Jack's head rested on the heel of his hand, his gaze a million miles away--light-years away, technically speaking--as he pondered his predicament.
"Colonel, what exactly are you saying?"
Jack turned his head slightly and stared at Dr. MacKenzie.
"Perhaps you'd allow me to summarize," MacKenzie said, his frown reprimanding Jack for his lack of attention. "You believe Major Carter is using her presentations to disseminate subliminal sexual messages..."
"Not believe--I know. You didn't see her on 747."
Jack grunted when Daniel's elbow prevented him from nodding off during Carter's lecture. Jack made a point of rubbing his ribs but he was secretly grateful. Aside from the fact that Carter was liable to hurt him if he snored, it occasionally--not often--but occasionally happened that she said something he actually needed to know.
"Yes, Jack," Daniel said, busily scribbling notes to himself.
"Why is Carter drawing a dick?"
Daniel raised his head slowly and peered at the front of the room where Carter was drawing on a blackboard. Then he turned to peer at Jack.
"She's illustrating the basic operation of the internal combustion engine, Jack."
"So the dick is...?"
"Of course it is."
Jack watched a little more closely as Carter's lecture continued. He hadn't expected 747 to be the least bit interesting. But being the eternal optimist that he was, he was kind of hoping he'd been wrong.
"Daniel, do pistons have testicles?"
"That's...that's where the piston attaches to the drive shaft," Daniel said after studying the diagram again.
"Uh huh." Jack crossed his arms and tapped his foot impatiently.
"You're bored," Daniel observed, raising his eyes to Jack's for just a second before returning to whatever he was writing in his notebook.
Jack looked around. The town hall/school/church was a simple wooden structure. At one end was a slightly raised dais graced only with a wooden table and a plain lectern. It was next to this that Carter had set up her blackboard. Quite frankly, Jack was surprised that she hadn't hauled back a generator so that she could power up the old laptop and give the townsfolk a show the likes of which they'd never seen before.
The rest of the room was filled with short rows of desks separated by backless pine benches. Modest square windows ran the length of both sides, allowing sunlight to fill the room.
Jack had the insane urge to hum the theme song from "Little House on the Prairie."
"Do we really have to be here?"
"Yes," Daniel said.
"And you're okay with this?" Jack asked skeptically.
"Actually...no," Daniel said, setting down his pen and finally giving Jack his full attention. "I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of introducing these people to technology that's going to pollute their world."
"Oh." Jack dropped his eyes to stare at his fingernails intently for a moment. He finally looked back up at Daniel. "Actually, I was referring to being forced to sit through Carter's lecture."
Daniel's stare was of the "Godless fucking Philistine" variety so Jack wisely withheld any further comments. For a minute.
"You know--we could be out there teaching them something else," Jack suggested. "Something non-polluting."
Jack had to think about that. Fishing was out because the locals already knew all about fishing. And it seemed that having to actually catch fish in order to feed your family just sucked all the fun right out of it.
"Hockey?" Jack suggested.
"Ah, yes--that would certainly improve their quality of life," Daniel said dryly.
Jack subsided back into annoyed silence because aside from his completely unnecessary--on this world--military skills, he had nothing to offer but fishing and hockey. And....
Daniel didn't even bother to look up. He just scowled down at the desk, leaving Jack to be cowed by the force of his disdain. Jack wasn't. And all the while Carter droned on at the front of the room.
"Astronomy," Jack said, certain he'd finally come up with something useful.
"Possibly," Daniel admitted, deigning to look at Jack again. "But Sam really has more practical knowledge on that subject than you do."
Jack leaned his elbows on the table, lingering on the cusp of a full fledged sulk. For crying out loud, he was a useful kind of guy. He had to have some knowledge or skill that meant something to someone. He couldn't be that one dimensional. Could he?
No. No way. Daniel Jackson, seriously overeducated geek, would never be attracted to a one-dimensional Jack. And attracting Daniel was high on Jack's list of things to do.
Unless.... Jack studied Daniel from under lowered lids. Jack was good at sex. Good enough, he believed, to derail Daniel's thought processes. Good enough to keep Daniel with a one-dimensional Jack? No. Daniel wasn't that shallow. Probably.
A sly grin grew on Jack's face. The question of Daniel's depth or lack thereof would have to wait. But in the meantime, Jack embraced the fact that he was good, very good, at sex. Sex was a skill. Good sex was art.
Jack would introduce the natives to porn.
"What?" Jack asked, startled because he'd sort of lost track of what dirt boy was doing.
"What?" Jack asked, irritated.
"Whatever you're thinking--just stop."
Jack scowled. He sat back again and let his eyes wander the room. He did a double take when he saw what now graced Carter's blackboard. Okay--so maybe he wouldn't be the one to introduce the natives to porn.
