Changing the menu
An untold tale from the Diary of Dr Daniel Jackson
All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
What you need to know is:
There is a spoiler for the First Ones hiding in this story.
There is also some hurt followed by fluffy comfort involving towels, showers, chocolate, whisky and an irate colonel. Not to mention bare toes, ruffled hair and cute nicknames.
Finally you need to know that this was written to celebrate the birthday of JudyM - most wondrous listmom of the h/c list and all round good egg in the fandom (That by the way is a Brit way of saying I love her to bits<g>)
You know I sometimes wonder if I don't spend more time with SG-11 than I do with SG-1. This must be the third mission in a row I've headed through the 'gate with these guys. I guess I should make the most of the chance to do some dirt digging in peace. Jack has been getting more and more edgy about my absences. I passed him in the corridor yesterday and he made a point of grabbing my sleeve to check the badge I was wearing actually said SG-1. Still, if he's that bothered all he has to do is stop signing the temporary transfer requests. It's not as though I go looking for these missions. Much as I hate to admit it - I miss SG-1 when I'm away. Even Jack and his constant whining about being bored.
Oh crap. Jack clenched his jaw in sick dismay. The figure stretched out on the wooden frame in the middle of a village of unfriendly tribesmen was definitely Daniel.
Squinting through his binoculars, he hadn't been sure at first. Okay, the tattered fatigue pants were a sure indicator it was somebody from the SGC. But there was the remote possibility that - just for once - the big, smelly and downright unpleasant locals might have grabbed someone else, and that Daniel would turn up with the missing members of SG-11 without so much as a hair out of place
But no, it was Daniel who was trussed hand and foot to a primitive example of a Slumberdown bed minus the mattress. Some fifth sense had apparently made the archaeologist turn and look in Jack's direction, making the colonel's stomach lurch with that unwelcome feeling that went along with the words 'Oh crap! Not again'.
Daniel, of course, didn't stand a chance of seeing his hidden team-mate from his current position, particularly without his glasses. In fact, judging from the angle at which the frame was tilted he probably wasn't seeing much of anything except for the tops of trees. Jack, however, had seen more than he really wanted to.
Daniel clearly hadn't given in without a fight. His right cheek and jawline were decorated with bruises that managed to show right through the reddish tint of two days worth of facial hair. His tee-shirt was little more than a few ribbons of material hanging from his shoulders, revealing taut muscles as he strained against the ropes tying his wrists and ankles to the rough framework. Plus, there was a rust coloured stain down one thigh that looked way too much like dried blood for Jack's liking.
Son of a bitch! Jack winced as one of the tribesmen turned and lashed out at Daniel with a thin, flexible cane. He was too far away for any audible expression of pain to reach him, but he saw only too clearly the grimace on Daniel's face, and as he adjusted the focus on his binoculars he realised what he had first thought to be shadows cast from the ragged strips of tee-shirt were in fact purple welts of beaten flesh. For a linguist, Daniel was definitely being pretty slow on understanding the 'stop struggling' message.
A tug on his sleeve pulled Jack's attention away from his suffering team-mate. He turned and found Sergeant Mason pointing towards activity a couple of hundred yards from Daniel. Four tribeswomen had appeared as though from nowhere and were weaving a large collection of sticks into a neat rectangular block. In a few brief moments they had created a base roughly seven feet in length and three feet wide. As he watched more tribeswomen arrived, each one carrying a large bundle of wood.
"What the hell are they doing?" he demanded, despite being only too sure of their intent.
Mason's face was pale, her green eyes wide with distaste. "From the cave paintings we were studying just before the attack, we suspected this culture was one of..."
"Get to the point, Mason," Jack hissed.
"To put it bluntly sir, it's a barbecue."
Jack held her gaze already knowing the answer to his question, but needing to ask it anyway just in case, please God let it be so, he was misreading the situation. "And the main course is?"
She swallowed. "Doctor Jackson."
"Crap." Jack scrubbed a hand through his hair. "Tell me - has there been some galactic memo offering 25 cents off every McJackson Happy Meal?"
"Sir?" Mason blinked nervously at his outburst.
"Never mind." Jack thumbed his radio. "Carter? Teal'c? Are you in position?" Two affirmatives came back, sharp and crisp. Jack glanced around his surroundings but it was impossible to see his team-mates. It didn't matter, though. They were out there, as were the other members of the rescue team. And he sure as hell wasn't going to sit around in the hope the natives might need to consult with Martha Stewart before deciding on the best way to baste and roast an archaeologist.
