Wiggling Delirium
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Episode addition to 'Tangent'. Set some time after Teal'c enters kel'no'reem. Sequel to 'Feeling Feelings'.

Spoilers for 'Children of The Gods', 'Solitudes', 'Nemesis', 'Beneath The Surface', and 'Tangent'.


Space. The final frontier.


So, here he was. Trapped in a retrofitted death glider, his only companion - aside from an unconscious Jaffa - being his own thoughts.

Somehow he suspected Teal'c had the better end of the deal.


Obviously, he needed to do something to occupy his time. He'd tried sleeping but it just didn't seem to be working so for the past...he checked his watch...forty-two minutes...forty-two minutes? Crap, was that all? For the past forty-two minutes, he'd been trying to think up things to do.

Thinking had never been his strong point. What he needed right now was someone who thought too much. Of course the only person who fit that description also happened to be the one person he wasn't thinking about.


'There once was a girl from Nantucket
Whose boyfriend told her to-'

Damn, it was getting cold. Certainly not the coldest he'd ever been (and he wasn't thinking about that, either) but definitely chilly. He decided to use his imagination - that, at least, was quite vivid.


He was...in a log cabin. Probably his one. He was in front of a roaring fire, under a blanket, with a hot mug of something in his hands. Outside the window a snowstorm raged and sitting next to him was-

This was ridiculous. His imagination was turning into something out of a cheesy romance novel. Not that he'd ever read one. Or not that he'd ever read one out of anything else but curiosity.


He was...in bed.

Nope. He wasn't even letting that thought go any further.

He was...on his back porch, sitting on a chair, listening to music. Classical, probably. It was a warm, sunny day, and out of his house stepped-


He was...off world. Abydos. It was always hot there. He'd gone to visit Skaara who made some surprisingly astute comments about a certain member of his team-


'There once was a girl from Nantucket...'


'It's just a jump to the left'

A jump to the left? Hell, he couldn't even shift to the left.

'And then a step to the right'

Okay, he could just about manage that.

'Put your hands on your hips'

All right! This he could do.

'And bring your knees in tight'


'It's that pelvic thrust'

Screw that.

So...hmm. He'd just about gone through all the song words he could think of. The highlight had probably been 'Whiter Shade of Pale' mostly because it seemed so apt - although he didn't know why.

Two hours and...fourteen minutes. He only knew enough songs to take him up to two hours and fourteen minutes? That couldn't be right, surely.

Well, he had started on other songs but when he went looking for the words in his head he couldn't find them. Everyone knew he had a pretty lousy memory, but wasn't oxygen deprivation supposed to do something nasty to your brain?


His brain - which had never been spectacular in the first place - was starting to lose grey matter.

Well...he couldn't possibly get any dumber.

Could he?


'I spy with my little eye...something beginning with S.'

For someone else, the problem with this game would be the distinct lack of anyone else to play it with. Not so for Jack. His internal dialogue was quite enjoying the experience.


'Right! Your turn'.

'Hmm...I spy with my little eye...something beginning with M.'

'More space?'

'How'd you guess?'

Jack laughed. Loudly. Realising that he might wake Teal'c up...or out...whatever...he clasped a gloved hand over his mouth which only made him want to laugh more.

Calming down after a few gut busting - not to mention bladder taxing - minutes, he removed his hand and sighed, looking out the window at the vast array of stars surrounding him. A sight he was appreciating less and less every time he saw it.

He just...wanted some colour. Yeah, yeah the Universe should get a new colour scheme. Something with purples and reds - anything other than black with twinkly bits in it.

Wincing, he rubbed at the side of his head only to realise his helmet was in the way. He was starting to get a headache.


Carter was in his head, and she wouldn't shut up. He'd tried ignoring her. He'd tried talking rationally to her (admittedly, that didn't last long). He'd tried screaming at her. She remained just where she was, talking calmly with just the hint of smugness in her voice.

What the hell did she have to be so smug about? That he was gonna die?

And he was gonna die, there was no way around it. He wasn't giving up, but he'd done the math earlier. Even with Teal'c taking up less oxygen, twelve minus twenty-four still made...

Umm...damn. Something bad.

'Can I ask you something?'

Shut up, Carter.

'Can I ask you something?'

Shut *up*, Carter.

'Can I ask you something?'

Shut up Carter!

