Colonel of Cunning
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Spoilers for 'One False Step', 'Jolinar's Memories' and 'Beast of Burden'. A 'Beast of Burden' episode addition. I've only seen the episode on a little computer screen, so I apologise if any details are wrong.

This story continues the storyline last visited in 'They Float Horses, Don't They?'


Gee, the infirmary. This was fun. Always was.


Sighing, Jack wiggled his toes and stretched on the bed, yawning loudly. Truth was, he was more than a little tired, but for once his mind wouldn't shut up and let him sleep.

And he was well aware of the reason. It was laying just a few feet to his right. Sighing, he turned his head towards the object of his thoughts and spoke. "How you feeling?"

Daniel tilted his head towards Jack. "Not bad, actually. Tired. But you know how good Janet is-"

"That wasn't what I was talking about." Wasn't often Daniel went in for that avoidance business. That was more his job.

Daniel looked at the ceiling, his hands clasped together and resting across his stomach. "I'm..." He moved his fingers around. "Okay. It's just...nothing ever goes the way you expect it to, you know?"

"Tell me about it," Jack groaned, shifting in bed and wincing despite Fraiser's care. He could still feel the after-effects of that damn pain stick thing. And what was with that name? 'Pain stick'? Could they get any more blindingly obvious?

"Look, I..." Daniel paused, waiting until Jack was sitting up in his bed. "I should probably apologise. I don't think what I did was wrong, but-"

"You know, you could have just stopped at 'apologise'."

Smiling awkwardly, the archaeologist looked at his friend. "I guess."

Frankly, Jack was relieved. He'd been under the impression that he'd have to apologise for something, even though he was pretty damn sure he'd done nothing wrong. There was...just a feeling. Like he'd done something he needed to apologise for, but he couldn't remember what.

It wasn't unlike numerous occasions when he was married.

"We're okay?" He surprised himself by asking. Maybe it was thinking of Sara that made him do it...

"Yeah," Daniel nodded, but it looked more like a weird stretch as he was still lying down.

"This is weird."

"What is?"

"Us. In the infirmary. Apologising. It has a distinct ring of déjà vu about it."

Jackson lifted his eyebrows. "Us in the infirmary has a disturbingly distinct ring of déjà vu about it by itself."

True enough.

The distinctive clip of heels told Jack that Janet would soon be appearing, and he wasn't disappointed when the diminutive but frightening MD appeared.

"Gentlemen," She greeted, flicking through several sheets of paperwork on her ever-handy clipboard. "How are you feeling?"

"Okay," They murmured.

"Hmm." She lifted her eyebrows and smiled. "That good? Well you'll be glad to know that I've essentially given you a clean bill of health."

"Does that mean we can-"

"-get out of here?" Jack finished.

"No," She retorted. "Like it or not, you were both chained up overnight and were subjected to interrogation with a pain stick." She wrinkled her nose in disgust at the thought. "And you're also obviously exhausted. As your doctor I think it's prudent that I keep you in over night, just to make sure."


"No arguments Colonel. This is an order. You are not to leave this room. Any questions?"

Daniel actually raised his hand. "Is it all right to leave the room if we have to use the bathroom?"

She rolled her eyes fondly. "Yes Daniel, you may be excused. But humour an old doctor and let me escort you there?"

He paused as he was pulling the blanket from his bed. "Uh...I managed to escape and get to the Stargate without passing out. I think I can make it to the bathroom."

"Two points, Dr Jackson. One, I've no doubt that you were running on adrenaline out there and two...if you pass out in the corridor Colonel O'Neill will never let you forget it."

Daniel looked at Jack, who shrugged.

"She's got a point."

Relenting, Daniel carefully climbed out of bed, taking the arm that Janet offered. "This is ridiculous. I don't feel-WOAH!"

Only the fact that he grabbed onto the side of Jack's bed stopped him from going over completely.

Helping him stand, Janet glared. "You were saying?"

"Nothing," He replied, as they slowly shuffled out of the room.

Fraiser paused their walking to face Jack. "Colonel, I don't need to ask a nurse to keep an eye on you, do I?"


