Down and Dirty
Summary: Daniel's back and he's bad. Jack's got to figure out how to stop him. Usual thanks to Joy for keeping me sane and my grammar on track.
There is manic laughter coming from Daniel's loft. Why does that scare me so much? Forget knocking, I'm going in. Cover me.
"Jack? Come in, why don't you? It's not as if I have any private life, is it?
"Nope, so, mind if I get a beer?"
He looks at me, waves his own import bottle at me and says, "Why not?"
I grab a beer (I've seen this brand before, they're expensive. Good.) and go back to the living room, where manic sniggering has replaced the manic laughter.
"One of those stupid compilation programmes about home video cock-ups and Eastern European TV out-takes and weird shows."
"The Eastern Europeans have a lot of out-takes and weird shows?"
"Apparently. It's kinda hard to tell where one thing stops and the other starts. This, for example, is a Russian talent show."
"It is? What's he doing?"
"Whipping his naked back with nettles. Why someone should do that to an innocent plant I don't know."
"Neither do I... Which one's the plant?"
He looks at me and grins. "I'm not really sure."
"So," I say when I stop laughing at him, "what was all that sneaking around at work about, just before you knocked off?"
"Huh?" He's trying the 'sweet and innocent' look. He can't fool me - I know better.
"Daniel, spill. You and Teal'c were up to something in Hammond's office. Or rather, you were up to something, Teal'c was standing guard. He wouldn't let me in."
"Told him to stop anyone entering," Daniel eventually replies with a wicked grin on his face.
"Okay, but you have to promise me you'll keep your mouth shut."
"Hey, Scout's honour."
"You were never a Boy Scout, O'Neill."
"Maybe not, but I did spend a fair bit of time messing with the honour of a load of Girl Scouts."
"Now that I can believe." He raises his beer in salute.
"Of course, you wouldn't do such a thing, would you?" I tease.
"Qui? Moi? Ooh non."
Damn, I wish he wouldn't do that. An even bigger grin has taken over his face.
"Sea Scouts, however..."
"Daniel?" Okay, he's surprised me there.
He just shrugs. "You want to know what's going on or not?"
"Yeah, go on."
"It's pretty innocent really. We just broke into Hammond's computer and..."
"Cool it, Jack, we didn't look at any of the files. I just installed a new sounds theme."
"Yeah. Some wav files from Galaxy Quest, among other things."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, when he boots up tomorrow, he'll be greeted with 'Never give up! Never surrender!'."
"Okay, you know the sound that you get when you make a mistake?"
"Well, now it's Daffy Duck saying 'Nononono not the red one. Don't ever push the red one!'."
He is so fucking dead. Hammond's going to string him up. His Daffy's good though. Never knew he could do impressions.
"What else?" I ask.
"Uh, the sound for when something's completed is now someone blowing a raspberry," he chuckles. "Oh, there's loads. At the end though, when he shuts down, it's back to Galaxy Quest."
"Yeah. 'You broke the ship, you broke the bloody ship!'."
Yup, he's a dead man.
Mind, I can just see Hammond's face when he boots up tomorrow morning after a couple of well-earned weeks off. I've been doing his job - more trees have been sacrificed in the service of their planet over the last few weeks than ever before. Mainly because that fucking printer kept messing up...
Oh shit. Oh fuck. I am in it up to my neck.
"He's going to blame me. I've been using his computer, he's going to blame me."
Daniel just grins. "Don't be daft, Jack. He knows you're not into computers. Just how would you change a sounds theme anyway?"
"I didn't know you could," I mutter. He's got a point.
"Precisely. The computer genius is Sam, anyway. Not that it takes a genius to do this. It's a whine-dows thing. Any moron can do it."
I really don't like the way he's looking at me when he says that.
"You saying I'm a moron? Or worse than one for not knowing?"
"Jack, don't be an ass. For heaven's sake, I've seen the inside of an F-15, I know you know about computers and maths and technical stuff. You just have to be interested in the subject and you learn. I know that, you know that. It's just your carefully cultivated 'me dumb' act works on those that can't see the real you."
"Ah. No, not like him. But he does know how much you hate computers and therefore, by extension, you wouldn't learn anything more fiddly than switching on, using a word processor - which you still could afford to learn more of - and then switching off. Apart from playing games on it, natch. Don't worry, you'll get away with it."
I didn't get away with it.
Hammond didn't believe me. Not even when I said it was Daniel and Teal'c. I'm going to kill Daniel.
I'd think about killing Teal'c, but I'm not as stupid as I make out. I'd never manage it.
So, here I am, creeping up on Daniel's office, making not a sound as I head down the corridor. I hear laughter on the telephone.
Yeah, he fell for it. Hook, line and sinker... What? Tomorrow? Why not? Gotta go, I do have work to do... Yeah, later.
I'm just about to enter his office when I hear, "Come in, Jack and shut the door behind you."
How the fuck does he do that? I know I didn't make a sound.
He turns around and I see he's grinning from ear to ear. "I always know, Jack."
"When you're around me. You're as likely to sneak up on me as you are on Teal'c, so stop trying. Come here."
