The Colonel and The Scientist

Author: Orrymain
Category:  Pre-Slash, Smarm, Drama, Mini-Angst, Missing Scenes
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  1 - March 18-19, 25, 1997
Spoilers:  The Broca Divide
Size:  28kb, ficlet
Written:  December 22, 2004  Revised: January 3, 2005  Revised Again:  February 16-17,21,23,25-26, 2008  Revised: February 24-25,27, March 5,15,23-24, 2011
Summary:  Military missions or scientific missions?  Jack and Daniel battle it out as they set the perimeters of their budding friendship.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  QuinGem, Drdjlover, Linda, Melissa, Tonya, Linda, Keri, Classic, Candice, Navi!

The Colonel and The Scientist
by Orrymain

Acting on reflex, Jack slammed his front door shut.  It wasn't until he walked to the edge of the entranceway that he realized what he'd just done.

“Oh, for crying out loud.”

The frustrated colonel made an about-face, returning to the front door of his country-style home and opening it.

Sure enough, Daniel was just standing on the front porch with his arms folded tightly across his chest.  His long shaggy hair was hanging in front of his face, covering his eyes.

To Jack, it looked like the stance had been by design, as if the young man were hiding.

“Daniel, get in here.”

“Maybe I ...”

“*Daniel, move!*”

The two teammates had been arguing for hours.  It had begun on PN2-382 when SG-1 had stumbled across an ancient temple that resembled the world's first civilization, Sumer.  Daniel had spotted writings that he believed spoke of Enlil, one of the major gods in the Sumerian world.  He had wanted to stay for a while to study the writings and the temple, but Jack had refused.

“This is a military mission, Daniel, not a science retreat,” Jack had told the team's  archaeologist, a claim that was subsequently backed up by General Hammond.

“Doctor, I respect your argument, but the directive of this command does not include scientific exploration,” the major general had told Daniel in the heated post-mission briefing.

~Loud and grating: that's what Jack is,~ the submissive archaeologist opined as he walked slowly into Jack's house.  He didn't really have a choice since he'd been residing at the small home since his return from Abydos.  ~I really need to find my own place, before he kills me.~

Daniel ambled over to the patio door and stood still, like a statue, a stoic expression on his face as he stared out at the backyard.

Having closed the front door again, Jack ventured into the living room and let out a groan at the emotional distance that was separating the two men.

“Daniel, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to slam the door in your face, but you made me so blasted angry.”

“You're wrong, Jack.”

“Wrong?  I know what I intended, and I certainly didn't mean ...”

“Not ... not about the door,” Daniel clarified, turning around to face his friend, who was now his professional adversary.  “You're wrong about why we're out there.  We need to take advantage of everything we find, not just those ... weapons you glorify so much.”

“SGC is not a museum.”

“SGC doesn't know what it is, Jack.”  Daniel paused as he pondered the totality of the Stargate Program.  “It's all new -- SGC, the exploration of planets, meeting new allies from across the galaxy.  All of it is new.  We have to ... to ... to pave the way; we have to ... have to show them what it could be, in time, but every time we walk away from ruins like we did today, we're cheating ourselves.”

Plopping down on the sofa, Jack argued, “We're not in this for education, Daniel.”

“Aren't we?” Daniel challenged, walking forward a few steps, his arms still tightly wrapped around himself.  “Aren't we trying to find out everything we can about our enemies and how to defeat them, and, to do that, don't we need to make sure we understand ourselves?”

Jack simply stared blankly at the scientist, wishing the argument would end so the two could get something to eat.  After all, it had been a long day, and he was hungry.

“Jack, we need to make discoveries, all kinds.  I realize this program is being run by the military, but that doesn't mean we have to turn a blind eye to what we can learn about our history.  I mean, history can teach us about the future,” Daniel stated, hoping to get the Air Force officer to realize that the need for scientific exploration was at least equal to that of military acquisitions.

“We've been through this, Daniel.  SG-1 is a first contact unit.”

“Exactly, and when we make contact, we need to learn as much as we can.”

“From an empty building?” Jack queried in a raised voice as he stood up and headed towards the kitchen.  ~I need a beer.~

“No!  And where are you going?”

