Disclaimer: They're not mine, in spite of the fact that acquiring them is most definitely on 'the list.'

O'Neill's List of 'Impossible' Things

A One-shot

by Linda Bindner

A/N: I always wondered what was on Jack's 'list' that he mentions to Elizabeth Weir at the end of the episode 'New Order, Part II.' This story is a possible response. So this story is a scene addition to 'New Order, Part II'

To Do List:

Ten things Jack O'Neill needs to do before retiring:

1) Marry Carter

2) Reach the rank of Brigadier General (it's as possible as number 1 on this list ever happening. And so far, number 1 has been 'impossible' for... five?... yeah... five years)

3) Make number 1 on this list possible - how am I going to do that again?

4) Um... nope, got nothin' - Oh, yeah, have President rescind the fraternization regulations for the SGC - 'cause he does whatever I want him to do... right? Riiiggghhhtt.

5) Make sure the Commissary has a constant run of blue Jell-O

6) Make sure the Commissary has a constant run of red Jell-O

7) Marry Carter

8) Marry Carter

9) Marry Carter

10) After marrying Carter, make sure all scientists at the SGC take courses from her on becoming a National Treasure. And on how to avert the weekly destruction of the base. Plus, have her show them how to properly run a 'Gate diagnostic... 'cause I sure don't know how, so I can't teach them.

Bonus category: 11) Addendum - January, 2004 - Carter has a boyfriend who isn't me - disregard numbers 1, 7, 8, 9, and most of 10, as they are now extremely unlikely to ever happen - and I mean it this time. Note to self: revise list to reflect new state of 'affairs'

12) Addendum to the addendum - July, 2004 - Carter and shrub (er, boyfriend) getting too cozy for words - so, forget new list - not enough energy left to write it

Daniel stood quietly beside Jack's desk in his old office (the desk he insisted that he didn't have) and read through the list again, unmindful of the fact that he'd been silently standing in one place for several minutes. His heart had dropped the moment that he found this 'list' when he'd been cleaning out the files in Jack's file cabinet. This particular file had been stored under the mysterious heading 'Name that Tune.' Only the fact that the mysterious 'Tune' name had been crossed out to be replaced with the equally mysterious name 'System Lords Unanimous' had even made him look at the file twice. But once it had caught his eye, he found that he couldn't put aside the simple list that he'd found in the file folder's interior. It had been written on the back of a grocery receipt for milk, but even it's small and crinkled form didn't deter him. He was as captivated by this list as he typically was with any stray artifact.

Daniel'd had no idea that Jack was keeping track of such ideas as were in the list, or that he had taken the time to write them down over the years. In fact, he was a bit surprised that Jack had wanted to be promoted to Brigadier General before he had actually been given that promotion.

Daniel's job today was to help Jack move all the stuff that he'd collected over the years from his old office to his new office, though, really, no one would ever be able to fill Hammond's shoes, even if they inhabited his office. However, Daniel knew that Jack already knew that. But as Sam once said, if they had to have a new leader for the SGC, anybody who wasn't Jack could be much worse than Jack at running the base (and that had come out in his memory just about as well as it had come out of Sam's mouth.)

Hence that was the reason that Daniel now had a box full of file folders sitting beside him on Jack's old desk (that Jack insisted he didn't have), and the files were the reason that he had found this particular folder to begin with, and thus the list. Now Daniel's reading was akin to his efforts to translate a new language - intense and focused, and he found that reading Jack's list was equally as enthralling.

Perusing the list took all of Daniel's attention, to the point that he didn't even notice Jack entering his office again at a jaunty pace, as if the man didn't have a care in the world. The list argued the exact opposite state of 'Jack affairs' quite succinctly, though Daniel doubted that anyone would ever see Jack's numbered desires, or that anyone had ever seen it. Jack - being Jack - would never have shown it to anybody, at least, not to anybody who could help him make any of what he had written down on the list come true. Most notably, he obviously hadn't shown it to Sam Carter, as she was currently dating said shrub... er, had found a boyfriend who most definitely wasn't Jack, thus nullifying most of the list, just as Jack had indicated.

When Jack noticed what Daniel was so discreetly - or not so discreetly - doing, he paused at the office door to stare at his former teammate for a stunned moment. Then, without any warning whatsoever, he ripped the paper list out of Daniel's hands and stuffed it back into it's original file folder, right next to his never utilized bid for retirement. That's private, he growled as he snatched.

