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Force of Habit

Summary: Another quick challenge answer for FDAS. The parameters were short and must contain the following: a habit, a tropical beach, Christmas baubles and the word 'zing'. I should be shot.
Usual thanks to Joy for the beta.

"Daniel, that is totally and utterly disgusting."

Daniel looked up and raised an eyebrow.

"So? It's not for you. And what's it to you anyway? If you hadn't broken into my home and burst into my bedroom without invitation, you'd never have seen it."

Jack wasn't deterred by this, despite it being the truth.

"I didn't break into your home, I used my key. Neither did I burst into your bedroom, I just opened the door and walked in. And if you weren't doing... that... you wouldn't have to be embarrassed."

He folded his arms and stuck his chin out in a 'so there!' manner, really getting on Daniel's tits as a result.

"Did you knock?"

Jack had to admit, "Well... no."

"Did you call out?"

"No," he shrugged.

"Did you even think of phoning me before you left to see if I was free? If I even wanted your company?"

"You don't want my company?" Jack howled in shock.

Furious with himself for falling into that particular guilt trap, Daniel scowled.

"No. Not at the moment. I was enjoying myself. Now, of course, I have to endure you judging me, deciding what is good and what isn't. Can't you accept that I do what I want to do? That my little habits are mine and that I don't care what you think?"

"Sure I can," Jack replied casually. Then he added, "But you keep doing things that which are so bad for you and get you into trouble. It's my job to stop you getting to the state where you need to be rescued."

"Jack. I'm in my bedroom, indulging in something which gives me great pleasure. Not to mention I was on my own. Pray tell me, just what trouble could I get into?"

Jack looked up and down Daniel's bed, then onto his bedside table and sighed.

"For a start, you could get very tangled up. Not to mention what it could do to your tonsils. No telling just how dangerous that stuff is."

Daniel stood up, strode over to Jack and smacked him up the back of his head.

"Jack. You know you're my best friend, right?"


"And you know that despite the fact that I want to kill you on an almost daily basis, I love you, right?"


"Well, don't take this the wrong way, but... fuck off, please."


"Because I was happy! I was daydreaming!"

"Oh? What of?"

"Me on a tropical island, the sun shining, the sea lapping on the beach... someone gorgeous and built lapping on my..."

"Thank you Daniel! I get the picture."

"Yeah, well, I was getting the picture till you took it away from me. Now I have to try again. Trouble is, second fantasies are usually second-rate. They lack... zing."


"Zing," Daniel nodded. "You know, zest, sparkle... life."

"Zing went the strings of my heart..." Jack howled out.

"God, Jack, you have way too many Judy Garland connections. You sure you're straight?"

Jack stared at Daniel and declined to answer. Then he did a double take.

"Built, Daniel?"

Daniel shrugged.

"Ruby slippers, Jack?"

Jack snorted.

"Come on," Daniel sighed. "I need a coffee."

"You and your habits," Jack taunted as he followed him out of the bedroom.

Daniel ignored him and made them both a coffee, not allowing Jack to speak until they were sitting at the table.

"So, why are you here anyway?" Daniel asked.


Daniel blinked. "Baubles to you too. Why are you here?"

"Baubles," Jack repeated. "Christmas baubles to be precise."

"Jack, it's January."


"Christmas is in December."


"Which is at the end of the year. January is at the beginning of the year. There are twelve months in a year. Are you seeing my point yet?"


"GAH! Why are you thinking about fucking baubles after Christmas and further away from the next Christmas than at any other time of the year?"

"January sales," Jack answered, sticking his nose back into his mug and finding it empty. With a grunt, he got up and refilled it, turning around to discover an empty mug being thrust into his face. Being well trained, he filled it and received an answering grunt. There were times he liked being a guy. It kept conversations to a minimum and reduced the need to either thank someone or apologise.

Daniel allowed the next mug to percolate through his very fibre and suddenly the light dawned.

"You want to buy new Christmas baubles in the January sales?" he suddenly asked.

"Give the man a medal!"

Daniel snorted, then said, "So? What the fuck are you doing here? Go! Shop! Buy your better baubles. Titillate your tinsel. Customise your Christmas tree. Find a new angel, put it on the top and shove a twig up its ass if you like but please! Fuck off and leave me out of it."

"But Daniel, I don't want to face the hordes on my own. I need back-up."


