Mission Accomplishedby devra
The fever woke him. He wanted to pound the thin, oversized, lumpy mattress in frustration but Jack couldn't muster up an ounce of spare energy to release his anger. Achy joints took a backseat to the headache that made even breathing painful. He was past cold, which he knew was due to the fever 'cause he had no idea what the planet's temperature was, though he was pretty damn positive it wasn't as Antarctica frigid as he felt.
Only the condition of the body pressed against his abdomen was keeping Jack from wallowing in abject misery. While he was feverishly cold, Daniel was a blast furnace, his extraordinary heat warming the parts of Jack's body where they both connected.
"This sucks." Jack tugged Daniel's shirt out of his pants and burrowed his hands against the hot skin.
"I've changed my mind," Daniel chuckled weakly and shivered. "You suck. Even here you can't keep your hands off of me?"
"No nookie offworld." Jack moved his hands down and tucked them into the waistband of Daniel's pants. "You know this is neither the time nor the place for that."
"Ha!" Daniel squirmed at the touch.
"You're a tough audience, Daniel."
"Nah. I'm just doing my job of keeping you on your toes."
Jack's stomach twisted when Daniel coughed. "New symptom, Dr. Jackson?"
"Thinkin' it's the accommodations." He coughed again then cleared his throat.
"We need to complain? Take away the five star rating?"
"Fill out one of those opinion cards before we leave. Explain how dissatisfied we were with the service."
"Don't tip the maid."
Jack smiled against the nape of Daniel's neck. Amazed and awed that even sick, Daniel was able to throw a bit of indignation into his tone.
"Sam's okay." Daniel coughed again. "Teal'c's watching her six."
To lie or not to lie, that was the question. Jack hesitated. Should he agree that Carter was fine, or should he admit their ignorance regarding both her and Teal'c's whereabouts? "They're both fine."
"Matriarchal society." Daniel nodded at the lie. "Sam's safer than we are. And Teal'c, at least he's been deemed worthy of her. While we're—"
"Old and damaged?"
"Those weren't the exact descriptive words the Shiglarins used, but that *was* the gist of their opinions of us."
"Us, meaning me and you?"
Daniel squirmed under Jack's hands as if he were inexplicably annoyed with his presence. "Yes. The two of us. I have glasses. You're old."
"Old?" It was one thing for *him* to think it, it was another for Daniel to actually say the word.
"I don't think you're old, Jack, they do." Jack could just imagine Daniel's smile as he stroked his ego.
"You wear glasses. I'm, ummm, old, and Teal'c?" Jack really didn't know why he was asking, he really knew the answer.
"A perfect specimen and a true testament to Sam's ability…"
Jack waited a second, listened for Daniel's breathing, then nudged his body with his own. "Daniel?"
"You sorta drifted off for a moment."
"I did? Didn't mean to. I just feel like crap."
"What were we talking about?"
"Your glasses. My age..." Jack complained, "and Teal'c."
"Oh, sorry about that. Strange – conversation - if you think about it."
Jack didn't miss Daniel's slurring of his words and the atypical pauses between them, as if the overheated brain was having problems functioning. "Teal'c's perfect, huh?"
"Beauty is in - the eyes of - the beholder."
"Don't let Teal'c hear you say that."
Daniel ground his forehead into the thin pillow. "Think I would sell my soul right now for a Tylenol or two."
"Sorry. No can do."
"Water? Can I make an exchange and sell my soul for water."
"I'll up the ante and offer myself also. Two souls for a refilled container of water."
"Warm, tepid—I don't care. I just want wet."
"If I'm turning over my soul I expect cold, refreshing spring water." Jack picked up his head, then eyed the battered tin water pitcher sitting on the equally battered wooden table. For the three days they had been in this hell hole, the meals, for want of a better word, had been nothing if not consistently bad. But it wasn't the meals he or Daniel wanted, it was the water that came along with the gruel which was a precious commodity.
If this malady didn't kill them, the dehydration would. And their deaths would be slow and torturous.
* * *
Sam sighed in frustration, and even Teal'c's sympathetic roll of his eyes didn't make her feel any better.
"Patience, MajorCarter." Teal'c's voice was but a mere whisper in her right ear.
Sam didn't want to be patient. She wanted to stand up and scream at the planet's inhabitants for dragging their feet. She wanted the collective asses of Washington's pencil pushers to be on *this* side of the Stargate for once. No longer did she want to pretend she cared about the food in front of her or the half naked men parading past her while she sat with a false grin pasted on her lips. More than anything else she wanted the colonel and Daniel to be sitting at this dais by her side.
Farent gestured to the obscenely young blonde man on steroids, who had been repeatedly strutting in front of their seats. "He is to your liking, Major Samantha?"
Sam felt the pressure of Teal'c's leg against hers, a silent warning to not go for the leader of the Shiglarin's jugular. At least not now, in front of witnesses. Later. She'd get retribution later, when the leader's signature and seal were on the treaty *and* when the colonel and Daniel were back with them.
"I do not wish any additional—" Sam glanced up at the blonde flexing his muscles. "*Men.* Actually, my wish would be for the two who were taken from me to be returned."
"They were not *taken* – they are in another part of the city, being made worthy for a warrior such as yourself." Disgusted, Farent waved the blonde beefcake away then gazed at Sam through narrowed, confused eyes. "I do not seem to understand why you would desire such defective men."
"Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Jackson were fine the way they were. They are certainly not defective. On our world they are considered—"
"Considered what?" she challenged.
"They are considered, I consider them important." The compression from Teal'c's leg was becoming uncomfortable and she shifted away. There was no reason for him to remind her of SG-1's mission here. Obtain a treaty. Gotcha. She knew that. Hell, the Major Carter side of her understood those orders so well she could recite them in her sleep. General Hammond's explicit mission objectives: make nice, smile, get the treaty first, then get your ass home. Followed by the 'We're counting on you, Major Carter' speech. See, it was the last part that stuck in her craw. SG-1 had been chosen because PX3047 was a matriarchal society run by, and for, women. She'd been chosen for this mission because her reproductive organs were on the inside. Great. The future of the SGC's relationship with this planet was based on her breasts and the men she kept by her side. If so much hadn't been riding on obtaining weapons and mineral rights, the scenario would be ludicrous.