The lack of a list left Daniel staring at his fingers, and feeling totally foolish. But then, Jack O'Neill excelled at making people feel foolish. Especially, Daniel knew, himself.

What are you doing? Daniel inquired before Jack had the chance to say anything more.

Jack's frown deepened. I'm taking back what's mine! he informed. Then he grabbed the box full of files in complete irritation, and started for the door.

Which left Daniel with nothing to do with his hands. Or his fingers. Or his arms. So he threw his right arm across the office door, barring Jack's exit into the corridor outside, and waited.

Jack huffed a sigh, his irritation showing in the way he growled along with his sigh, and shifted the box to rest on his hip. Daniel, he began, his tone full of patient warning.

But Daniel cut him off. You haven't showed your list to Sam, have you? he asked, being blunt even for him.

Jack issued another irritated sigh. He stared at Daniel, and Daniel sent an unflinching, aggravated look back at him.

Jack heaved a long suffering sigh again. It appeared that Daniel wasn't going to be satisfied with anything but the entire story behind 'the list.' Jack winced at the idea of being open enough to tell him the truth, but Daniel... according to Daniel's look of supreme irritation... wasn't going to give him any choice in the matter. So he reluctantly said, If you must know, no, I haven't showed it to her. As far as I know, she doesn't even know about this list. Then he stared straight at Daniel, giving him the full benefit of his 'death glare,' barely cognizent of the horribly repetetive word choices he'd just made. Unaware, he utelized the same warning tone of voice he'd used earlier when he spoke again. And she better not find out about it, either, he threatened. His voice softened as he went on, Besides, the shrub got to her before I did, so there's no reason to even keep this list now, to say nothing of showing it to her.

Daniel blinked in Jack's direction in complete incredulity. 'Got to her before...!?' Daniel gave an annoyed sigh, then barked, Jack, by my calculations, you've had this list for two or three years, if not longer. You've had all those years to show it to her. He carefully regarded Jack's impassive face. And yet, you've never shown it to her at all, have you? Already knowing the answer to his rhetorical question, Daniel tapped his fingers on the doorframe, illustrating his disquiet. When he went on, his voice was slightly accusatory, and brittle, a tone that he hadn't taken with his team leader in... well, ever. Might I ask what you're waiting for?

You can ask... Jack said, trying to joke, letting his voice trail off at the end, as if implying that though Daniel could ask, he wouldn't tell him anything.

But Daniel just shot Jack his own version of 'the glare of death,' and went back to waiting, a definite edge to his impatient stance.

So Jack gave another irritated huff of air, this gust showing just a hint of his anger. But Daniel had always been rather annoyingly oblivious to the O'Neill temper. Jack took one more look at the implacable Daniel, and knew that the archaeologist would refuse to move his arm until he replied. So Jack decided to 'throw him a bone' just to get the man off his back. Alright - no, I haven't shown it to her because of the regulations - and you should know that, Daniel. I would never do any...

Bullshit, Jack, Daniel said, interrupting him, a hard edge in his voice that the linguist had also never displayed before. Now he stood up to Jack in an atypically overt way. This new Daniel gave the impression that he was somebody to be reckoned with.

But Jack was soooooo not in the mood to be reckoning with anyone just now! His eyebrows rose in a sarcastic arc that meant 'danger' to anybody else in the galaxy. Daniel, of course, was still oblivious, perhaps purposefully so. However, he couldn't misunderstand Jack's sarcasm when he oh-so-casually inquired, Excuse me?

So Daniel repeated himself, just for his friend's benefit. I said 'bullshit,' Jack.

Jack studied Daniel as if he were a detestable alien bug. And I said 'Excuse me,' he echoed Daniel's mode of declaration. He rested the box more securely on his hip, continuing to glare. When Daniel didn't elaborate on his earlier comment, Jack added, It generally means 'Care to explain?' His voice dripped with the sense of danger he was exuding.

Daniel really didn't think that he needed to explain anything, as Jack already knew what his explanation was going to entail, but he gamely answered anyway. The regulations... you've been using that excuse for as long as I've known you.

Jack's brows quirked again. He slowly announced through clenched teeth, That's because they've always been there, Daniel.

