This is an UNFINISHED humor fic from 2004, when I was new to fandom in general and bought into the fanon notion that the SGC was kind of like high school, except with more guns and aliens. Icon is also from 2004, although there's no drunken sex in this fic. And so, for the gals in Gateview (headers are also from 2004, because apparently I liked to write those first):
TITLE: "Something to Talk About"
AUTHOR: Little Red
CATEGORY: Fun and frolics at the SGC. Daniel/Janet, sort of Sam/Jack (but totally safe for Karen)
SUMMARY: Daniel and Janet try to save their friends from the SGC rumor mill... but things do not go exactly as planned.
SPOILERS: Vague, uninteresting reference to "Upgrades." This can be whenever you like after that.
DISCLAIMER: Stargate belongs to a plethora of dudes in suits, none of whom even remotely resemble me. The title isn't mine, either, and if you have no idea what it's from or what that song's about then you don't listen to nearly enough radio stations during the all-retro lunch hours. For shame.
LINER NOTES: This isn't a songfic. Nowhere present are the lyrics to Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About." But you can tell I was thinking about it.
Dr. Janet Fraiser was not pleased.
It didn't take all of Daniel's years of practice reading all sorts of humans and aliens in life-and-death diplomatic contexts to determine that. All it took was one glance across the crowded commissary at her as she sat alone at a table, glaring intently at her bowl of vegetable stew.
Janet was known for her looks. An icy glare from her could silence even Colonel O'Neill -- a feat that few people had ever managed. Daniel himself had been on the business end of her brook-no-arguments stare more than once, when he complained about one too many post-mission procedures or too many days of forced bedrest after one scrape or another. Usually he wasn't as difficult about it as Jack -- few people could be -- since he rationally accepted Dr. Fraiser's occasional mother-henning as part of her job and because he had long ago realized he had better maintain a good relationship with the infirmary staff, considering how often he seemed to wind up there. He'd seen the less than kind way one or two of the more spiteful nurses, not to mention Janet herself, had administered perhaps unnecessary tetanus boosters to Colonel O'Neill when he was giving them hell.
Which was why, whenever his persistent whining drove Janet's expression from her usual one of patience, sympathy, and even a twinge of amusement when he really hammed up the pitiful on her behalf to a no-nonsense death glare, Dr. Daniel Jackson would immediately shut up and do exactly what he was told.
At this point, given the intensity of her eyes upon it, he was actually surprised that the bowl of stew didn't forsake its inanimate nature and scurry away from her.
"Meatloaf, chicken, or vegetable stew," the bored voice of the commissary attendant jerked him back to reality.
Glancing back at Janet, he figured he should probably avoid the stew. "Uh... Chicken. Thanks."
After collecting coffee and dessert, he looked around the commissary again. There were one or two empty tables, despite it being the height of the lunch rush. He didn't have to sit with her. The part of him that valued his life, in fact, didn't even want to sit with her, not when she looked for all the world like an explosive device ready to detonate if someone so much as breathed in her general direction. She certainly wouldn't expect him to brave her mood and keep her company -- they weren't that kind of friends, the kind of friends who felt obliged to seek out the other on a bad day and make sure they were doing all right.
They were friends, yes. Good friends, maybe. When he thought about it, Janet Fraiser filled a rather unique role in his life, perhaps somewhat akin to General Hammond. He didn't have a lot of friends. He had SG-1 -- Sam, Jack, and Teal'c -- the sort of friends that were more like family, the kind that probably couldn't know any more about him unless they crawled into his skin alongside him. He had countless professional acquaintances at the SGC, all of whom liked him well enough, but few of whom cared the first thing about him beyond run-of-the-mill human compassion.
Then there was Janet. She, like General Hammond, cared about his well-being in a way that was more friendly and personal than simply professional. They had spent a good deal of time together, but most of that was when he had been laid up in her infirmary and it was technically her job to pay attention to him. He counted on her to be kind to him, but never expected her to go out of her way to cheer him up.
