Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them…I don't.
Set a few weeks after 'Point of View'.
Spoilers for 'Children of The Gods', 'There But For The Grace of God', 'Politics', and 'Point of View'.
Needed a little break from my other story. Silly. A little language.
Daniel - as usual - was busy trying to translate something. In this case, it was tablet SG-4 had brought back from their mission to P6W 221. There had been no sign of any inhabitants still living there, but a few artefacts and barely standing primitive buildings had proved that someone had been there sometime in the past thousand years. Daniel was hoping to go back there himself within the next few weeks; it just required the right combination of subtle persuasion and sucking up to General Hammond. A skill that Daniel - over the past few years - thought he was getting better at.
Rubbing a finger over the bridge of his nose, he continued studying the inscriptions on the tablet. Well, he couldn't really classify them as such, because-
Suddenly aware that he wasn't alone, he looked up.
Teal'c was standing three feet away.
"How long have you been standing there?"
Not much of an answer, either. Daniel could have sworn that Teal'c must have taken whatever passed as the Jaffa equivalent of Black Ops training. He was the biggest man he knew yet he could appear anywhere without making a sound. "Did you want something?"
The Jaffa didn't answer his question directly. "It is curious."
Okay, he'd completely lost the subject of conversation. Assuming there'd ever been one. "What's curious?"
Ah. "It must have been weird, shooting yourself."
"It was - as you say - extremely 'weird'."
Daniel suppressed a smile. It'd been weird enough for him when he suspected his double was dead, and he'd never even met him. "You must have realised things like alternate realities were possible."
"Yes," Teal'c nodded, once. "Especially since your initial discovery of the quantum mirror, I have pondered these alternate realities. How things are the same, yet different."
That had kept him awake a few nights as well. Sha're… "Yeah. It gives me a headache too, Teal'c."
"If I had made different decision, perhaps Apophis would not have taken your wife. Perhaps she would not have become a host."
Daniel became aware of the familiar sting of tears, but as usual he blinked them back. "Teal'c…I told you a long time ago that you don't have to keep apologising." The truth was, it had been hard for him to even look at Teal'c at first - knowing who he was, who he had helped, what he had helped them do.
Not anymore. He had proven himself again and again, and as the saying went, he was a new man. Daniel wasn't about to begrudge him that.
"Nevertheless, I am sorry."
It did help that Teal'c apologised at every available opportunity.
"I know you are."
They remained in silence for a while; Daniel staring down at his hands as they lay on the table promising himself that he was going to find Sha're, Teal'c with one eyebrow raised.
"There is something else I wish to discuss. Something that has been bothering me."
"Sure," Lifting his head to look at his friend, Daniel tried not to sniff. It wasn't easy.
Teal'c - thankfully - didn't mention it. "In every reality we have encountered thus far, Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter have been involved in a romantic relationship."
He would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to have realised that. "And…?"
"If that is the case in every reality we have encountered, why is it not the case here?"
Daniel almost said "Good point," but his rational side got the better of him. "As you said yourself, in these realities things are the same yet different. This one *is* different."
Here was an argument he'd discussed before with himself. Not that he really believed that they…not *really*. But occasionally…the odd glance here or the rare touch there…it'd get him thinking. "First of all, there's the fact that it's against regulations."
Teal'c was definitely looking confused. "Against regulations?"
"Yes. They're in the military. He's her commanding officer. According to military regulations they're not allowed to become involved."
"I believe I recall Colonel O'Neill mentioning this before," The Jaffa frowned, clearly not approving of the regulations being discussed. "After you returned from the first alternate reality you encountered. And this is what is keeping them from becoming involved?"
Glancing down, Daniel spotted his long-ago forgotten cup of coffee. "Yes," Picking up the cup, he took a gulp of the lukewarm contents. "And - of course - we don't actually know if Jack and Sam feel that way."
"Feel what way? About what?" Asked the Sam in question, having just walked into his office.
Unfortunately Daniel had just taken another swig of his drink so in his surprise at seeing her, the tablet he'd been trying to translate was the unlucky recipient of a coffee and spittle shower.
As Sam frowned at him Daniel stared back at her, feeling as it he were directly in the path of some oncoming monolithic force that was about to soundly kick his butt all the way to Abydos.
"Daniel? Are you all right?"
He snapped out of it.
Finally noticing what his coffee had done to the tablet, he quickly picked it up and frantically tried to clean it off with whatever paperwork he had lying around. "Sorry," He murmured, carefully not looking at her. "You surprised me."
