist. ~I have big plans for Danny and me tonight. I'll talk Hammond into giving us downtime. It's my knees; they need rest,~ he smirked devilishly.
The thunder of the forming of the event horizon drew the colonel's attention.
~Ah, there's the home of my favorite wormy particles,~ Jack observed eagerly as the kawoosh ebbed into a watery-like substance. Following the team leader, he smiled in anticipation as he put his first foot through the wormhole. ~I'm coming home, Danny.~
When his body rematerialized and his feet were solidly on the ramp in the embarkation room, Jack looked around in disappointment, his smile fading a couple of wattages. Daniel wasn't there. In fact, neither was Sam or Teal'c. For that matter, not even General Hammond was visible in the control room.
~What kind of a welcome home is this?~
Then the tannoy opened and Sergeant Walter Davis advised, "Colonel O'Neill, General Hammond would like to see you in his office once you're clear."
Jack nodded. There was no urgency in the request, so he knew he had time to shower and get his regulation quickie exam in the infirmary before checking in with the general.
Okay, this is a joke, a sick joke. First, I act like a dumb donkey in front of General Ryan and then I find out that not only am I not getting my downtime, but I don't even get my archaeologist. This is not funny. I am not a happy camper.
"You do not look happy, O'Neill," said the Jaffa with the deep baritone voice.
"Very astute of you, Teal'c."
The kawoosh from inside Cheyenne Mountain roared, after which the malcontent colonel reluctantly led the way to his abbreviated team's next mission.
On M4C-862, Jack and Teal'c, approached Major Griff and SG-2, which he was commanding at the moment. Immediately, Jack ordered a report of the current situation.
"Well, we've had a pretty thrilling week. Two days ago Doctor Thompson lost his glasses and just this morning the electron microscope broke down."
"Wow," an unimpressed Jack responded. ~Wonder if I can handle this job?~ he asked with rhetorical sarcasm.
"Yeah; non-stop excitement."
"Well, we'll take it from here. You're relieved," Jack stated, starting the customary salute. ~Did I just salute? Geez, I'm that bored and we've only just arrived.~
The exchange of command completed, the colonel was immediately assaulted with demands from Doctor Hamilton, something that had Jack's head spinning already.
This is so much fun, not. Danny's off playing with his toys, and I'm stuck babysitting whiny scientists. I thought we were the flagship team. Shouldn't that excuse us from these rinky dink assignments?
Who does that Doctor Lee person think he is? Look at him, acting like a spoiled kid complaining to his mommy. I explained specifically why he and his babbling comrades couldn't search those caves yet, and he goes and cries to Hamilton. Sheez, he didn't even get the explanation right. Hey, I have to do something here. Checking out those caves should take, oh, a good fifteen minutes. Okay, I'm stretching it. So, sue me!
Six weeks. Just because they've been playing house on this twinkling moon for a while, they think nothing bad can happen. Didn't they ever watch Gilligan's Island? They were stranded for three years and still kept finding dangerous things, for a comedy.
Yup, this is a comedy. Feels like one, anyway. I know one thing for sure. These are not the days I look forward to. Those are ones when I can snuggle up to my sexy geek. Ah, Danny. Wish you were here.
I need a diversion.
"Teal'c, let's go check out the caves so Hamilton and his bunch will get off my back," Jack ordered with a hint of contempt. ~I hope.~
"There is nothing on your back, O'Neill," the Jaffa observed as he walked beside the colonel towards the caves.
"Just a bunch of yakkity-yak geeks, that's all," Jack complained sarcastically about the scientific team on the moon.
"You regret that DanielJackson is not here with us," Teal'c surmised correctly.
"Daniel?" Jack echoed dismissively. "He'd be having a ball."
"You would be more amenable to this assignment if he were here," the Chulakan purported with a nod.
"No comment." Jack grimaced a tad and wondered, ~When did he get to figure me out so well? I wonder if he ... nah, he doesn't know. Maybe I should tell him. Nope, can't do that without Danny agreeing.~
After conducting a thorough check of the cave network, Jack and Teal'c began walking back towards the camp.
~Guess I'll let him know,~ Jack decided about the head honcho of the scientific team. He initiated a radio call to Hamilton, who immediately asked how the caves were. "Dark," Jack answered succinctly.