"Yeah. Haven't you seen the shoppers? Little old women with pointed shoes, umbrella tips laced with ricin..."

"That was the KGB, Jack."

"KGB, grandmothers... you're telling me there's a difference?"

Daniel thought about the old lady living on the ground floor of his apartment building and shrugged. He had a point.

"So, I need back-up."

Daniel could see why he was asking for it, but he was still miffed.

"Ask Teal'c. He'd be much better at doing it anyway. He's bigger than me, could cover your back with no effort at all."

Jack harrumphed. "Nah, he said no. Not after last time."

"Last time?"

Jack looked at his fingernails, then at the table, then his mug. Finally he spoke. "Christmas shopping. Toys R Us. Star Wars light sabre. Six year-old kid. He lost. Nuff said."

Daniel nodded in understanding.

"Sam? She's military. Trained to deal with screaming hordes."

"Nuh huh," Jack snapped quickly. "Last time I went shopping with her she detoured and I ended up trying not to stare at the women's lingerie." He shuddered violently and Daniel held back a snigger. He wasn't going to let Jack know about the time that Sam and Janet had taken him shopping. That was the last time he'd go on that particular adventure. Fighting the Goa'uld was a walk in the park in comparison.

"Why don't you just wait a while, Jack? You know, till the crowds go down."

"Can't do that, Daniel. The bargains will have been snapped up and I'll have to wait till the next Christmas season till they're out on display - at full price I hasten to add."

"So? You can afford them. And seeing as Christmas stuff seems to appear earlier every year, you should be able to shop in August for them."

"But Daniel," Jack whined. "Why should I pay top dollar when I can get the same things half-price?"

Daniel looked over his glasses and sighed. "You're your mother's boy all right."

Jack just shrugged.

"So why me? Why not SG-3? A team of marines should be able to get you through the shops unscathed."

"That lot? No way. Not after what happened on P67-4RP."

Daniel understood. It had been a shame that SG-1 had been a little late to the rescue. Not that SG-3 were in physical danger. But it would have been better if they'd been rescued before the local chief had insisted on revenge for SG-3's so-called desecration of their most holy site. The marines had only entered the building, they hadn't even broken anything (SG-3 were shit scared of Daniel's reaction after breaking something at an archaeological site some months before, and since then had been absolute angels in the face of historical importance). However, they hadn't known that no one was allowed in there. Being brought back through the gate, naked and covered in green body paint hadn't gone down well with the guys. SG-1 had made themselves scarce for the next week.

Knowing that he'd regret it, Daniel sighed. "Okay, okay, I'll come. But, you have to come somewhere with me."

"I do?"

Jack's blood ran cold when Daniel smiled his small, dangerous smile as he confirmed, "You do."

To be fair, Daniel had been good back-up, just as Jack knew he would be. They'd got through the crowds, Daniel had distracted the competition like a pro, even managed to head Jack away from the tackier baubles and to the nicer, classier ones. All in all, it had worked well. Jack now knew he had to take his punishment like a man.

What would it be? An hour or three in the nearest book shop? Being sentenced to sniff out the best blend of coffee? A trip around the local museum?

Jack was surprised to see Daniel heading for the local travel agent instead.


"Come on, Jack. You said you'd come somewhere with me."

Knowing that he was beaten, Jack sighed and followed him in.

Three weeks later and Jack was lying on an isolated tropical beach. For once, it was on Earth. It was also private. Daniel had insisted on escaping the crowds and hustle and bustle of everyday life and had rented a villa on one of those privately owned islands in the Caribbean. The nearest neighbours were on the other side of the island, staying in another villa. Enjoying the peace and quiet, Jack had to agree that this was one of Daniel's better ideas.

But why was he insisting on doing that again?



"What are you doing?"

"Acting out my fantasy," Daniel replied with a sigh. He picked up another long, thin strip of liquorice and, lying flat on his back, he dropped it slowly into his mouth, twisting his tongue and chewing happily on the sweet.

"Didn't you say that there was something else involved in this fantasy, Daniel? I mean, you've got the tropical island with the water lapping on the beach, you're eating that crap. All you need now is..."

"Someone built and gorgeous," Daniel replied, looking directly at Jack with a smile. "Lapping on my..."

Jack shuddered, then he let out a chuckle.

"Lie back, Daniel," he said quietly, crawling up close to him. "Shut your eyes. You did help me out after all."