“To get a beer!” Jack shouted.  Suddenly, the colonel did an about face.  “Do you mind?”

“Yes, I do.  We're having a discussion, and ...”

“Daniel, we're *arguing*, and we've been arguing since we left P-all-kinds-of-letters-and-numbers.  I'm hungry and I'm thirsty, so I'm getting myself a beer.  Do you mind?”

“Yes, yes, I do.”

“Daniel!”

“Fine, but you can't ignore what I'm saying,” the impassioned scientist insisted as he continued to face down the other man.  “We can learn a lot from a temple alive with a people's history, and that's what we left, Jack, a culture and a legacy, *not* an empty building.”  Walking two steps forward as he relaxed his stance and lowered his arms, he implored, “Jack, there's a past within those walls, a whole history of a civilization that we evolved from.  Lives, so many lives, are written about there.  There were artifacts, things people used to live, to ... make do from day to day.  Didn't you see them, Jack?”

~Has he always been like this?~  Still standing by the counter that was on the edge of the dining nook which was part of his kitchen, Jack listened to the archaeologist.  ~What did his teachers think in school?  Of course, for those joint school projects, it was always helpful to have a geek to do all the hard work.~

Oblivious to the colonel's thoughts, Daniel continued, “The god Enlil, his intended bride-to-be Ninhil, their servants: all of them were there.”  His voice sounded faraway as he pondered the wonders of the temple and the people who had built it, and his eyes shined with excitement.  Feeling he hadn't made any headway with Jack, he more forcefully insisted, “It's worth a bit of our time, Colonel.”

“Daniel, I'm sorry, but we can't do it.  The Pentagon ...”

“Get your head out of the sand, Jack.  You have a brain, use it!” Daniel snapped, feeling like he was talking to a brick wall.

“I'm part of a chain of command.”

“Forget the chain of command.  That's just a, a convenient excuse for you.  You just don't care about history and culture.  It interferes with ... fishing and, d'oh,” Daniel mimicked, raising his hand and slapping it against his forehead in a sarcastic gesture, “watching cartoons.  Isn't that the truth?”

“Daniel, enough,” Jack ordered agitatedly, tired and frustrated of the battle.  “Just let it go, will ya?” he requested as he turned and walked a few steps away.

“No, I won't.  More than that, I can't let it go.  This is just too important.”

“Important to you, Daniel, not to the military, not to me, and certainly not to the Goa'uld, who personally don't care one bit about what urn was used by ... Entel whatever.”

“There's more to what we're doing than the Goa'uld.”

Jack turned back to face Daniel and angrily retaliated, “Tell *that* to the Brass!”

“I have been, with no support from you.”

“Support?  Daniel, I'm a colonel in the United States Air Force.  I follow orders, something I *wish* you'd learn to do.”

“I'm not in the military, Colonel.”

“That's painfully obvious,” Jack retorted, making a beeline to his refrigerator and pulling out a beer.  “Stubborn scientist,” he muttered as he twisted open the bottle cap and took a swig.

“Fine,” Daniel responded as he walked away.

~Finally!  Peace.~  At first, Jack was relieved.  ~War's over for today.~  In a flash, though, he panicked.  Something inside him began to churn.  He felt uncomfortable and, as he honed in on the feeling, he realized it was a warning.  ~What the ...?~  He walked hastily into the living room and bounded up the stairs three steps at a time before he caught up with the reason for his churning stomach.  “For crying out loud, Daniel, where are you going?”

“To a hotel, somewhere, anywhere but here.”

“We've been through this,” Jack sighed. ~That man takes everything to heart. Why is he so darn sensitive?~ Hopefully, he urged, “Come on, Danny. Let's just go downstairs and get something to eat.”

“Daniel,” the younger man corrected sternly while also wondering why his teammate thought everything could be resolved by eating. “Jack, we're two very different people. All we do is ... argue.”

“No, we don't.  Danny ... Daniel,” Jack corrected, seeing his friend's face, “you're right.  We are different.  We believe in different things, and we do things differently, but that doesn't mean we can't find a way to get along.”

“How?  I mean, we've been fighting for hours.”