"No subterranean monsters, I assume?" Hamilton questioned with immense sarcasm.
"Not this time," an irked Jack responded. Somewhat begrudgingly, he permitted, "Go ahead and do your survey."
After Hamilton thanked him, Jack clicked off his radio.
"You seem disappointed we found nothing, O'Neill," Teal'c stated.
"No, it's just ... you know, I wanted him to be wrong just so he'd be wrong, and if he was wrong, then we'd have something to do."
Suddenly, Jack had something to do, but it wasn't what he'd anticipated. He reflected on it that evening.
It's just a little glowy thing that goes through things. What's so big about that? Okay, maybe it's something, but look at them over there. They questioned me for an hour about what Teal'c and I saw out there in the woods. I'm not a man of words; they're lucky to get what they got.
Danny would be intrigued. I can see his beautiful face watching the thing flying all around. He still gets in awe of the Stargate sometimes. He just stares at it like it's a miracle.
Ah, my sweet Danny. I'd love to have him under this night sky. We sure do make our own fireworks.
I wonder what he's doing? Ah, no, I take that back. He's in rock heaven; probably doesn't even realize I'm not there.
Danny, my se...sex... hmm.
The colonel fell asleep, thoughts of Daniel filling his slumber.
"Ready for another fun-filled day?" Jack asked Teal'c as they walked outside.
"It was not my understanding that yesterday was fun-filled, O'Neill."
The Jaffa stared the colonel, but said nothing in reply.
"Colonel O'Neill!" Hamilton called out.
"What is it now? Did one of your folders get some dirt on it?"
Hamilton let out a groan and then asserted, "We've waited long enough."
"Look, Doctor, I have a job to do here, and until I determine that it's safe for you and your gup..." Jack paused and opted to change his vocabulary, "fellow scientists to go glowy thing hunting, you stay here."
"Then you're going out yourself?"
"I have to polish my weapon. We'll get to it," Jack retorted, turning and walking away.
Hamilton glared at the military man, but then he returned to the main lab building.
Outside, Teal'c walked alongside the colonel and opined, "You do not like DoctorHamilton."
"I don't ... dislike him exactly. It's just ... he's, you know, a scientist."
"As are DanielJackson and MajorCarter."
"And your point is?"
"Since they are not here, you are taking out your hostilities on DoctorHamilton and his team."
"T, when did you take Psych 101?"
"I do not understand," the Jaffa replied quizzically.
"Never mind," Jack sighed, walking over to a stack of green supply crates and sitting down on one. ~Bright,~ he noticed as the sun beamed against his eyes, prompting him to put on his sunglasses.
Teal'c followed and sat down, watching as his commanding officer began to wipe down his weapon.
A short while later, three of the scientists -- Hamilton, Lee, and Thompson -- walked purposefully out of the lab and towards the forest.
"Are you sure this is such a good idea?" an uncertain Lee questioned.
"Hey. I didn't come half way across the galaxy to wait for permission to do my job," Hamilton responded emphatically.
"I know, but Colonel O'Neill ..."
"Colonel O'Neill doesn't have a clue what we're trying to accomplish here. He's too busy polishing his M-16," Hamilton interrupted in frustration, unaware that the group had just walked past the crates where Jack and Teal'c were sitting.
With a smirk, Jack corrected, "Actually, it's a P-90." When the trio turned to face him, he smiled and held up his weapon. "You boys going somewhere?"
"Ah, yes, we ... we're going to go see if we could find that creature you encountered."
"Well, apparently you didn't hear me the first time I told you, clearly, and in no uncertain terms, not the heck yet."
"Y...you know, if your description is correct, we're talking about something that can pass right through solid matter," Lee told the colonel, hoping to get his permission to continue.
"Yes, and therefore, logically, we have no defense against it," Jack pointed out as politely as possible. ~Even Daniel would get this. Okay, maybe not.~
"This is typical military thinking," Hamilton claimed. "You encounter something you don't understand, and you immediately assume it's a threat."
~Okay, time to end this war of words. I'm not a fan of words,~ Jack ordered himself. "Well," he began, standing and removing his sunglasses as he walked in the direction of Hamilton. "Until we determine there is no threat, I will assume there is one." Fiddling with his sunglasses, he extended his arms as he asked, "Do we have a problem here?"