And if you changed them, Daniel noted with an insight that he typically lacked. If you asked that they be rescinded, like this list says that you want, then... He pointed to the file that Jack's list currently resided in, and his insight grew as his voice got softer. Then you would have to finally do something about all this, wouldn't you? He waved his hand, taking in the office, the SGC, Sam, the list... the whole darned situation with just one gesture. You would have to say something to her. He stood eye to eye with Jack as the military leader had earlier propped himself against the door frame. You would have to face the fact that you wanted to... what does this list say?... over and over again?... Oh yeah, to marry her!

Jack quickly shot a glance out his open office door. Daniel! Sh! He threw his gaze back at his teammate. Do you want her to hear?

Daniel rolled his eyes in aggravation at his friend's seeming obtuseness. Um... yeah.... Isn't that... like... the point?

All this question did was make Jack rear back a little and frown. Have you been talking to Cassie again? he queried.

Don't change the subject! Daniel growled in response.

Jack threw a second glance out his empty door, then lowered the box further down to his old desk, defeat fairly oozing out of every pore in him now. Yet, even in defeat, Jack had an edge of anger hidden under his calm exterior. A lot of good telling her would do, Daniel! he bit off. She's dating that... thing... and I...

Are you actually going to take that lying down? Daniel suddenly demanded to know. Is the great Jack O'Neill not going to fight this fight?

Jack glared again in Daniel's direction. What am I supposed to do? Hm? Tell me that?! His own tone matched that of Daniel's - irritated sarcasm. He made her hum, for cryin out loud!

Daniel jerked back to stare at Jack. Actually, he was rather surprised that Jack was even willing to talk about this. Quite frankly, he expected even more than he usually did for Jack to lose his patience with him and to tell him off. But Jack wasn't behaving normally... and this wasn't a very 'normal' conversation. In it, they had already broached more subjects that were considered 'taboo' than they had in all their time together. Emboldened by his success so far, he demanded to know, Where and when did Pete make her hum?

In the elevator! Jack informed in a sad voice. Several weeks ago! She was humming, and it was because of him! He looked desperate now, and only desperation would make him admit this particular tidbit.

Weeks ago! scoffed Daniel, as if the amount of time that had passed wasn't important. I bet that humming was nothing more to her than a sound of the moment. Despite his casual tone, his stare intensified as he glared at Jack. Now Daniel looked pissed. Have you not been looking at her since this... humming accident? he asked, and when Jack didn't answer, added, Have you not seen what I've been seeing?

Jack appeared as if he was again fast losing his patience. He testily inquired, Oh, pray, wise one, what have you been seeing?

Daniel rolled his eyes again, and groaned. She's bored! he announced as if what he was saying was the most obvious thing in the world. She's been bored, Jack, for... weeks!

Jack gave him another glare. And just how do you know that, Daniel?

For the third time since the beginning of this outlandish conversation, Daniel rolled his eyes. Don't you hear it? he asked.

Jack's brows lowered again. Hear what?

Sam... humming! Daniel told him.

She isn't humming now! Jack began, the sound of intense frustration in his voice.

And once again, Daniel surprised him by stating, Precisely!

It was a point that stopped Jack in his tracks. Oh, he said, as if he hadn't thought of that before. Good point.

Daniel's brows rose as he hemmed, trying to lead Jack to a certain conclusion. Uhhhhhh...

Jack cocked his head to the side, still considering.

Uhhhhhhh... Daniel prompted again.

Yeah, Jack finally said, giving in to his friend's higher intel at this time. Okay. He grimaced. Like I said, you might have something there.

Daniel grinned without saying anything more. He socked Jack on his arm as if they were instant best buddies again. With that gesture, he doled out the best advice he could give. So... tell her!

Jack rolled his shoulder, but otherwise didn't react to the sock his friend had just given him. But... He protested, and began to wilt right before Daniel's eyes. But...

Daniel gave a purely aggravated sigh at his friend's propensity to always find flaws in his plans. What? he demanded.

I can't... Jack went back to thinking about what Daniel wanted him to do. If I say something to her, then I'll have to... His voice trailed away for a second time.

Daniel looked as though he'd had enough of Jack's excuses. Yes, Jack, it means that you will have to talk to her, he deadpanned. About your feelings, he said more specifically. When Jack threw him an expression that said 'don't you dare even speak of that!' he breathed another sigh. Doing anything else is pointless, he noted in barely contained frustration. If you want to just give her over to this... this... He sputtered, not sure what to say. This...

