Into the fire
SG-2, SG-3, random other personnel on the base. Sam. Teal’c. General Hammond.
They were all laughing at him.
Daniel knew it was good-natured ribbing, but the military engaged in godawful glee about it. It was apparently their national pastime.
He stared at his image in the mirror, dreading to go home because along the way …
His bad hair day was going to take at least six weeks to become manageable enough to get it recut. He winced. He didn’t like having short hair. He hated the cold wind on the nape and for that reason alone, he refused to cut it shorter than that. If he had any pictures from college, he could show Jack and the others just how long he preferred his hair to be. But all of that history had been lost when he fell behind on the payments for his storage locker. That had happened right before his last lecture in that hall in New York. He’d hoped to get paid in full, but since his lecture had been cut off thanks to people leaving …
Which reminded him of a pet peeve that was beginning to build into a resentment: the asinine assumption that he thought the pyramids were spaceship landing platforms. He’d never claimed such a thing. One guy in the audience of the lecture had said it facetiously and Catherine of all people had assumed he’d been correct because Daniel hadn’t felt his stupidity warranted a reply. By the time she and General West had written up their Abydos reports, that stupid ‘fact’ had been put in there. And now Sam was repeating the stupidity. After a while, Daniel stopped correcting her, but for god’s sake, the truth was the truth.
Damn the Goa’uld for proving it true though. Assholes. Now everyone—in the know—understood what all those venting shafts on the sides of the pyramid were for.
But goddammit, he’d never said it!
Daniel closed his eyes. He was getting distracted with minutiae. All because of his damn hair. If that bitch Hathor hadn’t been thrown into that cold storage container, Daniel would have happily done it. Only with bits of her at a time. Fucking Goa’uld, cutting his hair. What the fuck?
Jack came into the locker room and saw him in front of the row of sinks. He adopted that Troublemaker grin and came over to ruffle his hair. Daniel shied away from him but didn’t escape it.
Daniel closed his eyes again and counted to ten. Six times.
The only way to avoid this crap was to get a Marine Corps haircut. But he just couldn’t do it. So suck it up, Jackson, said his inner Airman.
“How’s the leg?” Jack asked, sitting on a bench between locker rows to take off his boots.
As if the question caused it, Daniel’s leg sent a spasm of pain to his hip when he put weight on it. He shifted his weight, started to squeeze shaving cream into his hand, then nixed the idea and decided he’d get it done with the electric at home. He didn’t need to look in the mirror for that. He limped to his locker and put the shaving kit away. “Be out of commission for seven to eight weeks. Either Hammond saddles you with someone else or you guys go without.”
“Oh, we’re on base duty until you heal up. Clearances haven’t been authorized for the guys who’ve been brought in for the new science wing.”
“Right,” Daniel said, thinking about Robert Rothman. He’d recommended him even knowing the man’s people skills sucked. He was just very good at his job when he wasn’t stressed out. In fact, he’d been waiting for Robert to waylay him, bitching about military people ordering him about. Daniel secretly found it amusing. Robert could use a little discipline.
“Carter told me about the razzing,” Jack said.
“Ah huh,” Daniel said with just a little eye roll.
“I’m putting a stop to it.”
Daniel’s brows went up and he turned to look at him. Jack was standing there in boxers and tee. It made Daniel want to take them off. He looked hastily away before Jack caught him looking where he shouldn’t be looking. Not on base. “Why?” he asked. “I mean, not that I’m complaining.”
“Because stuff like that has a tendency to turn mean if it isn’t handled, so I’m handling it.”
“Oh.” Daniel was surprised. Jack had done just as much ribbing. He then narrowed his eyes and stared at him. In the face. “All except you, I’m guessing.”
Jack lowered his voice. “I’m your SO, so of course I’m given immunity.”
“Horseshit,” Daniel half-sing-songed. “Stop giving me crap about it or I’m growing it down to my ass.”
Jack paused. “You can’t.”
“Yes I can.”
“No you can’t.”
“Yes I can.”
“No, you can’t.”
“Yes, I can. Regs don’t apply to civilians. The ones that do say that as long as I keep it neat and tied back, there’s no limit to the length of a man’s hair.” Jack grunted disagreement. “But then, I suppose they never imagined having hippies on the base.”
“Hippies?” Jack asked, grinning. “Seriously?”
“That’s the time frame this regulation had been written,” Daniel clarified.
Stunned, Jack said, “Huh.”
He got dressed and so did Daniel, albeit a lot more slowly, with zings of pain to go with it. “We getting together?” he asked when they were almost ready to leave.
