Poking and Prodding and Penlights and Probing
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Spoilers for 'The Broca Divide', 'Seth', 'The Devil You Know', and a vague reference to 'Window of Opportunity'.

Sequel to 'Looking For Nishta In All The Wrong Places'. Seth is dead and they're back. Now Jack just has to make it out alive.


So here was the plan:

Do the briefing. Report to Hammond. Pretend to feel pleased. Don't look at Carter.

Don't look at *any* Carter.

Escape to the locker room. Change out of the outfit he'd been put in. Leave.


Very quickly.

The first part was going well. He'd done the briefing. He'd reported to Hammond. He hadn't looked at anyone with the letter 'C' in their name - including Teal'c and Daniel, just because he was getting paranoid.

He'd just been ready to bolt for the exit when...

"Colonel, you and your team should report to the infirmary."

Infirmary? "Sir?" Fraiser with her poking and prodding and penlights and probing questions? He didn't think so.

"Well you, Major Carter and Dr Jackson should report there at least. You were all exposed to this 'nishta' substance. I know Jacob had assured us that it's harmless now, but of course I - and Dr Fraiser - would like to make sure."

Damn. Damn, damn, damn.

Hadn't be deliberately forgotten about this? Hadn't he pushed it out of his mind on purpose because he knew it would happen? "Yes sir."



He was going to have to share an elevator with her. True, Daniel was going to be there too, but still...

When they'd first returned it'd been easy. He'd pulled the old "I need to tie my shoelace, you guys go ahead," routine. There was no way he'd get away with it a second time.


Okay, he could do this. Heck, he'd done his part in helping to take out a Goa'uld today! This was nothing he couldn't handle.

The elevator arrived. The doors opened. They stepped in.

Jacob stepped in behind them.

Several swear words made their way loudly through Jack's brain.

Okay, this made sense. Even if he did think they were fine, Jacob would want to make sure that his only daughter was all right.

Someone pressed the button that would take them to level twenty-one.

The atmosphere had never been so tense - no one said a word. Jack didn't know about the others, but he spent a majority of his time staring at the floor, almost wishing that - and this was a cliché and he hated clichés but at the moment there were other things on his mind - it would swallow him up whole. Couldn't he just disappear? Just for a little while?

The hairs on the back of his neck rose up as the elevator continued it's torturously slow journey. Jacob was looking at him, he knew he was. He could actually hear his own heart pounding.

Or was that the last few seconds of his life ticking away?

Jack flicked his eyes up to the floor display. 27? How could they only be at 27?


There. That was better - but still much too slow.


This must be weird for Daniel. He must have sensed the tension but had no idea what was going on.

Unless...crap - he hoped he had no idea what was going on. Or what had happened. Or what he'd been trying to forget.


What he'd been trying to forget...

What he'd been trying to forget...

Don't go there, Jack. You *so* don't wanna go there.


Yes you do.


Shut up.


He was the first one out of the elevator.


"Any aches and pains?"




"Visual or auditory irregularities?"


"Any unusual sensations; no tingling or itching?"




Checking his pulse, Janet then listened to his chest through her stethoscope. "Your heart is beating slightly faster than usual."

Heh. No kidding. All he wanted to do was stare at her morosely. He forced a grin that probably looked false. "I guess I feel a little tired."

"Well I'm not too concerned. Go home, get some rest, and come back to see me tomorrow morning, okay?"

"Yes Ma'am," Eagerly, Jack stood up to leave.



She was staring at him. "Are you all right? You seem...like you have even less to say than usual."

"Just tired," He replied with a tight smile, not looking at anyone else as he left the room, feeling Carter's - one of the Carter's - eyes on him for every single step.


The locker room.


It was men-only at the moment, so there was no chance in hell that Sam...no, not Sam. From this moment on she would be Carter. She would always be Carter. No Sam. Just Carter. That'd help.

So, there was no chance in hell that Carter would suddenly appear. He was almost home free. He just had to change and-

His locker door slammed shut. Standing where the locker door used to be was Jacob Carter.

Jack swallowed. Hard. "Sir?" He asked in a voice that was annoyingly higher than normal.

Jacob was smiling. Sort of. "Are you all right, Jack?"

It wasn't what he'd been anticipating. "Sir?"

"Dr Fraiser was right - your behaviour does seem a little odd, even for you."

He knew there was some kind of insult there, but he was too confused to recognise it. "Just tired, sir." He repeated the same excuse. "Gonna go home and get some rest. Sleep, you know."

Nodding, Jacob smiled fully. "I understand. Go home. Get in bed. Although I hear floors are quite comfortable these days..."

Shit! "Sir, I can-"

"Jack it's okay!" Jacob was laughing now.

He'd been teasing him! Jack stared, open-mouthed. "Sir?"

"Look, as far as I'm concerned you were under the influence of the nishta, and once you were free of its control you had to keep up the act or Seth would have killed you. Should it ever come up in an official report - which I highly doubt - that's all the excuse you need. It wasn't your fault. Either of you."

This was going a whole lot better than he'd expected. The sense of relief was overwhelming, and he almost smiled. "I...thank you, sir. I don't want you to think that I would ever take advantage-"

"Of course you wouldn't," Jacob interrupted. "Not only are you her superior officer, not only is it against regulations, but I know for a fact that you respect Sam more than that."