Here, men were for pleasure, for mating, for propagating the species. Heavy labor. They were considered neither intelligent nor worthy of conversation. And they strove for perfection, hence the reason Teal'c was still here and the colonel and Daniel weren't. Age was frowned upon and Daniel's glasses were his undoing. So here she was, at some offworld male strip joint, with only Teal'c at her side; her other two teammates were god alone knew where, with the colonel's words echoing in her mind just before he and Daniel were escorted away. "You do what needs to be done to obtain the treaty, Carter. I'll worry about me and Daniel."
* * *
Frantically whispered Arabic forced Jack from his restless sleep. He fought the weight pinning him down, rocking to and fro until he was able to gain enough leverage to shove his aggressor away.
The limp form thudded to the ground and Jack sat up, fists raised, ready to defend himself. Cobwebs slowly drifted away until finally prisons from Jack's past morphed into the prison of Jack's present.
Jack bent over the side of the bed. Daniel was lying on his back, his face screwed up in confusion. "I was dreaming a dig." With a shaky hand, Daniel massaged his scrunched up forehead.
"Yeah, me too. Different dream, though." Jack dropped his hand over the side and offered Daniel a lift back up to the bed.
Daniel lowered his hand from his forehead and questioningly gazed at Jack's fingers hovering above him. "You threw me out of bed."
"I threw you out of my dream." Jack grabbed hold of Daniel's hand, and slowly pulled him up to a sitting position. "That's completely different."
Daniel rubbed the back of his head. "Felt the same to me."
Jack tried to slip out of Daniel's grasp just to check if his forehead was as hot as the hand he held.
"Don't!" Daniel warned. "Keep your hand to yourself. I know I have a fever and based on the way I feel, if we were home, Janet would've already Crazy Glued my butt to the infirmary bed and I wouldn't be objecting."
Daniel closed his eyes and rested his head against the bed's metal frame. "Don't think of kissing me. 'Cause that constitutes as a fever-checking action."
"Who me?" Jack said, smoothing a stray piece of dirty hair from Daniel's forehead. "I wouldn’t think of doing anything as underhanded as that."
Daniel shrugged off his touch. "I need a shower."
Daniel sniffed the air. "No, I need a shower. *You* need to be hosed down, you're all sweaty."
He paused and realized Daniel was right. Not only was he right, he was one hundred percent correct. He was sweaty and even though he stunk to the high heavens, he literally felt good. Not great, but good. Better.
"I think I feel okay," Jack whispered, almost afraid that whoever had stuck them in this hellhole would notice that Jack felt better and swoop down upon them. Now he touched Daniel, his hands sliding all over his face and neck. Jack didn't give a rat's ass if Daniel tried to squirm away. "You're sick. Still. Fever."
"Give the man a prize." Daniel turned his head and coughed.
* * *
"Don't even say it," Sam warned, stomping into the suite of rooms ahead of Teal'c.
"I will not comment on your actions, if that is what you desire."
Sam threw her hands in the air and dropped into the ugly, overstuffed chair in the corner. "I stepped over the line, didn't I?" She jumped up and began to pace. "I lost my perspective. I pushed and pushed and now I've lost ground and time." She kicked the table in the corner of the room. "Tomorrow I'll have to spend hours groveling, apologizing to her lord and mistress—"
"I believed you successfully convinced Farent the words ignoramus and blind were compliments in your language."
Sam snorted. "I lied through my teeth. Thankfully, she was totally clueless as to what the words meant." She leaned against the wall, kicking it with the heel of her boot. "I hate this."
"What is it that you hate, MajorCarter?"
"I hate not knowing what's happening to them."
"As do I."
"I hate being Major Carter."
"You do not."
"I do not believe that you—"
"Stop!" She smiled with true emotion for the first time since they had arrived on the planet. "Listen to us. We're channeling Daniel and the colonel."
"Indeed we are." Teal'c responded to her smile with a sharp nod of his head. "You are worried."
Leave it to Teal'c to state the obvious. "Yes."
"As am I."
As the commanding officer, the colonel had been in charge of this mission, but Sam had known she was going to take center stage with the negotiations. The colonel and Daniel were supposed to be here, with them, with *her*, hiding in the wings, shouting out directions whenever she faltered. They should have been here, right here by her side, assisting her with her lines. Instead the understudy was unprepared, with a packed audience and no cue cards.
Sam was whining. She knew it and hated herself. Where exactly had she placed her military blinders which enabled her to go and do what Uncle Sam requested of her? Why couldn't she focus on the mission objective? Those were her orders. Do what needed to be done. Make nice with the natives. Lay the groundwork. Treaty. Weapons. Minerals. Black and white. She understood that, and had actually reveled in the part she was going to play in this alliance until the colonel and Daniel were taken. And now, suddenly she was torn and confused. And she was torn and confused about being torn and confused.
She sighed loudly.
"That's it, Teal'c."
"May I ask what constitutes 'it'?"
"This is it." She slapped her thighs and stood. "I'm done. You're done." Sam picked at the outfit that she had worn in deference to the Shiglarin's traditions. "I'm going to change."
Sam sensed that Teal'c wasn't sure if he should comment or just keep quiet. Obviously, smarter than most men that inhabited her life, Teal'c chose silence.
* * *
Jack dribbled a small amount of water on Daniel's lips, and he released a sigh of relief when Daniel's tongue swiped at the moisture. Daniel's fever had climbed dangerously high then plateaued, leaving Jack alternating between sitting by his side and banging on the metal walls and screaming himself hoarse.
Slowly Daniel opened his eyes and his tongue flicked out, snake like, searching for more water.
