Quiet streets, paved with brick, fed into the amphitheater from every direction as if it were the hub of a wheel. The buildings were of a massive architecture, all three or four stories tall, constructed of brick and stone with tile roofs. They were built butted up against each other and came right to the street with but a narrow walkway for the vanished pedestrians. Observing that the wooden doors were still on their hinges and that the narrow slits of windows still appeared to have glass, Daniel broke the silence to say, "They might have been gone awhile but I doubt it's been more than a generation."
There was a sudden flash of movement down a street opening in front of them. Two four-footed creatures dashed across the avenue and vanished in a cross street. Daniel said, "If there are scavengers or feral pets, people may have not been gone as long as we thought."
Sam directed, "Teal'c, Douglas, check out where the animals went. Daniel, you're with me." Nobody moved for a moment. Sam hadn't paired herself with Daniel for a very long time. Sam jerked her head toward the street in front of them and Douglas and Teal'c stirred to life and trotted off to investigate.
Sam and Daniel unholstered their weapons and held them ready to swing up into firing position if needed. They circled the amphitheater until they were opposite the direction the others had taken. As they moved down the street, Sam asked, "This Brittany you were with, you guys dating for awhile?"
"Briana." Daniel stretched the truth a little to say, "That wasn't our first date."
Sam said, "She was certainly all over you."
Daniel surprised her completely when he said, "You know, Sam, there are women that find me pretty exciting. What were her exact words, something like I was 'too yummy to play it cool.'"
Sam looked affronted. Daniel laughed humorlessly and said, "I can't tell you that but you can tell me what Pete prefers you wear or don't wear in bed?"
Sam didn't have an answer and they continued in silence for a few minutes until Daniel commented, "Every door is closed. They left in an orderly fashion."
Sam said, "Or they didn't leave." She pointed to a spot where leaves and dirt had accumulated. There appeared to be a footprint. She tried the nearest door. It was locked as was every other door they tried on that block.
Sam called the others on the radio. "We're going to shoot open a door." She then nodded at Daniel and he fired his gun to demolish the lock area of a door. He pushed the door open with the end of the gun and it swung back to reveal a long windowless corridor with light at the end. They moved cautiously inside and discovered that the light was from a skylight made from many very small panes of glass at the top of a stairwell. There were no doors on the bottom floor. They climbed up a flight and tried the first door. Locked again. They tried kicking it open without success. Sam again warned the other team to expect the sound of gunshots and, again, they shot their way in.
They were in a very large room with a waist-high railing ringing a rectangular opening in the middle. A ladder led down to a lower level. The upper room had a wooden floor strewn with large cushions and low tables. Scrolls lay open on the tables. Daniel looked at one and said, "Looks like Latin."
Sam pointed. There was a pot of ink tipped over and the puddle of ink surrounding it was still wet. Sam and Daniel looked at each other. Sam immediately radioed Teal'c and Douglas to warn them but she didn't get an answer.
"Let's move out. We have to find the others," Sam ordered and Daniel nodded. They exited the building as quickly as possible and ran back to the amphitheater and around to the other side. Staying in the middle of the street, they went looking for their teammates. They found nothing, heard nothing, and saw nothing.
Finally Sam said, "We need to get help. Back to the gate." They turned back up the street and suddenly were hit on the back of the head by stones thrown from the roof of one of the surrounding buildings. Daniel was knocked unconscious but Sam only stumbled and fell. Slightly dazed and disoriented she grabbed for her gun but it had fallen and slid away from her. Before she could get out her zat, she found herself entangled in a huge net.
SG-1 were reunited on the first floor of a dwelling similar to the one that Daniel and Sam had explored. All their gear was removed as well as their uniforms. The room they were in had no windows or doors. Considering they were now in their underwear, they were grateful that there was an unexplained warmth that left the air several degrees warmer than the 60ish temperatures outside. The twelve foot ceiling had a rectangular opening in it. The people ringing the railing above and looking down were all women.
Teal'c and Douglas, who both considered themselves to be superior fighting machines, were extremely embarrassed. It didn't seem to help their wounded pride at all that Daniel and Sam had been caught by the same primitive means.
Daniel remained unconscious and Sam began to worry that he was seriously hurt. She sat on the floor holding him across her lap, cradling his head against her with one arm and gently trying to examine his skull with her other hand. Teal'c said very quietly to Douglas, "Some good may come out of this after all."
