"Yes, Jack?"

"Where's the flannel?"

Daniel paused, and looked up from the report in his hands to meet Jack's gaze with confusion. He was in his office on base, in his civilian clothes since he was supposed to have left for home an hour ago. His feet were crossed on the top of his desk, and he was reading the last pages of a report by Nyan on the stone pedestals from PX6984. He hadn't slept for over twenty hours, and questions like 'Where's the flannel?' made his head hurt.

"Excuse me?" he asked slowly.

Jack motioned to Daniel's shirt, a blue button up with a collar. "What happened to all your flannel?"

"Jack," Daniel said tiredly. "You and Sam burned it after I ascended."

"I was only kidding about that," Jack said charmingly.

Daniel looked back to the report. "I guess I got tired of it."

"But you love flannel."

"Now I love cotton."

"But I can't make fun of cotton."

"I'm terribly sorry about that."

"You don't sound very sorry."

Daniel sighed and leaned back in the chair. Lifting his glasses up slightly to pinch his nose between his thumb and forefinger, he asked, "Did you need something?"

"I just stopped by to say hi. Like old times. But you're making it very hard."

"Hard . . . ?" Daniel queried, only half listening.

"Yes. You've changed, Daniel. You're making it very hard for me to make fun of you." Jack paused, then turned to glare at him. "I don't like it. Do something. Trip. Drop something. Wear more flannel."

"I never used to trip, and I certainly wasn't prone to dropping things," Daniel said wearily. "I'm an archeologist--some coordination is required." Daniel closed the file, certain he wouldn't finish it without getting Teal'c to gag Jack and lock him in a closet. He smiled slightly at the thought, but decided that kind of thing was beneath him--that, and he kind of liked his job.

"What are you smiling at?" Jack demanded.

"Nothing. Just daydreaming."

"What about?" Jack asked suspiciously.

"About Teal'c gagging you and throwing you in a closet."

Jack's expression was somewhere between incredulous and affronted. "You see! You see? This is what I'm talking about. You never would have said that before. You used to have a healthy fear of me."

"Jack, I was never afraid of you. I had a kind of . . . I want to say hero worship, but your ego doesn't need the help--so let's just say I had a respect for you."

"Are you saying you don't now?" Jack demanded.

"I didn't say that."

"You just did!"

"I didn't. I was just saying I used to."

"Which implies you no longer do!"

"No, I didn't mean to imply that. I respect you. The pedestal I used to have you on has just lost a few inches . . . feet . . . since we met."

"Feet?!" Jack gasped. "What the hell did I do to lose FEET?"

"You were just . . . you."

"I was just me," Jack repeated dazedly. Then he glared at Daniel. "This isn't how it works. This isn't how our relationship should work. I came here tonight to make fun of you, it isn't supposed to be the other way around."

"Oh," Daniel said. "I'm sorry, Jack. Please, go ahead. Insult me. I can take it." Daniel picked the report up again, deciding to take another shot at finishing it up. He waved at Jack, indicating he should start with his insulting.

"It doesn't work like that. You can't tell me to insult you. You can't be prepared. That sucks all the fun right out of it."

"Well I really don't know what you want me to do about that, Jack."

"You used to always make it so easy," Jack snapped. He stared at Daniel for a minute, watching him without blinking. Then, he shouted, "DO SOMETHING."

Daniel raised an eyebrow, and gave Jack a sideways glance. "Are you having some kind of breakdown . . . ? Should I find Janet . . . ?"

"Stop that!" Jack demanded, glaring at Daniel and pointing a finger at him. "Stop making fun of me."

"I didn't realize you were so sensitive," Daniel said. "I'll try to go easy on you."

"Go easy on me?" Jack looked somewhat horrified at the prospect. "Have I stumbled through a Quantum Mirror . . . ? This is all wrong."

"Jack, when was the last time you got some sleep?"

"You're asking ME if I've gotten enough sleep?" Jack asked, his eyes going wide.

"Yes . . ."

"I'm supposed to make sure you get sleep!" Jack snapped.

"You just seem a bit stressed is all."

"I'm not stressed. I'm not. I'm just trying to get us back on track. We have an order to our friendship. Namely, that I make fun of you and you ramble on about a bunch of stuff I don't care about."

"I can give you a quick lecture on the culture of PX9332's inhabitants if it would help lift your spirits."

"No! It's the making fun of you part that I miss."

"So make fun of me."

"I told you! You CAN'T tell me to do it. That defeats the purpose."

Daniel flipped to the next page of the report. "Okay. How about this.oh, Jack--please don't make fun of me."

"And now you're mocking me." Jack crossed his arms.

"Let me guess," Daniel said distractedly. "You're the one that's supposed to do all the mocking."

"Damn right."


Jack sighed, and glanced around the office, looking for some ammunition. He saw three empty Styrofoam coffee cups and made a sound of triumph. "I see you're still drinking lots of coffee! Have you had enough caffeine . . . ? Do I need the Doc to come put you on a caffeine drip?"

Daniel didn't even glance up. "Sam, Nyan and Benson were in here earlier. Those aren't mine. I'm trying to switch to decaf."

Jack's eyes narrowed. "You couldn't survive on decaf."

"It's been a month. I'm not dead yet."

Jack sighed and continued to look around the room. He grinned widely as he saw a half eaten 5th Avenue on the bookshelf.

He opened his mouth to comment, but without looking up, Daniel said, "It's Sam's."

"What? You don't eat chocolate now either?"

"I try not to. I've been working out lately--and don't need to undo it all by eating candy."

"Come on, Daniel. Give me SOMETHING to work with here."

"I lost my glasses again yesterday, if it makes you feel better. Sam found them in briefing room."

"I can't make fun of you for that now."

Daniel sighed. "Why not?"

"Because it would be too easy!"

"Why don't you just make a comment about how I like to dig in the dirt and leave me to finish this report?"

Jack glared at him. "You're supposed to like it when I make fun of you. We have banter."

"I never particularly liked it when you made fun of me, Jack. I just ignored you. Kind of like I'm doing right now."

"You're distorting my whole world view here, Daniel."

"Teal'c took up Yoga," Daniel said offhandedly. "He's in his quarters with Colonel Pierce learning how to be a tree. Maybe you should go practice on an easier target and ease yourself back into it."

Jack's mouth dropped open. "Colonel Pierce of SG-3?"

"That would be the one."

"That I have to see," Jack said as he spun on his heel. He stopped in the doorway. "I'll be back later. And prepare yourself--because I'm thinking up some good insults."

"Okay, Jack." Daniel said. He gave a little wave as Jack disappeared from the doorway.

When the footsteps faded down the corridor, he got to his feet and shut his office door. After a brief hesitation, he reached out and bolted it. He grinned as he walked back to his desk and picked up the report. He really did enjoy his banter with Jack, but everything in life changed, and he rather liked how it was going at the moment.

He was sure Jack would get his comedic touch back soon enough, however. Daniel grinned impishly as he crossed his feet on his desk again and leaned back in the chair.

He would be ready for him.

The End