'Can I ask you something?'

Sure. But you're giving me a headache.

'How long are you going to keep avoiding me?'

That made him laugh. Could ask you the same thing.

'Well, I'm asking *you*. How long? I mean, since we got our memories back have you spent any time alone with me. At all?'

I thought we agreed that was a bad idea.

'As I recall you made a few ultimatums. You made decisions for the both of us.'

Which you agreed with...

'What, you turn up at my house in a storm, give me a kiss that's better than any fantasy I've ever had, and I'm not supposed to agree with everything you say?'

It was better than any fantasy you've ever-?

'I'll hit you with something in a minute.'

You don't really exist.

'I don't care. I'll find a way to make it happen.'

She probably would, too.

'I heard that'.

Geez, couldn't he have any privacy? In any case, that was a compliment.

'And you're avoiding the question.'

I was hoping you wouldn't notice.

'I know.'

You know, I don't think you're quite my Carter. My Carter would never threaten me with physical violence.

'How do you know? Have you spoken to her lately?'

You know I haven't. And why.

'Because every time you see her, think about her, dream about her, you're reminded of the way she tastes-'

Don't. Please. Don't.

'You think it's easy for her? Or me? Do you think I wanted to end up in your brain? But oh no, your sub-conscious wouldn't have it. It had to have me rattling around in here. I guess there is a lot of room to move around.'


'*There's* the Jack O'Neill I know.'

And you're nothing like the Carter I know. She doesn't give me headaches.

She cures them.


Tired. So, so, tired. He'd tried sleeping again but had realised the only way that was gonna happen was if he slipped into unconsciousness.

The upside was that it was probably going to happen soon.

The downside was that it would probably happen just before he died.

Ah, well. He'd been out here for...er...okay, the small hand points to...a long time. He'd had time to think...too much time to think, and in all that time of thinking he had come up with absolutely nothing. No great realisations, no sudden rush of understanding.

He was just Jack O'Neill, dying in the dark.

Man, *that* sounded morbid.

Carter had shut up a while ago although he could still feel her in the back of his head, smiling as she looked on, watching him slowly float away.

Definitely not his Carter. His Carter would be doing something.

Shit, his head hurt...

And it was getting hard to breathe, now. He was trying to regu...regul...control his breathing, but as his mind kept wandering he kept forgetting to do it.

Of course, if he-

'There once was a Goa'uld from Abydos
Who got a job as a chat show host'.

Hey, that explained it - Jerry Springer was a Goa'uld!

There it was. That was his moment of understanding on the brink of death. Damn, did he have any paper? He needed to write it down so that when they found his dead body, they'd see it:


Carter'd kick his ass.


"...send aspirin."

Letting go of the mask, he felt his eyelids droop. He couldn't keep them open any longer, and at this point he didn't want to. All he wanted was-

{"I take it you're Colonel O'Neill? Captain Samantha Carter, reporting sir."}

{Oh yeah. This one was trouble. He wasn't quite sure how he knew, just that he did. Ferretti and Kawalsky finished teasing her and Jack launched into his report. From the look on her face he could have sworn-}

{"It is appropriate to refer to someone by their rank, not their salutation. You should call me 'Captain'."}

{Yep. Definite chip on her shoulder. He didn't blame her. He'd seen enough to know that women in the Air Force got a raw deal, and while he personally had no problem with the fact that she was a woman, he did have a problem with her attitude. The 'argument' had continued almost without his knowing it. "Oh this has nothing to do you being a woman. I like women. I just have a little problem with scientists."}

{She wasn't amused. "...is that tough enough for you? Or are we gonna have to-"}

{"Arm wrestle? Why?"}

{"Come on, it'll be fun."}

{"Jonah...it won't be fun. It's a male macho thing. I'm not male."}

{"Afraid I'll have to agree with you there." He rubbed a hand over her hip, smiling. They were spooned together, sharing a cramped bed - which made the experience all the more entertaining. They'd be forced to separate soon - the bigwigs didn't want them spending nights together, although they'd never explained why. But, until they were forced apart, he was gonna have as much fun as possible.}

{She grinned, reaching behind herself and between them, her hand questing for a certain part of his anatomy through his clothes. "And you're definitely not a woman."}

{"Hey!" Woo. "I'm trying to keep control of the conversation here and you are *not* helping."}