“Yeah,” Jack acknowledged with a smile.  “Exhausting, isn't it?”

“Very,” Daniel conceded, a small smile appearing on his face as well.

“So, we go on the roof, have a couple of beers, order some pizza, and ... talk about ... whatever we talk about.”

Daniel pondered Jack's idea.  He hated beer, and he'd had more pizza in the past several weeks than in his entire lifetime, but he found that the concept of sitting up on the roof deck under the stars with Jack O'Neill was strangely appealing to him.

“Let's agree to disagree,” the older man pleaded.  “Sure, we'll fight.  That's who we are, but at the end of the day, let's put it to bed.  Uh, that's a figure of speech.”

“I figured that out, Jack,” Daniel replied dryly.  He looked into the older man's eyes and saw friendship within the brown ovals.  That was something he wanted desperately, even if Jack did drive him crazy half the time.  “Fine.  We'll agree to disagree.”

“Good man.  I'll order the pizza,” Jack advised enthusiastically as he turned to head downstairs.

“I won't let this go, Jack,” Daniel advised the colonel as he followed him to the living room.  “It's just too important.  I wish I could make you understand that.”

“I'm just a dumb colonel, Daniel.  I don't know anything about culture and dead gods.  They pay me to follow orders, and those orders say nothing about learning about new cultures.”

“You're wrong,” Daniel repeated, noticing that the other man was paying attention to his words even if the look on his face was one of skepticism.  “You're not a dumb colonel.  I don't believe that.  Just ... think about what I said, okay?  That's all I'm asking, for you to think about it.”

“I'll give it all the thought it's worth,” came the unfocused reply from Jack, who was preparing to dial the pizza place to place his order.

~Why don't I believe him?~ Daniel sighed.  ~He's right, though.  I'm tired of fighting today.~  Deciding to give up the battle for the night, especially since he was hungry, he walked by his friend and towards the patio.  “And get some cheese sticks, too.”

“Bossy.”

“Takes one to know one.”

The two men chuckled, setting the tone for the rest of the evening and their pizza feast.

====

With a supply of pizza, snacks, and beer, Jack and Daniel had been leisurely eating and relaxing while enjoying the clear night sky of Colorado Springs on the roof deck.

“Erik reached down and threw up her dress,” Jack laughed as he was finishing a story from his college days when he and his best friend had embarrassed one of their female classmates.  “She ran like crazy out of the gym.”  With a chortle of happy amusement, he added, “She never talked to us again.”

“I wonder why,” Daniel replied in a flat tone.  He took a drink of beer and sighed.  ~I hate beer.  So why is this my third?~

“Haven't seen Erik in years,” the older man said practically to himself.  “Wonder what he's up to?”  With a smile, he recalled, “Judy Eppson was determined to marry him.”

“Maybe she did.”

“He was interested,” Jack mused.  With a proud laugh, he boasted, “Erik made a game out of seeing how many of the girls he could make out with.”  Still smiling, he noted about his friend from long ago, “A real man's man, that was Erik.”

====

His words mumbled as he chewed on a piece of pizza, Daniel queried, “What's so great about hockey?  Grown men chasing a ... a ... a ...”

“P-uc-kkk,” Jack interjected for his somewhat tipsy friend.  ~Tipsy: what kind of word is that?  I should ask Daniel.~

“Thank you,” Daniel responded.  “Grown men chasing a p-uc-kkk and then beating on one another when they aren't good enough to get it.”

“It's a sport,” Jack refuted.

“It's violent.”

“Team building.”

“Health threat.”

“Genetic.”

“Genetic?” a confused Daniel echoed.

“All the O'Neills play hockey.  I had a puck for a pacifier,” the older man teased.  He grew very contemplative as he reflected back in time.  “My grandfather taught me.  Great times.”

~A-ha!~ Daniel exclaimed to himself.  Waving his hand with the beer bottle in it in front of him, he speculated, “It's not hockey you love, Jack, it's your family and those times together.”

“Yeah, well ... I'm taking you with me to see a game.”

“I have to work.”

“When?”

“Whenever the game is.”

Jack laughed and leaned forward slightly as he reminded, “*I'm* your commanding officer.  I *know* when you *really* have to work.”  Sitting back, he smirked, “Soon, Dannyboy, we're going to a game.”