Of course, sometimes, she'd run into him by accident, and smile in the way that was just the pleasant way she smiled at everyone she knew and didn't actively dislike, and he found himself cheered up anyway.
So, maybe her role in his life wasn't quite the same as General Hammond's.
Across the room, Janet swallowed a spoonful of stew, flicked a disapproving glance at a table across from her, and then returned to glaring at the bowl like she was trying to hide the fact that she was...
Eavesdropping. Realization clicked in Daniel's head. Oh.
He should have known. The buzz that had been steadily escalating underneath Cheyenne Mountain for the past few days would certainly not have escaped Janet's attention, and she would no doubt be just as unhappy about it as he was.
"... really saw that?"
Snippets of the conversation of two airmen behind him in line drifted to his ear as they struck off in the other direction in search of a table.
"Yeah. Colby walked by and the light was on in Major Carter's lab, so he wanted to check it out... and he could hear them talking through the door."
"Just talking?" The man's voice was incredulous. "At 0400?"
This conversation clearly wasn't the exactly same as the one Janet was overhearing, but, by the look on her face, both conversations were on the same unfortunate topic. Damn. He sighed, and started heading toward her, misery and frustration both loving company.
"Join you?" he asked, pausing before setting down his tray. For all he knew, she would refuse his offer. Even though she was eating in the commissary, instead of her office where she would be guaranteed privacy, he didn't really know her well enough to say whether or not she preferred to brood alone. She waved a hand toward the chair across from her in invitation and, with a vague sense of relief he didn't expect at not having been dismissed, he sat down.
The general sound level of the commissary was even higher than usual, blocking out most of what the officers and enlisted men and women at nearby tables were saying, but incriminating fragments made it through the noise.
"... that's why they stayed an extra night on the '684 mission."
"You really think Colonel O'Neill would let her do that off-world?"
"Come on -- wouldn't you? Have you looked at her lately? I mean, I'm not sure what her hairdresser was thinking, but she's still..."
Janet's angry eyes met Daniel's. She knew as well as he did that SG-1's recent mission to P6X-684 had been extended for a reason no more untoward than weather conditions -- Sam had recommended waiting out a seasonal lightning storm rather than risk an errant lightning bolt striking an active gate. Daniel squirmed under Janet's vicious gaze; even though he knew the sentiment behind it wasn't intended for him, it was still a little unnerving. He cleared his throat once and poked at his lunch.
Taking pity on him for what her silent stare appeared to be doing to his nerves, she said the only word either of them could think of. "Damn."
He grimaced back at her, and the venom in her expression dissipated a little. "I guess we knew it would come up again eventually," he pointed out.
She nodded in disgusted agreement. The grapevine of the SGC was a force of nature to put the lightning storm on '684 to shame. Of course, the men and women who served there were all, or mostly all, consummate professionals. Gossip rarely interfered with anyone's actual job. But, the truth was, most of the people who worked there spent an awful lot of time sitting around -- guarding against potential threats, preparing for a possible alien invasion, waiting for something to happen and an order from Hammond to spring them into action. Not to mention the fact that their jobs were entirely secret from the outside world and varying levels of classified within even the SGC, reducing the things they were allowed to safely talk about from things that were actually important to their lives to banal trivialities. All this resulted in the whole place becoming a hotbox for idle talk.
Major Samantha Carter and her commanding officer, Colonel Jack O'Neill, were longtime favorites of the rumor mill. It seemed to go on a cycle. For awhile, some other incident would be the focus of group attention and everyone would forget that Carter and O'Neill and their relationship -- whatever that was -- even existed. Then, when people had exhausted everything else they had to talk about, someone would bring them up again.