"Colonel, with all due respect, really, when I agreed to this assignment I was under the impression that I was going to be in charge."
"You are in charge, of the other scientists," Jack corrected. ~This guy is so easy to bother.~
"That you even think you are even qualified to decide what we can and can't do around here is ..."
Joining his teammate, Teal'c interrupted, "Colonel O'Neill is indeed qualified, DoctorHamilton, having encountered many alien species, as have I, since long before you were born. I strongly suggest you do what ColonelO'Neill says."
"Thank you, Rocco. Boys, we'll be in touch," Jack advised the scientists before heading off into the woods with Teal'c following.
Once away from the encampment, Jack grinned while saying, "Now that was fun."
"You miss DanielJackson."
"Will you stop saying that!" Jack snapped, internally adding, ~even if it is true.~
"See anything?" Jack questioned the Jaffa after they'd been walking in the woods for quite a while.
"As you would say, O'Neill, I see trees, trees, and more trees."
Jack stopped his progression and looked over at the Jaffa. He was impressed. His friend was showing some decent signs of humor lately.
"Nice job," the colonel praised, getting the usual nod of the head from the Jaffa.
Returning his focus to the task at hand, Jack looked around cautiously, wondering where the glowing creature could be.
I don't know if we should be concerned about the little orby thingy or not. It came right up to Teal'c and me yesterday and didn't do anything. It's an unknown, though, and that makes it dangerous. If Danny were here, he'd be trying to talk to it.
Okay, maybe it's a good thing he's not here. Hamilton and Lee I can control, but let's face it, Daniel would have kept right on walking and daring me to stop him. Orders! The man knows nothing about following orders, not even after four years. He's a darn genius. You'd think he'd know how to follow a simple order, like 'no'.
He'd be fascinated, though, and I'd love to watch him watching it, whatever it is. I can see his face, washed aglow and his sweet lips parted slightly, as he stared at the thing.
Better he's not here. I don't know what that thing is. I might have been having some fun with Hamilton earlier, but the truth is we've gotten into trouble in the past not being careful enough. That thing might be cool, but maybe it was doing its own recon mission. It wasn't scared. Why? Why the close up view of my face?
Okay, well, until I know more, we keep the scientists hunkered down.
Not long thereafter, things took an intriguing turn, though it left the colonel as concerned as ever. The strange entity had gone inside the lab, getting the attention of the scientists, who ultimately followed the singular glowy object to the woods north of the encampment. There, many more of the creatures were flying around, capturing the curiosity of the scientific team. Eventually, eager to learn all they could about the creature, the team took possession of one of the glowing objects by getting it inside a cylinder where the top and bottom plates were electrified.
Jack was uncertain about the move, but he was fighting a lost battle with the yammering scientists, all of whom were swarming around the creature in a jar with frequency. Then came the call from Stargate Command with the news that Sam was coming through and bringing with her a cadet from the United States Air Force Academy.
Just what we need, a tourist. How'd she talk Hammond into it, that's what I want to know. Think I'll go meet them at the Gate; see if I can't get an assessment of this cadet.
Ah, short. Does she meet the height requirements? Yeah, guess so, but not by much. She's a mini-cadet.
"Sir, I'd like you to meet Cadet Hailey," Carter tells me.
Look at that -- a saluter. Well, rookies should be. I'll return the thing, fool her into thinking I'm by the book.
"Cadet. Welcome to 862. How was your trip?"
Oh, I like that. She said it was a trip. Maybe she has possibilities after all. Better get down to business. Playtime is over for you, Carter.
"I got something you should see," the colonel told his second-in-command.
The three left the Stargate behind them. The walk to the encampment was short and would not take very long to complete.
"So, Carter, enjoy your time with the kiddies?" Jack asked Sam as they walked side-by-side towards the encampment.
Sam glanced over her shoulder at Hailey, who was several feet behind the two officers, soaking in the fact that she was actually on a moon.
"Yes, Sir," Sam responded. "Cadet Hailey is very bright."
"She must be for Hammond to let you bring her here, but why?"
"Why'd you bring her?"
"She has a bit of an attitude, Colonel. She needs to see that she's not the most intelligent woman in the universe."
"And you brought her to see me?" Jack quipped, chuckling mildly. "Any word from Daniel?"
Sam lowered her head a tad, smiling at the inquiry, and responded, "The team checked in before we left. Everything's fine, Sir."
