Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
Spoilers for 'Rite of Passage'. Episode addition to 'Rite of Passage'.
Jack's magnet speech tied in so nicely that I HAD to do a sequel to 'Reading Behaviour of The Jack O'Neill.'
Sorry I've been writing so little of late. Work has been mad.
Jack hummed aimlessly to himself as he strolled along the corridors of the SGC. He was - somewhat surprisingly - in a good mood. It was great, of course, that Cassie was fine and back to her usual argumentative teenager self, but as for Niirti...
She didn't like him.
Big deal. He didn't like her.
But he'd had the distinct feeling as he watched her leave through the Stargate that he'd personally created yet another enemy, one who specifically wanted to see *him* suffer.
So he probably shouldn't have been feeling as jovial as he did. Yet here he was, walking around the SGC, humming a happy tune. Weird. Well, it was probably just because he knew they'd made the right decision; he'd known it the moment he looked back at Janet, Cassie and Carter...
He couldn't break them up. He wouldn't.
Clucking his tongue against the roof of his mouth, he paused when he heard footsteps rapidly approaching from behind. Over the past four years he'd come to know the sounds of his team very well, and knew exactly who was running after him.
Turning towards the other end of the corridor, he smiled and waited for him to appear.
*There* he was. "Daniel,"
"Jack! Good! You're still here." The archaeologist slowed to a mild run before coming to a halt next to him. He seemed only vaguely out of breath. "Thought I'd missed you."
"Nope. Still here. You can tell by the fact that you're actually talking to me."
Daniel didn't even bother humouring him. "Can we talk?"
Uh oh. Those three dreaded words. Even scarier than another three words. "Sure."
"Um..." Daniel did that pointing thing over Jack's shoulder. "In private?"
Uh oh. This *really* couldn't be good. Frowning, he turned to see what Daniel was pointing at. Sighing, he opened the door to the storage closet and stepped in.
Daniel stepped in behind him, and as the door clicked shut, he hit the light switch.
The florescent lights made that 'boing' noise and slowly flickered to life. Once they were on, Jack formed a stressed smile.
"Would you mind telling me why we're...in the closet?"
"Well, I figured you probably wouldn't want to discuss this situation in a public arena."
"'Public arena'? Christ Daniel, the way you talk sometimes..."
"Jack, you know very well you're only making that comment as a form of distancing. You're uncomfortable discussing the situation - and we both know which one I'm taking about."
Damn. Caught. Spotting a light bulb box on one of the shelves, he picked it up and started fiddling with it. He *knew* it was a nervous reaction, but he couldn't help it. "Okay. Shoot." Yes, keep talking to a minimum. That was always a good move.
Nodding, Daniel looked thoughtful - as if preparing his text - then opened his mouth. "Jack...what the hell do you think you're doing?"
Okay, he had *so* totally lost the topic of conversation. "Uh...opening up a..." He glanced at the box, "...60 watt light bulb?"
"No, no." Daniel shook his head. "At the briefing, when we watched the camera footage of Cassie making the chess piece float..."
"Your 'magnet' dialogue..."
"What was that about?"
"What do you mean 'what was that about'? Magnets, obviously." He was absolutely confused.
No surprise there then.
"Jack," Daniel responded tersely, then did his 'closing his eyes tightly for a couple of seconds' thing he was so fond of. "I don't mean that, I mean...you were being smart again. I thought we agreed we'd do this slowly. If you suddenly rush in looking like a genius every time you see her then she's going to know something is-"
"I was being smart?" This was news.
Daniel frowned. "Yes. You must know..." His frown deepened, before a look of surprise registered on his face. "You didn't. You didn't know. You have no clue at all."
"That Sam would agree with you."
"She does?" Woo hoo! Score one for the dumb guy!
Daniel looked confused himself. "Yes, we..." He shook his head. "We discussed your theory after the briefing."
"Well, I 'happened' to bring it up..."
"Oh, you did."
"And...she agrees with you. Completely. One hundred per cent."
Jack felt a ridiculous stab of pleasure every time Daniel uttered a new word. Feeling reassured, he placed the now-unwrapped light bulb and light bulb box back on the shelf.
"That's cool," Yeah, this was good. Life was good.
Daniel was still staring at him. "So you haven't been boning up on your EM fields or...studying anything to do with magnets?"
Jack shrugged. "You know, I'm not a complete idiot. I do know a few things. I do have my own interest in astronomy." Sitting up on his roof, a beer in one hand, a telescope in the other...that was...
Quite lonely, actually.
Daniel nodded. "I guess that's easy to forget sometimes...and I think Cassie was right about you."
He mentally shook himself out of his moment of depression. "She was?"
"You *do* pretend you're not as smart as you are."
Automatic reactions kicked in. "Oh I wouldn't say that..."
"See, you're doing it right now."
"You are *so* frustrating!"
Wow. Daniel was looking...a little stressed. "Are you okay?"
"Jack! You are *not* stupid. Why do you act as if you are?"
He picked up the light bulb again. "I don't..." This was weird. Hard, even. "Well there's no need for me to be smart, is there? I mean you're the archaeological genius, Carter's the astro genius, Janet's the MD...with you guys around, I don't need to be smart."
"What about Teal'c? Don't you think he's smart?"
Oh for crying out loud... "Of course I do. But he and I...we're the fighters. And before you start arguing about all different kinds of fighting, I'm talking the physical kind. What we do...what I do...in my entire life, I was never needed to be smart. I needed to be a good officer, I needed to follow orders, I needed to do what I was told, but I was never supposed to *think*."
Wow. Where the hell had that come from?
Why the hell was he feeling so...?
Daniel looked as amazed as he felt.
Realising that he was pointing the light bulb at Daniel and had been since the beginning of his 'speech', he lowered his hand. This was weird. This was stuff he didn't talk about. What the hell was going on?
"I think," Daniel licked his lips and continued carefully. "That more than anything you've convinced yourself of that. I think that your brain has been underused only because you've chosen not to use it. But Jack...I've seen you do some brilliant things. Tactical manoeuvres, solving situations - sometimes even diplomatically - that takes brainpower. I think...maybe I was wrong. Maybe it's time you used your brain again. Just for the hell of it."
The door opened.
Jack stared at the newcomer, Daniel's words flying around his head.
Carter frowned, her hand still wrapped around the doorknob. "Why are you guys...in the closet?"
Daniel started. "Just..."
Jack joined him. "...talking."
Her frowned deepened. "Oh. Okay. Well...General Hammond wants us in the briefing room."
They nodded and murmured agreements. Jack for one was glad to get out of the conversation.
Daniel left first, brushing by Carter and leaving the room.
Jack followed after him, and as he brushed by Carter - he wanted to say something clever, something smart, something intelligent - he offered what he was holding in his hand. "Here you go Carter. Have a light bulb."
And he walked away.
He'd wanted to say something clever, something smart, something intelligent...but that wasn't who he was.
I have a feeling another series is in the making.
colonel of cunning
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