Someone would come out and say they'd been seen together, on-base or off. Talking. Holding hands. Planning dates. That she'd been seen leaving his office looking more than a little disheveled. That he'd flown into a jealous rage when another male officer so much as presumed to talk to her. Even, occasionally, that they had been found doing something much less credible and flying far more blatantly in the face of the regulations that kept them unquestionably apart. Once Daniel had overheard someone swear that he'd found them in flagrante in a supply closet when he'd gone in to look for a mop. Daniel, normally the rational one, the let's-talk-everything-out, violence-isn't-always-the-answer-Jack one, had wanted nothing more than to kill that lying airman right there for daring to shame the two human beings most important to him on the planet like that.
None of the details were right, of course, but there was just enough emotional truth in what the gossipers were mocking for the rumors to never completely die. That made it so much worse, as both he and Janet knew. Almost a year earlier, a rumor had flown through the SGC at breakneck speed suggesting Daniel himself and Sergeant Lily Hawkins from SG-12 were involved in some sort of secret affair -- clearly completely fabricated, since Daniel had actually had to ask Jack who this Sergeant Hawkins was after he'd heard what people were saying. Jack had laughed and suggested that perhaps Hawkins had started the rumor herself in an attempt to give the bookworm archaeologist some ideas. It had been awkward, yes, but no more than that, and the whole situation had blown over quickly. It was different with Sam and Jack. If these rumors had been about Jack and Dr. Fraiser, or about Sam and, say, General Hammond, they still would have been crude and frustrating and embarrassing, but they wouldn't be pouring salt into actual wounds.
The hubbub in the commissary rose audibly a handful of decibels, and Daniel's gaze was pulled automatically to the door. Only one person, really, could have caused such a reaction in the room right then.
Major Carter. Sam. Her cheeks were already flaming from whatever she must have overheard en route from her lab to the commissary. Her eyes were determined, like acquiring lunch was the most difficult mission she would undertake that day, on par with breaking into a Goa'uld stronghold. Daniel's heart went out to her, and it was all he could do not to grab her and shield her from their colleagues' stares with his body.
Most of the people in the room wouldn't have dared mock Colonel O'Neill in the man's presence, but Sam was a different story, as previous rides through the rumor mill had shown. Maybe it was because she wasn't anybody's direct superior; Colonel O'Neill was Hammond's second-in-command, and could order around anybody on the base whenever he damned well felt like it. Maybe it was just because she was a woman. More likely, Daniel figured, it was because she was yet to perfect the stony, impenetrable face that the Colonel wore so easily. The nasty things people were saying got to her, and you could see it all over her pretty, youthful features. And the bastards around her, jealous of her rank and position and bored with their own lives, ate it up.
"Sam!" Janet called, waving her over, trying to provide a friendly beacon in a roomful of hostile acquaintances. Sam nodded tightly in acknowledgement and headed for the line, casting a few wary looks at the other tables on her way.
"I wish there was something we could do," Daniel said, unaware of how helpless and pitiful his voice would sound until the words were already out of his mouth. It was so stupid. So utterly stupid. They spent half of each week fighting actual enemies with big, scary weapons, on other planets, and they still had to deal with something as pointless and juvenile as this.
"Yeah, me too." Janet finished her stew and shoved the bowl a few inches away from her. "But you know we'd only make it worse."
She was right, of course. She was Sam's best friend; he was Jack's. Anything they said or did to try and deny the accusations and stop the rumors would only add fuel to the fire, because the friends of The Accused were defending them like they really did have something to hide. "Do you think General Hammond could say something?"
Janet barked a harsh laugh. "I think we want to keep him as far away from all of this as possible," she pointed out. "And it wouldn't do any good. If I've learned one thing from Cassie," she named her teenage daughter, who was probably suffering the same kinds of pointless ridicule in high school at that very moment, "it's that rumors like this only go away when people find something else to talk about."
That was true, and how it had always worked in the past. Two of the marines got into a fistfight in a bar over a local girl. A strange alien ritual on P9X-114 resulted in all of SG-8, except for their technical expert Captain Walker, landing in the gate room of the SGC without any clothes on. An incident in decontamination set Lieutenant Clark's hair on fire, and for some inexplicable reason, it was growing back in blue. Somebody started that bizarre rumor about Daniel and Sergeant Hawkins. Incriminating photographs from a Christmas party inspired a whole flurry of Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell related discussion. And, for a few blessed days or weeks or months, Jack and Sam were blissfully ignored.