He spoke into his radio again. "On my mark. Three, two, one..."
Hell broke lose as Jack gave the final word. Claymores exploded to his right. Zats sparked and sizzled to his left. Jack set off, his P-90 chattering a noisy warning as he headed downhill at a perilous speed. Ahead of him he saw the cane-wielding native spin round, confusion and fear on the man's tattooed face. Behind the man, Daniel had renewed his struggle with his bonds.
As though in slow motion, Jack saw the native drop the cane and scoop up a wicked looking machete. He jerked his P-90 upwards and then hesitated, suddenly realising the risk of a stray bullet hitting Daniel was too high. Crap!
The machete swept an arc in the air as the native pulled his arm back. Unable to do anything else, Daniel twisted his upper body up and away from the frame, apparently not realising the action presented his attacker with a perfect curve of taut neck muscles.
Jack's lungs were bursting. Five strides away. He was too far. Too far! The machete reached the furthest extent of the back swing. Four strides. The sun glinted off the blade. Three. Every muscle in Daniel's body seemed to quiver in anticipation of the blow as he squeezed his eyes shut. Two. The hot air shimmered as the blade arced downwards.
A second blade suddenly caught the sunlight, glinting as it sliced through the air. A soft thud, like a melon being split open, sounded as it buried itself hilt deep into the base of a skull. And almost immediately came the heavy impact of metal biting into wood.
One last stride.
"Sorry. Happy meals are off the menu as of now!" Jack's fist impacted the native's jaw as the man spun round, eyes wide, apparently unaware he was already dead.
In one fluid movement, Jack retrieved his knife from the crumpled body at his feet and yanked the machete from the wooden frame. The image of the splintered wood a mere two inches from Daniel's head was slammed into a dark corner to be dealt with later, preferably when he was in the company of a very large whisky.
"Daniel? You okay?"
It was a dumb question, but it had the desired effect. Daniel's eyes flickered open, then widened in disbelief.
"No. Ronald McDonald."
Daniel flopped back against the frame, tilting his head and gulping in a huge breath that sounded suspiciously like a sob of relief.
Jack's gaze swept the chaos around them. Any minute now big ugly men were going to realise they were about to be deprived of dinner.
He gave Daniel a few seconds to compose himself before asking again. "You okay?"
He wasn't disappointed. Despite having nearly lost his head moments earlier, Daniel was pulling it together.
"Hold still then."
Jack swung the machete and brought it down with force where the rope rested against the wooden frame, barely an inch from Daniel's left wrist.
"For Christ's sake, Jack!" Daniel jerked his arm away from the machete, as Jack wrestled to pull it free from the wood.
"Kind of pressed for time, Daniel. In case you hadn't noticed people are trying to kill us."
Daniel glanced around as though only just realising where he was. "Yeah well. I appreciate the rescue, really I do. But I'd really like to keep my hands attached to my..." The machete bit through more rope. "For God's sake, Jack! Warn me next time you're going to do that."
In response, Jack opened fire on two spear-wielding natives who seemed to think a half-bound archaeologist was still a prime target. As they hit the ground, he turned back to Daniel, waving the machete, his face tense. "You want me to free your ankles or you want to practice your boy scout knot picking?"
"Cut the damn ropes," Daniel replied, closing his eyes stoically.
Two short sharp blows and Daniel was free.
"Whoa!" Jack caught Daniel around the waist as the archaeologist swung his legs off the frame and very nearly collapsed in an ungainly heap. "Take it easy."
"Sorry." Daniel's face was ashen beneath the dirt, sweat and bruises.
Jack's gaze flicked to the blood stain on Daniel's pants.
"I'm okay," Daniel protested softly. "Just... Really, I'm okay." He pulled in a sharp breath and added determinedly, "I can walk."
It was obvious to Jack that Daniel was anything but okay. This, however, wasn't the time or place to debate the issue. If Daniel said he could walk, Jack knew he would walk even if every step was sheer agony. Jack also knew no way in hell was he letting go of Daniel now he'd gotten hold of him. He tightened his one-handed grip on his P-90, realising firing it was going to be a problem seeing how Daniel was barely taking any of his own weight despite his protestations to the contrary. To his relief, Teal'c suddenly materialised to his left - staff weapon blazing - and Carter bounded into view from the right.