Daniel gave an annoyed shake of his head.
"Carter's diagramming your ass."
That brought Daniel's head up in a hurry.
"That's not an ass, mine or anyone else's," Daniel said giving Jack a disgusted look.
"Is, too. I'd recognized your ass anywhere," Jack said confidently.
"How?" Daniel asked suspiciously.
"I've seen it. Around. Showers, locker room...."
Daniel's eyes flickered from Jack to the blackboard and back again. Then back to the blackboard again.
"I think you need glasses," Daniel said. "Because if my ass looks like that...."
"Your ass," Jack insisted. "My...piston."
"Excuse me?" Daniel said, flabbergasted.
"Colonel?" Sam's voice abruptly drew Jack's attention back to the front of the room.
"Is there a problem, sir?"
"No, we were just discussing...um.... Nice picture," Daniel said when Jack froze at his side. Carter frowned.
"See? You see it, too, don't you?" Jack whispered to Daniel.
"It's just that the...piston is...is...it's kind of big," Daniel said, still speaking to Sam.
"Oh." Sam turned her thoughtful gaze on Jack. "I see your point. Maybe I should start with something with a little less horsepower."
Jack gaped incredulously as Sam turned back to the blackboard and modified her diagram.
"Daniel," Jack hissed. "She shrunk my piston!"
"That's not your piston," Daniel said, staring resolutely at his notebook. But he wasn't fooling Jack. Daniel had seen the light. And the piston.
"Colonel, would you like to assist me in the demonstration?" Sam interrupted again.
"No?" Jack said, too confused to be certain.
"I don't think Jack has enough...torque," Daniel said with a vaguely explanatory hand gesture. Sam thought that over for a moment, then nodded her agreement and returned to the blackboard.
"Not enough torque?" Jack asked angrily.
"Shut up, Jack."
Daniel's eyes grew wide as Sam began a new diagram. Jack noticed the reaction and turned to face the front of the room again. Daniel's frown deepened. Jack turned his head almost completely sideways as he squinted at the new diagram.
"Jack, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Daniel asked.
"I think so, but do you really think we can sneak a duck and a hose through the gate?"
"Uh huh.... Moving on," MacKenzie said, sounding less than convinced. "You claim that Teal'c is trying to usurp your authority?"
"Not authority exactly," Jack said. "He's trying to out-Alpha me."
"I'm not sure I follow, Colonel."
"He's...what do they call that when animals put on a show to attract a mate or scare off their enemies?" Jack asked.
"Displaying?" MacKenzie suggested hesitantly.
"That's it!" Jack said.
"Teal'c is 'displaying'?"
"He thinks his staff weapon is bigger than mine."
Jack ambled through the corridor. Inwardly, he was happily daydreaming of Daniel. And pistons. Outwardly, he wore a glare in the hope that people would leave him alone to continue his daydreaming.
"Assume the position, your back toward me, so that I may demonstrate the use of a staff weapon."
Jack froze mid stride. He identified the voice as Teal'c's, meaning that the Jaffa was most likely training the newest members of the SGC. Jack sniggered inwardly at the image conjured by Teal'c's words. He was a dirty old man. Jack, that is--not Teal'c. But Jack was closing in on fifty and he'd saved the planet a time or two--if he wanted to be a dirty old man then, damn it, he was going to be a dirty old man.
"Um...this isn't going to hurt, is it?"
Both Jack's glare and his snigger vanished...because that was Daniel's voice.
Jack immediately backtracked a few feet and opened the door to a small training room. Teal'c was halfway across the room, his back to Jack. Daniel was standing right in front of him. A gaggle of recruits was spaced in a semi-circle around them.
"Greetings, O'Neill," Teal'c said without turning around.
"Hey, Jack," Daniel said, turning his head to nod at Jack.
"Daniel, Teal'c," Jack said cautiously. "Whatcha doing?"
"I am demonstrating the various ways in which one may use a staff weapon."
"In combat, right?"
Because obviously Teal'c wouldn't be using his...staff weapon for other purposes. Not with an audience.
"Indeed." Teal'c gently turned Daniel around. "Shall we proceed, Daniel Jackson?"
"You know--you never answered my question," Daniel observed.
"I will be as careful as I can be, but some pain is inevitable."
"Oh, for crying out loud," Jack snapped. Everyone turned puzzled looks on Jack. Jack just snarled at them. No one but no one was introducing Daniel to...staff weapons, carefully or not, unless it was Jack.
"Say, Teal'c--what do you say I demonstrate with Daniel," Jack offered, pulling off his jacket and boots. "That'll leave you free to discuss the lesson with the recruits."
"I am perfectly capable of using Daniel Jackson while at the same time instructing the students," Teal'c insisted.
