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A/N Part III in 'The Relationship Series...' Can I possibly title it better than that? (Sarcasm alert! Big time!)

Geez, Jack, I wasn't Born Yesterday, Ya Know

by Linda Bindner

The wormhole of the Stargate kawooshed into the room, and the five individuals gathered at the bottom of the ramp leading up into the blue swirl of lights smiled, but had that look of saying 'goodbye,' too.

General Hammond was the first to speak. Colonel O'Neill, Dr. Jackson... we'll see you tomorrow morning. Until then...

Jack grinned as his commanding general spoke the words he was soooo familiar with. ... we have a go... Yeah, I kinda figured on that.

Hammond sent the Colonel a slightly sour look. You and your sarcasm... It's going to get you into trouble one of these days.

But not on... Jack paused, then glanced towards Sam. Where are we going again?

I'm not saying it if you can't bother to remember it, she said, just as stubborn as he was dense about speaking the official number designation of his and Daniel's destination.

Okay, okay! Jack said, giving in easily after her gentle chastisement. Of course, he would always give in easy where Carter was concerned. It's P4R-113... Who gave it a dumb name like that, anyway?

I did, Hammond told them.

Daniel spoke up for the first time. And on that happy note... Jack, the Stargate won't stay on forever if we don't go through it sometime soon...

Jack said in a testy tone of voice, Daniel, we have thirty-eight minutes, by Carter's calculations...

You do, I swear, Carter said.

Jack gave a shrug of his shoulders under the black vest he was wearing. There, ya see?

We're wasting time, Daniel said in a sing/song voice.

Hey! Jack retorted, sounding pissed as hell but not really pissed at anyone. The crux of that problem was that he knew that his team members knew that he was just playacting for their personal benefit... Ah, hell, when had they all gotten to know him so well? If Conners hadn't broken his leg like he had, we wouldn't be going on this... this...

Expedition, Daniel filled in for him.

Whatever, Jack said. Then, he finished his first sentence without missing a beat. We wouldn't be going on this expedition at all, so keep your shirt on about leaving, will ya? There will be plenty of time to dig around in that old ruin we're going to investigate, don't you worry. The truth of the situation was, though, that Jack didn't want to leave Sam and Teal'c behind, and was dawdling on purpose so that he could put off leaving for as long as possible.

That is, until Daniel reached out and grabbed a fistful of Jack's vest in a surprisingly tight grip. He pulled Jack forward up the steps to the ramp. See you guys tomorrow morning... Come on, Jack.

When had Danny-boy gotten so strong? Jack wondered. He tripped up the steps, and was glad that Daniel had such a tight grip on his vest, as that grip of his was the only thing keeping Jack from falling on his face. See ya tomorrow! he called in a strangled tone of voice, but was forced to follow Daniel up to the active 'Gate.

Sam giggled (something she had taken to doing lately), and said, No worries! We'll be fine... We have big plans for the next day, after all!

Teal'c gave a rare Jaffa smile. If you can call lunch plans 'big plans' MajorCarter.

I'm gonna tell Janet that you don't think lunch with us is 'big plans,' Teal'c, Sam retorted. She'll poke you with her extra long needles made only for Jaffa next time we have to go to the Infirmary.

That may be the next time I see her, Teal'c regretfully said. I must miss our lunch date today, and ask for a storm check.

Sam grinned. That's 'rain check,' Teal'c, she said.

Teal'c answered, I know. DanielJackson has been instructing me on Earth idioms and customs. I merely wished to 'keep you on your toes,' he said, still grinning that almost, not-quite-there Jaffa smile.

Sam's smile was much larger. We'll miss you, then, Teal'c. But maybe Janet will go out to lunch with me for a change, instead of going with me to the Commissary.

Jack butted into the conversation. Have fun, wherever you go, and think of us as we eat our MREs!

But Daniel had clearly had enough, and was itching to get going. 'Miles to go before we sleep,' and all that, Jack, he reminded. We're off to excavate... See you all tomorrow morning!

Bye! came out a chorus of voices. Teal'c's voice rumbled under the other farewells.

Later! was all that Jack had time to squeak before Daniel had propelled him into the 'Gate. In no time at all (three or so seconds, Jack thought to himself), they were in the balmy atmosphere of P4R-113. Jack was already mentally calling it 'that damned Daniel planet,' in his head.