"I'll see what I can do." Jack stood and walked over to the table and filled one of the dented metal cups with the water from the half-empty pitcher. He had kept his water intake to the bare minimum, gauging, measuring, leaving the majority to keep Daniel cool and hydrated. Jack took a sip, added some more and then sat at the edge of the bed.
Reverently, Daniel reached out and touched the cup. "You drink."
"I just did." He had. He wasn't lying.
Daniel weakly pushed the cup against Jack's stomach. "First," he sighed. "You drink first."
Jack lifted the cup to his lips and pretended to drink, swallowing nothing but saliva. "Ahh." He smacked his lips.
"You know," Jack said as he placed a hand under Daniel's shoulders and helped him to a sitting position, "you've barely been with me these past few hours, is it possible for you to behave yourself now that you're awake?"
"Shut up and give me the water." Daniel's voice was raw, and his words were clipped, as if stringing a coherent sentence together was a difficult job.
"Bossy." He hated having to pull the cup away as Daniel began to gulp the water down. "Easy."
Jack pulled Daniel towards him, squeezing tightly, holding the cup just out of reach.
"I'm dying, aren't I?"
Jack didn't care how smelly Daniel was or how dirty his hair, he buried his face in the short strands and laughed. "You're not dying."
"We're off world, you're hugging me—" He coughed into Jack's chest. "Oh shit." Daniel picked his head up suddenly, slamming into the point of Jack's chin.
"Ow." Jack fought to keep the water from spilling and released his hold on Daniel. "What the hell?"
"Sam? Teal'c?" Daniel slid away from Jack and he battled with uncoordinated limbs and tried to stand. He sat heavily on the bed when his legs buckled, unable to support his weight.
Jack turned sideways and held the cup to Daniel's lips. "Slow, okay. Then we'll discuss Carter and Teal'c."
Daniel nodded before latching onto Jack's hands, holding them in place as he drank, his teeth making a clicking noise against the metal, chattering even as he swallowed.
Jack wrapped the flimsy blanket around Daniel. "They're fine, you know."
"Watch it or your nose is going to grow," Daniel growled, hunkering down into the sparse warmth of the blanket. "Have you seen them?"
"No," Jack conceded.
"No." Food and water appeared three times a day, and if Jack had to use a word to describe its arrival, he'd say it was transported.
"I rest my case."
"I think I liked it better when you bordered on unconsciousness."
"We're not being punished, you know."
"Huh?" Jack dropped the cup to the floor and skimmed his hands over Daniel's face. "You're burning up. Wanna lie back down?"
Daniel shook off Jack's touch. "We're not being punished. No one's being punished."
Jack grabbed the sides of Daniel's face. "Can you hear yourself? You're hallucinating."
"Listen," Daniel insisted with a sigh. "She said, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger."
Jack dropped his hands, stood and pushed Daniel flat onto the bed only to have him pop back up. "You need to—"
"No, you need to—" Daniel drew a breath and coughed. "Listen. The Shiglarin people are making us sick for Sam."
"You're losing me *and* you're scaring me. Explain to me, very slowly, please, why Carter wants us sick." To Jack, if it walked like a duck and quacked like a duck it was, for all intents and purposes, a duck. But to Daniel, there were too many layers and on occasions such as this, the duck became a swan and left Jack totally confused.
Daniel shifted, and in a flash Jack saw how hard he was struggling to keep himself together. His face was a mirror of what Jack's probably was, dirt streaked, haggard with dark shadows under this eyes, a few days' worth of stubble, but where Jack's face was pale, Daniel's was flushed with fever. Twin spots of color, prominent enough to resemble a windburn.
"Sam doesn't want us sick and honestly, neither do the Shiglarins nor does Farent. Matriarchal. They want Sam to have the best. They were impressed enough with Sam's presence to make sure she had the cream of the crop—"
"Which means if we survive—"
Jack shook his head. "When. I meant what happens when—"
Daniel shrugged. "I have no idea. I guess it's up to Sam."
"No, Jack. Sam. Just Sam. Teal'c has no voice here. Oh, and Jack?"
"I think lying down would be a good idea now."
* * *
"Major Sam—" It was obvious that Sam's unexpected appearance in Farent's quarters was making the young teenage boy nervous.
"Major Carter to you." Sam was tall, but the kid that stood before her was taller, and even as young as he was, he was well built, and probably could do a few rounds with Teal'c, so she got a perverse kind of pleasure when he fidgeted and squirmed under her scrutiny.
"My mistress asked not to be disturbed."
Teal'c was standing so close behind her, Sam literally could feel Junior's agitated movement. Teal'c was pissed and she didn't need to turn around to see the warning expression on his face, but the kid wasn't afraid of Teal'c, it was her he feared. The power that she wielded at the moment was a heady experience and she was going to push it to the limit.
"I truly do not care what *your* mistress desires. Where I come from, when a visiting guests requests an audience, it would be considered rude and unconscionable to ignore such—"
The door behind the guard was flung open and a very annoyed handmaiden appeared. Her tongue lashing at the man standing by the door was cut short when she noticed Sam. "Major Samantha."
"I demand to speak to Farent."
"I will see what I can do."
"You won't see, you *will* tell her that I am tired and impatient of being pushed aside—"
The woman dropped her head, retreated back into the room, then shut the door behind her, leaving Sam, a hovering Teal'c and a cowering teenager in her wake.
How stupid was she? Had it been there all this time? How had she missed that… there was fear in the handmaiden's eyes. While not as debilitating as the kid's, it was still there and it was directed towards Sam. She had been so busy trying to succeed at this mission, so focused on her needs she had only focused on what she had felt was her own incompetence and fear and had been blinded. Nope. No more.
The door opened suddenly. "Farent will see you now, but he," there was disgust and disdain in her voice as the woman pointed to Teal'c, "will remain in the hallway for the time being."