He's standing up, putting his hands out to me. Cautiously - I'm not dumb - I step closer. He's put his hands on my shoulders and now he's hugging me? Okay, something weird's up. Yes, my Daniel plays tricks on people; no, my Daniel doesn't hug.
"Stand back and nobody has to get hurt."
"Just open your shirt."
"C'mon. I want to see for certain that you're not anyone pretending to be my Daniel using one of those alien body change things."
"Jack," he sighs, but he does let go and grins. "If you want. Lock the door, though."
"If someone walks in and sees me stripping..."
"Ah, yes." He's got a point.
Right, door's locked and he's removing his shirt. Slowly. Oh my fucking God. Now the T. Up and over his head. He's taken it off. All of it. It's just him in his pants. No top. It's bare. Muscular. BARE.
"See, Jack?" he purrs. "It's just me."
"Okay," I squeak. I think I need to get a bigger pair of pants if I'm not going to cripple myself. Or get the Doc to give me some bromide. "You can put it back on again."
"You sure? You don't want to make sure it's me?"
"No, no," I gasp. "It's you. You're just acting a bit..."
"A bit what?"
"In what way?"
He still hasn't put his tops on and he wants me to THINK?
"YES. Flirty. And why are you answering me with a question all the time?"
"I don't know. Why am I?"
I think I need to lie down.
I escaped. Somehow, with my virtue intact, I escaped from the clutches of Dr. Damien Jeckyl. Perhaps that's it? Maybe he's taken something that's making him act like this. I've gotta see the Doc. There she is, in her office. I enter and shut the door - don't want anyone listening in to this.
"Ah, Colonel. Here for your physical, are you?"
"WHAT? I only just had one."
"That was a couple of months ago."
"That was a couple of weeks ago after my last mission."
"No, that was a routine check-up."
"Routine check-ups do not include sticking your fingers up my ass, Doc. No matter what you think."
"Colonel O'Neill. I devised the routines. Believe me, that was a routine check-up."
If it wasn't for the fact that she's got Cassandra, and the fact that she's saved my life and the lives of my team more times than I can count, I'd hate that woman. Trouble is, she's got one over on me and she knows it.
"Okay, okay, I'll do it. But first you gotta answer something for me."
"What's up with Daniel? Have you done any tests on him recently?"
"No. What do you mean? Is something wrong?"
"I dunno. He's just acting strange."
"In what way?"
"Look, this is confidential, right?"
She points to the bit of her name tag that says 'Doctor' and grins. I get the message. No matter what a pain in the ass she is, no fucker gets anything out of her unless it's absolutely necessary and lives depend on it.
"Good. He's, well, he's flirty."
"Daniel flirts with everyone, you know that. Even Hammond's not immune," she sighs. I guess that neither is she.
"Yeah, well, this is worse than normal. I need to know something, Jan. Is he gay?"
"Jack, I can't tell you anything like that, you know that. Why are you asking?"
"Last night at his place, we were making cracks about honour and me and Girl Scouts and all - just a joke, I hasten to add. Anyway, he makes one about him and the Sea Scouts."
She bursts out laughing as I say that. "And that's got you thinking that he's coming on to you?"
"Not just that. Come on, Janet, I've known him for years. Why now? I mean, if he is, it's no big deal."
"What, coming on to you?"
"No, gay. I don't care about that, okay? But I'm serious, he seems to be, er, wanting me. He's shown it in other ways too."
I shrug and tell her about the hug. The bare-chested hug. Yeah, he got another one out of me before I made good my escape. If I'd not been wearing my own T I think I'd have spontaneously combusted or something.
"Did it make you feel uncomfortable?" she's asking quietly.
Well, duh. But not in the way she's meaning.
"No, it wasn't that, Janet."
"You know, there are a number of gay guys on base," she says, whispering to me as she does. "I know, the other docs know. Of course, we never, ever, discuss it - not even with the guys. We do know who they are though."
"What about their records?"
"What about them? It's nobody's business, Jack."
I let what she's saying sink in. Trouble is, by the time it does sink in, she's got me outside, behind a curtain and half-naked. Sheesh.
There have been a series of practical jokes at the base over the last week or so since Hammond's come back. Some I can trace directly back to an apparently bored Daniel. He has to be bored or he wouldn't be acting like this. Some, though, seem to be unattributable. If Daniel was behind them, he's got one hell of a network going for him.
I'm not the only recipient of the jokes. True, I've been hauled up into Hammond's office a few times to explain what's going on, but I honestly can't tell him what is going on. I think he's finally beginning to believe me. Especially when I wasn't even on the planet when the marine's locker room was painted a rather fetching shade of fuchsia. Neither was Daniel. I still don't know how he pulled that one off. Ouch, shouldn't think phrases like that near him.
"So, are you gonna let me in on how you managed to organise the redecoration of the locker room?" I ask him as we get changed in ours. Teal'c's here with us, his face is twitching. I think he wants to laugh. Yup, there it goes. The lips crack, I see a tiny bit of tooth. Full-blown Jaffa hysteria. I don't know how I can stand the strain.
"Me? Why would I do something like that?"