"So you're not going to get up."


"And you'll still be here when we get back."

"Will you just go! Now! Before Daniel has an accident or something."


"Not *that* kind of accident."

Sighing - that conversation had drained him even more - Jack shifted back to where he was before; under the covers, head on the pillow, and...God he was tired. Maybe he'd actually try to get some sleep...

No such luck.

The sudden sound of loud, angry footsteps forced him to open his eyes. How footsteps could even be angry he didn't know, but these definitely were.

It wasn't Janet; these weren't heels. Daniel wouldn't be walking that quickly, and it wasn't Teal'c or Hammond so...

Do the math, genius.

Carter strode in, looking pissed.

"What, what is it, what have I done?" He asked before she'd even said a word.

She stopped just short of walking into his bed. "You were tortured."

Jack stared at her. "I was tortured and now you're pissed at me? How does that work?"

"I asked you if you were okay."


"Over the radio, I asked you if you were okay."


"You weren't. You'd been tortured."

"Technically yes, but it was teeny tiny little torture." He even made hand movements to go with his description.

She wasn't amused. "With respect sir, I have very vivid memories of Jolinar being tortured with the same device. The pain is...anything but little."

Wow. She really was bothered about this. It made him feel...well, almost as if the pain was worth it. "Carter...really, it's not that big a deal. It's certainly not the first time I've been..." Okay, he was *so* not going there. "Let's just say it's not the worst I've ever been through."

She lost some of her ire, nodded, and spoke softly. "That's not entirely unexpected."

Sitting up again, he shrugged. "You know me. Always getting myself into trouble."

Carter smiled, briefly, before sitting on the edge of the bed to his left. "It's just...I had to hear about it from Janet."

"So much for doctor/patient confidentiality."

"Well, she assumed I already knew." She met his gaze deliberately. "You should have told me."

Okay, now he felt as if he was five years old. "What would you have done? If I had told you, what would you have done?"

"I don't know, *something*."

He nodded. "Well you did do something - and very nicely I might add. Did I thank you, by the way?"

"No," She responded absently.

"Then thank you. A good plan, a good distraction, we wouldn't have made it out without you." He cleared his throat, suddenly having an idea. "In any case, I don't think the, uh, 'torture' was as bad as it could have been."

She frowned even more. "Why?"

"He didn't use the," He mimed the act of jabbing someone with the pain stick. "Directly on us." At her expression he explained. "He used it on the metal cage, which our chains were attached to. The 'current' - for lack of a better description - had to pass through the cage and the chains before it reached us. Now, I don't know exactly what kind of metal it was, but as conductive as it was I assume that the power from the pain stick would have lost some of its edge by the time it reached us."

Carter's frown had deepened into several big grooves. "Well I suppose theoretic...sir, are you sure you're feeling all right?"

Good. It was working. "Fine, Major. Maybe a little tired."

"You're sure? Nothing feels like it came loose up there?"

"Nope. Sam...uh...same old me." Damn. Bit of a slip there.

Daniel's voice interrupted. "I can walk by myself Janet, really."

"Uh hu. Tell it to that SF you fell on."

"Daniel?" Jack asked as his friend was slowly walked to his bed. "Making trouble again?"

"Not intentionally," He muttered, but nonetheless thanked Janet as she helped him into the bed. "Thanks."

Once he was settled in, Carter took the opportunity to give him a quick grilling for not telling her what happened but Fraiser soon intervened, telling her that the patients needed sleep.

For once Jack was glad to comply.

Relenting, Carter bid them a goodnight and left the infirmary.

Janet fussed around them for a couple of minutes, all but tucking them in. "Now get some sleep," She ordered. "Both of you. I understand that a full nights rest every night improves brain function." With a distinct grin thrown at Jack, she walked away.

Jack stared at the ceiling. "How long were you two in the doorway?"

"Long enough."


Daniel's voice was warm with friendship. "You're pathetic, you know."

"Yeah," He turned onto his side, telling himself that it was so he could pull the covers closer. Instead, he grinned like an idiot where no one could see. "I know."


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