Sam’s protest died on her lips as she decided to concede the battle over Teal’c’s presence when she gave Ferant a piece of her mind. "I’ll be fine," she reassured him.
"I would feel more secure if I were able—"
"I need you to be here." She could only pray that Teal’c would understand and would hold back any more protest. "Stay here." Sam patted his bicep. "Please," she mouthed, in a soft voice.
He wasn’t happy and she knew that instinctually he was waging an internal war over their splitting up. "I will do as you wish, MajorCarter, though I am not comfortable with the situation."
"Thank you for trusting in my ability." It was funny, but from the expression on Teal’c’s face, it was obvious that he not only trusted in her, but had since the start of the mission. Sam was more than embarrassed, and also extremely pissed at herself, for harboring such self doubts. * * * Jack cursed. Loudly. Very emphatically and in more than one language. It was kinda amazing the smattering of bad words one could pick up traveling through the galaxy. Yelling wasn’t a great way to spend his time, but it was productive, at least for him, because it allowed him to vent.
The leveling off of Daniel's fever was a thing of the past 'cause for the last two hours his body heat had risen until Jack's anger at their situation had given away to gut wrenching fear. So now, Jack seesawed between demonstrating his frustration by yelling and sitting with Daniel.
Jack paused, his recent rants bouncing around the room, his gaze falling on the bed, shaking his head as Daniel muttered, protested weakly, then attempted to move away from whatever reality he was trapped in. He stepped over to the water pitcher and moistened the cloth wrapped around the base and though his actions exuded anger, he lowered his body slowly to the bed and gently began to swipe the rag over Daniel's face.
"Come on, open your eyes," Jack cajoled. "Explain to me again how being hot enough to fry on egg on your stomach is gonna make you stronger."
"Daniel?" Jack wanted to give a whoop and holler at the beads of sweat peppering Daniel's upper lip, already moistening the straggly beard.
Daniel picked up the blanket and began to beat it up and down, creating a breeze to compensate for the cooling of his overheated body.
"Stop it." Jack slapped Daniel's hand against his body, pinning the blanket in position.
"Or what?" Daniel asked, his voice slow and slurred, as if he'd spent the last few hours drinking and not adding a few more grey hairs to Jack's already abundant collection. "I'll get sick? A little late for that." He grabbed the rag from Jack's hand, scrubbed his face with it, then left it in place, obscuring his features.
"There's water. Would you like some?"
Daniel whipped the rag from his face, then flung it aside. "Oh god, yes. Water."
By the time Jack scrambled off the bed, located a cup and returned to the bed with the water, Daniel's eyes were already closing. "Oh no, you don't," Jack said with a gentle, yet vigorous shake to his shoulder. "Up and at 'em, sleepyhead. Enough is enough. The worst is over."
Daniel groaned, then used the corner of the blanket to wipe his forehead. He opened one eye and studied Jack. "Worst is over?" Daniel's chuckle sounded like an old man's, ending somewhere in a high-pitched wheeze. "Speak for yourself. At the moment, dying appears to be a step *up* the ladder."
Jack moved the cup enticingly in front of Daniel's opened eye. "Drink up, Dannyboy, it's time to find out what party Carter's attending that she's forgotten to invite us to."
"Crap!" Both eyes opened wide and Daniel struggled to lever his body up onto shaky elbows. One handed, Jack helped him the rest of the way, making sure he was propped up securely before offering him the cup.
Daniel reached for the cup, took a sip, then licked his cracked lips, moistening them. "Carter? Teal'c?" He took another sip, eyeing Jack over the rim of the cup.
It hurt Jack to just offer up a shrug as an answer, but that's all he had, well, that and a drowning feeling of having failed everyone on his team. Drowning and going down for the third time.
Daniel pushed the empty cup at Jack for more. Shit! When had he finished the water? Experience taught him what to expect so Jack quickly moved aside and dragged Daniel's upper body off the side of the bed with seconds to spare before his stomach rejected the water he'd just inhaled.
Jack shook his head at the mess of bile and liquid by his feet. "What a waste. Water is a precious—"
Daniel moved closer to Jack then dropped his head onto his shoulder. "Sorry. You can say I told you so and I won't even comment."
"I told you so. There. Feel better?"
"I'd feel better if Teal’c and Sam were here."
Jack snaked his arm up the sweaty back and rested his opened palm against Daniel's damp cheek. "Give yourself a minute or so."
"Then we’ll figure out a way to get out of here."
* * *
Sam paced in front of a reclining Farent. "Your behavior is reprehensible."
"Explain." Farent's expression was one of boredom and annoyance. There wasn't a drop of fear in her eyes as she studied Sam and she could feel her façade of confidence slipping, dissipating into nothingness as she faced off the ruler who controlled all that Sam wanted.
"I want my men returned to me."
Farent sighed and shook her head. "I have explained to you, that in time, they will be returned."
"Now." Peripherally, Sam was aware that all of Farent's "hand maidens" had taken a step closer, so she, in turn, took a step closer to Farent. "I do not want them two hours from now, or after the evening meal, or whenever you deem it convenient. I want them now." She stepped even closer and chose to ignore the instep echo of her movement by the women in the room. "I want Daniel Jackson and Colonel O'Neill in my possession, before, that's right, *before* we sit down to discuss a trade agreement."
"Major Samantha?" Farent unfolded her long, lanky body from the chair and stood. Sam held her ground though the leader towered over her by a good six inches. "Are you finished?"
Oh boy, was she finished. A scenario began to run through her brain at breakneck speed followed by one hundred excuses to present to General Hammond as to why she was returning to the SGC without half her team *and* the treaty. Her ass was going to be grass, as Cassie would say, and her commission to the SGC would be following her ass right down the tubes. But she had made her choice and neither was she backing down nor was she giving up her friends to satisfy Washington, so Sam drew a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and kissed her ass goodbye. "No, the only way I will be finished is when my men are returned to me. Including the one standing in the hallway."
"Treaty first, then we'll discuss your men."