Jack nodded in acknowledgement. His mind shifted to the entity that was inside the lab. The truth was that he was a bit more curious than one might think he was; yet, he was still concerned, and the amazing thing to him was that his feelings weren't limited to the safety of the personnel at the moon base, but also for the entity itself.
~Something tells me Danny wouldn't agree with what's going on inside. I'm not sure it's the right thing myself.~
"Is everything all right, Colonel?" Sam inquired, noting the frown on the man's face.
"This thing is going to make your day," Jack stated just before they reached the entrance.
"What is it?"
"You'll see, and it might be your answer for your cadet's attitude problems."
"I hope so."
"Are you telling me she found a mistake you'd made?" Jack asked that night as he and Sam were eating their rations. ~Wow, the pint-size cadet has some spunk.~
"Not exactly, Colonel," Sam responded. "Another cadet copied my notes onto the board. They made the error, and Hailey caught it."
Sam was telling her CO about how she'd met Cadet Hailey while giving a lecture at the Academy. The five-foot-two blonde recruit was highly intelligent and had impressed her instructors. There was just one problem.
"I don't think she was used to not being the best at everything," Sam opined. "She has a huge chip on her shoulder, Sir."
"Trying to live up to your expertise, Major?" the colonel joked.
"Apparently," Sam acknowledged. "Sir, if you read her papers on ..."
"Me?" Jack interrupted. "Read her papers? Carter, the only papers I want to read feature Snoopy."
"I understand that," Sam mused, trying not to laugh. She looked around and saw the young woman talking to some of the scientists. "I think Cadet Hailey could be a great asset to the SGC."
"Go ahead, Carter, and take her under your wing. Just one thing."
"I've already got two scientists on my team. We're *not* making it three, even if she is spunky," Jack advised with fervor. ~No way am I dealing with more technobabble.~
Sam chuckled and took another bite of her food.
Jack was alone outside on the moon surface. He felt a need to be by himself for a while, away from all the prattling of the scientists. Teal'c had gone into a state of kelno'reem to recharge his batteries, so to speak, so the colonel decided to walk the perimeter before turning it for the night.
**Danny, you out there?** Jack asked via the couple's unique way of communicating. **Yeah, I didn't think so. This thing only works when we're close, but I miss ya, Angel. How many nights has it been now? Too many. Miss me yet? You've probably got so many toys and rocks to play with that you haven't even thought about me. Danny? I love you. Geez, it's killing me not to see you and hold you. Well, it'll be SG-2's turn again soon. Ferretti's turn, I think. Night, Danny.**
The colonel looked up at the stars and wondered if maybe his Love had heard his message, or perhaps just felt a ping of love surround him for a minute. With a sigh, he headed back for the encampment, eager to sleep and dream of his archaeologist.
For crying out loud, I knew this was going to lead to trouble. I shouldn't have let the nerds capture one of them the other day. That's what started it. Now look at us. Thompson's dead, I had to go get the geeks from the lab because they didn't obey my direct order to get to the Stargate like *now*, and here we are, trapped inside a tin can by a mass of energy bugs. That's what they are, nasty little bugs.
Yes, Daniel, I hear you. They aren't nasty bugs. They're glow in the dark creatures fighting us because we captured one of them. Heck, we let it go. Why start a war over it?
Yeah, right, I know. I'd be a little snippy if one of my people had been taken against their will and held in a cage, too, but dang it, we're trapped in here.
"Carter, do something. We aren't going to be able to hold them off with zats for long."
Sometimes, having a scientist on your team isn't so bad. She's wiring the walls. Hope it works. I'd like to make it home so Daniel can yell at me for letting Hamilton capture the thing in the first place. Gawd, I wish I'd followed my gut. Never capture anyone you don't know is an enemy. Watch 'em, be on guard, but don't put 'em in prison.
Oops, we've got a swarm of light bugs inbound. Time to see if Carter's wiring job works.
"Light it up."
Good. No problems. Ah, excuse me? Now isn't this great. We're safe as long as we have power, but we don't know if Thompson refueled the generator before getting zapped by the buggers. Not good, and I'm even more glad now that Daniel got out of this mission.
Sorry, Daniel, I can't help it. This isn't looking good.