"Yes sir," He nodded eagerly, glad that Jacob was doing all the hard work for him.

"There is something, though."

Shit. "Something?"

"Stop this."


Jacob nodded. "This...'freaking out' thing that you're doing."

"'Freaking out'?"

"So you kissed. Yes, it's against regulations but you've got the best excuse anyone could come up with, and it's not like you've done it before."

Shit. For the first time in his life, he couldn't keep his poker face.

Jacob must have seen. "Jack?"

Feign innocence. Feign *innocence*. "Sir?"

"No, cut the 'sir' crap - have you kissed her before?"

Oo yeah. He was definitely looking angry now. "Well...sort of, but-"

"Colonel, that is against regulations!"

But, but..."You just said it didn't matter!"

"This time, yes! You had an excuse. But not if you keep doing it!"

"Well we had an excuse that time too!" Jeez! "It's not like we did it on purpose!"

Jacob had folded his arms across his chest, and a vein was visibly throbbing on the side of his head. "Really? Explain it to me."

Sighing, Jack sat down on the bench, only just realising that he was still holding a pair of socks. Throwing them to the floor, he rubbed a hand over his face. "It was not long after the Stargate project started up the second time - we'd only known each other for a few months. I don't think she even really liked me yet. She still thought I was a jackass and that I was giving her a hard time because she was a woman."

"When in fact...?"

"She's a scientist! I give all of 'em a hard time. Anyway, we...unexpectedly brought back a virus from another planet. It made everyone into...well, cavemen basically."

Having moved until he was sitting on the bench next to him, Jacob lifted his eyebrows, disbelieving. "Cavemen?"

Damn, what was that word? "Everyone who contracted it returned to...their baser instincts. Apparently it stimulated parts of the brain that cavemen used or something - you'll have to ask the doc for a better explanation."


Shit, shit, shit. Why the hell was he telling this story? "Carter cornered me. In here, as a matter of fact."

"Cornered you?"

"Yes sir. She...uh...jumped me." Crap, was that the best he could do?

Jacob was shaking his head. "My daughter 'jumped' you? Why?"

"The theory was that she thought I'd...providherwithstrongoffspring." That was it, that was it. He wasn't saying anything else.

Carter - Jacob Carter - seemed to have his jaw welded open.

"I'd just like to add," Jack continued, ignoring his earlier thoughts, "That technically speaking *I* didn't kiss *her*. I got her to the infirmary as fast as I could because I knew that of course she'd never do anything like that in her right mind."

The older man nodded verrrrrrrry slowly. "And that's all you did? Kiss?"

"Yes sir," He saw no need to mention how rough it had been. "And of course afterwards she apologised."

That was the last thing that was said for a while. They remained in silence for almost five minutes before Jacob spoke up.

"So let me ask you something,"

Okay, now this wasn't good. "Yes?"

"If that happened all that time ago and you were obviously surprised but were okay..."


"Why are you so freaked out this time?"

Um, um, um. "Well this time was quite different, we had to-"

Jacob looked directly at him. "Or is it because you enjoyed it?"

"No! No, no, no, no no. Didn't enjoy it at all. No."

Shit. That probably hadn't helped.

"Are you suggesting that my daughter is a bad kisser?"

Well...shit! Jack had had enough. He was going to complain. "That's not fair! There is absolutely no way I can answer that without digging myself in deeper!"

Laughing - the swine had been teasing him again - Jacob shook his head. "Jack, Jack, Jack...you know what I learnt today?"

"How to humiliate Colonels?"

"Life's too short," Jacob corrected. "I learnt that lesson when I had cancer, but because I'm so stubborn I had to be taught it twice. I...don't get on with my son - haven't for a long time. He's never forgiven me for what happened to Anna - his mother."

O'Neill nodded in understanding. Sam...Carter had never talked about her, but he knew something had happened.

Jacob continued. "I saw some things today, things that have compelled me to try and rectify the situation. Sam and I had a chat before I came here - we're going to visit him as soon as she can arrange some leave."

Sincerely pleased, Jack smiled openly. "That's great, sir."

"My point is...regardless of whether you enjoyed it more than you should have or not, you've gotta get over it. If you keep acting like a jackass-"


"-eventually it's going to effect the team. You know you can't let that happen."

He sighed. "No sir."

"Good. Now pull yourself together - you're Special Ops trained, aren't you?"

"Yeah," But that kind of training never equipped you for this kind of situation.

"Then use that. And my advice? Talk to her. If you don't it's just gonna stew and...it won't be pretty."

Crap crap crap. "Yes sir."

Jacob was standing now, on his way to the exit.


He stopped, turning to face him. "Yeah?"

"I couldn't help but notice that Selmak didn't make an appearance. What's his...her...it's opinion?"

He smiled that damn smile again. "You don't want to know."

"Ah." Nope, from the grin on Jacob's face, he really didn't.

"And Jack..."

"Don't worry sir. I'll do my damndest to make sure that it never happens again."

Nodding, Jacob turned and left.

Sighing, Jack pivoted up and lied across the bench. Rubbing his hands over his face he tried to relax. This should be easy. What were the odds of another situation like the current one cropping up?

Yeah, he'd definitely be okay. Even if he had enjoyed it - which was not to say that he had - he'd never, ever have another opportunity to kiss Sam Carter.


go to under the microscope

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