"Guess we'll just have to wait it out till something else comes up." At that, something wicked flashed through Janet's eyes, and Daniel found himself inexplicably unnerved. "Um... Janet?"
She opened her mouth, but was interrupted by Sam's tray hitting the table next to her. She looked flustered and annoyed, and about six inches shorter than she usually did, doing her best to hide from all the inquisitive eyes upon her.
"Uh... hey, Sam," Daniel knew his greeting was awkward, but he was distracted by following what looked like an idea forming in Janet's expression. Something about the way the doctor appraised her friend made Daniel think that he wasn't going to like what she was plotting. Images of the brunette arming herself with hypodermic needles and taking out the rumormongers where they sat flashed through his mind. Janet was like a mother bear when her friends or family were threatened, and he didn't put much of anything past her.
"Hey," Sam muttered, forcing a smile for their benefit.
"How're you holding up?" Janet asked, casting her friend a sympathetic look Daniel recognized from all the times he'd wound up under her care with a minor injury more annoying than life-threatening.
For a moment, forkful of meatloaf posed halfway to her lips, Sam seemed to dither between telling the truth and outright denying any of the discomfort emanating from her posture. With a rueful sigh, she finally said, "Let's just say I'm glad we're going off-world tomorrow." She popped the food in her mouth and made a face. "What do you think they put in this stuff, anyway?"
"I wouldn't look too deeply into that, if I were you," Janet warned, humoring Sam's thinly veiled attempt to change the topic. A burst of laughter erupted from another table, and Daniel and Janet whirled around to glare at the perpetrators in unison, while Sam tried to disappear into her mystery meat.
He didn't intend to say it, but he did anyway. "God, this is so stupid. I'm sorry, Sam."
She shrugged. "It's not exactly a big deal, Daniel." She continued eating like nothing was the matter. Her short-cropped hair did little to disguise that her ears were burning bright red with embarrassment and tightly controlled anger.
Although done with her lunch, Janet didn't leave, only tossed errant glares around the room. Mercifully, the tables closest to them appeared to have descended into whispers, but the rest of the room continued to talk normally with impunity, and occasionally a few words or a sentence or Sam's name would be loud enough for them to catch.
Finally, Sam shoved her tray away, the food barely picked at. "Sorry... I'm not hungry," she announced, making to stand up.
"Don't move," Janet snapped in a tone so like Colonel O'Neill's command voice that Sam automatically sat back down.
The doctor stood up, slowly.
"Janet, what are you doing?" Sam asked, voice filled with concern. Janet didn't lose her temper often, but both Sam and Daniel had seen it happen, and it wasn't pretty.
"Don't worry. Finish your lunch, Sam. Doctor's orders. We'll handle this. Daniel, stand up."
He blinked up at her, feeling utterly stupid. "Um, Janet..."
"Stand up," she hissed, loud enough for a few heads at nearby tables to turn. He only made it about halfway to standing before she made her move.
Dr. Fraiser slapped him clean across the face.
"Janet!? What the-" His hand flew reflexively to his suddenly painful cheek.
"Don't you ever talk to me like that again!" she exclaimed, apropos of nothing.
He could do nothing but gape at her. A strangled sound of confusion from Sam suggested she was in a similar state of shock.
With a quick flicker of something that looked like a smile, Dr. Janet Fraiser flounced out of the commissary.
For the first time all day, no one was talking about Jack and Sam.
"Ow!" Daniel hissed as Sam pressed a bag of ice from the commissary freezer against his cheek.
"I don't think she did any actual damage," Sam diagnosed, voice torn between laugher and utter confusion, "but you could always go to the infirmary and get checked out, if it really hurts."
Daniel yanked the bag away from his face. "She hit me."