Douglas admitted reluctantly, "I sure wouldn't take her on a bet but the poor lad doesn't want anyone else."
There were no children or teenagers in the crowd above. Many were elderly but they were on the average an attractive group and several were very pretty. Their expressions were more curious than hostile but there were a number with wicked looking clubs. It was clear that if they tried to climb out somehow, they would not be allowed to succeed.
Daniel moaned a little but didn't appear to be conscious, at least not to Sam. Douglas and Teal'c exchanged glances. Both thought it was a safe bet that he was, in fact, aware but enjoying his position too much to give it away, especially when he shifted slightly to get closer to Sam.
A woman with a flow of steel grey hair in a single long tress with a blue cord bound around it leaned over and called something to them in Latin. Douglas surprised Sam and Teal'c by responding in kind, granted haltingly, but in Latin. A lengthy exchange followed with the woman slowing her words considerably and patiently repeating herself. Eventually she and Douglas were able to establish a rudimentary level of communication. As Douglas understood her better, he seemed to be surprised and somewhat amused. Finally, she asked something that caused Douglas to look over at Daniel. Daniel nodded very slightly, alerting Sam to the fact that he was aware and had probably been for awhile. She dumped him unceremoniously on the floor. Douglas said something in Latin to the grey haired leader. The women above responded with wild enthusiasm, cheering and hugging each other, and blowing kisses that appeared to be directed at Daniel.
Daniel got to his feet a little woozily with a hand from Douglas. He took over the discussion, his Latin also slow but much smoother than Douglas'. After some more discussion, the grey haired woman said something to the woman next to her. She left and returned shortly with a bundle she dropped down to them. It was their clothes. Except for the women armed with clubs, the spectators all left.
Sam said to Daniel and Douglas, "Ok. What was all of that about?"
Daniel looked slightly embarrassed and was searching for words when Douglas blurted out, "They want to sign up for Danny's harem."
Daniel looked exasperated, "No need to be crude. There is a really difficult situation here sociologically."
Douglas snorted. "The thing is these women have been marooned here for a generation. They are starting to get old and die off and there are no men, no children. We're talking about a whole culture with a SOCIOLOGY that is in dire need of-"
Daniel cut him off and gave him a quelling look. "What Doug is trying to say is that they really want children and you've been eliminated as a woman, Teal'c because he isn't human, and after discovering that Doug doesn't have a heartbeat and his body is room temperature, they're not at all comfortable with him as a candidate progenitor. That leaves me."
"Well that's out of the question," Sam said indignantly.
"The problem is Sam that although they would deeply regret it, they promise to start in on all of you, one at a time, until I cooperate. I believe them."
"So you are going to go up there and start working your way through the population?" Sam asked incredulously.
"No I'm not. I am trying to explain artificial insemination to them. That if they let us go back through the gate we can introduce much more variety into the gene pool and give them a healthier future."
"Are they agreeing to that DanielJackson?" Teal'c asked.
"Not yet but I'm working on them."
Teal'c tilted his head and said, "I do have one other question. What was all the cheering about?"
Douglas said, "I told them that Danny was able to father children. It wasn't just that though. Earlier she said something to the effect that the gods had surely blessed this since they had sent such a perfect man to them." Douglas was laughing now. "You're Mr. Universe with the alien babes, Daniel."
Sam found herself looking at Daniel standing there in his briefs and a t-shirt as the women above must have seen him. Not too shabby. He felt her looking at him and returned her gaze. She blushed.
They put their uniforms back on and then it was a rather tedious, waiting game for Sam and Teal'c as Daniel, with some assistance from Douglas, negotiated and negotiated in Latin. Finally Daniel announced that an agreement had been struck. He would stay as a hostage and the others would go through the gate to get the agreed upon medical assistance. If they returned and lived up to the terms of their agreement, Daniel would be free to go.
After the others left, Daniel was initially quite uncomfortable with the women, knowing as he did what they were thinking when they looked at him. They decided he could be released from the holding area and over the first day or so, he gradually relaxed. The women were polite and charming. Their shyness was refreshingly different. He knew he would never be admired, sighed after, and waited on hand and foot like this again as long as he lived.