With his team around him and the loyal soldiers of the SGC providing back-up, Jack set his sights on the Stargate and issued the final order of the mission.
"Let's get the hell out of here."
"You know we can do this the hard way or the easy way," Jack said as he paced Janet's office.
"Oh?" Janet asked, her face a picture of innocence.
Jack came to a halt. "Look. Daniel wants to go home. I want to take him home. In about one hour and 45 minutes you're getting to be sick to death of the pair of us making your life hell. So... why not just release him now and we'll all be happy."
"Colonel O'Neill," Janet began.
"Bruises and scrapes," Jack countered. "Nothing he needs to stay here for."
"I extracted an arrow head from his thigh, colonel. I'd hardly call that a scrape."
Jack was unrepentant. "C'mon. It was a tiny little thing. Way smaller than that arrow that came flying through the gate and winged me. And that didn't require an overnight stay, now did it?"
He could see she was weakening. "Look he's just been through hell. I'm not going to pretend he hasn't. But trust me, he'll sleep a lot better somewhere that doesn't remind him quite so bluntly of the past few hours."
The memory of Daniel sitting on the end of the ramp shaking uncontrollably as the 'gate closed behind them was still painful. It never ceased to amaze Jack how Daniel held things together under a crisis. He'd been shot in the leg, grabbed by a bunch of goons that made the Touched seem like a group of finishing school graduates, manhandled and beaten for hours, threatened with a future role as a kebab, and then come scant seconds from becoming painfully acquainted with the wrong end of a machete. It was enough to drive even the toughest of marines whimpering for his mother, but Daniel had sucked it all up and done his darned best to not be a burden on the manic trek back to the Stargate. It wasn't until the last member of the rescue team had made it through the 'gate, miraculously with the missing members of SG-11 in tow, that Daniel had turned a distinct shade of green and started shaking like a bowl of jello on speed.
Janet shook her head. "Okay. You can take him home. But..." Her tone turned severe. "Get plenty of fluids into him. And I don't mean beer and whisky, colonel. Nothing more stimulating than weak tea."
"Weak tea," Jack parroted, nodding his head.
"If he's hungry give him something easy on the stomach."
"I know, I know. Soup without bits in it," Jack said with a long suffering sigh. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. "C'mon Janet. I know how to feed and care for a battered archaeologist."
Janet gave him a look that suggested she didn't think he was to be trusted with a houseplant never mind Daniel. "Don't let him get that wound wet."
"Sure. Sure." Jack snatched up Daniel's file, gave Janet his most appealing smile and held out a pen to her.
"Don't make me regret this, colonel," she muttered as she signed her name to the release form.
"Not in a million years," Jack replied, already half way out of the door.
"Here, let me help." Jack gently folded his hand over Daniel's shaking fingers. A quick flick of the wrist and the key turned in the lock.
"Thanks." Daniel's reply was barely audible as he limped through the door.
"You're welcome." Jack puffed out a sigh as he dropped Daniel's holdall on the floor and closed the door. The clinking of glass made him jerk his head up. Daniel had headed straight to his drinks cabinet.
"Whoa! Janet said..."
"Weak tea. I know." Daniel fixed him with a belligerent look as he slopped whiskey into the glass. "You can make me a potful right after I've swallowed this."
Jack winced. "You sure that's a good idea?"
"Probably not," Daniel replied, lifting the glass to his lips. He took a large gulp, grimaced and swallowed. He coughed, eyes watering as the neat liquor hit the back of his throat. "Smooth. Real smooth."
"Daniel." Jack's tone was both sympathetic and chiding.
"I know. I know." Daniel screwed the top back on the bottle. "Don't worry. I'm not about to turn into an alcoholic or anything. I just..." He laughed, a soft, bitter laugh. "Just wanted to check I was still alive."
"And swallowing a mouthful of whisky helped?" Jack asked patiently.
"Not really." Daniel shook his head. "God. I hate that stuff."
"Janet´s a real..."
"Ah-ah!" Jack waggled a finger. "She let you out of the infirmary after only ten minutes of argument. She's a good woman."
Daniel shot him an embarrassed smile. "Okay. Janet's a good woman. Now make me the damn tea before the taste of this whisky makes me throw up."