{Turning her body over until she was facing him, she spoke. "Jonah, why don't you just face the fact that you're fighting a losing battle? On both fronts." She did it again.}

{Unh...damn...what had he been about to say?}

{She stopped, and he could think a little easier. "Anyway, I think there's another reason other than 'fun'."}

{He looked at her face, at her beautiful blue eyes, and found himself saying it. "I'm...I'm not sure. It's just that as long as I can remember knowing you, I've wanted to do it."}

{"Arm wrestle with me?"}

{"Yeah. It's weird, I know."}

{"Actually," She moved her hand up to touch the side of his face. "It's exactly what I'd expect from you."}

{God, she was perfect. "Does that mean...?"}

{"Yes, I'll arm wrestle with you."}



{"That's *so* not my arm."}


Oh for crying out loud...here he was, happily reliving some favourite memories just before he died, and someone was interrupting. Go away.

"Colonel, can you hear me?"

Go away!

His whole Universe shifted to the left. He could feel his head moving; it drooped down and suddenly he was awake, his eyes were open, and he was wondering what the hell was going on.

Someone was saying his name. Well, not his name exactly. That...thing. That thing that was used to describe him. That other word.

Blinking, dazed, he turned his head to the right.

Naaaaah, that couldn't be her. Had to be a hallucination. Oxygen depri...deprecation...vacation, um, station wagon?

Lack of oxygen could do that, right?

Well, she may not have been his Carter but she was *a* Carter. She'd probably know. "Carter, is that you?"


Warm hands touched his face, pulling the mask off. He gasped as soon as it was gone, sucking up oxygen like...well, like a dying man. Which was what he had been, really.

There were all there. His team, Jacob. There were all there, and they were all alive. Even him, which was something of a minor miracle.

They set a course back for Earth and Daniel helped him lean against a wall.

God he was cold...

"Jack, you okay?"

"Cold," He murmured, his brief seconds of lucidity fading away.

Carter appeared, with a blanket. She wrapped it around him, jamming the edges between his back and the wall until it was stretched tight.

"Carter, I feel like I'm in a straight jacket here. Not that I'm not a little nuts..."

"Sorry," She muttered, not looking at him. "Daniel, give me your blanket."

Opening up his pack he did as she asked.

"Thanks," Taking it from him she placed that blanket over Jack too. "How's Teal'c doing?"

Teal'c himself responded. "I am fine, Major Carter. My symbiote was most effective in sustaining me."

Jack, Carter, and Daniel said it at the same time:

"Way to go Junior."

Daniel smiled tightly. Jack, tired as he was, grinned.

Sam continued working on the blankets.

Jack couldn't figure out what the hell she was doing. What could she possibly be doing that would take so long? An elaborate blanket/napkin-folding thing?

She stopped, eventually, only to retrieve something from her pack. She held it up to him. "Here, drink this."

Water. The one good thing about losing his mind in the death glider was that he didn't realise just how thirsty he was. He wanted to empty the contents, drinking greedily, but he paced himself, taking careful sips until he'd had enough.

He shivered.

"Still cold?"

"That would be a...yes." It was a deep, bone-infected cold. The kind of cold that felt like it would never go away. He scrunched up into a ball, his arms crossing over his legs.

"Daniel," She instructed, nodding towards O'Neill.


"We've gotta keep him warm. Body heat."


Jack's brain took a few moments to catch up. Body heat?

Daniel sat to his right, pushing against him, and Carter sat on his left-

Oh! Body heat!

Sam's hand crept under the blanket. "Give me your hand."

He didn't object.

She pulled the glove off, then rubbed it between both of hers, breathed on it, put it back under the blanket and wiggled the fingers about.

And it was as she was doing that, as she was wiggling his fingers, that he realised:

This was what he wanted. Not the Carter in his head, not the one he kissed in the middle of a storm, not the one he made love to in a building that never saw light...but this one.

The one that had the biggest grin he'd ever seen, the one that didn't flinch in arguing with him, the one that loved her friends and her team, the one that he pretended to be even stupider than he was for, the one who was here, right now.

Who was wiggling his fingers.

The only Carter he could have.

Realising that he had been staring at her for the past thirty seconds, she met his gaze for the first time. "You okay?"

Underneath the blanket, where no one could see, he squeezed her hand.



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