Having just spoken with Hammond about the semi-fucked up mission, Jack paused outside Daniel’s office door and frowned. The door was closed. It was rarely closed. It meant he didn’t want to be interrupted because he had work to do. He was never late on his reports, so a closed door was a sign of stress.
But there weren’t any reports to file. Daniel had handed in his already. So …
Jack didn’t need to knock to find out what was wrong. He knew. Daniel believed he had fucked up. He hadn’t, and as the commander of The Lead combat-slash-meet-n-greet unit, it was his opinion that mattered to Hammond. While the General had listened to Daniel, it was Jack’s command. His was where the responsibility lay.
The whole bailiwick, visiting other planets, was a dangerous hit ‘n miss game. While Jack had a lot of leeway, there were specific situations that required a Mission Abort. The top-most being dangerous to his team. But the general requirements for that usually involved Jaffa and Goa’uld, not backward cultures. Still. His gut had said, “Leave. Now.” Hostility toward one team member was hostility toward the entire team. His second guess had been, “Carter, go back home. These people are hostile toward you.” But he hadn’t said that either.
He’d balked because Carter was a member of the team, woman or not. He had to admit that he had a bit of a leftover sexist attitude born solely out of never having served with women in combat. But Carter had been assigned to the team, so he’d had to rewire the sexism out of the equation.
Unfortunately, he’d overcompensated, preferring to force others to their way of thinking, not the other way around. But he should’ve known better. He’d seen it before on Earth when dealing with backward Christian sects and Far-Right Muslim psychos who had, like the Christians, distorted the teachings of their religious texts and invented whole swaths to justify their bigotry and sexism. Hell, even the Communists had done that against “Imperialist, Capitalist Dogs of the Decadent Western Cultures.” Karl Marx had been half-rolling in his grave.
Jack shook off the introspection and knocked with his index finger’s knuckle. “It’s me.”
“Come in,” came the response in a muffled, defeated tone.
Jack came in and closed the door behind him. This talk didn’t need to be overheard, even if it wasn’t classified. Daniel had the door closed. Jack would respect that. Apart from his entry, that is.
He stood there, holding a laundry bag over one shoulder filled with uniforms he had to drop off to S4. He studied the archaeologist, who sat with his arms folded on the desk, head in his arms. It irritated. Jack walked over and tapped his shoulder with the back of his hand. “Okay, Doc. Get up. We’re leaving.”
“I’m not in the mood, Jack,” Daniel said into his folded arms.
Jack sighed through his nose. He wanted to say, “Stop sulking and come over to my place.” But that would be an insult and though he felt that’s what Daniel was doing, it would be churlish to say it. He grabbed the chair beside the desk and pulled it over. As he sat down, he roughly pulled Daniel’s arm to make him sit up and look at him.
Daniel jerked his arm away from him and scowled. “Stop it. Whatever you’re going to say—”
“It wasn’t your fault. It was mine.”
Daniel’s scowl altered to surprise, then into suspicion. “You know that’s not true.”
“Yes it is. I was in command. We should have gone back home and sent SG-7 or 9.”
“Didn’t do anything I let you do,” Jack said. “I give you free reign, most of the time. And you have an annoying tendency to hat off on your own. You didn’t this time. You simply said—”
“When in Rome,” Daniel finished, then grimaced because he hated it when Jack did it.
Jack ignored him. “And it’s up to me to decide, not you.”
Daniel was quiet for a few moments. His expression and body language let Jack know he agreed, but Jack could see he still took the blame. Wanted to take the blame.
“Fine,” Jack said. “We fucked up. Happy?”
“No,” Daniel scowled.
“We men folk. We fucked up. Carter should have gone back home, at least. Carter should never have been alone. The kidnapping should’ve been handled by bringing in another team and—”
“With blood?” Daniel asked, brows raised. “Aren’t we better than that?”
Jack chewed at his lip. “I’m on probation. The team’s on probation. We’re not going anywhere for a month. I’m docked a month’s pay. You aren’t, Carter isn’t, Teal’c isn’t.”
Daniel sat there, stunned. “What? That’s not fair! She didn’t—”
“No, Daniel,” Jack said, returning Daniel’s outrage with the Hard Look. It meant don’t argue and Daniel had learned what would follow if he didn’t take him seriously. “My command. What happened was directly my fault for not handling it from the outset. Did you know that any member of the military gets a reprimand, if not an Article 15, for losing their weapon or letting it get stolen? It wasn’t her fault, exactly, since that hooch they gave her knocked her out. I talked Hammond out of the reprimand because it was a situation she should never been put in. Now, it came out semi-okay, but regardless of how it ended, there are no plans to send another team.”
“No naquada, huh?” Daniel asked cynically.
“Nope,” Jack confirmed, getting to his feet and returning the chair. “Now, c’mon. We’re going to my place to chill out, regroup from this embarrassment. Carter and Teal’c will meet us there.”
“Really?” Daniel asked, doing what he asked. He grabbed his keys. “What for?”
“I’ve decided to implement one. The Saturday night following a mission. We need to decompress, as a team. My house, my hosting duties. We can talk about what else we can do for our Team Nights.”
“Oh.” Daniel followed him out the door. “That actually sounds like a great idea.”
“Doesn’t it?” Jack said with that grin of his. “I occasionally have them.”
As they entered the elevator at the end of the corridor, Daniel said, “Thanks.”
Jack nodded. That’s all that needed to be said.
. . .