“Daniel,” the archaeologist corrected, something which caused Jack to let out an odd sound.

~What is it he sounds like?~ Daniel wondered internally.  Hearing the noise again, he made his determination.  ~He growls like a bear.~

====

“Hormones!” Jack bellowed, his legs going up into the air as his whole body laughed.  “Did you hear her say that?”

The colonel was referring to his first meeting with Captain Samantha Carter, his second-in-command, which occurred prior to the second Abydos mission.

“Uh, no.  I was ... sort of on another planet at the time, but you've told me sh'ouwed it.”  Daniel blinked, his brain processing his words.  “Uh, about it.  You told me about it ... a lot.”

“If she were a man and we weren't in front of Hammond, I would have taken those hormones and had her on her six in about two seconds.”

“Sam just wanted to be taken seriously.”

“By talking about hormones?” Jack laughed.  “Geez, Danny, she was so serious.  Kawalsky and Ferretti couldn't even keep it in.”

“Sometimes when you feel alone, you try too hard,” Daniel put forth, quickly taking not just one, but four rather large drinks from his beer bottle.

“If Carter wants to land herself a husband, she needs to tone it down.”

“She was engaged once,” Daniel stated while reaching for a napkin.

“Yeah?”

“I don't really know much about it,” the archaeologist stated.  “She just mentioned it in passing.”

“Ah,” Jack acknowledged.  “Scientist, probably.”

“No,” Daniel responded.  “I ... I believe he was career military, but that's all she said, except that it didn't work out.”

“Too much babbling,” Jack put forth.

“She ended it.”

“Daniel, for someone who keeps saying he doesn't know very much, you sure do know a lot.”

The younger man just shrugged, picked up a snack bowl, and offered, “Hot tamales?”

====

“You were really broke?” Jack questioned.

“When Catherine came to that lecture, my grants had run out, I'd been evicted from apartment, and I owed ... everyone,” Daniel elaborated.  “Yeah, I was ... really broke.”

“Bad credit score,” Jack mused.

“Oh, yeah,” Daniel agreed.  He looked over at Jack and asked, “Would you really have pulled the trigger if the Air Force hadn't shown up when they did?”

“Oh, yeah,” the colonel affirmed.  “My son's dead because of me.  That's hard to live with.”

“It was an accident, Jack.”

“You know what, Daniel,” Jack began in a dry and weary tone, “accidents suck.”

Daniel's head bowed, his mind thrown back to the accident that took the lives of his parents when he was just a little boy.  That painful day had changed his life forever.

“Yeah, they do.”

With a sigh, Jack reached over to another box, one he'd brought up with them to the roof at the last minute.

Leaning towards his friend, Jack held out the now-unopened box and asked, “Bon Bons?”

Smiling, Daniel took two and said, “Thanks.”

With no mention of exploration or weapons, the two friends continued their evening on the roof deck until finally retiring to their bedrooms late that night, leaving the cleanup for the next morning.

====

“It's just so frustrating, Sam,” Daniel lamented as the two scientists talked in the captain's lab the next afternoon.

Daniel was standing, leaning over the large table in the room.  A half-full coffee cup was practically glued to his hands.  Sam was seated on a stool across from the archaeologist with diagrams on the table in front of her.

“I know it is.  I agree with you, Daniel, but I guess I understand the other side, too.”

“The military scientist,” Daniel chortled and then took a big breath as he hung his head.

“You have to understand that this type of project is foreign to the military.  The Air Force, well, any branch of the military, is used to combat situations.  Peaceful relations with alien cultures just isn't in the book.”

“So we just ignore what we could be learning from those cultures?”

“No, but we have to give the military ...”

“You mean the Pentagon,” Daniel interrupted and then noted the woman's affirmative nod.

“We have to give them time to catch up with us and what the Stargate offers.”

“You know, I realize I'm here on a pass, and if Sha're wasn't out there, I probably wouldn't be here, but we're fools, Sam, to see what we're seeing on other planets and not glean what we can from it.”