"I saw. Although, it wasn't so much a hit as a slap, really..." Sam gently guided his hand holding the ice bag back to his cheek, and then crossed her arms over her chest. "So? What did you say to her?"
"Nothing!" he let the ice bag drop again.
"So why did she..."
"You'll have to ask her, won't you? Since I had nothing to do with it!"
Sam took half a step back. Daniel was hardly as volatile as Colonel O'Neill, but he certainly had his moments, and this was quickly turning into one of them. "I tried that. She's in surgery." The first thing Sam had done once recovering the ability to speak and move was tear out of the commissary after her friend. She hadn't even made it to the door when off-world activation siren sounded and the PA system requested Janet's immediate presence in the infirmary to tend to a returning SG-6. So much for getting answers from the horse's mouth.
In Janet's place, she had to settle for a bitterly sulking Daniel. "You're sure you didn't say anything that might have upset her?"
He rolled his eyes, stood up, and started to pace around Sam's lab, where she had corralled him after the incident to both get away from the stares of the curious -- not staring at her, for once -- and to make sure that, in a fit of pique, he wouldn't either chase Janet down in surgery and demand answers or go straight to Hammond and report the incident. "No. Nothing. You were there, Sam. She just... went off." She hadn't even really seemed upset. She had even... smiled at him afterwards. That was the weird part.
"Before I sat down?" Sam pressed on, patiently.
"She was mad about... she was upset about what people were saying. About you and Jack."
Sam nodded, teeth automatically starting to grind at the mention of those utterly frustrating rumors.
"But she wasn't mad at me. Then you came in, and we talked about how stupid the whole gossip thing was, but she said there was nothing we could do about it until..." he trailed off, pausing in his pacing. The anger visibly drained out of him. "Oh, damn."
Daniel sighed, picked up the bag of ice and pressed it to his cheek. "I think she was trying to start... an incident. To give you a break."
"To give them..." he waved his hand at the door to her lab, indicating the complex beyond, "... something else to talk about."
Daniel waited impatiently in an uncomfortable plastic chair outside of Janet's office. Sam had been rather reluctant to let him go, probably worried that he was going to retaliate against the doctor's earlier unprovoked attack, but he assured her that he only wanted to talk.
Unfortunately, for that, he had to wait his turn. Occasionally he would catch a burst of her voice from the infirmary proper down the hall, barking out orders filled with medical jargon that all the linguistics skills in the known galaxies weren't helping him to decode. SG-6 had been attacked by something. They weren't in the throes of death, though; he knew the way Janet sounded when the medical emergency was truly desperate, and her voice now was a good deal too calm for that. That was really all he'd been able to figure out.
"Do you need something, Doctor Jackson?" A nurse paused in hurrying past him, holding onto an IV bag of something that looked far too much like human blood for comfort.
"I'm... uh... just waiting for Doctor Fraiser," he managed, realizing for the first time that it was actually mildly ridiculous for him to be sitting there waiting for her. Who knew how long she'd be, if the members of SG-6 were in straits dire enough to require bagged blood? He should have left her a message to seek him out, and gone back to the work looming ominously in his office. He still didn't move.
The nurse looked him over once, probably checking for obvious signs of blood loss and counting all visible limbs and digits, before continuing on her way. Daniel squirmed in the chair and took a deep breath, determined to stick it out. If this really was an elaborate scheme on Janet's part, he didn't appreciate being involved in it without being warned ahead of time. And if there was a stage two of the plan in the works, he wasn't about to let her go ahead and involve him a second time without telling him first exactly what was going on.
There was, of course, also the possibility that this wasn't a scheme, but the idea that he'd done something so heinous to her that he deserved a physical attack but couldn't remember having done it was pretty ridiculous. He wasn't exactly renowned for his comprehension of the mercurial nature of the fairer sex, but this was Janet, and she wasn't the type to resort to violence unless she had been wronged in a real and obvious way. This was the SGC and, as such, there was always the possibility of alternate universes, space-time disturbances or alien influence to explain the doctor's bizarre behavior, but Daniel was content to assume she'd slapped him for a more earthbound reason until shown otherwise.