* * *
The hallway was too narrow for them to walk side by side so instead Jack chose to watch Daniel's six, but he was close enough to grab him should he go down. Again. What struck him as funny was the concern their armed guards expressed the first time Daniel had swayed, bounced off a wall and fallen to his knees.
Jack saw Daniel sway again, probably before it even registered with Daniel.
"Hey." Jack latched onto his elbow, then steered Daniel away from the wall.
"Fine," Daniel whispered.
The truth was Daniel wasn't fine, nor was he, but Jack at least had had a day's recovery time over Daniel, whose fever had broken only an hour or two before the guards dragged them from their room and began marching them down the hallway.
The lead guard turned and pivoted so fast that it was only Jack's hand on Daniel's elbow that stopped him from plowing into her. She held her staff-like weapon ready and jerked her head to the right. "In here."
"No way." Jack increased his grip on Daniel's elbow.
"No?" The lift of the guard's eyebrows would have done Teal'c proud.
"Hey, watch where you're pointing that thing." Jack jumped when the guard behind him used her weapon to poke him in the ass.
The front guard unlocked the door they had stopped in front of and pushed it open with her foot. "Inside."
"Before you object," Daniel hissed, turning his head in Jack's direction. "I'm just letting you know, it's slightly imperative I sit down though I appreciate the fact that this corridor does come complete with a floor, I would prefer not collapsing in view—"
"Behind door number one could be a one way ticket to death—"
Daniel's chuckle was raspy and rough. "You're always the pessimist. Think of it this way, Jack. Maybe Teal'c and Sam are in there."
"Enough talking!" The fact that the front guard was pointing her weapon at Daniel's chest and Jack felt the prod of a weapon right at a crucial point of his spinal column made his decision so much easier.
* * *
Farent was more than a bit tipsy, she was downright drunk. "Are you in agreement?" Ferant took a drink from her goblet, then toasted the space between the two of them, spilling a bit in the process.
Sam hastily wiped up the moisture that had landed on the draft of the treaty, then smiled in return and took a sip of the amber liquid in her own goblet. This was strange. And uncomfortable. Uncomfortably strange and more than just a bit weird. Her fingers nervously tapped the pile of papers in front of her.
"Do you have a problem with the basis of the treaty?" Farent poured another glassful of the amber drink and seemed a bit put off when Sam declined her offer. "Is there a problem?"
"Where are Colonel O'Neill and Daniel Jackson?" Sam repeated for what seemed like the thousandth time.
Farent giggled. "I for one do not understand why you are so attached to those two." She batted her eyelashes at Teal'c, who sat stoically by Sam's side. "I have made the concession and allowed this one to again be by your side. Why do you need others, when you have this amazing specimen—"
"I have my reasons." Sam slammed the goblet down.
"You have grown a backbone, Major Samantha."
"You arrived through the portal, wishing to create trade and exchange between our two worlds." Farent snorted. "Yet you cowered and acquiesced to all of my demands."
Sam opened her mouth, then swallowed her objection.
"You allowed me to take two men from you with barely an argument." Farent eyed her goblet as if she was surprised to find it empty, and with a sigh and to Sam's chagrin, she placed it atop the treaty.
"It is only paper, Major Samantha."
"Yes, it is," she agreed, even though the moisture ring under the goblet was driving her nuts.
"And while your men are only *men* they are yours and it wasn't until you realized their worth was I willing to discuss the possibilities of maintaining contact with your world. While it is true that men are lower specimens than we women, and I know that my ideals are not the norm," Farent whispered conspiratorially to Sam, "but they do emote various emotions. And I for one did not want to deal with anyone who placed the value of a piece of paper over those she claimed were dear to her."
"My men are extremely valuable to me and I let them go with your guards in good faith. Enough is enough. Where are they?"
"We have done what we said we were going to do, we made them stronger for you."
"Explain." Obviously, Teal'c had had just about enough of being the strong, silent type.
"And he speaks," Farent sighed, adjusting her bodice. "I am duly impressed at the freedom you allow your men. Do all the men from your world..." Farent pointed to Teal'c. "...are they as gifted as he?"
"No!" Sam answered when she realized exactly *where* Farent's finger was pointing.
"Pity." The leader sighed again. "I'm sure there would have been something else we could have managed to trade for specimens such as—"
"I know, I know," Farent replied with a touch of drunken impatience. "Where are O'Neill and Daniel, you ask? They survived their ordeal, though I believe the one you refer to as Daniel had a rough time—"
"What the hell did you—" It was only Teal'c's grip on her forearm which prevented Sam from leaping over the table and strangling the woman sitting across from her.
"I see Teal'c keeps you in line. He is quite useful."
Diplomacy be damned, Sam whacked the goblet sitting atop the treaty and it flew through the air, shattering when it hit the wall.
Ferant clapped. "You are quite fierce, Major Samantha, and protective. Qualities that are endearing and necessary if our worlds are to be allies."
This was infuriating. "Look, Ferant. What *exactly* did you do to them?"
"They were exposed to the Treopin virus."
"You made them sick?"
Ferant dismissed Sam's concern with a wave of her hand. "It was quite necessary. Boys from this world are subjected to this virus at an early age to build up..." Ferant floundered as if trying to find the correct word.
"Protection," Ferant replied proudly. "While not life threatening, the illness may leave an older man without the ability to produce children and while both O'Neill and Daniel are older, despite their defects, it is not our call to decide whether or not you want their children."
"But I don't understand… you *gave* them the illness so now—"
"MajorCarter will be able to bear their children."
Bless Teal'c for not even lifting an eyebrow when Sam kicked him under the table.
"We controlled the virus that entered their system, giving them enough to build up protection but yet would not prohibit their ability to sire a child."
"Basically you immunized them."
"I am not familiar with your terminology, but when you return to this world, they will not be sick again and you will—"
"Yeah, I got that part. But what about Teal'c?"