“I do agree with you, Daniel, and it may not seem like it, but I am trying to help.  All of my mission reports have paragraphs devoted to what we could be learning, and I've talked with General Hammond, too.  I can't do more; I'm just a captain.”

“Have you told Jack?”

“The colonel isn't really interested in cultural things.”  Seeing Daniel's hopeless expression and knowing that she could have been more vocal with her commanding officer in the past, Sam added, “But I promise that the next time we're in a position like we were on PN2-382, I'll back you up.”

“Thanks, Sam,” Daniel acknowledged, his hold on his mug loosening a bit as he took a sip.  Grimacing, he noted, “Oh, uh, cold.”

Sam chuckled as the archaeologist gave her a tiny smile and then walked towards the door to return to his office and a fresh, hot cup of coffee.

====

Several days and another mission later, SG-1 made their first visit to The Land of Light, referred to as P3X-797 in the Stargate database of planets, where they were hoping to discover new technology for help in the war against the Goa'uld.  Instead, they found a simple but welcoming people with a heritage rich in an ancient civilization.

After some conversation, Jack pulled his team aside, away from the locals.

“Sounds like the Goa'ulds aren't here and haven't been for some time,” Jack opined to his teammates as he held onto his military cap.

“That is my assessment as well,” Teal'c agreed.

“Daniel, Carter?”

“I agree,” Daniel stated without hesitation.

“Yeah,” Sam added, her opinion overlapping the archaeologist's reply.

“In that case, gear up,” Jack ordered.  “We'll move out in fifteen minutes.”

“Wait a minute, move out?” Daniel responded unhappily while glancing over at an equally dismayed Sam.

“Yeah.  Back to the Stargate.  Back to Earth, terra firma, home.  You've heard of it?”

“W...w...ah, well, we should stay awhile longer and study the society and learn how they've evolved from Minoan culture.  I mean, you see those ... statues over there,” Daniel directed as he pointed over to his left. “Those are bulls.  The bull is all throughout Minoan culture on Earth but we never really knew why.”

“Hey, I'm a big fan of all this stuff, but art appreciation is not what this mission is about.  Get your gear together.”

Daniel couldn't believe his ears.  He watched in frustration as Jack and Teal'c both headed to where their backpacks had been placed.  He looked at Sam, expectation in his eyes.

“What could I say, Daniel?” Sam asked.

“Something,” the cultural expert responded.

“He's made up his mind,” the woman sighed.  “I'm only a captain, and I had to fight like heck to get on SG-1.”

“You can't be serious that you're afraid he'll kick you off the team if you say how you feel,” a stunned Daniel expressed as a mixture of a question and statement.

“I don't know.  I'm sorry,” the blonde replied sympathetically, a sliver of doubt evident in her blue eyes as she turned around.

Daniel stared straight ahead as Sam walked away.  He couldn't blame her for protecting her place on the team.  Neither of them felt secure.  Even though Jack kept saying the team was solid, only Teal'c didn't fear being displaced; at least, that was Daniel's take on SG-1 and its team leader.

~I'm still waiting for him to kick me off SG-1.  He's probably just waiting for me to trip over a rock and kill myself first.~  On the verge of feeling overwhelmed, Daniel dug deep inside.  ~No, Jack, not this time.  I *am* on this team, and this won't end here.~

====

With SG-3 in the lead as the two military teams walked towards the Stargate, Sam and Teal'c were several yards ahead of the bickering Jack and Daniel.

“O'Neill and DanielJackson do not seem to be in agreement about our leaving this world,” the Jaffa expressed.

“Frankly, Teal'c, I think Daniel has a point,” Sam responded.  ~There, that wasn't so hard.  Of course, I said that to Teal'c and not to the colonel,~ she signed.

“There are indeed many things to be culled from the planets we visit.”

“Indeed,” Sam agreed with a tiny smile.  “Now if someone could just convince Colonel O'Neill of that,” she sighed, twisting her body around for just a moment to catch a glimpse of the still arguing teammates.

--

“Daniel, we've done this,” Jack argued in annoyance, his hold on his weapon tight as he routinely surveyed the surroundings.

“And we're going to keep doing this,” Daniel replied.  “Jack, kick me off the team if you want, but I *am* going to speak to General Hammond about this.”