“With that leg?” Jack asked.
Again, Daniel rolled his eyes. “I have pain pills and we both have a decent imagination. I think we’ll work it out.”
Jack grinned and followed him out. “That we will.”
Jack sat down at the chessboard, setting it up for their evening game while Daniel took care of the pizza in the kitchen. Carter and Teal’c had just left and now it was just the two of them. Presently, Daniel came in with two dinner plates. Jack saw that one of them was piled with pizza slices. The other held slices of watermelon. Jack’s brows went up.
“When’d you do that?” he asked, taking the watermelon plate. He set it down to the right of the chessboard on the bed.
“While you were arguing with Teal’c,” Daniel said, setting the pizza down next to the watermelon. He sat at the foot of the bed and crossed his sweat-pant covered legs. He wore only a t-shirt with them. Jack couldn’t cross his legs thanks to his knees, but he did his best by reclining on his side, resting on an elbow.
“Oh,” Jack said, chagrined. “He won, by the way.”
“Well, you were arguing from a weak position. He knows the Goa’uld. You don’t.”
“I beg your pardon?” Jack asked, arching a brow.
“Not as well he does. None of us do.”
“Right,” Jack said, mollified.
Daniel’s mouth twitched. “I noticed that Thor said goodbye to you, but not to the rest of us.”
Jack’s chagrin returned with a touch of embarrassment. “Noticed that, huh?”
Daniel waved a circle with his forefinger, aiming at the ceiling. “You mean the whole light show with you disappearing right when me, Sam, and Teal’c entered the Briefing Room? Yeah.”
Jack frowned. “You weren’t there when I came back. Just General Hammond.”
“We, uh,” Daniel began, his lips twitching with humor. “Decided you guys wanted to be alone.”
Jack barked out a shocked laugh. “What?”
Daniel’s lips continued to twitch while he tried, and failed, to look emotionless. “Well, he seems to have taken a liking to you. Even though I was the one who actually spoke to him first.” He sniffed dramatically.
“Oh, sounds like Thor envy to me.”
“Yep,” Daniel sighed a bit dramatically. “Pushed aside for the leader of SG-1. I hope you two will be very happy together.”
Jack growled, “Why you little—”
Daniel couldn’t hold the laughter in any longer and when Jack lunged at him, he was too busy laughing to avoid him. Jack pinned him to the mattress and straddled him. Daniel tried to distract him.
“Hey, you’re upsetting the food.”
“The blanket will survive but I don’t think you will,” Jack said and began to mercilessly tickle him. He weighed more, though not by much, and Daniel was soon begging him to stop. Jack did, fingers on his stomach. “You little shit. Say you’re sorry.”
Daniel’s reflexive defiance kicked in. “Never.”
But this time, he leveraged his legs and before Jack knew it, he and Daniel were on the floor with Daniel on top and holding Jack’s hands beside his head.
“Where were we?” Daniel asked.
“Saying sorry?” Jack offered.
“A smidge then?”
“Please,” Daniel scoffed. He let Jack’s hands go and started a sing-song. “Jack and Thor, sittin’ in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n—”
“That does it!” Jack said and rolled them over as he began tickling again.
Daniel tried to return the favor but Jack’s wasn’t very ticklish. It was totally unfair. Roaring with laughter, Daniel’s stomach and ribs began to ache. He was forced to give in. “Okay, okay, I give! I take it back.”
Jack froze, lying on top of him, fingers pausing under his arms. “Say you’re sorry.”
Daniel tried to get the words out but when he balked, Jack started to tickle him again and this time, it was getting painful. “Ow, ow! Okay, I’m sorry!”
Jack relented but he didn’t get off of him. “Finally. It’s a little sick, you know.”
“Couldn’t help it. All that attention on you. He’s got a thing.”
“Daniel, so help me—”
“I didn’t say you. I said, Thor. Not a sexual—”
“—thing or anything, but he’s favored you. You’re his little Earth buddy.” Daniel started giggling. “It’s rather funny.”
Daniel saw the mischievous look in Jack’s eyes. “Please, no more. My stomach and ribs hurt.”
Jack’s mischievousness took a more sensual turn. “Want me to kiss it better?”
“Does that work?” Daniel asked with as innocent a look as he could manage.
“I don’t know. Let’s try.”
“Food’s getting cold,” Daniel said as Jack shimmied down his body to kiss the ribs on his right side.
“Do you care?” Jack asked as his hands began caressing other areas.
“Not one bit,” Daniel said, his voice growing huskier.
“Good,” Jack said, wandering lower. “Me neither.”