Pairing: Choose you own (as in Jack/Daniel or Sam/Jack.)
Disclaimer: Oh, you know the drill, they ain't mine, I don't make any money, yadda yadda yadda.
Spoilers: None that I can think of.
Summary: On the tails of a near-disaster, Jack rises to a higher plane of existence, Daniel considers violence, Sam is snarky and Teal'c is a sight for sore eyes.
Author's Notes: Another one of those "trying to break the block" stories that turned out far more interesting than I'd ever hoped for.
Suz, Kel… They are so the best. They put up with my *constant* nagging, and just really made it all work. *smooches*
Also thanks to Mairoh and Danvers who betaed this without any warning
from my part. They, too, rock muchly. *hugs*
Last not but least, thanks to Genie, who I somehow managed to tangle in this
mess as well, and I don't think neither of us are sure how it happened…
Thanks, babe :D
*Christ*, he was tired. After having chased alien baddies, saved aliens goodies, jumped from cliffs (okay, so it was more like a high rock, but still), banged his head against the customary club (or maybe the club had banged his head? The memory was somewhat blurry) *and* managed to land on his face when jumping through the 'gate on his way home, he was more than a little beat. This should have been a normal day's work, which usually left him with a slight weariness and an adrenaline high like nothing else, but last night he'd stayed up 'til 0400 watching the Simpsons marathon, even though he'd needed the rest after the off-world escapade the day before.
Thus he was now sitting in front of his computer, the cursor blinking on the blank page he'd opened, feeling like his head was somehow floating away from the rest of his body. An interesting sensation, granted, but nothing, he suspected, that'd help the process of writing his report.
His fingers started moving over the keyboard, and 30 seconds later he was staring at the screen, absurdly proud that he'd managed to type in the date. Oy. This was going to be a long night.
He was about to continue on the first actual sentence, when there was a knock on his door. He didn't even pretend to himself that he was sorry about the interruption.
"The door's open."
At least he thought it was.
As it opened and Carter appeared where the door had been previously, he concluded that the door had, in fact, been open.
Or Carter was even better than he'd given her credit for.
She smiled at him. "Colonel."
"Sorry to bother you, sir." She glanced down at his keyboard. "Especially since you've gotten the computer to start."
"If I didn't know better, Carter, I'd think I'd just been insulted." He casually removed his fingers from the right keys. He had a reputation to consider, after all.
"Good thing you know better, then."
Jack quirked an eyebrow. "Did you want something, or did you just come to mock me?"
"Just came to tell you that the new members of SG-13 have arrived."
"That was *today*?" He looked around his desk for any memo with the information he was looking for, but as usual, his desk was covered in papers he didn't even have a remote idea what they were good for.
Carter looked somber, which meant that she definitely wasn't. "Yes, sir."
Jack frowned in irritation. "Are they aware that it's in the middle of the night?"
"Actually, it's only 2200 hours, sir."
"Says my watch." She tapped her wristwatch.
"Can't they wait until the morning?" Good thing Jack knew that Colonels didn't whine, otherwise he could have sworn that a whine had just slipped past his lips.
"They could, but it was you who said that you wanted to meet them in person 'the second they arrive, Carter, and not a minute later...'."
"I hate it when you remember that stuff."
"Sorry, sir." She didn't look very sorry. It was plainly obvious that she wasn't. As a matter of fact, the way she was looking, she was probably what the dictionary people had thought of when they wrote the word "gleeful".
He sighed. "Don't you have anyone else's evening to mess up?"
"Funny you should mention that, I was just on my way to Daniel."
"Hah. He'll probably think it's nice meeting new people at this hour."
He took a deep breath, trying to shake off that muzzy, disconnected feeling
in his head. When it didn't succeed, he looked into the amused eyes of
his disgustingly perky-looking second-in-command and sighed again. He
rose heavily from his chair. "Alright." Wow, were his legs supposed
to feel this heavy? "Let's get this show on the road."
As Carter introduced Lieutenant Whatshisface and Major Whatever, Jack got that gritty feeling in his eyes, like someone had rubbed sand into them and refused to show the way to the closest sink. Something prodded into his side, and he turned annoyed eyes to Daniel's unusually sharp elbow.
"What?" Jack whispered.
"You could at least pretend that you're interested." Daniel gave him that look that would make Jack want to feel guilty - if it weren't for the fact that he was a hardass Air Force officer, of course.
"I'm looking interested." Jack tried to prove his point by smiling at the Lieutenant, which made the kid look pretty terrified. Geez, what was he, Frankenstein?
"You're looking like you're two seconds away from tearing someone's head off."