"He too was exposed through the food and water we offered you when you first arrived on our world, but he did not contract the disease, his strength in all matters is quite impressive. Are you sure, you wouldn't—"
* * *
"There's a bed."
"A real bed," Daniel whispered, standing slumped against the wall.
Jack leaned out the door. "You're dismissed," Jack said to the two guards. "These accommodations are much more to our liking."
Jack got a door slammed in his face and there was no mistaking the turning of a lock.
"Still prisoners," Daniel sighed, beginning to do a slow descent to the floor.
Jack hooked his hand under Daniel's arm. "Upsy daisie, let's get you into bed."
"No? Daniel, my hand and the wall are the *only* reason you're still on your feet."
"Shower," he shrugged, eyeing the bed with undisguised longing. "I was thinking that the room upgrade came with a bathroom."
He kissed Daniel. "See, no matter what people say, I still believe you're a genius."
There was bathroom and a shower. A very small shower, but there was warm running water and towels, so at the moment Jack wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth. "You first." He stripped a Daniel that was three fourths asleep on his feet, adjusted the water temperature one more time, shoved what he hoped was a bar of soap in his hands and positioned Daniel under the water stream. "Don't hog all the warm water."
He sat on what he assumed would pass as a toilet, hunched over with one arm extended, ready to save Daniel should the guy begin to fall.
"I think I'm finished." Daniel yawned under the cascade of water, spluttering, as he fumbled with the controls. "Jack?" Daniel took the towel from Jack's outstretched hands, then glanced at his pile of clothes on the floor. "If there isn't a washing machine handy, I think we're in trouble."
Crap. He certainly could understand Daniel’s abhorrence to redressing his clean body in those clothes. "Not we, Daniel. *You're* in trouble. I'm still dressed."
"I'm naked, but clean. You stink, but you have clothes on."
"I believe these are yours."
Jack and Daniel turned as one and he watched Daniel's blush actually spread to all body parts as one of the guards stood in the bathroom doorway with their backpacks in her arms. The other guard stood directly behind her, the point of her weapon trained on parts of Daniel's anatomy that Jack would rather not lose.
* * *
"Major Samantha, please stop your pacing, you're making me sick with your movement."
She halted mid-step. "Well, how about you just bring me my men, I'll stop pacing, you won't feel sick to your stomach and *everyone* will be happy."
Farent slapped her thighs and stood. "It is time. Let us go find them for you."
* * *
Daniel was sprawled out on the bed, barefoot, the dampness of his not fully towel-dried body seeping through the tee shirt. His hair was stuck up at odd angles and he moaned, then wrapped himself around Jack's ass when he sat at the edge of the bed to put on his socks.
Jack wiggled his sock-covered toes. Being clean, feeling human, was good. Daniel rejoining the living was also something to write home about. But on the negative side was the fact that even though the room was better, the guards outside their locked door were a not so subtle reminder that they were still prisoners without a clue as to where the hell the other half of SG-1 was.
"Did you find Sam and Teal'c?" Daniel asked sleepily as he wound closer around Jack.
"No, Daniel." Jack slipped his feet into his boots. "I was showering, did *you* manage to find our missing teammates?" Jack rubbed Daniel's arm, his hand sliding up to Daniel's forehead.
"Don't," Daniel hissed, grabbing Jack's hand.
"Do you still have a fever?"
"Nope." Daniel flopped onto this back. "Warm shower equals warm body."
"This, Daniel, is the reason you suck at poker." Voices outside the door redirected Jack's attention from Daniel. "I think it's show time."
Jack stood and by the time Daniel was by his side, the door swung open.
* * *
Okay, she'd seen them looking better. Pale, a few days' worth of growth covering their faces, and Daniel looked a tad rough around the edges, but they were alive and breathing and even though they *did* look horrible, damn they looked great!
She took two steps forward, then remembered her façade of placement in Farent's world and her greeting was lowered to just a nod of her head. Even Teal'c picked up on her stoicism and stopped by her side, mirroring her head nod.
Daniel was a bit slow on the uptake, his expression was one of hurt and confusion at her elusive greeting. The colonel smiled then winked a greeting at her, and she didn’t miss his hand latched on Daniel's arm, anchoring him to his side.
Farent walked around Jack and Daniel, her gaze raking over their forms and without warning, Sam could feel her hackles rise at the predatory glances the leader gave *her* men.
"Farent? Is there a problem?"
"No. Not at all. I certainly must apologize to you, Major Samantha. First impressions obviously can be deceiving. These men…" Farent raked a finger up Daniel's arm while her foot gently nudged his bare feet. "Are quite pleasant on the eyes."
The colonel received a squeeze to his right bicep and Sam watched as he formed a fist which he banged nonchalantly against his thigh. She caught the warning, but Farent was too intently studying him to pick up his controlled anger. "You're quite lucky." Her sigh was expansive and very melodramatic. "This one must bring his extensive life experiences into your bed."
The colonel's head shot up and his eyebrows zoomed to his hairline, even Daniel, who seemed a bit too zoned out for her comfort, snapped to attention.
"Ummmm Carter? I mean, Major Carter?"
"MajorCarter shall explain this in good time, O'Neill."
* * *
"Are you sure I can't convince you to stay a while longer?" Farent addressed her, but the leader's eyes were exclusively focused on her three teammates.
Sam moved her arms in an attempt to adjust the bulky paperwork which held the treaty's groundwork. "I do believe I need to take them home," she whispered, using her chin to point to Daniel.
"I am sorry, his recovery wasn't as swift as the one you call O'Neill. I hope that his ability to—"
"I'm sure there will be no difficulty."
"You will be back?"
Only if you keep your tongue in your mouth and your hands to yourself, Sam wanted to shout. "Yes, we would be honored to be invited back."
"And you will *bring* all of your – because they are already protected against the virus."
Sam opened her mouth, shut it and settled for a smile. "We'll be in contact."
"Maybe I will be able to visit *your* world in the future. I am quite sure there will be many things I would find entertaining. And fascinating."
