TITLE: After Everything
ARCHIVE: Sure, knock yourself out. Just let me know where to find it.
FEEDBACK: Please. Good or bad, bring it on. Here, or by email. : )
CATEGORY: Action… wee bit o' humour
SPOILERS: Ummm… none really
RATING: Still Gen, darn it! Stop it!
SUMMARY: Daniel Jackson… night-time ninja, part two. This is how you get a reputation.
THANKS TO: Pettygrew, as always, for the beta and for the helpful hints… and for the bunnies. I wasn't intending to do a follow-up, but Petty came by with this cute little bunny and… augh! Look at all these bunnies! Where'd they come from? One story, I said… and now I've plotted out four and, lord help us all, one might be slash.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic was inspired by Michael Shank's story at GateCon. When asked for some insight into the show, something we fans don't know, he said (and I quote)… "Daniel's actually a night-time ninja. He fights crime in the streets of Colorado Springs… When everyone thinks he's up late studying stuff, he's actually fighting crime on the streets… There's a little tidbit for you fan fiction writers." Poor man never realized that fanfic writers, like bunnies, live on tidbits.
The archaeologist yawned, grinding a knuckle into his eye then moving his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. His glasses were still in the plastic evidence bag with his pager. He didn't bother putting them on now. With his headache, there was no point.
"Daniel." The voice sounded again, slightly more irritated, with an underlying note of concern. "You gonna make this?"
Daniel frowned and slowly opened one eye. "What?"
"That's it. Starbucks it is."
"Daniel, it's barely nine o'clock. You can't be falling asleep yet."
"Oh yeah, busy day. What did you do today, Daniel? Went to a different planet, translated a dead language and stopped a robbery. Do you even know how to have a normal day?"
"You were there for most of it."
"Yes, and I went home and attempted to watch a hockey game in peace only to find out that you were out fighting crime in the streets of Colorado Springs."
"Jack I was-"
"Just there. I know." Jack shot him companion a rueful smile. "I know. You did good."
Daniel's head drooped.
"Starbucks." Jack began searching for the familiar green sign.
- - - - -
Daniel frowned. Someone was poking his arm. "Daniel." The poking changed to a light slap on his shoulder. "Daniel. Should we be taking you to a hospital? You know what they say about sleeping and head injuries."
Daniel's eyebrows went up, and shortly thereafter, his eyelids followed suit. "I'm fine. Didn't get much sleep last night."
"Alright. The usual?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "The usual."
Jack opened the door. He put one foot on the ground and looked out into the cool night air. He then reconsidered, turning back to the dozing archaeologist. Jack shrugged out of his jacket, laying it across Daniel's chest. "Don't want you scaring the locals with the blood, and the gore and all." He waved his hand. Daniel frowned in his sleep, oblivious to it all.
Jack shook his head and got out of the truck, locking the doors behind him. Didn't want anyone stealing Daniel while he was fetching coffee. He made his way to the entrance of the store. According to the store hours, this branch would be closing in ten minutes. Perfect timing.
Jack made his way to the counter where a perky, and probably highly caffeinated, young woman bounced up to him and asked for his order. Jack leaned back and stared at the menu. There were way too many options. Did people seriously need that much coffee? What did they do before Starbucks? You had one kind of coffee, and you liked it.
There was Daniel's usual, a triple-shot espresso, but then, they were advertising this new caramel and whipped cream concoction. Caramel Macchiato. Sounded like the right amount of sugar and caffeine to perk up a wounded… ninja. Jack smiled at the thought.
The clerk, thinking the smile was for her, blushed a little and poised her fingers over the register keys, waiting for Jack's order.
Jack abruptly leaned back and looked at the food in the display counter. Daniel probably hadn't eaten. He looked over his shoulder as a new patron entered the shop. Better speed it up then.
"How fresh are your sandwiches?"
"Made them myself." She cheerily replied.
"So, what… six hours ago?" Jack pursed his lips thoughtfully, giving the sandwiches a critical eye.