"Just trying to find the sink," Jack muttered, earning him a confused frown from Daniel. Hah. Why should Jack be the only one firing on less than one cylinder?
He realized that Carter had stopped speaking and was looking expectantly at him. That probably meant that it was his cue to say something profound. Resisting the urge to sigh, he drew a breath and opened his mouth to speak. As the first syllable was about to pass his lips, the klaxons suddenly started blaring.
"Intruder alert, intruder alert, this is not a drill, I repeat, this is *not* a drill." Jack couldn't remember the last time he'd been so happy to hear Sgt Davis voice.
Of course then he realized exactly what Davis was saying.
"Carter, Daniel: with me." He looked at the...well, not rookies, he supposed, but in these conditions, they might as well be. Whatever they were, they sure couldn't be left on their own when the base was under possible alien incursion.
"You two. Come along."
At least the Lieutenant wasn't looking freaked on Jack's behalf any longer.
They made it to the armory without any incidents, which made Jack feel uneasy.
Things going well usually meant they were going to go very *bad* within the nearest future.
The new guys looked slightly less nervous with some weapons in their hands, and after Jack made sure they didn't look like they were about to shoot themselves in the feet, he gave them a quick introduction on the weapons they probably hadn't seen before.
"This is a zat gun. Basically it electrocutes the person slash alien on the wrong side of it. One hit stuns, two kills, three makes the remains..." He looked at Daniel.
"Disintegrate," Daniel supplied as he slipped a clip into a P90 and handed it to Sam.
"What he said."
"Um," the Lieutenant looked embarrassed, "we know, sir, we've been trained to use all the alien weaponries."
Oh. "Right. I knew that." Good thing Jack knew Daniel was a serious kind of guy, or he could have sworn he'd heard him snigger. "Still, make sure you don't shoot any of us with it." That earned him a grin from the Lieutenant that didn't look scared. Progress.
"What were your names again?" He figured he should probably try and remember them in case they actually survived this.
"I'm Johnson and this is Steel." The Major nodded to the younger officer.
"Right." He looked at Carter who had taken post at the door. "We clear?"
"Looks that way, sir."
"Good." He watched Daniel slip a final spare clip in his pocket. "Where did you last see Teal'c?"
"Control room with the General."
"Okay, control room it is." He cracked his neck to the side and noticed absently that adrenaline had done its job and he wasn't feeling muzzy in the head any longer. God, he loved this job.
"What is *that*?"
He stared down at the... *thing* lying at his feet, and carefully prodded it with his boot. It was very... well... slimy for one. And he wasn't quite sure which side was the back and which side was the front. Or what was up and down, for that matter. It was definitely icky, though. Steel on the other hand, looked absolutely fascinated. Great. So Jack smiling at him scared the shit out of him, but in the face of slimy alien lumps he seemed relaxed?
He'd do great on this job.
"Whatever it is, it wore some sort of cloaking device." Carter was turning some metallic thing with lights on it in her hands.
"Great. Everyone except us has cloaking devices."
"Well..." She smiled up at him in that excited way that hadn't diminished over the years, even when other things had. "When we get the base back under control-"
"If," Daniel interjected, and Jack wondered when he'd stolen Jack's position of absolute pessimism.
"-I could study this and we might be able to put it to use."
"Sir." Johnson had been watching the end of the corridor, and now he came jogging back towards them. "People approaching, I can hear footsteps."
"Most likely people on our side." Daniel nodded to the alien on the floor. "That doesn't look like it's very good at walking."
Never the less, they all raised the weapons at Jack's sign. He knew better than to get too self-assured.
Their concerns were soon eased as Teal'c came around the corner, staff weapon at the ready. Siler and a couple of other SFs were following closely behind.
"O'Neill, MajorCarter, DanielJackson." He seemed pleased to see them. Jack had to admit it was pretty nice seeing that shiny tattoo as well.
"Heya, Teal'c. We were just looking for you. What's the situation?"
"Levels twenty-one through twenty-five have been secured, as have the
gate room and control room. GeneralHammond has ordered a lockdown of the
facility and has sent troops to meet those coming upwards."
"Any idea how they could have gotten on base?" Daniel's question was valid. Jack wished he'd thought of it.
"Readings from the control room indicate that they arrived with us from P04-115."
"The cloaking devices." Carter nodded.
Daniel frowned. "How did we pick them up if they were using the cloaking devices?"
Another very valid question. Jack looked expectantly at Teal'c.
"It seems that when they exited the wormhole with us, their devices caused a brief burst of energy that wasn't thought upon further at the time."