Carter has another plan, but I'm not liking the sound of it, either. Let Teal'c zat me, run to the Gate, dial home, and we've got an energy field to ban the bugs. The trick is not to be zapped first.
Oh, come on, Hailey. Here I was liking you for agreeing with me that the buggers were cool, and now you have to go and ruin it. You are disagreeing with Carter, and you expect me to listen to you and not her? I've heard of being confident, but don't you think you're a little overzealous here? Didn't think so.
Slow it down, kids. You know how I am with this science stuff. Okay, Carter thinks our best bet is to activate the Stargate. It'll act like a huge superconductor and keep the glowy things away. The upstart cadet thinks the bugs aren't attacking because we nabbed one of them, but just because the moon entered some polar orbit with magnets or something. English, if you please.
Daniel, don't shout in my head. Yes, I get it. I really get it, but I'm very likely about to die here, and I'd just as soon go out acting dumb to maintain my image than not. Why let them think I'm not so dumb now?
Jack's decision had to be made quickly. There was simply no way of knowing how long the generator would last. Without it, everyone on the moon base would be dead within minutes.
If Sam's theory were correct, dialing the Stargate would save everyone, except perhaps for the person who dialed out. That person, who everyone knew would be the colonel, would have to undergo a hit from a zat'nik'tel, giving his body an electrical charge that would temporarily keep the creatures away. It would be a close call as to whether or not the person could reach the Gate and dial out before being killed by the entities.
If the cadet's theory were correct, there would be no need to risk anyone's life in trying to get to the Gate to activate it. In a couple of hours, the moon's orbit would be changed, and the entities would simply cease to be hostile.
Making tough decisions in a moment of crisis was something Jack excelled at. This was one of those times. He listened as Sam and Hailey debated, though in truth, Sam was debating and Hailey was arguing, confident that she was right and being ignored simply because she wasn't Sam.
"Colonel, please don't just dismiss what I'm saying because you expect her to be right," Hailey stated with a hint of arrogance in her tone.
"It doesn't matter who's right, Cadet," Jack replied, somewhat annoyed at the argument. ~Geez, I listened to her, but I don't really have a choice here.~
"Colonel, you're risking your life for nothing," Hailey argued.
"Decision's made," Jack announced, turning around and walking away.
"How can it not matter who's right?" the naive Academy student asked in frustration.
"If he makes a run for the Gate, he's risking his own life. If he waits, he risks everyone's life. He can't do that," Sam answered, annoyed at Hailey's conceit.
There wasn't any time to waste. Jack prepared himself for what he had to do. He took a moment, mentally running through the game plan.
~Get zatted and run like I'm on fire.~ Jack sighed. ~Motivation: save lives and get home to Danny in one piece. Crap, I wish my knees weren't so beat up. No time to think about it. Showtime!~
Jack adjusted his cap and faced Teal'c, who fired his zat gun, stunning the colonel. Shaken, but not having time to think about it, Jack went to the door. As soon as Sam deactivated the electrical charge that was keeping the creatures out of the lab, the colonel opened the door and began running.
Gotta run. Go, O'Neill. Ouch! Dang knees. Go! Go! Run! It's up ahead. Crap, they're right behind me. Why'd I look back? Keep moving! I didn't know I could still move this fast. Run for your life. Holy Light Bugs!
Running full force for thirty-five seconds, Jack was only a few yards from the DHD when he realized he was about to be overcome by the creatures, only they bypassed him and went right to the DHD, hovering over it.
~Okay, so that's how we're playing it.~
The colonel walked to the device. He was uncertain and felt uneasy about the entities that surrounded him. He notified the others over the radio that he was at the Stargate and about to dial. Tentatively, he began the sequence.
~That's one. Two. Three. I wonder if people think I don't know any of the Gate addresses. They probably think I'm dialing Tatooine.~
If things weren't so serious, Jack would have laughed at his Star Wars reference to the home world of Luke Skywalker. Things were that serious, though, deadly serious, so he simply touched the fourth chevron, backing away from the pain of his hand being zapped by one of the entities.
~Crap! Get it done, O'Neill,~ Jack told himself as he fought the terrible hurt in his hand and touched the fifth chevron. ~Six,~ he noted.
The entities attacked Jack unmercifully, causing him to fall to the ground. His entire body was subject to the hurtful zats. It seemed as though all was lost.