"Are you all right, Doctor Jackson?" The voice of a medical technician jerked Daniel out of his thoughts. He realized that the infirmary sounded a good deal quieter now, and he wondered how long he'd been sitting there.
The medical tech seemed to be scrutinizing his appearance in an utterly different way than the first nurse, like the base's foremost archeologist waiting outside the med tech's boss's office was the most interesting thing to happen all day. Which didn't make any sense at all, unless... well, unless he'd heard, and was wondering about what had happened in the commissary just as much as Daniel was.
"Do you want me to go and get Doctor Fraiser for you? She should be about done with SG-6. If there's something urgent-?"
"No, no," Daniel stammered, studying the man's expression to try and figure out whether he meant anything more by his questions beyond dutiful concern. "I'll just wait for her. I'm fine."
"If you'd like to wait in-"
"That's all right, Andy," Janet's voice, accompanied by the precise clicking of her heels against the polished tile floor, came down the hallway. She stopped in front of the tech and handed him the clipboard she was carrying. "Take this to the lab and ask Lieutenant Pearson to page me when the results on SG-6's bloodwork are up."
Janet studiously ignored the tech's openly curious look between the two of them as she swiped her access card and opened her office door. "Doctor Jackson?" she prompted with half a frustrated sigh when Daniel made no move to enter.
"Sorry," he managed, and ducked into her office, before Janet sent the med tech scurrying away with a well-directed glare. "How's SG-6?" he asked, because he supposed it was rude to start talking to her about anything else without at least acknowledging the fact that she'd probably just saved at least one life.
Janet shut the door and sat down on the edge of her desk. She pulled her hairclip out of her messy bun, let out a sigh, and shook her head as though to physically banish the tension from her body. He was oddly captivated by the action. He'd never seen her right after working on a patient -- usually, at this point in the game, he would either be lying doped up in the infirmary under the tender mercies of one of Janet's nurses, or he would be waiting for her report in the briefing room, by which time she was always fully composed. She looked up at him then and smiled -- a tense, professional smile, but one that, somehow, went straight to his gut. He realized in a flash that he'd rarely, if ever, been alone in a room with her before. Certainly not without something pressing, and work-related, to occupy their attention.
As she spoke, she ran her fingers through her hair and tied it back up neatly without even breaking her train of thought. "They ran into non-sentient life-forms on P4J-898, some sort of indigenous dogs. Captain Carlson will be laid up for a week or two with some serious deep-tissue damage, but none of them are in critical condition and they will all make full recoveries."
He blinked, for a moment forgetting why she was even talking about SG-6, before he remembered that he'd been the one to ask about them. "That's, uh, good. I guess."
Her expression softened noticeably, and a guilty flush crept over her cheeks. "How's the face?"
He could feel his ears burning under her stare, and cursed himself for it. It wasn't his fault she had smacked him, without reason, and it was what he'd come here to talk about. Time to get himself back on track. "Yeah, I've been meaning to ask you about that..."
"I'm sorry," she winced. "I guess it wasn't the best of plans."
"Not for me, anyway," he replied sullenly, poking at his cheek and doing his best to look wounded.
She laughed. Daniel had never noticed her laugh before. Maybe, he realized, he'd never heard it. The laugher told him she knew he wasn't actually hurt but, in deference to her role as his doctor, she dutifully stepped forward and reached up to touch his face. "I think you'll make it," she diagnosed cheerfully, after running a thumb over his cheek, pressing at intervals and watching his eyes for pain. "I am sorry, Daniel... but, you heard what they were saying about Sam. We had to do something. It was the first thing that came into my head."
"Your first reaction was to slap me?"
"Well, better you than one of the jerks spreading the rumors," she pointed out. "If I'd laid a hand on one of them, I probably wouldn't have stopped at a slap."
It was a good point and, as he'd rarely heard her speak so casually before, he smiled at her. "Wouldn't want that."