"Yeah. I noticed that."
Saying nothing he continued trying to mop up the mess, when he realised both Teal'c and Sam had moved. Teal'c was now on the other side of the room, and she was standing next to Daniel. He tilted his head back to look up at her.
She simply plucked whatever paper he had from his hand. "Daniel, I really don't think that…" She paused to read the title. "'The History of Egyptian Language: An Overview' is supposed to be used to clean up coffee spills. Hang on a minute."
Sam quickly left and returned almost as quickly with a cloth she'd procured from somewhere. Thanking her, he took it and cleaned up the rest of the mess as fast as he could.
"This thing lies untouched for a thousand years. I come along and suddenly it's decorated with a fresh coat of caffeine."
"Let's face it," Another voice said from the doorway. "As strong as you like your coffee, it might as well be paint."
Amused at his friends reaction, Jack strolled in. "Daniel?"
"Oh…don't mind me. I'm just trying to preserve an irreplaceable artefact and failing miserably." It was mostly the truth.
Confused, Jack turned to Sam. "What's going on?"
"That's what I was wondering. They were talking about us,"
"Yes. And I'm curious as to why."
When it was obvious they weren't about to get an answer out of Daniel, Jack turned his attention to the Jaffa, who - until now - had remained largely ignored. "Teal'c?"
Daniel was pleased to discover that Teal'c realised it'd be a bad idea to reveal what they'd been discussing.
"I cannot say."
Sam crossed her arms over her chest. "Why not?"
Teal'c was getting desperate. "It is…a surprise."
She frowned. "A surprise?"
Jack clapped his hands together loudly, smirking. "Is this for my Birthday?"
Perfect! Exaggerating a sigh, Daniel answered. "Yes it is."
Teal'c wisely said nothing at all.
"I knew it!" Jack almost laughed. "I knew you were planning something. Look, a couple of tips," He leant towards Daniel and lowered his voice, which was a bit pointless as everyone could hear him anyway. "Domestic beer, chocolate cake, and the girl leaping out of the cake is optional - although it would be a nice touch." He risked a glance at Sam. "No offence, Carter."
"Oh none taken sir. I'm sure he'll do something similar for my next Birthday. Isn't that right, Daniel?"
She was staring at him. She was staring *right* at him, smirking. Sam didn't smirk. She grinned, laughed, chuckled or on rare occasions she giggled incessantly. But she didn't smirk. Unless…
And he realised it then.
She *knew*. She may not have known exactly what he and Teal'c had been discussing, but she certainly knew it wasn't anything to do with Jack's Birthday. "Of course," He gulped inwardly, more than willing to arrange for as many male strippers as she wanted just as long as he didn't have to endure her or Jack's reaction to the topic of conversation.
"Glad to hear it." Sam smiled. Normally, this time. "Anyway, I'd better be off. Just dropped by to let you guys know that General Hammond wants us in the briefing room at 1300."
"Okay," Daniel faked a grin. "Thanks for letting us know. See you then." He told himself he really wasn't trying to rush her out of there.
In any case, she didn't object. Bidding goodbye to the others in the room, she soon left.
The moment it was clear she was gone, Jack swivelled to face him. "Daniel…a word of advice. Next time you and Teal'c decide to discuss the relationship between myself and Major Carter, I suggest you do it somewhere where the ventilation system doesn't carry sound through to her lab."
He couldn't breathe. "You…?"
"Every single word."
So… "This was all an act? Just to…"
"Make you squirm? Oh yeah." Jack was grinning now, widely.
Trying to recover, unable to use the wide range of vocabulary he knew he possessed but was currently unable to access, he said the only thing a confused archaeologist could: "Teal'c started it!"
"I did not."
"Yes, you did."
"I did not."
"Boys!" Jack interrupted. "Stop trying to blame each other. Point is…of course I care about Carter. And she cares about me. We work together, we work well together, we get on when we're not arguing or she's talking science…but that's it. As you said, those alternate realities are alternate for a reason. Okay?"
Daniel nodded dumbly. "Sure." He was pretty sure he didn't believe Jack at all now, but he wasn't about to argue. Not yet, anyway.
"All right. I gotta run, too. See you guys later."
Then he was gone.
Daniel was afraid to say anything, paranoia making him look around the room for anything that could transmit whatever he said.
Teal'c didn't look worried at all, now. Examining the ceiling, he moved until he was standing underneath an opening that no doubt led to the ventilation system, then spoke loudly:
"I believe they should copulate!"
Two pairs of footsteps came pounding along the corridor.
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