Do I still have knees? Man, I do *not* want to go through this again. It's a good thing those bugs don't know military strategy. Every cotton pickin' one of 'em were after me. That's the only way Teal'c was able to show up in time. I owe my life to the big guy, again. We'd all be dead if he hadn't shown up and zatted the bugs one last time. Thank you, knees, for responding when I told you to stand up,. I wasn't sure I could make it to complete the dialing sequence.
"Teal'c, get those scientists to the Gate *now* ... and *no* files!"
I think I'll just sit here on the steps and wait. I hurt all over. Ouch! They got my face. I hope the Doc has something for this.
Danny, maybe you should play with your toys some more and give me a chance to recoup first and not look like a bug magnet.
Ah, here they come.
"Move out, people. Get through the Gate now."
Well, how about that? Doctor Lee thanks me and Doctor Hamilton apologizes. Sweet! But I really don't care. I'm going home now.
Jack's sour mood shifted in an instant. In fact, he found himself feeling very emotional all of a sudden, to the point that just three steps down the ramp, he stopped and stood still, letting everyone else go by. He swallowed hard and let out a big sigh. His eyes were fixed on the one constant in the universe that made perfect sense to him -- Daniel.
At the foot of the ramp, his arms folded across his chest, the archaeologist stood in anticipation.
**Geez, Danny,** Jack sighed wearily over the couple's special communication.
**Get down here,** Daniel ordered.
Jack walked to the end of the ramp and stepped down, staring at his lover. They were surrounded by a gaggle of scientists, all wanting to know when they could retrieve their papers and equipment that had been left behind on the moon.
"Colonel?" Doctor Warner called out as he walked over and noticed the sting-like spots on Jack's face and neck. "We need to treat those wounds."
"I'll be there in a minute."
Daniel motioned with his head toward the exit and began to walk in that direction. He moved slowly, as did Jack. They wanted to be the last ones out so they could be unobserved. The normally fast walkers crawled with their pace until they were behind the others. Then, at their first opportunity, they slid unnoticed into a supply closet where they clung to each other for a moment. Then they placed their foreheads together.
"Are you okay?" Daniel asked, his hands roaming over the colonel, doing a physical assessment of his lover.
"Yeah," came the worn out response. ~That took about all I had back there.~
"I don't think so."
"You're right, like always," Jack admitted as their foreheads still touched. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
The lovers pulled back and shared a quick kiss. It was all they could do. If Jack didn't show up in the infirmary soon, Warner would come looking for him. Brown eyes and blue eyes connected one more time, expressing all that needed to be communicated.
After his physical, Jack was released from the infirmary and sent home. His wounds were treated and he was given pain medication, should he desire it. Fortunately in the colonel's mind, Hammond scheduled the debriefing for the next morning to give everyone a chance to get some rest after their narrow escape from the moon. That meant Jack could get some tender loving from his Heart. Daniel, of course, was eager to fit the bill and accompanied his lover home. He'd already had the debrief earlier in the day for his mission with SG-11.
At home, the couple reconnected with their own version of fireworks, just like Jack had thought about while on the moon. Once satiated and rested, the couple began to share their mission experiences, though for the most part, they focused on Jack's time away, including his somewhat bumbled meeting with General Michael E. Ryan, the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.
"Daniel, I sounded like a bumbling idiot, which ..."
"Don't say it, Jack. You're not an idiot," Daniel interrupted.
"A dummy then," Jack put forth.
"Uh, what you're trying to say is that you took the dumb act too far."
"I *love* the Air Force," Jack groaned. "Of course, I love the Air Force. I gotta read my memos more often."
Daniel chuckled, "It couldn't have been that bad." The archaeologist saw his lover's stare and rescinded his opinion. "Okay, it was that bad, but I thought the Brass didn't impress you much."
"Danny, it's one thing to not like the Brass in general, it's another thing when the main man is in your face."
"Oh," an amused Daniel responded.
"Do you know what the only thing is that is worse than listening to Carter's prattling?"
"Uh, no, what?"
"An entire base full of Carter wannabees yapping at me all the time about their gizmos and acting like I don't care about their work."
Daniel's pointed eyes glared at his lover, an accusation filling the room.
"Okay, so I don't care, but geez, Danny, could they yap about broken generators and replacement parts."