Daniel's doing the innocent thing again. Give it up, Daniel, it ain't working on me.
"Daniel, I know it was you. You have a puerile sense of humour."
"Me? My sense of humour is much more sophisticated," he says, trying to sound put out. "You on the other hand, haven't progressed much beyond 'knock knock' jokes."
Oh, so he thinks that, does he?
Or not. I can see his face aching to break out into a smile. Just as well I'm looking at his face; he's naked. God, I wish he wouldn't just stand there looking like that. Or that. Or that for that matter. What is he doing? Posing for Playgirl?
I'm trying hard to ignore it. Hard. Oh shit, there goes my brain again. I'd better get in the shower fast before something else does.
Trouble is, he's a god. I keep trying to ignore that fact but there are parts of me, like the compass that invariably wants to point north in his company, that can't seem to ignore him. Teal'c's smirking. Cut it out, big guy, it doesn't suit you.
That's better. Nothing like a cold shower to remind me that I'm the CO and he's my subordinate. HA! Like he's ever been subordinate. Insubordinate, yes. He really does have a problem taking orders. I wonder if he's like that off duty?
I'm at his door again. Why do I do this to myself? Huh? Am I really as stupid as I make out? Ah well, I'm here. At least he has good beer.
"Knock, knock," I call. Mercifully he doesn't take me up on that one.
"Come in, Jack," he says with a grin. "I bought some good beers on the way home."
What? Did he know I was coming? CUT IT OUT! Damned brain.
"Yeah, thanks Daniel. I could do with one."
I follow him into the kitchen. Wish I hadn't now. He's in tight jeans and a tighter T-shirt and his feet are bare. Now he's leaning back against a worktop and... and... he's sucking on the bottle. Shit.
"Daniel, are you going to finally let me in on what's going on?"
"What do you mean, Jack?"
"Come on. You've been playing tricks all the while."
"I'm bored," he shrugs. "Much as I love my work, there are times I need to channel my creative juices elsewhere."
"So, you're saying that if you had some other outlet for your talents, you'd stop?"
"I wouldn't feel the need so much, I guess." He's pouting a bit, his shoulders are drooping, his head is dipped and his eyes are - oh God, he's doing that thing with his eyelashes.
I get the message, Daniel. You want me. If you don't get me, the prankster from hell will remain at large. By keeping you occupied, I can be the hero and save the SGC from whoopee cushions, redecoration - and the one that happened today somehow, the entire relocation of the grunts rec room to Carter's reactor testing ground. A mile below the gate room. I'm still trying to figure out how he got that one organised without anyone seeing. Still, the guys weren't too unhappy. They get to make as much noise as they want now, without the complaints from the seismology lab that the walls are rocking.
I had to smother a good laughing fit when Quinn discovered piranhas in his fish tank. His other fish were found safe and well and swimming in a water cooler a couple of floors away, but it took the guy ages to stop crying. Who knew that Daniel had such a vindictive streak in him? Well, me, I guess.
I take a step closer to him and put down my bottle. He's staying put, tipping his bottle and his head up. I watch as he drinks slowly, my mouth watering as I see his Adam's apple bobbing up and down. It's empty, now he's looking me in the eye, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. One more step closer and I can feel his breath on my face. Oh God. This is it.
"Are you sure, Jack?" he whispers. I guess he has to know for certain. I've got a lot to lose if we fuck this up. He could lose out too. He's obviously sure, but he won't come to me. I know now that the flirting has been a way to let me know that it's okay, that he wants it. The ball, as they say, is firmly in my court. Give me a few minutes and the balls will be somewhere else.
I reach up, carefully remove his glasses and place them on the counter then take that final step and we're nose to nose.
"Why now?" I ask, my voice no louder than a whisper.
"Seemed like the right time," he whispers back. "I didn't want to wait anymore. If you aren't interested, I'm going to give up and look elsewhere. I've waited long enough, Jack."
There's not a lot I can say to that, so I don't bother. I kiss him instead. Tentatively at first, our lips just brush each other. But now, they're speeding up, the pressure's building and bingo, we're kissing hard. Oh fuck, he's good at this. Why did I wait so long? I must be mad.
His powerful arms are wrapped around me, my own are clasping him tight. No way am I letting him get away, I've lost him too many times.
We break away and he sees the effect he has on me. There are tears running down my cheeks. I'm not crying, it's just a bit of overflow.
Using the backs of his fingers, he tenderly wipes them dry, planting kisses along the tracks they left.
"Jack?" he murmurs.
"Not going to let you go again, Daniel. Never going to lose you again."
I see his own eyes fill with tears now. He gets it. Gets the reasons I've really been holding back. He understands better than anyone.
"I'm sorry I hurt you." Again, the quiet tone, but I can hear him so clearly.
"You didn't. They did. Every time they took you away from me. Love you so much," I gasp out as his crotch comes into contact with mine. All I can say is that I'm glad for the two layers of denim between us or I'd have been howling.
"Love you too, Jack. Not going to go anywhere - deliberately anyway," he says with a bit of a shrug. I know what he means. He'll do his best to stay alive. If that means ascending and descending again, then so be it. He'll always come back to me.