“Kick you off the team?” Jack expressed in total disbelief.  “Daniel, you're a member of this team, even if you are a pain in the neck, but you *are* going to follow the mandate of this command.”

“The mandate sucks,” Daniel argued, choosing to use one of Jack's terms from the previous night.

Jack just shrugged and continued walking towards the Stargate.

====

SG-3 were the first down the ramp with SG-1 just walking through the Gate as General George S. Hammond entered the embarkation room.

“Find anything?” Hammond asked at the foot of the long metal ramp.  Momentarily, he felt like a sandwich since Jack and Daniel had chosen to stand opposite each other with him in between them.  ~I've been to this rodeo more than once.  There's a tempest brewing.~

“Uh, no Sir,” Jack responded.

“Yes Sir,” Daniel refuted forcefully.  “Uh, actually, Sir, we found a whole hell of a lot, Sir.”

“Some beautiful decor, nice folks, nothing of *strategic* importance, Sir.”

~I am not a ping pong ball, Gentlemen.  I get the impression the debrief will be lively,~ Hammond thought from the way the teammates were talking over him rather than to him.  “All right, get cleaned up.  Mission debrief in half an hour,” the major general ordered.  ~Jack's attitude makes no sense here.  As long as SG-1 performs, I won't question how he leads his team.~

“Yes, Sir,” the colonel acknowledged, giving Daniel a final glare before turning to walk out as did Hammond.

~I won't lose this argument, Jack.  Enough is enough, and this is enough,~ Daniel determined silently as he continued to stand in the gate room.

====

“You can't just dismiss it,” Daniel argued in the conference room.

SG-1 and SG-3 were in the room, waiting for General Hammond to arrive so that the debriefing could commence.  The debate regarding mission objectives had not died down, however.  Jack and Daniel had been going at it almost non-stop, in spite of the presence of the other personnel in the room.

“I can dismiss whatever I want,” Jack returned.  “I'm a colonel, and I'm the leader of this team.”

“So, what you say goes?” Daniel challenged flippantly.  “I don't think so, Jack.  This isn't about pomp and circumstance.”

“Pomp and circumstance?” Jack repeated incredulously, looking over at SG-3's leader as if to say, 'This is nuts'.  “Daniel, this is a military operation, not a high school graduation.”

“I'm beginning to wonder if anyone in the military did anything more in high school other than ... raising girls' skirts.”

The reference to Jack's high school hijinks ruffled the colonel's feathers.  About to respond in kind, he got a glimpse of the major general about to enter the conference room and changed his mind.

“Let it go, Daniel,” Jack urged.

“Not this time, Jack,” Daniel responded.  He saw the general going to the seat at the head of the long table.  Standing, he stated emphatically, “I'm sorry, Sir, I know I'm a guest at this party, but I have to protest.”

“Let me guess, Doctor.  This is the science versus military discussion again,” Hammond responded, correctly assuming what was behind the civilian's statement.  ~Which is completely unnecessary at this point.~

“Well ... yes.  This mission was a perfect example of my argument.  We should have stayed on that planet longer; it was the perfect opportunity to study Minoan culture.”

“Not to mention primitive man,” Sam chimed in.  ~That a girl, Samantha,~ she praised herself.

~Great, just great,~  Jack thought as he scowled superficially at Sam's statement in support of Daniel.  ~How'd I end up with two scientists on my team anyway?  Two?~

Hearing both Daniel and Sam talking about the Broca Divide, which Sam explained as comparing “the divide in intelligence between early species of mankind,” Jack then fabricated a yawn and grimaced appropriately.

~Let's move this along,~ the colonel thought.  “Should I start the debriefing, Sir?” he inquired of Hammond.

~Gawd, he's infuriating.  He's just dismissing everything I've said,~ Daniel thought upon hearing Jack's question.

Hammond answered, “Well, that would be a good idea, Colonel.”

Objecting, Daniel argued, “Now, just, just ...” he flung his hand downward in front of him “... wait a minute!”

~I probably should have told him before we began.~  A bit frustrated, Hammond interjected, “Doctor Jackson, you're wasting your breath.  You've already won the argument.”