"Such gratitude," Jack complained good-naturedly. He headed for the kitchen, relieved to find Daniel trailing after him. Moments later he wasn't so pleased. "Hey! If you're hungry I'll make you some soup."
"Don't want... mmpphsoup," Daniel replied, stuffing a chocolate oreo into his mouth as he rooted through the contents of a food cupboard. "Ahh!" His fingers folded around a Fifth Avenue bar.
"Daniel, you are not to eat that." Jack held out his hand, gesturing for Daniel to hand it over.
In response, Daniel slowly unwrapped the bar and took a huge bite. He closed his eyes and sighed with ecstasy.
"You know what you are?" Jack said, shaking his head as he turned back to making the tea.
"No what?" Daniel asked around his mouthful of chocolate.
"Not right in the head," Jack replied without malice. He held out a mug of tea. "You do realise of the three things I promised Janet not to let you have or do, you've scratched two already and we've barely been in the door five minutes."
"Oh?" Daniel's eyes twinkled mischievously. "Let me see..."
Jack sighed. "Are you deliberately trying to get me into trouble? Because I would like to point out that, if so, next time you're in the infirmary I'm going to leave you there."
Daniel ignored him. "Three things, huh? Okay - the whiskey, that was definitely one of them."
"Strike one," Jack replied.
Daniel chewed thoughtfully for a moment and then grinned, waving the chocolate bar at Jack. "Number two - if he's hungry feed him soup, right?"
"Don't even think about it, Daniel."
"Oh c'mon Jack. I smell like an unas. I *need* to shower."
"No way." Jack shook his head. "You can wash down in the sink. Daniel. Daniel, you get back here, right now. Damn it, Daniel!"
Twenty minutes. Twenty long, tortuous minutes of pacing while Daniel showered. Of course there were moments of scintillating dialogue to liven up the time.
"Daniel, are you okay?"
"Go away, Jack."
Jack was just contemplating hitting the whisky himself when the bathroom door opened and Daniel emerged, a large fluffy towel wrapped precariously around his hips.
The colourful array of welts and bruises on Daniel's torso drove the breath from Jack. "Christ, Daniel. Look at you." Anger suddenly flared. "That's it. That's the last time you go on a mission without me."
"No Daniel. I've had it with every one thinking they can just borrow you whenever they feel like it and then sending you back looking like crap. Or worse not sending you back at all."
"No more rescues, Daniel. No more big smelly monsters wanting to eat you. No more..." Jack waved a hand in the air. "Just... no more! Is that clear?"
Jack stopped, suddenly aware of the smile tugging at Daniel's lips.
"What?" he demanded.
The smile broke free. "Thank you," Daniel said quietly.
"Thank you?" Jack was confused.
Daniel suddenly shivered, running a hand through his damp hair. He held up a finger, stopping Jack's concern. "I'll be right back."
Jack sighed as Daniel disappeared into his bedroom, returning moments later dressed in soft blue pyjamas, his towel-dried hair sticking up in unruly spikes. He flopped onto the sofa and wriggled his bare toes, giving a contented sigh as he did so. Finally he looked up at Jack.
"Thank you," he said again. "For letting me deal with this my way." He waved a hand around his apartment. "The whisky. Chocolate. The shower." He hesitated for a moment and then quickly added. "And for... you know... getting mad."
"You're thanking me for getting mad?" Jack was totally lost.
Daniel smiled, his face embarrassed. "I know it's crazy but..." He blew out a quick breath. "It makes me feel cared for, okay? No big deal. Just... I appreciate it."
Jack shook his head. "You getting sentimental on me?"
Daniel was immediately blasé, but the light in his eyes gave him away. "Sentimental? Never."
"That's alright then." Jack moved towards the kitchen, hesitating as he passed behind Daniel on the sofa. Casually he reached out and ruffled Daniel's hair. "If I make some more tea will you drink it this time?"
"I promise," Daniel replied, reaching for the TV remote.
Jack nodded with satisfaction as he headed into the kitchen. "Good."
The sound of a deadly dull documentary reached Jack's ears. He smiled as he pushed the teabags to one side and lifted out a bag of Daniel's favourite coffee.
His spacemonkey was safe and sound. All was well with the world...
...and on the next mission he was going to carry an ample supply of Big Macs.
Loved it or hated it? Why not click my sig and let me know?