"Four." She smiled, her relentless cheerfulness slipping only a touch.
"That." He pointed at some meat-like sandwich. "And that brownie. Not the one in the front. The one in the back. More icing." She reached for the sandwich. "No… the other one. That one has wilted lettuce. The man's a hero. He can't have wilted lettuce."
Behind him, the scruffy young man started shifting from foot to foot, playing with something in the pocket of his old hooded sweater. Jack watched him out of the corner of his eye for a moment, before turning his attention back to the sandwich.
"Something to drink, sir?"
The serving girl's smile grew slightly frosty. "Slightly more specific, please."
Jack named his drink. One of the caramel things for Daniel. He looked out the window and could just make out the slumped form of the archaeologist in the truck in the parking lot.
He took another surreptitious look at the twitchy fellow in line. Twitchy, and getting more twitchy with every passing moment. Definitely playing with something in the front pocket.
"I'll ring that up for you now?"
"Well, I want my stuff. That's for a friend. Give me a date square. One of the chocolate ones. Not that one… the one two rows over. No, back one."
Twitchy was definitely getting nervous. Jack tensed up as the hand came up, out of the sweater pocket, a gun at the ready.
"Okay… hands up. Give me everything in the till and you can give me your wallet."
The gun swung to the side, aiming unerringly for a point between Jack's eyes. Jack's hands went up slightly. "Let's not get hasty here."
"Just shut up and hand it over."
Jack's reply was lost as he looked sideways and saw only an empty truck. Where the hell was Daniel?
- - - - -
Daniel scratched his jaw. The dried blood was getting itchy. He rubbed his face with his hands, trying to wake up.
He had vague recollections of Jack promising to buy him his usual fare, but he had been entranced by the promotional posters advertising a new caramel drink with whipped cream. There were some posters in the windows and others hanging from tall metal poles where they would sway in the wind and catch people's eyes. Hopefully, he could look presentable enough that they wouldn't call the police the moment he walked in the store.
He wrapped Jack's jacket around him, burying his hands in the pockets. He stopped by the advertisement, squinting at it bemusedly. From the truck, all he could make out was the huge letters. There was actually more writing on it. Caramel and… He scrunched his eyes up, trying to make out the swirling script.
- - - - - -
"Listen, this doesn't have to happen."
"Wallet." The gun-man stepped forward, pushing the muzzle of the gun against Jack's forehead.
He heard the counter-girl give a frightened little hiccup.
"Do it." He said softly to her, as he reached slowly for the wallet, one hand in the air. The gunman watched him carefully, eyes on his hand. Behind him, the cashier opened the cash register and started scooping the money into a small, brown bag.
There were things worth risking your life for. Thirty bucks and some easily cancellable credit cards were not them. Certainly didn't rank with a mothership or a snake in the head.
Jack pulled the wallet from his back pocket and held it out, just as the counter-girl held out the bag with trembling fingers. The gunman snatched them both and shoved them into his sweater pockets. He began backing away, eyes on Jack.
"Just don't panic. And don't call the cops."
"Yeah." Jack said under his breath. "Like that'll happen."
The gunman made it to the door and out. Jack lifted his head and gave his best bored look. That look changed to fear as the gunman backed into a figure that made a very familiar grunt.
Jack stepped forward as the robber whipped around and raised his weapon.
- - - - -
Daniel made his way to the doorway of the Starbucks. His thoughts had turned from the caramel drink to the aikido move he had been practicing at class that day. Kaeshi tsuki, performed with the long staff. Opponent thrusts, you counter. He envisioned the grip in his head.
His thoughts were derailed as a scruffy and slightly smelly figure backed into him. He grunted and stumbled back a step, catching himself on the long pole from which the caramel drink advertisements hung. His eyes widened as the robber raised his gun.
Daniel's mind went on automatic. He pulled the pole out of the base and swung it, moving smoothly sideways and then moving explosively forward, slamming the pole into the robber's chest. The robber gave a strangled shout and stumbled backwards, falling heavily to the ground.