Daniel frowned slightly at the word 'using', and looked back suspiciously at Teal'c.
"You know, Teal'c, maybe that's not such a bad idea," Daniel said. "Jack and I are a little more evenly matched."
"Yes, we are," Jack agreed with slightly more enthusiasm than strictly necessary. Teal'c flexed his biceps at Jack. Jack fl...fumbled around for one of the practice sticks.
"All ready," Jack announced. So he was dressed in fatigue pants and t-shirt rather than sweats or shorts and hey, whoa--Daniel in a muscle shirt was not hard on the eyes.
"Very well," Teal'c said, puffing his pecs in what Jack was certain was a deliberate provocation.
"Daniel?" Jack said as Daniel moved closer to him.
"Yes, Jack," Daniel said.
"You volunteered for this?"
"Not exactly," Daniel admitted. "Got roped into it, more like."
"O'Neill, perhaps you would like to demonstrate the move with me?" Teal'c challenged.
"Absolutely," Jack said. That was more like it. They'd go mano-a-mano, one on one, let Daniel see who the best man was....
What the hell was Jack thinking?
Mere seconds later, Jack hit the mat with enough force to dislocate each and every vertebrae. Teal'c immediately turned to the recruits to tell them exactly what Jack had done wrong.
"Jack?" Daniel asked, his face hovering solicitously over Jack's.
"Are you okay?"
"Peachy," Jack said, still without moving.
"One must find the measure of his opponent," Teal'c lectured the class while staring at Jack. "A series of short, probing jabs first, followed by a strong thrust."
"I knew that!" Jack said, dragging himself up from the mat. Teal'c merely bowed and waited for Jack to resume the demonstration.
"I knew that," Jack insisted to Daniel. Jack was certain he could probe and thrust as well as any man. Or Jaffa. Jack set his jaw and retook his position facing Teal'c.
After several more throws, each more bone rattling than the last, Teal'c left Jack lying on the mat and started pairing off the students.
"Jack?" Daniel was back, hovering.
"This was a bad idea," Jack admitted with a groan.
"Ya think?" Daniel said dryly. "Let's, uh, let's get you out of here."
"I can't," Jack said, nodding at the recruits throwing surreptitious looks in Jack's direction.
"Jack," Daniel said with exasperation. "What's worse? Losing face? Or losing the ability to walk?"
"Can I get back to you on that one?"
"Fine," Daniel growled as Teal'c got the recruits started and headed back toward Jack and Daniel. "But we have to come up with something fast."
"You know what we have to do, right?" Jack prompted, having figured out a way to save face in front of the recruits. It was too late to save face in front of Daniel. Several years too late.
"I'm not sure," Daniel said carefully. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I think so, Daniel, but won't duct tape pull out all the hair?"
"Teal'c was using weapons training as a sort of sexual display?" MacKenzie said dubiously. "That seems highly unlikely."
"You'd think so, wouldn't you?"
"Now as far as Dr. Jackson is concerned," MacKenzie continued. "You say he's a succubus and you're little more than his sex toy."
"Or incubus. I can never keep those two straight," Jack said. Jack gave a careless shrug. "Okay, so he's not either of those things. He's just really, really hot."
"Hot?" MacKenzie said, arching one eyebrow. "So Dr. Jackson says he wants your ass and you give it to him because he's...hot?"
"He didn't actually say he wanted my ass." Jack admitted. "I just thought he said it. I think."
"But if he had said it--you would've done it?"
"That's not the point, Colonel O'Neill."
"What is the point?"
Jack had just sauntered into Daniel's office when the klaxon began to sound.
"What the hell?"
"Apparently Sam has set off the auto destruct again," Daniel mumbled, his face only inches from his computer screen.
"That's twice this week," Jack complained.
"The 'end of the world' is getting rather repetitive," Daniel agreed.
"I should probably do something about that," Jack said with a sigh.
"Oh, I don't know. Siler was following Sam around. I'm sure he can fix it." Daniel frowned. "Sam says he's very good with his hands."
"I'm better," Jack said automatically. Daniel peered at Jack over his glasses. "Well, I am."
"If you say so," Daniel said, returning to his work.
"That's very annoying," Jack said, referring to the noise of the alarm. He paced back and forth in front of Daniel's desk, agitated by the need to do something to avert the end of the world. Actually, that wasn't entirely true. He did feel a certain responsibility to save the planet. Again. But the agitation was entirely due to Daniel's presence.
"How can you work with that racket going on?" Jack asked, trying to divert his mind from Daniel's presence. Of course, that would be easier to do if he weren't actually in Daniel's presence.
"I want your ass," Daniel said distractedly.
Okay, that was not helping divert Jack's mind.
"What did you just say?" Jack asked, his hands having gone to his belt buckle without conscious thought.