The Stargate disengaged behind them with a snap. They stepped down the Stargate steps, and moved fluidly through the surrounding brush towards the path that would take the two to the ruin that Daniel so wanted to excavate. Though, they still had a half-hour walk in head of them.

Daniel didn't waste any time speaking up, now that they were officially alone. Okay, Jack, he said. Just how long has this dating Sam thing been going on?

Jack nearly choked. This what? he grunted in Daniel's general direction.

Daniel rolled his eyes. Here we are, the only two people on a totally deserted planet, all alone, just the two of us... You better tell me what I want to know, or I might refuse to make supper tonight, and make you cook, instead. Then he did a double take. Better yet, I'll make you help me with all my excavating, and tell Hammond that you were less than helpful if you don't... So, what's it gonna be?

Jack righted himself after Daniel let go of his vest. Damn, Daniel, do you think...

And don't change the subject, Daniel retorted. I'm onto you... Teal'c told me that you do that all the...

Teal'c doesn't know everything... Jack started to say.

Daniel cut him off. He knows enough. He skirted a rose bush and its prickly thorns that was growing at the side of the path, then continued. So, what's it gonna be, Jack?

Threaten me with something other than just making supper, Daniel, or...

I'll tell Hammond about you and Sam if you make me do it, Daniel immediately affirmed.

Jack's brows rose to his gray hairline. Damn, you're not kidding...

No, I'm not... And I know that you would do just about anything to keep me from hurting Sam's career... even if it's not true, and you're not dating her...

Okay, okay! But not one word, ya got that? Jack replied.

Daniel sighed. You also know that I would never do anything that I know would hurt Sam, either, Jack... Your secret stays on this planet, and I'll never mention it again if you just tell me, so that I can get over this wondering, but not being absolutely sure thing that I have going...

Six months, Jack said, whispered really. Since that...

That movie about the Challenger disaster? Daniel finished for him.

Hey! Jack said in some surprise. How did you know that?

Daniel suddenly grinned. Because me and Teal'c planned for that little outing of yours ahead of time... We each agreed to say that we couldn't go with you so that...

Jack looked at him in amazed appreciation. So that I would have to ask Carter...

It was Teal'c's idea, Daniel told him. He's the one who saw that Za'tarc test of Anise's, and knew how you felt about each other.

And I trusted him not to say anything! Jack glared at the surrounding weeds in contempt.

And he didn't, Daniel said. I guessed when he 'didn't say anything.' Geez, Jack, give me some credit, will ya? I can make deductions on my own, ya know, and I've known you and Sam for...

Too long, apparently, Jack decisively stated.

You two..? Daniel asked then. How to put it..? he mumbled to himself. Then, in a louder voice, he asked Jack, How serious is this thing between you two? I mean, I'm part of the team... I need to know what to expect.

Mine and Carter's relationship has had no affect on the team as a whole, so... Jack began to defend.

Daniel interrupted him. I know, I know... But even you have to admit that the team has gotten ten times better at what we do over these last six months.

It was the last thing that Jack expected to hear. So..? he prompted.

So, Daniel complied to his prompt. How serious?

Jack sighed in defeat, then told his friend, Very.

Very serious?

Yes, Daniel, now can we drop it, okay?

No way, Daniel smirked. How serious is 'very serious?'

Jack sighed again. As in, I would have already asked her to marry me, but we have those dumb regulations to deal with.

Wow. That's serious, Daniel announced.

Yeah. Now shut up, will ya? And if Hammond ever hears one word about this...

Oh, Hammond already knows, Daniel said in a totally blasť tone. Or, at least, he suspects.

Jack stopped walking along the path so fast that Daniel ran into him. He what? How do you know all this when I haven't heard..?

He didn't tell me directly, but to me through Janet... That way, he can deny everything if push comes to shove on this...

If push comes to shove, Jack repeated, I'll retire...

But that won't be necessary, Daniel confirmed. As I said, things couldn't be better, and I told Hammond so... through Janet...

So Janet knows, too? Jack asked. When Daniel nodded, he continued, What..? Did she see something, or hear something that..?

She's known ever since she met you guys that day at the Chelsea Street Mall, Daniel diffidently answered. She's not dumb, you know, and...

Cassie, Jack said, then, in another defeated voice. I bet it was Cassie. Honestly, that girl is so tenacious that I would want her on the team if she were any older... She reminds me of Carter...

Hey, you too? Daniel inquired then in a bright voice, happy to have his own feelings about Cassie confirmed. It's that same single-mindedness...

Yeah, I know what you're talking about, Jack told him.