"Of course." Carter had that tone of voice that said 'I'm so stupid'. "When
something with electrical currents in it, such as the human body, is rematerialized
after a trip through an active wormhole, it has to let off some energy
otherwise it'd implode. Our bodies and the equipment we carry leave an
energy trace every time. These things," she shook the blinking device
that was still in her hand (they'd never get her to let it go...), "are
very advanced, but I'd be willing to bet that they need a lot of energy
to work. Their traces should be a lot more obvious."
Jack blinked. "Of course." He looked at her for a moment, then shook his head. The time spent standing still had made the adrenaline wear off a bit; Carter's explanation was even more incomprehensible than usual. He needed to get moving again. "So, I take it the East sector is clear?"
Teal'c inclined his head.
"Good. We'll go together to the West sector. We'll take level twenty-seven,
you take twenty-six." He suddenly remembered the new recruits. "This is
Steel and Johnson, by the way, SG-13's newest additions."
Teal'c nodded. "It is an honor."
Johnson nodded somberly, apparently unfazed that he was obviously speaking to an alien. "Likewise." The guy didn't talk much, but he adapted real fast. Jack liked him already.
"Right, now that everyone knows everyone..." He eyed Siler who was giving him reproachful looks. "Now that *almost* everyone knows everyone, we can get on our way."
"What about the... alien, sir?" Steel looked at the lumpy thing.
"Did you shoot it?"
"With the zat?"
"Then if it's still alive, it deserves to come after us. Let's go."
"Question." Only Daniel could sound like he was in a classroom while in fact he was on his way down an elevator in a secret facility on an alien hunt.
"How are we supposed to find the aliens when they're cloaked again?"
"It has proved efficient to fire a zat'nik'tel once to disengage their cloaking device."
"Neat." Jack looked questioningly at Teal'c. "Who came up with that idea?"
"It was not as much an idea as a revelation when a lieutenant fired a zat'nik'tel in panic as he was attacked."
Jack shrugged. "Whatever works."
The elevator started to slow. "Okay, this is our stop." He nodded to Carter and Daniel. "Let's go."
As the elevator doors opened, Jack didn't waste any time firing his zat. If there were friendlies on the other side of the door, he figured he could apologize later.
No lumpy thing came into view, and Carter moved ahead, closely followed by Steel. He nodded to Johnson, and he moved ahead as well, Daniel behind him. The new guys seemed reliable enough, but Jack preferred having them in front of him. Armed people he didn't know covering his six never seemed like a good idea nowadays.
Carter looked at him as he came up by her side. "Should we split up, sir? If the tactic is to fire a zat at every corner, large groups won't do that much good anyway."
Jack considered that. "Normally I'd agree, but normally I'd have a full team to rely on." He looked over at Steel and Johnson: the first standing guard by the elevator, the other by the next corner. "I'm sure their credentials are excellent, but I prefer to have a bit more experience with how they work before I split my real team up."
"I heard something."
Silently walking over to Daniel who was standing next to Johnson, Jack listened carefully. The focused look on Daniel's face told him that he was doing the same.
"What did you hear?" Jack mumbled, ears straining for any kind of noise.
"I'm not sure… It sounded like-"
Johnson cried out and fired his P90 before falling backwards, red marks appearing on his face. Jack didn't hesitate as he fired his zat at him, but as the unconscious Major's head hit the floor with a thud, no lumpy alien thing appeared.
"Everyone back to back; fire zats in all directions." He felt Daniel's solid shoulder next to his and Carter's back against his own, but before anyone had time to fire something hit Jack with the force of a very large dog at full speed, and he was thrown against Carter's back, losing hold of his zat in the process.
As something ripped at his face, Jack gritted his teeth. This is really going to hurt.
He could hear the familiar sound of a zat being fired before blue currents guided him into inky blackness.
He felt… *great*. Wow. Really. He felt spectacular. For some reason, he was sure that he shouldn't, but he couldn't for the life of him remember why.
"Colonel, can you hear me?"
He opened his eyes (Hey! My eyes were closed! Neat!) and looked into Janet's face.
She smiled warmly at him. "Hello, Colonel. How are you feeling?"
Jack thought about it carefully and came up with the only word that seemed to explain the greatness he was experiencing. "Groovy."
Janet's eyes widened and she coughed strangely before turning away hastily to pick up a chart. "The alien that attacked you has administered some sort of drug into your system. We haven't been able to determine what it does, but we *do* know that it isn't life threatening."
She smiled at him again. "Yes, very cool, sir."
"So…" He blinked a bit. "What alien?"
Her smile disappeared and she frowned. "You don't remember what happened?"