"Come here, Babe, and sit down," Daniel instructed, wanting his Love to take a seat in one of the chairs in the kitchen nook. "Just relax and I'll get you a beer."
"Yeah, that's what I'll do." Jack made a circling motion with his head, trying to relieve some of the strain he felt in his neck. "Did you meet her?"
"Who?" Daniel asked from his position in front of the refrigerator.
"You mean Jennifer?"
"Jennifer?" Jack questioned. ~Is that Spunky's name?~
"Jennifer Hailey," Daniel stated formally as he opened the beer bottle and brought it to the table. "Isn't that who you meant?"
"I wasn't aware you were on a first name basis," Jack groaned.
"We just said hello," the archaeologist explained. "Sam likes her."
"Tell me about it," Jack sighed. He took a couple sips of beer, enjoying the taste as the liquid flowed down his throat. "Danny, the girl has a chip on her shoulder a mile wide. She also has a bad case of the Carters."
"The ... Carters?"
"Jealousy. Carter's still number one at the Academy, and Hailey can't stand it."
"Oh," Daniel responded with a bit of a laugh. "I understand then."
"Daniel, I have a hard time believing you were ever second in college to anyone."
"I wasn't," Daniel responded, a bit of a smirk on his face. "I just meant that I understand what's happening, from Sam's perspective."
"That I believe," the colonel responded, taking another swig of beer. "You know what the worst part of it is?"
"I think I like her, too," Jack admitted, after which both men laughed for a few seconds. "She said it was cool. I said that, too."
"You know, Jack, Sam said they might never know who was right, her or Jennifer." Daniel reached over and took Jack's hand in his. "May...maybe, you didn't need to risk your life."
"Daniel, if you had been me, what would you have done?"
"That's why I'm not you. I ... I just don't know," the archaeologist answered honestly. ~I just don't know if I'd make the right choice.~
"Yes, you do. You'd risk your life for a flea."
"Only if he were scratching a defenseless dog," Daniel teased.
"Geez, I missed you," Jack declared with sparkling eyes and a happy smile.
"I thought of you every second."
"Okay, every second when we weren't digging up magnificent relics."
"That I believe," Jack replied, leaning forward to share a kiss. "Hey, I have an idea."
"Should I be worried?"
"Nah. Tomorrow morning, I have the debrief and a few reports to get out of the way, but then I'm done. Let's go to Chicago."
"Yeah, home sweet home, the place of my birth. We'll catch a flight in the afternoon and spend a couple of days there."
"I've been to Chicago," Daniel reminded.
"Not to where I can take you. I want to show you my old haunts." Jack sighed, looking down and then taking another drink of beer. "I guess they're really nothing special. Forget it."
"No," Daniel rebutted, reclaiming his Love's hand. "I want to go."
"And miss a chance to have genuine Chicagoan pizza? Never!" Daniel teased.
"Windy City, here we come."
"Um, well, did you ... was there a time when ... I mean ..." Daniel stammered, his hand rubbing the back of his neck.
"A couple of times when I was off-world, I just felt like you were there. I couldn't hear or see you, but I felt you. I know it doesn't make sense."
"It makes perfect sense to me," Jack refuted.
"I'm glad your knees held up."
"Me, too, Angel. Me, too."
The couple shared a kiss and then headed back upstairs to their bedroom.
"So, Danny, how was your mission? Find any good rocks?" Jack asked when they were halfway up the stairs. finally ready to hear the full details of his Love's experiences.
Daniel started prattling on about the fascinating artifacts he and SG-11 had uncovered.
~Now this is the only prattling I want to listen to,~ Jack thought as he and his lover climbed into bed. ~Yup, I could listen to my Danny prattle all night, but I would rather do this.~
While Daniel was in mid-sentence Jack pounced on him, silencing his prattling scientist with a long, passionate, wet kiss.
Time apart was never a good thing for Jack and Daniel, but in their line of business it happened from time to time. Now, though, back together again, they were happy in each other's embrace. As they looked forward to a couple of days in Chicago, they also enjoyed the knowledge that their love was forever, and that was something no scientist could ever debate. It wasn't a theory, it was a proof, an everlasting and absolute constant in the lives of Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Author's Note: Please feel free to email me with your comments or suggestions; constructive criticism, things you'd like to see, etc. A chronological listing of my universe is at http://orrymain.com