Shortly before the deadline, Douglas returned to tell the women that there would be a delay but the agreement still held. He told Daniel that there was a snag in getting what was needed from sperm banks because of legal concerns within the Department of Defense. When the Stargate eventually became public, it was likely that this might come out some day. Legal questioned whether agreements donors had signed could be construed to allow taking their donations off planet to father alien babies.
In the end Jack O'Neill cut through the problems and made it happen. Daniel returned to earth to find that the fact that he had been held captive by a bevy of attractive women who all wanted to have his child had managed to leak out. Everyone on the base knew some version of the story. Daniel had never really noticed the interest he got from women unless they were as obvious as Briana. They weren't the woman he loved and so he wasn't looking for it. Now, although Sam was clearly avoiding him, it was obvious most of the women on the base were sizing him up. It got to the point where he didn't want to leave his office.
He asked for a couple of weeks off and went to Jack's fishing cabin. There was still a distance there in the relationship but Jack had volunteered it and it didn't make sense to turn it down. The peace and quiet felt good for about three days. Then it began to get on his nerves. He was really looking for someone to show up and relieve the isolation when he saw a car wending its way up the dirt road. It was a big disappointment when two unknown men in suits got out and approached the front porch.
"Dr. Jackson?" the older of the two men asked.
"Yes. Can I help you?" Daniel said, not getting up from the wicker chair where he sat tipped back and comfortably established with a beer and a book.
"I'm Agent Carson with the FBI's division for classified security issues and this is Agent Romano." Both men flashed their shields. "We'd like to talk with you for a moment if we might."
"Nothing else on the calendar." Daniel said. He indicated the porch swing and the another wicker chair. "Have a seat." The men sat.
Daniel continued as the gracious host, "Can I get you a soft drink or a beer?"
The younger agent looked like he might like one but the older man quashed that immediately. He got right to it, "You and your friend William Atherton…"
Daniel interjected, "He goes by Douglas."
The agent made a whatever gesture and continued, "The two of you have been seeing a Corinne Neimeister and a Briana Murphy."
Daniel nodded emphatically, brought the chair down level, and leaned forward. "I told Douglas there was something fishy about Corinne's interest in him. Is she some sort of a spy?"
"Actually, Dr. Jackson, we're still investigating that possibility but we're absolutely certain that Ms. Murphy is a British agent."
"I don't want seem naïve but they are our allies and they were recently informed about the Stargate Program."
"Precisely but that doesn't mean they trust us completely or don't want independent confirmation of what we tell them. Our real concern is that we believe that while Ms. Murphy may have started out investigating the Stargate, she has stumbled across your friend Douglas. The reinstated Initiative Program is even more closely held than the Stargate."
The younger agent spoke up for the first time. "The majority opinion was that Mr. Atherton should be held within Cheyenne Mountain and not allowed to leave it except to go through the gate to other planets. However, the President felt that if he was working for us, he couldn't be treated like a slave."
"So what are you suggesting?" Daniel asked, not quite understanding where Romano was going with this.
"If we can't handle this situation neatly and immediately, your friend will be confined within Cheyenne Mountain or worse."
"Or worse," Daniel said his inflection rising. "Or worse?"
"Dr. Jackson," Carson said, glaring at Romano who evidently didn't know when to shut up. "We need your help, yours and Mr. Atherton's, to clean this up. We've talked to him and we have his full cooperation. Now we would like yours."
"Sure, anything, well that is anything that doesn't involve assassinating someone or torturing someone or…"
Carson held up his hand to stop Daniel from running on any further. "You won't be asked to do anything that will keep you from sleeping at night. What we would like you to do is to return home and step up your involvement with Ms. Murphy."
"And we are going to provide you with some convincing misinformation to let Ms. Murphy discover."
"That's it?" Daniel asked, clearly not thinking it was.
Carson and Romano exchanged glances. They had read Daniel's file and both knew how brilliant he was. Treating him like a patsy wasn't going to work. Carson said, "That's all you need to know about. So you can keep sleeping. Look I promise you that nothing you or Mr. Atherton will do will be more than planting misinformation. You will not be aiding and abetting anything worse."
Romano once again proved his inexperience by getting heavy-handed with the wrong citizen. "Should you get carried away and decide to warn Ms. Murphy that we are on to her, it will make us take more drastic measures as far as she is concerned and have very negative fallout for Mr. Atherton."