He couldn't really, no. That should make him worried, but it didn't. Why worry about stuff? Worry didn't change anything.
He marveled over the clearness of his mind. He should really write this down…
"Colonel!" Carter walked towards the bed he was lying on (Hey, I'm lying down!) at a fast pace.
Oooh, Carter. "Carter!"
"How are you feeling, Jack?" Daniel came close behind her.
And Daniel! "Daniel, hey!"
"Hey, Jack." Daniel smiled at him and looked at him a bit funnily, but that didn't really bother Jack. He was a funny guy after all.
"How are you feeling, sir?" Carter asked. Why? Daniel already asked that. Maybe Jack hadn't answered…
Daniel's eyebrows rose and he looked over at Janet.
"Yes, as I was saying." Janet did that strange cough again. Maybe she was getting sick. "The drug Colonel O'Neill has in his bloodstream appears to be harmless, just… Um." She seemed at a loss.
"Groovy!" Jack exclaimed happily.
This time Carter coughed. Janet simply sounded a bit strained as she answered. "Right, sir."
"So, he's okay?" Daniel looked carefully at Jack.
"Yes, the drug should be completely out of his system in less than twenty-four hours."
A sudden insight came to Jack. "Hey… Didn't we have a bunch of alien lumps running around here?"
"Yes, sir." Carter smiled. "We've taken care of all of the…lumps, though."
"Cool." He concentrated. There was something else… Ah! "What about Johnson and Steel?"
"Johnson has some light scratches on his face as well as some residual pain from the zat'nik'tel," Janet answered, "but the alien didn't have time to administer the drug into his system."
"And Lieutenant Steel was the one to fire the zat at you." Daniel looked wary, as though he was expecting Jack to do something.
Jack frowned. "Should I be mad at him?"
"No, Jack, I think you should thank him."
"In the meantime, you should get some sleep, Colonel."
"Hey, Doc! You know what would be really cool?"
"Ah, no, sir. What would be really cool?"
Jack smiled at her. "If I could sleep at home."
Janet made a slight face. "I don't think that's a good idea, sir."
"Why not?" Jack had a feeling he was pouting, but he didn't really care. This was not groovy at all.
"Colonel, to all of our knowledge the drug is harmless, but it could
just as well be dangerous."
"But you said it wasn't!"
"Yes, but I don't think that's a risk we should take."
"Aww, come on." A bit alarmed Jack felt his eyes tear up, and Carter and Daniel looked equally alarmed. "I don't like sleeping here."
Janet opened her mouth to say something, then closed it while releasing a breath. She looked hard at him for a moment, and Jack tried his best to look pathetic, even though some part of him remembered that that never worked with the Doc. Finally, Janet said, "I'm not even going to consider you going home on your own."
Jack was about to let out another wail when the words sunk in. "But if I wasn't on my own?"
Janet looked at him, then at Carter and Daniel. Daniel shook his head and the corner of his mouth quirked up in a smile. "I'll drive him."
Wow. That was really cool. One, two, swish. One, two, swish.
"Will you stop that?"
Jack looked curiously at Daniel who was driving. "Stop what?"
"Making a sound every time we pass a street light."
"Oh. Okay!" Jack stared at Daniel for a while, watching the street lights flicker over his face. One, two, glint. One, two, glint. The flashes lit up his glasses and hid those intense eyes momentarily. Wonder why he hasn't gotten contacts?
He jerked himself out of his thoughts when the car hit a bump. He'd been doing nothing for too long, that wasn't cool. He switched the radio on and off until Daniel gave him an irritated glare. He tried sitting motionless for a bit longer, but didn't make it for long. Finally, not being able to sit still any longer, he rolled down the window and stuck his head out, all the while sticking his tongue out.
Jack looked back at a very annoyed looking Daniel, still with his head outside the window. "'ath?"
"Will you *stop* that."
Jack pulled his head back. "Why?"
"Because I'm coming very close to forgetting why violence is a bad thing."
Jack considered this for a while. He then smiled brightly at Daniel. "Okay!"
He heard Daniel sigh deeply and he looked over at the other man, who glanced at him tiredly. "Next time," Daniel said, "I'll do the drugged thing."
As Daniel closed the door to Jack's house behind both of them, Jack heard a scratching noise. Somewhere deep down, far beneath the total greatness he was feeling, something told him that this should bother him. "What was that noise, Daniel?"
Daniel tugged at Jack's arm and Jack lifted his arms from his sides. "I'd say it was reason number two on AA's 'why you shouldn't use recreational substances' billboard." He pulled Jack's coat off and hung it up next to the door.