Hammond's words not having sunk in yet, Daniel slammed his hand on the table and argued emphatically, “But I have to insist that you ...” he looked up, stunned as his brain finally realized what had been said a moment before.  “Wh...what, what, what, what?  I've already won?”

~Wait for it,~ Jack smirked inwardly.

The general explained, “The President agrees with you.  He's asked that we evaluate the scientific and cultural value of each mission from now on.”

“Oh, for crying out loud,” Jack protested from his seat near the general.  ~An Emmy winning performance if I ever heard one, if I do say so myself.~

“He has?” Daniel asked in shock.  ~Really?  Someone actually listened to me?~

“That's great!”  Sam exclaimed excitedly.

~I can't believe the President actually agrees with me,~ the cultural enthusiast thought.  ~Sorry, Jack, but I couldn't just go along on this.~

====

After the meeting was dismissed and the personnel began to disperse, Daniel waited for Jack to head in his direction.

“A little science won't kill you, Jack,” the archaeologist stated, still annoyed by the ill-timed yawn during the meeting.

“It might,” Jack claimed.

“How?”

“It might bore me to death.”

Daniel rolled his eyes and walked out, leaving only Jack and General Hammond remaining in the conference room.

With a tempered smiled, Jack looked over at the major general, who just shook his head.

====

~Shoot!~  Before reaching the elevator that would take him to his office on Level 18, Daniel realized he had left his notebook on the table in the briefing room.  He immediately headed back to retrieve it and was about to enter the room when he heard his name mentioned.  Old habits were hard to break.  Feeling vulnerable, especially with Jack's lack of support as respects cultural pursuits on missions, the archaeologist chose to back up a bit and stay out of sight.  ~I shouldn't eavesdrop, but ...~

Somewhat amused, Hammond queried, “Jack, why are you giving Doctor Jackson such a hard time about this?”

“Oh, you know how it is, Sir, scientists and their civilizations.  It's not exactly the yellow brick road for the military.”

“It's new territory; there's no doubt about that, but if you don't approve of these missions, then why did you spend thirty minutes in my office last week suggesting that we allow Doctor Jackson to, what was your word, Jack?”

Jack coughed and hesitantly answered, “I believe I said 'indulge', Sir.”  Seeing his commanding officer's expectation of an explanation, the colonel claimed, “I'm just trying to humor the geek, General, give him some playtime.”

“Right, Colonel,” Hammond replied with a disbelieving expression.  ~There's more to this than that.~

“You know me and rocks, Sir.  We just don't get along.”

“Of course, you don't.”  Hammond sighed.  ~But something about Doctor Jackson's passion for his fields of expertise gets to you, no matter how bored you pretend to be.~  Ready to move on, he lightly ordered, “Get out of my hair, Colonel.”

“Hair ... Sir?”

--

In the corridor, Daniel couldn't stop a tiny smile from appearing on his face.  Still, he didn't want to get caught eavesdropping, especially now.

~I'll get my notebook later.~  As he headed back to the elevator, the young man's smile grew, knowing that his friend had obviously given his view on cultural study the thought it deserved after all.  ~Thank you, Jack.~

When the elevator doors opened, Daniel went inside and pressed the proper button to reach his floor.

~Maybe someday I’ll let you know that I just overheard that conversation and that I know you're really a marshmallow.~  Daniel's smile disappeared, replaced by a look of confusion.  ~A marshmallow?  Jackson, you're losing it.~

Daniel shook his head at his strange thought and waited for the elevator to reach his destination so he could return to his office and begin to write his mission report on The Land of Light.

====

Back in the conference room, Hammond glared at his 2IC for the comment about hair.  The major general was bald and obviously didn't appreciate Jack's attempt at humor.

Jack smiled innocently and made a slow retreat.  As he walked down the corridor, he glanced at his watch, making note of how much time he had before a meeting of team leaders was scheduled for later in the day.  In an effort to avoid the paperwork awaiting him in his office, he wondered what he could do in the meantime.  Then he smiled devilishly and headed towards Level 18.

“Oh, Dannyboy,” Jack called out a couple of minutes later as he entered the archaeologist's office.

“Jack, put that down!”

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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