Shrub Jack finished for him.

Yeah, thanks, Daniel interrupted himself. Him. Then he continued as if he'd never stopped. If you give up before the fight even begins, then you might as well hand her over to him on a silver platter. His glare intensified. And according to this... And he thumped the side of the box containing the file containing the list. You don't want to do that. He meaningfully eyed Jack. Now tell me I just didn't nominate a complete coward... uh, I mean, the wrong man... to lead the SGC.

Jack looked as if he wanted to answer Daniel, but changed his mind again at the last moment. I'm no coward - you know that! - but this... He shook his head. What you're asking is...

Daniel looked infinitely disappointed, but still forced himself to make a final advisory attempt, Jack it's easy - just kill her with kindness - that's all it would take.

Jack looked at him as if he didn't believe that anything that he considered to be so revolutionary could possibly be so simple. Kill her with kindness? he sarcastically echoed, still not believing a word that Daniel was saying.

Daniel now looked supremely confident, as if he had personal experience with what he was talking about. Yeah.

That's it?

That's it.

Again Jack looked like he didn't believe him.

You don't believe me, Daniel flatly announced.

I want to! Jack insisted. Then admitted, But, no, I don't.

As if explaining to a three year old, Daniel said, This... shrub... always plays things cheerful, right?

Jack regarded him with caution. What was Daniel getting at? As far as I've seen - not that I've seen him all that much, Jack affirmed.

So... Daniel tried to get Jack to finish his comment by inviting him with an open armed gesture.

Jack ignored the gesture to repeat him, So..?

Daniel groaned. Jack, do you have to be so slow?

Jack looked dangerous again. I am not slow!

Daniel huffed an angry breath. When it comes to women, you're slow!

It was the wrong thing to say to convince Jack to welcome Daniel into his hour of 'happy feeling' confession time. I don't see you painting the town red, either, Dr. Jackson! he growled.

My love life is beside the point! Daniel hissed. All you have to do is be nice to her! he insisted. Show her that you still care, and... voila!

Jack's lowered brows and frown of disbelief showed that he was still unconvinced.

Just go after her! Daniel implored. This once!

Jack just threw him a beseeching glance. As The Impressive Clergyman from 'The Princess Bride' said, 'Why don't you give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it!' He glared, then gave up and sighed once more, a sigh of utter distress. I can't, Daniel, you know that! Not and comply with the regulations at the same time! His fierceness softened as he repeated, I can't!

Daniel's aggravation didn't abate this time. So says the man who declared 'Not in this lifetime!' to Apophis when offered that fake clemency of his? He scoffed, Yeah, right! he derided. And it was Miracle Max who said that line, not The Impressive Clergyman.

Jack's expression lowered even further. Huh?

Daniel grunted his reply. Miracle Max... not The Impressive Clergyman.

Oh. Jack's eyes narrowed. Are you sure?

Daniel's patient breath of air sounded loud in the empty room. Yeah, pretty sure, he intoned.

Just then, Carter appeared around the corner and entered the office. She immediately noticed the box sitting on Jack's desk, the fact that neither Jack nor Daniel seemed to be lifting a finger to move it, and grabbed the box herself, pulling it into her arms as she returned to the hallway. What are you guys talking about? she innocently asked over her shoulder as she moved out of the room.

Nothing, Jack quickly told her in the least guilty tone he could muster. He grabbed the next box in the pile to take and followed her into the corridor, praying that she wouldn't see the file containing 'the list' sitting right under her nose in the open box.

Daniel also grabbed a box to carry, and followed Jack out of the office. As he went, he whacked his former team leader on his arm with his elbow.

But Jack ignored Daniel in order to distract Carter, saying, We were just quoting that movie... the one with the whole 'True Love' thing...

Carter smiled. Ah, 'The Princess Bride, she announced, delighted. Then she instantly quoted, Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?''If there are, we'll all be dead!' She lost herself in peels of laughter.

Jack grinned just because she was grinning. See? That's what I'm telling ya - so quotable!

Daniel thoughtfully added, I always saw Teal'c as the Fezzik character.