She smiled back. "I think our -- well, my -- plan might have worked, too. I heard two of the nurses wondering why you were waiting for me outside my office. Apparently, you're here to apologize."
He wasn't sure what to say to that, since she'd been the one to slap him. Of course, to an outside observer who didn't realize she'd slapped him for no reason at all, it would make sense to think he'd done something horrible to deserve that. "Wonder what I did."
Janet's eyes glinted. He recognized that dangerous look from earlier in the commissary, and instinctively backed up a step. "Relax, Daniel." She held her hands up, the intergalactic gesture to show she was unarmed and not intending to combat him. "At this point, I figure that we'll keep their attention until 1700 at the latest. We should at least try to keep the rumors going long enough to get Sam and Colonel O'Neill off-world tomorrow."
He appreciated Janet's wish. The way Sam had looked at lunch, once SG-1 reached P7X-401 the next day, she might simply refuse to come back to Earth again until the masses of the SGC had gotten bored of the idea of her and her CO making illicit use of the soap closet in the laundry facilities. "I'm open to suggestions," he said carefully. "Just... warn me, this time, if you're going to make any sudden moves."
A devilish smirk captured her lips. "Un-tuck your shirt."
"What?" His eyes bugged out of his head, which was probably why the image of her undoing the top two buttons of her uniform shirt, exposing more than a little cleavage and just a hint of a plain white -- God, was that her bra? -- felt like it was burning its way onto his retinas. "Doctor Fraiser, I'm not sure-"
His use of her title rather than her name must have tipped her off that he was panicking, but she didn't flinch, only messed up the hair around her hairclip and pinched her cheeks to drag color into them. He doubted that he would need any help with that -- his entire face felt like it was beet-red already.
"We might as well have a little fun with this," she said with a shrug, taking another step toward him and grabbing his hands, forcing his paralyzed muscles to move and pull his shirt free in a strangely precise, professional way.
Was he supposed to move? Respond? "Fun?" Was his voice normally so unearthly squeaky? The few unruly strands of hair she'd pulled loose from her bun curled against her face, drawing his eyes to features of hers he'd never before noticed and, in all honesty, could hardly appreciate at the moment, either. He was half-blind with instinctual panic at having this suddenly unpredictable woman so firmly inside his personal space.
She rested a palm on his chest, piercing him with her brown eyes. "Daniel," she said, in a tone not dissimilar from the one she used when she was telling him to sit still so she could insert an IV or to eat the rest of his bland infirmary lunch without further arguments. If she meant the action to calm him, it had the exact opposite effect. If her eyes weren't pinning him to the spot with some sort of supernatural force, he would have bolted for the door and run all the way back to the safety of his office.
He opened his mouth, but words, in every language he knew, deserted him. She raised slightly on her toes, and suddenly her hands were in his hair, fingers deliberately setting it awry, nails trailing wandering lines against his scalp in the process.
The contact shot straight to his toes. God! He almost gasped. Did she have any idea how long it had been since someone-?
His normally lightning-fast brain failed him completely. The parts of his mind that hadn't already blacked out in surprise and confusion rallied against his silence, demanding that he speak. Act. Move. Something. In the end, he just stood there gaping at her like an idiot as she released his hair.
Janet drew a thumb across her lips and then pressed it to his, frowning slightly in concentration. He was too stunned to even think at what she might be trying to do, only stood there until she took a step back and drew the back of her hand across her lips to effectively wipe them clean of the rest of her dark lipstick. She examined her handiwork.
"Looks good, Doctor Jackson," she smiled and pulled open her office door, glancing down the hall at the nurses and passing SFs. "This ought to throw some fuel on the fire."