Before he had even fully landed, Jack was on him, kicking the gun away and flipping the robber on to his stomach. Within a heartbeat, Jack had the man's hands tied with his own belt while he sat on his legs to prevent any escape.
"Daniel?" He assessed his team-mate.
"Jack?" Daniel looked at the man on the ground. The pole rested on his shoulder. "What's going on?"
"What, are you some kind of ninja?" The counter-girl asked, wide-eyed.
"Just call the police." Jack shot over his shoulder.
- - - - -
Daniel sat curled up outside the shop on a stone bench, with his wrists resting on his knees, holding his Caramel Macchiato in both hands. He closed his eyes and took a long drink of his cup, leaving whipped cream smeared over his upper lip.
"Well, hello Doctor Ninja."
Daniel cracked one eye open and smiled at Officer Franklin. By chance, they had stopped the robbery right in the middle of Officer Franklin's beat.
"Did we not have the 'go home and rest' talk?" Franklin sounded bored, although his smile was kindly.
"Ask Jack about that." Daniel laughed softly and then took another swig of caramel. "I'm just here for the coffee."
"They're calling you a ninja again."
"They're very sadly mistaken."
"You considering a career change?"
"Oh no. I'll leave the dangerous stuff to you."
"Yeah." Jack walked up to him. Despite having his eyes closed, Daniel could still almost 'see' Jack's eyes rolling. "Dangerous, he says. You know that's…" He trailed off, shooting a look at Franklin. The officer waited with the patient look of a man used to ferreting out other people's secrets. Jack gave a little fake smile. "Classified." He coughed a little and looked down at Daniel.
Jack smothered a grin and pointed at Daniel's lips. "You've got a little…"
"What?" Daniel crossed his eyes peering down his nose.
"Oh." Daniel wiped his mouth on his sleeve. More correctly, Jack's sleeve since he was still wearing Jack's jacket. Jack winced but chose not to say anything about it.
"Come on, up and at 'em. And let's leave the saving the world stuff for work, okay?"
Franklin turned and looked at Jack curiously. Jack caught himself and smiled. "Air Force. Your tax dollars at work."
"Be all that you can be." Daniel said dryly.
"No. 'Integrity. Service. Excellence'." Jack said the last word with a raised eyebrow and a smug look. "Besides you said the old logo. The grunts would never forgive you."
"Aren't they 'Semper Fidelis'?"
"Gentlemen, I'm going to leave you." Franklin held up his hands. "You, Doctor Ninja, as much as I appreciate the help, stop it." He turned to Jack. "You, Colonel, as much as I appreciate his help, make him stop it."
"You have no idea how many people have said those very words to me." Jack gave a brief smile.
"Have a good night." Franklin moved away to continue getting his report from the counter-girl.
"Come on Daniel, let's get you home." Jack took Daniel's arm and pulled him up.
- - - - -
Despite the coffee, Daniel's head was drooping again by the time Jack pulled in to the driveway. He started awake as the truck ground to a halt, before giving a full body stretch, only slightly cramped by the seatbelt and lack of leg room.
He undid the belt and all but rolled out of the truck as Jack opened his door. With another yawn and stretch, he followed Jack meekly into the house.
Jack waved Daniel to the couch as he went and took a peek in the guest room. He called back out. "Daniel, I lied. Bed's not made. I'll do it. Hold on a second."
"I can do it, Jack." The Colonel's name was interrupted by the sound of a yawn.
"Uh huh, yeah. Sure. Sit!"
Jack made the bed efficiently, clearing out the room in under ten minutes. He thundered down the stairs and swung around the corner into the living room.
He cut off as he spied the archaeologist curled up on the couch. Daniel had burrowed into the couch, head on a pillow with a blanket pulled over himself. Jack looked back up the stairs and thought of the nice clean bed with its crisp sheets, and then down at the archaeologist in a ball.
With a sigh, he gently removed the blanket so as to not wake him, and quietly spread it out until it covered the younger man.
"Sleep well, Daniel Jackson… night time ninja."