* * *
Jack could understand why Daniel was still in an iso unit, wearing scrubs and with various tubes and monitors surrounding him. Daniel still had a low grade fever, but Jack was having a difficult time understanding why *he* was here.
"Precaution, sir." And Jack could just imagine the wicked smile under her mask. "I can keep track of you here."
"I'm not sick." He pointed at Daniel. "*He's* the one who's still sick. I'm fine."
"Precaution," Fraiser replied patiently. "Along with exhaustion. Dehydration."
"Oh and before I forget, I need you to give me a sample." She deftly removed a plastic container from her labcoat pocket and put it atop Jack's bedside table.
"I already gave at the office," Jack quipped.
Fraiser's face scrunched up in confusion and she hurriedly flipped through the chart in her hands. Jack hated that the surgical mask hid her mouth, because, besides her eyes, he was always able to tell the doc's mood by the set of her mouth. "You gave a urine sample this morning."
She closed the chart and gently pushed the cup towards him. "I need a sperm sample, sir."
Maybe it was a good thing Jack couldn't see the smirk he knew was beyond the mask. "This may be silly question, But ummm, is there a reason why?"
"The virus you were infected with could've possibly destroyed—"
Jack grimaced and fought the impulse to cup his hands protectively over his groin. "My guys?"
"My swimmers? My chromosomes carriers? The famous O'Neill gene could be sidelined for the entire game?"
"Yes, colonel." Fraiser's glance slid over to Daniel's bed. "I'm not sure if that is truly a concern of yours at the moment, though I have to document it for the records."
"I see," Jack said angrily, grabbing the container from the table. "I'm sure Washington will probably bring that up at their next budget discussion." He fiddled with the container. "This isn't going to be part of our yearly physical exams, is it?"
"No sir, of course not, there's certainly no room in the health budget for pornographic magazines in the bathroom." She smiled at Daniel. "Though I could mention the buddy system as a possibility."
"You're evil, doc, do you know that?"
"I do try, sir."
* * *
Jack left his dignity and the filled sample container in the bathroom. He certainly wasn't going to hand it to the nurse along with his empty lunch tray.
He got back into bed, annoyed that he had to be here in the first place, and changed his mind even before he pulled the covers up. He and his IV pole walked over to Daniel and sat down on the bedside chair, and thought a moment or two before prodding him hard enough to wake him.
"Leave me alone." Experience in the infirmary had given Daniel the ability to twist and turn without upsetting a single monitor or lead and he maneuvered deftly away from Jack's intrusion.
"I had to give a sperm sample."
"I heard." He flipped onto his back with nary a disturbing blip to his monitors. "That's why I was pretending to be asleep."
"Bastard. Your turn will come."
Daniel snorted. "Did you just hear what you said?"
Jack paused then grimaced. "Freudian slip?" His hand wandered over Daniel's, and Daniel, in turn, studied Jack's fingers.
"Is that the hand you used to jerk off with?"
"I don't even want to know why you want to know that." He lifted up the hand with the IV tubing. His right hand. Jack was right handed. "Do you *know* how hard it is to... with your left hand?"
"All you had to do was ask, I would have helped." Daniel's grin was out of place in the iso unit of the SGC.
"Don't worry, you helped – in your own way."
Jack tugged on Daniel's IV tubing. "What the hell is Fraiser feeding you?"
* * *
When he had been in the iso unit, Jack had prayed just to be moved into the infirmary and now that he was here, he decided it wasn’t the surroundings that were driving him nuts, but the lack of activity. He fidgeted, adjusted the blanket, then glanced at the clock, and attempted another round of telekinesis to move the hands forward a few hours.
"Stop doing that, Jack."
"Checking the clock. Fidgeting." Daniel’s gaze moved from the book he had his nose buried in, to Jack’s side of the room. "Playing with the blanket."
Jack dropped his hands from unraveling a loose thread along the top of the blanket. "You’re just jealous that I’m being sprung today."
Daniel conceded with a terse shoulder shrug. "No."
"Ha! Liar. I know you can’t wait until Fraiser lets you outta here. When? Tomorrow? The next day?" Jack obviously needed to talk to Fraiser about exactly *what* was tethering Daniel to the infirmary. "Hey, are you okay?"
"I've been in the infirmary less than twenty four hours, twenty four hours before that, I was stuck in an iso room with tubes and monitors. Never mind I felt like crap. So I have no idea when Janet's gonna let me see the light of day." Daniel stuck a pencil along with his legal pad inside the book, slammed it shut then threw it to the foot of the bed. "What time are you leaving?"
"I'm getting a sense of hostility in the air. Are you in a hurry to get rid of me?"
"Why would you think that?" Daniel slid down the mattress, turned to face Jack and defiantly closed his eyes.
Silently, Jack watched the second hand crawl by. "Daniel?"
"Just so you know – my sperm count is minimal."
"Excuse me?" Jack did a quick assessment of the infirmary, unsure if Daniel realized that maybe, just maybe, this wasn't the time or the place for this conversation. Thankfully, the coast appeared clear, so he ambled over to Daniel's bed. "I'm sorry."
Daniel snorted then opened one eye. "It's not like you and I are going to—"
"I know that, but I still can be sorry."
He opened both eyes then blinked at Jack. "Funny, but I'm sorry also. You know, it wasn't from this virus. I umm—" Daniel coughed. "I knew that from my very first physical at the SGC all those years ago." He turned his head. "That's why Sha're and
"And you never told me?" Inexplicably, Jack was hurt.
"Hi, my name is Dr. Daniel Jackson and I'm sterile."
"Yeah, that's true," Jack agreed, his desire to touch Daniel translating into an almost physical ache, unsure why his inability to father a child should sadden him so. "I mean it was bad enough you were a geek..."
His facial expression was full of exasperation but his eyes told Jack how much Daniel, at this one moment in time, loved him for understanding another layer of his psyche. "Jack, I don't want to seem presumptuous, but exactly how many hours before Janet sends you home?"
