Reading Behaviour of The Jack O'Neill
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

'Red Sky' episode addition. Spoilers for 'The Light' and 'Red Sky'.

It's very late and I should be in bed. I therefore apologise for any big mistakes. Would loooove some feedback. A silly little something that popped into my head and wouldn't leave me alone until it was written.


Daniel's stomach rumbled. Again. He'd managed to ignore it for the last five or six hours, preferring to spend his time studying the artefacts SG-4 had brought back from their latest mission.

His stomach had had other ideas. Five minutes ago it had moodily informed him that if it didn't get something to eat - NOW - it would do something very unpleasant. Daniel didn't know what 'something very unpleasant' meant, but he *did* know that he didn't want to find out.

Picking up his tray he nodded at and thanked the woman at the till - Gloria, if he remembered correctly - then turned to decide which table to sit at.

Stomach told him to pick any seat and start eating RIGHT NOW...but Daniel tempted fate when he spotted Jack at the opposite end of the room, sitting in a chair with his back to a wall.

Deciding that he wouldn't mind some company while Stomach went into raptures at the prospect of being fed, he headed towards Jack.

He also decided that he and Stomach had been spending far too much time alone together recently, and he really should get out more.

"Hey," Daniel greeted as he sat without invitation in the chair on the opposite side of the table.

Jack dragged his gaze from the sports magazine he was reading - the kind Daniel glanced at once and immediately disregarded - and nodded at him. "Hey."

Expertly twirling pasta on to his fork, Daniel took in his friends expression. He paused - despite Stomach's objection - and frowned. "Jack, you okay?"

O'Neill looked confused, lost, and even glassy-eyed. "Fine," He murmured. "Just reading hockey stats."

Rolling his eyes, Daniel finally ended Stomach's torture and swallowed a forkful of food. Jack may have often expressed his boredom with archaeology, but Daniel felt much the same about sports. Yes, sometimes he enjoyed watching them, but never with the voracity Jack did. And as for reading game statistics? No way.

Still, as Stomach was temporarily mollified, he decided to humour the older man.

"So, who's winning?"

Jack had resumed reading his magazine and didn't even bother looking up. "Huh?"

"Who's winning the hockey?"

"Oh...some team..."

How could he possibly not know? And whatever he was reading couldn't be *that* fascinating. "What are you reading?" Daniel asked, tugging at the top of the magazine to take a peek.

Realising what was happening, Jack sat up straight and yanked the magazine away. "Hey!"

It was too late.

They both watched - one with horror, the other with boundless curiosity - as the magazine hidden within the sports one slid free and landed on the table, face up. Jack tried to grab it but Daniel got there first with his fork-laden hand, effectively keeping Jack at bay.

Curiosity increased ten-fold by Jack's bizarre behaviour, Daniel couldn't take the anticipation any longer and looked at the cover.

His jaw dropped. "Jack...?"

Pleading. "Just give it back, will ya?"

"I can't believe you're reading something like this!"

Defiant. "What about it?"

"It's...I mean it's...*why*?"

Forced indifference. "It doesn't mean anything. It's not important."

Daniel finally lifted his gaze away from the magazine and gaped at the Colonel. "*New* *Scientist*? You're reading New Scientist and I'm supposed to think everything's okay?" He couldn't help it - he had to poke fun at him.

"Ha ha. Very funny. Can I have it back now?"

More than a little amused Daniel let go and began work on another forkful.

Jack immediately snatched it back, wrapping it inside the other magazine again. "For crying out loud, you'll completely ruin my reputation."

"Oh that's right," Daniel agreed. "Seniors always make fun of the nerds, don't they?" Taking in Jack's glare, he chuckled. "Come on Jack - no one's going to make fun of you because you're reading New Scientist." He paused, taking in Jack's next glare. "Besides me. And Teal'c. And-"

"Will you please just shut up?" He looked like a man dying of humiliation.

Daniel eased up. Slightly. "So why are you reading it?"

Jack relaxed a little. "I dunno..." His forced shrug indicated otherwise. "I just...figured I should learn a bit more about the scientific aspect of what we do. I mean obviously I'm no expert - and I wouldn't want to be - but I decided it'd be more helpful to know at least two per cent of what comes out of Carter's mouth."

"Why don't you ask Sam herself?"

"Oh I wouldn't wanna bother her..."

"You know Sam; she wouldn't mind. I hear she's a great teacher - you know she still teaches the occasional course at the Academy."

"Really Daniel - I don't want to bother her."

Daniel realised what was going on, and smiled. "You don't want her to know."

"What are you talking about?"

"You don't want her to know that you're trying to learn more about what she does."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"*Am* not."

"Are *too*."



"Stop it. You're being childish."

"And what would you call what you're doing?"

"Exercising my rights as the leader of SG-1 in ordering you to shut up."

Sighing, Daniel lowered his fork. "You know, this wasn't a big deal until you made it a big deal."


"If you'd said right from the beginning of this conversation that all you wanted to do was impress Sam-"

"I do not want to impress Carter."

"-I would have helped you. I would have given suggestions of what you should read, maybe even learnt some of it with you."

He asked the question, but he knew the answer already. "Really?"

"But now you've got me wondering why you won't admit it. What happened?"

Jack shook his head. "Nothing happened." Sighing at Daniel's raised eyebrows, he continued. "Nothing big."

Ah ha! Something then. "Yeah?"

Grimacing, Jack shifted in his chair, clearly uncomfortable. "The other day...we were...having a discussion about Stargates. I said that I thought matter that travelled through a Stargate got converted into energy..."

Daniel nodded, not sure where this was heading. "And?"

"I was right," Jack shrugged.

"You were?"

"Yep. That's what she said; "Actually, you're absolutely correct sir." How often does that happen?"

"So..." Daniel continued, still not sure where this was heading.

Jack looked at the table, then at Daniel, then at Daniel's shoulder. "I liked it."


"And I just thought it might be nice know...have it happen again."


"But it doesn't mean anything," He insisted. "I could have easily done the same with you and archaeology or Teal'c a lot."

Yes, he could have. But he hadn't. "I see."

"Don't tell anyone, will ya?"

Allowing a smile to form, Daniel studied his now cold fork of pasta. "Don't worry, Jack. Your secret's safe with me."

"Geez, do you have to make it sound so dramatic?"

"You know, New Scientist probably isn't the best place to get specifics on what Sam does."

Jack nodded. "I gotta admit, it's not being as helpful as I thought it would."

"You should read some of her papers, see what she's written herself."

"Of course I'd need papers to explain those papers and papers to explain *those* papers..."

"But we could do it," Daniel offered, suspecting his friend wanted to do this more than he even realised himself. "If you want to."

"Yeah," Jack grinned, letting go of his precious cargo of magazines and spreading them out on the table. "I think we could."

Picking up his copy of New Scientist, Jack flicked through to the appropriate page. "Did you know they're making musical fruit loops now...?"


go to they float horses, don't they?

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