"All right... finish gathering up some wood for the fire," Colonel O'Neill ordered Teal'c, nodding toward the woods surrounding the small clearing at the base of a cliff designated as base camp for the night. SG-1 had arrived on P7X-401 at planetary dusk and had set out immediately in search of a defensible camping site. They weren't really expecting trouble, as they had seen no overt signs of Jaffa activity in their scans or since their arrival, but experience had taught them never to take any seemingly empty planet at face value. They had all gathered up dry kindling as they came across it while they walked from the Stargate, but the planet threatened to get uncomfortably cold after nightfall and they could use a good supply of wood. "Carter, check the perimeter. Daniel and I will set the place up."
Sam, noticeably happier since leaving the SGC, gave a "Yes, sir," and struck off to survey the surrounding area. Jack watched her go with a frown for a brief moment before turning back to Daniel. His concern for her wasn't entirely unwarranted as a commanding officer -- she had been tangibly miserable for the past few days and, though she would be devastated to hear it, her work had probably suffered somewhat as a result. She was only human, both Daniel and Jack knew, and even a mind as brilliant as hers could falter when distracted. At any rate, Jack seemed satisfied that she had returned to her normal self enough to brave the wilderness of P7X-401 alone, and set his attention on unpacking the tent.
And, Daniel realized uncomfortably, on him. Jack continued shooting him laughing looks as he cleared the ground for the tent until he couldn't stand it anymore. "What?" he demanded, reflexively wiping a hand across his nose, just in case.
"So... you and the doc, huh?"
Daniel sighed, long-suffering, at Jack's smug, knowing grin. He hadn't quite thought of this when Janet had concocted the second part of her scheme in her office the day before. Of course, he had been more or less robbed of the ability to think, period, in that interval of time, so he hadn't really thought of any of the potential consequences. He honestly didn't mind being the subject of whispers and snickers around the base for a few days for a good cause -- he was used to it, from his days on the outskirts of respectable academia, and he could ignore it much more easily than Sam could. He had forgotten, though, that he would be taking the worst of it along with him off-world.
Sometimes it felt like Jack O'Neill lived to find new reasons to torment his teammates. Daniel knew, of course, that it was the man's only real way of showing his affection, and so forgave his friend almost all of the juvenile teasing, but it could still be annoying beyond all hell. "You shouldn't believe everything you hear."
Jack shook his head, laying out the tent-poles. "Aww, you're telling me you didn't really let her tie you down with medical restraints in one of the iso-labs? Because I've got to say, flagrant misuse of Air Force property like-"
"I don't know, it sounds kinda... hot." It was clearly taking every ounce of his strength not to burst out laughing.
Daniel shot him his best glare, to no effect. "At least I haven't been accused of doing anything off-world," he pointed out, perhaps more brattily than he would have liked.
Jack smirked, nodding his head in a silent touché, not letting Daniel's pot shot dampen his amusement. He could stand a joke at his own expense as well as anyone, and the often ludicrous scenarios the bored SFs came up with were hilarious in their own right.
"Perimeter secure, sir," Sam reappeared from the woods. "No evidence of recent travel through the woods in the area, or of any large animals, and the underbrush is pretty dense and dry -- we'll be able to hear anyone coming before they get near enough to see us."
"Good," Jack said, but his frown was back as her presence reminded him that he wasn't the only one involved the dirtier of the recent SGC rumors. As much as he might relish seeing his second-in-command squirm in embarrassment at one of his own jibes, he'd be damned if he'd enjoy letting anybody else make her uncomfortable.
Aware of the men's scrutinizing looks, she cast suspicious glances back at them as she dropped her pack and started setting up a fire pit. "What were you guys talking about?" she asked, the conversational tone more than a little forced.
"You know. Danny and Doc Fraiser in the iso-lab," Jack shrugged, earning himself a death glare from Daniel and a disbelieving raised eyebrow from Sam. "Oh, and in one of the hot tubs in the locker room? Something about deep-tissue therapeutic massage...?"
Daniel sighed. Jack really wasn't going to let this one go. "I'm going to go help Teal'c collect firewood."
"The Doc never gives me therapeutic massage..." Jack complained to his retreating back.
It was going to be a long, long night on P7X-401.
Rest is here!