"I said it'll pass." Daniel waved vaguely. "The noise."
"Right," Jack said. He tried to find a nonchalant way to remove his hands from his belt. "But what if it doesn't?"
"Then the auto destruct will finish the countdown and we'll all die in a big, fiery explosion."
"Seems a shame," Jack said, wondering if he could use imminent death and destruction as a seduction ploy.
"Well, dying, obviously. But not having the time to finish...stuff."
"Yeah, stuff. We could be...you know and...stuff," Jack said vaguely.
"Ah." Daniel studied Jack thoughtfully. His expression grew curious. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I think so, Daniel. But I get all clammy inside the tent."
"Ya know--I think I'm going to go help Siler save the planet," Jack said quickly, edging toward the door. It had just occurred to him that Daniel might not be the type to accept death as a reasonable excuse for getting naked. He was liable to perceive it as a tad selfish.
"Shake your buns," Daniel said, returning to his work with a confused shake of the head.
Jack staggered to a halt.
"What did you say?" he croaked.
"Have fun," Daniel repeated, frowning at Jack. "What did you think I said?"
"Nothing," Jack said before bolting from the room.
"Colonel, your perceptions appear to be highly distorted," MacKenzie said.
"Ya think?" Jack spat. He got up and started pacing the small office. "The real question here is--why are my perceptions distorted? I mean am I wired on some alien drug? Possessed by an invisible entity? Brainwashed? Or just plain old fucking nuts?"
"It's my professional opinion that you're suffering from severe sexual frustration."
"Really?" Jack asked with surprise. Well, that wasn't so surprising. Lusting after the oblivious Daniel Jackson would frustrate anyone. "Er...okay. What do I do about it?"
MacKenzie gathered up his notes and placed them neatly in Jack's file. He closed the file and rested his elbows on it, placing his hands in an almost prayerful posture.
"Focus on the problem, Colonel, and consider the possible solutions. I think you can find the answer yourself."
MacKenzie waited expectantly as Jack's brow grew more deeply lined in concentration. After several minutes he cocked his head and looked at MacKenzie.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Colonel?" MacKenzie asked with an encouraging nod.
"I think so, Doc. But, whoa--three men in a hot tub? That's gotta be unsanitary."
MacKenzie slammed his hands down on the desk in exasperation.
"Colonel, I suggest you get yourself laid ASAP."
"Jack. Damn it, Jack."
Jack scrunched up his face and willed the annoying noise to stop. The pillow under his cheek suddenly disappeared and Jack nearly gave himself whiplash as all four limbs jerked out in an effort to keep him in his chair. Sitting up, he looked around the empty briefing room, feeling a vague concern. A moment later vague solidified into concrete.
"Oh, I didn't," Jack groaned.
"Oh, you did," Daniel affirmed. He pointed at Jack's mouth and Jack raised his hand curiously. Great. He'd been drooling. On Daniel's shoulder. Jack's hand slid his hand further across his cheek and felt the imprint from the seam of Daniel's shirt.
"Sam is beyond pissed," Daniel continued conversationally.
"This has got to stop," Jack said, slumping back in his chair again.
"This," Jack said. "This...it's messing with my head. I'm not sleeping right. I'm imagining things. I'm distracted...."
"Imagining things?" Daniel asked. He leaned closer to Jack, concern evident on his face. "Jack, what's wrong?"
"MacKenzie says I'm severely sexually frustrated," Jack admitted.
"Was that a personal observation, or a professional one?" Daniel asked. Jack just glared at him. "Sorry."
"He even prescribed a...cure."
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Are you serious?"
"Yes, of course."
"Well, uh...yeah," Jack said. "You could actually...seeing as how you are my problem."
"Oh.... Oh!" Daniel said, his eyes widening.
"You see the 'problem' then?" Jack asked.
"I think I'm starting to," Daniel agreed.
"So...still think you might be able to help me?"
"I think that could be arranged."
"Really?" Jack asked. Jack fought the urge to squirm in his seat as he watched Daniel's eyes grow dark and seductive.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Daniel said provocatively.
"I think so, Daniel, but apply the genitive to what?"
Jack slumped face down on the mattress with a groan. He turned his head just far enough to the side so that he could see Daniel, flat on his back and still breathing hard. After a moment, Daniel turned his head, meeting Jack's sated gaze.
"Hey," Daniel whispered.
"Hey," Jack whispered back.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I think the odds of that are pretty slim, Daniel."
"True," Daniel said with a nod.
"I mean, seriously, when have I ever been thinking what you've been thinking?
"Exactly. So what are the odds that this time I'm thinking what you're thinking?"
"Infinitely small," Daniel suggested.
"That's what I'm thinking."
"So...you are thinking what I'm thinking?"
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