Jack walked into the living room. "What's reason number one?" He slumped down on the couch.
"Reason number one is… Jack, you should get in bed."
"That's a strange reason." Jack giggled.
"Okay, don't do that again, it freaks me out."
"The giggling. It's hard enough to grasp the fact that Sam does it when she's drunk, let alone you."
"I'm not drunk."
"No, but I really wish you were."
Jack brightened. "I could get drunk." He stood and went to the kitchen, only tripping once.
"You're not getting drunk, Jack." He could hear Daniel sigh as he followed him into the kitchen.
He opened the fridge, glaring at Daniel as the other man closed it.
"You're going to bed."
"I'm not tired."
Daniel opened his mouth to reply then closed it again, looking appraisingly at Jack. "Tell you what; I'll warm some milk for you, that should help you sleep."
"That's for kids, Daniel! I wanna feel groovy!"
"I think you already do, Jack."
"Of course I do."
"Right, so milk it is."
"Fine," Jack snapped. Whoa. What was that? For a moment, the greatness wasn't so great any more. Oh well. It was back now.
He returned to the living room, still not quite steady on his feet. He'd just chill a bit in the living room while Daniel did his culinary masterpiece and-
Ow! Jack got up on his knees and glared at the lamp that had somehow placed itself in front of his feet. "I've given you a good home, haven't used you overly much and I try not to leave you alone too often," Jack muttered. "This is the thanks I get?" He grabbed the overturned lamp and picked it up as he rose to his feet.
Steps were heard behind him. "Okay, the milk should be- JACK!"
The pain in his knees caused a dent in the happy haze filling his head, letting him register the urgency in Daniel's voice and he spun around, using the lamp as a club. There was a wet smack and Jack looked down on one of the lumpy alien things, looking as… lumpy as ever.
He dropped the lamp on the couch and sorrowfully stared down at the floor. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up into Daniel's sympathetic eyes. Jack made a helpless noise and pointed to the floor again.
"I know, Jack, I know."
Jack looked down again. "My...floor."
"We'll clean it up, don't worry."
"But… it's all…"
"Yeah, I know." He patted Jack's shoulder and looked down at the lump that now had green stuff pouring out of it. "I wonder why it stopped using the cloaking device."
"It's a lump, Daniel, I don't think it thinks."
"Yeah, but with that kind of technology-" he looked at Jack and closed his mouth. "How about some warm milk?"
"Where is O'Neill?"
"He's in the kitchen trying to drown his sorrows."
Sam's eyes widened. "He's not-"
"He's drinking milk. He was a bit upset over his rug."
"Yeah, it's very…" She stopped, frowning a bit at what she could see
of the rug.
"Green," Teal'c supplied.
"Green," Sam agreed.
"Well, hopefully it'll go away when dry cleaned; Jack looked close to tears."
"Do we know that that was the only one that followed you here?"
"Yeah, we found some sticky stuff in the backseat of my car, but by the looks of it there was only enough of it to have come from one alien." Daniel shrugged helplessly. "I guess the base has to be swept again, but at least its mid-shift and not many people will have left yet."
"And the General has the base on lockdown again."
"How did you guys get out?"
"We fired a zat'nik'tel at MajorCarter's vehicle."
Daniel frowned. "Is that really good for it?"
Sam looked a bit sad. "I'm taking it to the shop tomorrow."
A man from the clean-up team approached them. "We're all done here, Major."
"Very good, sergeant," Sam said, then smiled. "Have a good night."
The sergeant made a dry face. "I'm zatting my bed first, that's for sure."
Daniel and Sam rolled up the big rug on Jack's living room floor and Teal'c carried it to Sam's car. The dry cleaner was right across the street from the car shop, which was why she'd gotten the dubious pleasure of trying to explain the stain to the staff there.
Daniel stretched and felt his vertebrae pop into place. God, he was tired. Mind numbingly tired really, but he had a suspicion that it would be best if someone stayed with Jack over the night. Seeing how irrational his behavior had been so far, with their luck he'd probably find it a god idea to run outside and streak along the streets of Colorado Springs.
"So," he said as Teal'c came back in, "who's staying with Jack?"
"Perhaps we should ask O'Neill," Teal'c suggested, then looked thoughtful. "Or we could lock him into his bedroom."
Daniel shook his head. "He'd only pick the lock."
Sam nodded. "Or use the window."
"Right," Daniel agreed, then frowned. "He's been awfully quiet, hasn't he?"
"I have not seen O'Neill once since we arrived."
Sam looked alarmed. "You don't think he went out…"
"…the kitchen door." Daniel was already running.