Daniel glanced his way. Yeah, I bet you do, he said, showing that he really did understand. Anyway.., he said with a shake of his head. You two... um... sleeping together... or anything?

Daniel! Jack exploded. Too personal, don'tchathink?

But Daniel didn't back down in the face of Jack's sudden anger. It wasn't a surprise, really... He had never been one to bow down to Jack's louder words, not since he'd met the volatile man. Well?

Geez! You gotta know everything, don't you?

Yeah, I do, Daniel agreed. I'm that way... You know... tenacious.

Have you been taking lessons from Carter, too? Jack sarcastically asked.

No, Daniel deadpanned back. Cassie's been teaching me. So?

Jack closed his eyes in distress. This is not happening, he told himself. But he opened his eyes to see Daniel expectantly watching him. He did his best to avoid Daniel's gaze, and actually succeeded for a whole thirty seconds, but Daniel was... tenacious. All right! Jack said. Yes! Now will ya shut up about it already?

Daniel slowly grinned. Thought so, he said with a certain amount of satisfaction in his voice. You've been way too nice these past few months not to...

Hey! Jack harshly said. Enough! You're talking about Carter, here!

I remember, Daniel protested. How can I forget?

What you're suggesting can be taken as really dirty... You just remember that, too! Jack demanded.

It's not dirty! Daniel instantly protested as well. It's... it's... really cool, he finally admitted, remembering the one year that he had been married.

Yeah, Jack solemnly said then, reminding them. But, no matter how 'cool' it really is, a court-martial squad of goons can pervert it faster than a System Lord can gloat.

Court-martial... Is that all you can think about? Daniel asked.

I better think about that! Jack told him. I have Carter's career to think about, too, whenever I get bored!

What about your own career?

Jack grimaced. If it's a toss up between mine and Carter's careers, I don't give a hoot in hell about my own job... But Carter has so much more to lose than I do that...

No, she doesn't, Daniel said. Not really. You both have the same thing to lose, and that's a priceless thing to lose if you ask me.

Jack was rather surprised that Daniel could be so romantic at times. And what do we have to lose, Daniel? he asked, his voice positively dripping with sarcasm despite Daniel's romantic leanings.

Daniel rolled his eyes, as if this should be obvious to Jack. You have this whole 'together' thing to lose, Jack! And that's worth... It's worth more than gold! More than... than anything!

Jack stared at Daniel. When did you get to be so wise?

God, if I could have Sha're like you have Sam..! Daniel burst out.

Daniel! Jack's voice whipped over his friend. Do not say that out loud, ever, do you understand me?

Jack! Daniel shouted, and held his head. God! Why are you being like this?

Like what?

So damned soldierish! Daniel said at last. Any one can see that what you and Sam share is a good thing, not something that needs to be hidden and...

I'm hiding it for her protection! Jack harshly bit back. And you will do the same if you care one whit about what happens to Carter!

I care, Daniel insisted. I care more than you know. Sam's as much a sister to me as she is...

Then keep your mouth shut, Jack ordered. And if I have to order you to, I will.

You don't have to, Daniel assured him. I can see how much this is affecting both of you...

It's not affecting us or our jobs at all, Jack interrupted.

Yes, it is! Daniel insisted. If anything, you've gotten better at your jobs, and I will say as much if I ever...

Say nothing!

Jack, you don't get it, do you? Daniel inquired.

I 'get it' just fine, Jack negated. What worries me is that the military is sure not to 'get it' at all! It will only see two people in violation of a strict fraternization policy that I happen to agree with in about every other instance than ours, so...

Daniel flatly said, You're wrong.

Excuse me? Jack asked, vibrating with his anger for another moment before it started to seep out of him at Daniel's intense expression.

You're wrong, Daniel repeated. Hammond's as military as a man can be, he respects those regulations, too, and he hasn't said a thing to me... Has he spoken to either you or Sam about any of this?

Jack had to concede that Daniel had a point. No.

Daniel gave a gesture that clearly said 'There ya go' without him saying a word. So... What's it like? Daniel finally asked.

Slowly, Jack smiled. It's good, he answered.

Daniel grinned, too. Yeah?

Very good! Jack said then, his smile growing wider. Should have done this ages ago.

Yes, you should have, Daniel muttered in agreement. Then he threw his arm over Jack's shoulder in a rare show of brotherly affection. And I'm really glad that you finally did, he said, and squeezed.

Sequel: Do You Want Fries With That?


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