Carter sobered, shot an assessing stare at Jack, then Daniel, then said, Nooooo... Her gaze focused once more on Jack, whose stomach did an instant somersault in response to such a direct expression. It was clear to him at least that his feelings for Carter sure hadn't diminished since the introduction of 'the shrub.' You? she wanted to know.

Nah, he drawled, agreeing with her. Teal'c's too... something... to be Fezzik.

Well, he's not Inigo Montoya! Daniel stated in no uncertain terms. He isn't skinny enough!

No, not Inigo, Jack agreed.

You know, Carter conversationally began, I had to watch this silly cop movie with Pete last night that he's been wanting to watch. It was called... She did a double take right there in the corridor. Oh, God, I don't even remember what it was called! She studied Jack walking beside her. Anyway, it was dumb, she told them. Nothing like 'The Princess Bride.' She wrinkled her nose. Not at all quotable.

Daniel again slugged Jack as a reminder of their recent conversation in a way that Sam couldn't see his action. Jack did a little dance as a result, trying to avoid 'the wrath of Daniel,' but turned a bit toward Sam as they continued down the hallway. Uh, Carter, he cautiously began, his voice hesitant in spite of the courage that Daniel had earlier tried to convince him that he had.

Now Daniel nodded in approval at Jack's behavior, a sight Jack caught out of the corner of his eye. But most of his gaze was taken up by Carter. Yes? she asked, an obvious hopeful lilt in her voice.

Jack didn't miss the fact that she left off her usual 'Sir' this time. Emboldened, he continued, Um... Daniel and I... we were wondering...

Yes? she prompted again. Her eyebrows rose in interrogation.

For a moment Jack seemed as if he was at a loss, then quickly regrouped to ask in an uncharacteristically hesitant voice, We were just discussing the regulations... and were wondering what you think my chances are... now that I'm 'The Man...' to... His voice trailed off to disappear in the common noise of the SGC.

So Carter prompted him. What about the regulations? she asked as she plopped the box she was carrying down on a stack set off to one side on Jack's new office desk. When she was done, she patiently regarded him.

Was there a hint of hope in her gaze? Jack wasn't certain. He set his own box on the desk, as did Daniel, and both men turned back to Carter, who was still standing, silently waiting for one of them to say more.

When nothing happened, she again prompted, You were saying..?

Um... yeah. Jack went on in a voice that was still full of trepidation, but he was gaining confidence the more he spoke. What do you think my chances are...

Now that you're 'The Man, she repeated.

Jack brightened. At least he knew that she had been listening. What are my chances... do you think... of convincing the President to... rescindthefratregsfortheSGC? he asked all in a rush. But at least he had gotten it out.

Surprisingly, Carter didn't quirk her eyebrow and pretend that she didn't understand what he was he'd said, or even what he was referring to. Instead, she smiled, a soft lazy grin that was followed by a blush of a deep red hue. That in turn was followed by a look of supreme satisfaction. I think... She blushed again, then her red cheeks took on a determined look. Well, she forced herself to say. She cleared her throat, and squeaked, I think... What have you got to lose?

What indeed? In fact, Daniel had basically said as much. That's the point I was making... sort of, he softly intoned from behind them.

It could be one of my first orders of business, Jack suggested with a forced lightheartedness.

Carter considered, then predicted, It would make you extremely popular... if you can pull it off.

Was that a challenge? When Jack sent her an assessing stare, as if to ask 'Is there any doubt that I could 'pull it off?'' she added, Many times I've heard people here at the SGC complaining about their lack of social lives, and they've all said that the regs are the main reason for that. She stared at Jack. And you want to rescind them? The stare she was sending him became much more mischievous and assessing. She announced, Who would have guessed that you would be such a touchy-feely General?

Jack's eyes darkened. Carter! This situation is soooooo not touchy-feely! You know me better than that!

Carter shot a look at the top file in the box that she had so negligently dropped to the desk, then met his eyes again right before saucily turning away. Yes, Sir, I know you... better even than you think!

Then she was gone.

Leaving Daniel and Jack to stare after her, gaping.

What had just happened? What did her last look mean? Her last comment? Did she know? Is that what she had meant? Had she already seen that list? It certainly seemed as if she already knew what was in that file! Carter! Jack called after her.

Remember - you didn't hear it from me! she hollered back, and her answering burst of laughter was the only thing that echoed down the corridor.

The End

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