Jack wanted to tell Daniel why in a flash, he understood how important Shifu actually had been to him, and how he must have died a little more when he realized he wasn't capable of caring for the child from Kheb, but instead he spoke what Daniel needed to hear. "You’re going to miss me when I get discharged." * * * "Of course Daniel’s going to miss you, sir."
She had stood in the doorway to the infirmary for a while just soaking in the quiet, whispered interaction between the colonel and Daniel before stepping over the threshold. Maybe it was confusion which stopped her from just barging in, but then again it could be self-doubt about her ability to continue serving on SG-1, as she wondered how she ever could have weighed her friendship with them over what Washington wanted.
"Ah, Carter." Jack motioned to the other empty chair. "Sit a while, distract Daniel."
Sam ignored the proffered chair and made herself comfortable at the edge of Daniel's bed. "Is the colonel being very annoying?"
"Yes, very." Even in mixed company Daniel had the audacity to stick his tongue out at Jack.
"He's just jealous that Fraiser's sending me home."
"You already said that Jack, and I'm not jealous."
Sam allowed their conversation and banter to wash over her like an unexpected cool breeze on a summer day. She had done well, or maybe in true SG-1 fashion she had made the best of a bad situation.
Sam could admit, in the beginning of the mission, she had lost sight of the forest through the trees, and allowed herself to be coaxed off the path and she closed her mind to the "what ifs" and "yeah maybe's" and focused on the positive.
Given another chance to begin this mission over, would she have done things differently? To borrow a line from the colonel, 'yeahsureaybetcha'.
Pulled out of her reverie, she could feel herself blush. "Sir?"
"Ya did good."
"Not really, colonel." She faltered, then dropped her eyes to study a speck of dust on her fatigues. "Doing good would entail no one ending up in the infirmary."
Sam could feel Daniel's hand under the blanket as he gave a supportive squeeze to her knee. "We're okay. You laid the foundation for the treaty. You bought the SGC some time without Washington breathing down our necks…"
"You and the colonel were sick because of me."
"Carter, I'm going to give you a direct order."
"Now where was I? Oh yeah, about this mission… see, even Daniel agrees with me. Two against one. Make that three, actually. Teal'c already spoke to me, so it's three to one in our favor. You done good."
"Umm a little more conviction in your thank you would be nice. Like you *believed* you deserve it."
* * *
Sam didn't think she would ever believe she deserved the accolades from both General Hammond and the colonel regarding the Shiglarins. Weeks after their first visit, and even now, less than six hours after SG-1 returned to Earth from a second visit, triumphant with a new ally in the Shiglarins – a smattering of weapons and mining rights, Sam was still left with an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of her stomach; which was why she had attempted and failed to find an excuse as to why she'd be unable to participate in the colonel's celebratory barbeque.
So here she stood in the colonel's kitchen, futzing with a bowl of fruit instead of joining her teammates on the deck.
"Everything's fine, Sam."
"Daniel." The watermelon seemed to need a tad more adjustment.
"Are you okay?"
Sam and the bowl of fruit slid two steps away from Daniel. "I'm fine."
"Okay," Daniel said, leaning against the door, blocking her exit. "Let's say for the sake
of argument, you are fine."
"I am," Sam reiterated, sticking a slice of pineapple in her mouth.
"Then I just want to know why you're mad at me."
Sam choked, then put her hand up to stop Daniel's assistance. She swallowed, forcing the pineapple down her throat. "I'm not mad at you," she squeaked.
Daniel handed her a glass of water and plucked a piece of watermelon from the bowl as she drank. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He licked his fingers, but still didn't move. "But you haven't answered my question."
"I'm not mad at you. Honestly, I'm mad at myself."
"Oh Sam, like Jack said… you done good."
"It doesn't feel like I did. I mean I know that the treaty is now signed."
"Hey, Teal'c and Jack and I returned back to Earth today unscathed. That counts for something."
"You were sick."
"And I survived. Jack survived. Hell, even Teal'c made it through with his virtue intact. So I repeat, you done good."
"Ya done good."
"You're starting to sound too much like the colonel, you know."
"Hey, there's no reason to insult me after I said such nice things about you."
"Carry this." Sam swung the bowl of fruit off the counter into Daniel's abdomen. He fumbled with it in surprise, but Sam kept a grip until Daniel managed to balance it.
"You're welcome," she said plucking a grape out of the bowl and sticking it into his mouth.
He chewed the grape, but to Sam's chagrin, still didn't move. "You know something, Sam. You obviously made a good impression on Farent the first time we visited the planet.
"Pffft, sure that's why she took you away, stuck you in a cell, made you sick…"
"Ahh Sam, she saved us. You impressed her with your fortitude, your strength and your sense of justice. Farent actually made us sick because you affected her so strongly." Daniel stopped talking and screwed up his face. "Okay that really doesn't make sense when I say it out loud."
"I'll take it as a compliment."
In the daily occurrences of her everyday, very strange life that was the SGC, Daniel's words were a compliment, as were the steaks the colonel had burning on the barbeque and the box of chocolate donuts that Teal'c had purchased for her. 'Her men', Sam thought as she held the door open for Daniel, 'in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poor', what it all came down to was that she was one damn lucky woman.
* * *
Jack watched Carter and Daniel walk out of his kitchen and he flipped over a steak with such enthusiasm that Teal'c stepped back from the rush of flames.
"I believe they are almost done, O'Neill." Teal'c waved the smoke plume away from his face.
Jack used the fork to wave his own smoke covering away. "I think you're right." The steaks were done, the weather was nice, the beer was cold. Washington got its treaty and he could see from the relaxed smile on Carter's face, he had his team back. All in all a good day. Mission accomplished.
Mission Accomplished first appeared in a zine entitled "Sodality". As always thank you jo for being the best at what you do and to the sisters of my heart for remembering and understanding that you are never far from my thoughts
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