Daniel was livid. He stood up. "Get off this property. Now. I will cooperate but I will not be threatened."
Carson also stood. He pulled a long envelope from an inside pocket. "Please study this. Make yourself believe that this is the truth. Don't tell her anything but answer questions with this in the back of your mind. If a little something slips, and it will sooner or later, we want this to be what slips. And not a word of this in any way shape or form to anyone including people in Cheyenne Mountain with the highest of clearances except Mr. Atherton." He locked gazes with Daniel. "Do I have your word on that?"
Daniel hesitated but eventually choked out,"You have my word."
Romano and Carson tromped back down the stairs. Romano went ahead to the car but Carson turned back to Daniel. "Norm got a little heavy handed Dr. Jackson but the government will deal with this, one way or the other. You are the key to seeing that it's dealt with in a way you can be comfortable with."
As he was walking away, he called back, "Thank you for your time, Dr. Jackson."
Daniel fell into the chair and didn't move for an hour. There was too much activity going on in his brain to have to also be dealing with moving his body. Then, his plan of action decided, he got up from the chair and went into the cabin. Within 30 minutes, he was packed and had the cabin closed up. He got home it about dark, making record time.
While still on the road, he called Douglas on his cell and they decided to meet at Daniel's. When Douglas came in, he went straight to the kitchen and found himself a Guinness. He sat down in the chair across from the couch and he and Daniel just looked at each other for awhile.
Finally Daniel said, "You need to know. The FBIs who came to see me were making some pretty naked threats as far as you are concerned."
"I know. They were very out in the open with me too," Douglas confirmed. "They emphasized to you too that not even the flies on the wall could know about this, right?"
Daniel nodded. "That might be the hardest thing you ever did, Danny," Douglas said sadly.
"Why? What are you talking about?" Daniel was confused.
"It's Her. You might actually have your chance. But dating another woman is not going to help." Daniel was looking even more baffled. "She sent back all the little cocktail napkins that said 'Pete and Samantha' on them and defrocked her bridesmaids. Then she came to see me to ask me what I thought your feelings were about her. I think she has missed all the friend things she had with you and recent events have made her realize that maybe she was missing out on something else."
Daniel looked at Douglas stupefied and then said, "Yeah right. Like I believe that. It really isn't funny or helpful right now, Douggie."
"Cross my heart and hope to die," Douglas made the gesture. "Well, if I weren't already technically dead." He moved to the couch to sit next to Daniel.
He put his hand on Daniel's shoulder. "You've got to stay away from her because if she makes some sort of declaration and then you are all over some other woman, she's going to put up walls that even Joshua couldn't knock down. You've got another, what, 9 days off. I think the Fibbies thought they could make it happen that fast. With any luck, you won't see Sam at all."
Daniel looked at Douglas and shook his head. "I keep thinking I'm going to wake up soon."
"I know. So do I. Say, they you give you something to read?" Douglas pulled out his envelope. "Wonder if they were exactly the same. How about we trade?"
Daniel pulled out his and handed it to Douglas. When he opened up Douglas', written on the top in bold letters was "Say nothing. This apartment and your car are probably bugged. Your clothes and your shoes could easily have been bugged. I've got some new clothes for you. Put them on and let's go somewhere where they can't be listening."
To make it look legit, Daniel read enough of the three pages to know that they said the same thing as what he had been given. He handed them back, "Yeah, looks like the same."
Douglas said, "I agree." Then he seemed suddenly struck by a thought. "Bugger. I got to go out to the car. When you took off for the cabin, you left your gym bag in my car. I'm tired of looking at it."
He was back in a minute and handed the gym bag to Daniel. He said, "You know, if we're supposed to go over after these women, you need to smell prettier Danny. You have definite eau de cabin. Why don't you take a shower, change. I'll call up Corinne and see if we can set something up."
Later in a club with deafening racket all around them, they waited until the women made their required pilgrimage to the ladies room. Douglas put his mouth almost on Daniel's ear and said, "I can't let you blow this with Sam because of threats to me. If you have to, tell her. I believe she can be trusted."
Daniel studied him for a minute and then whispered back. "You are the truest friend I have ever had. I'm not telling Sam anything unless I can be absolutely sure it's not going to come back on you." The two men clasped hands very briefly.
Daniel was very impressed with the acting job he did over the next 5 days. He knew he couldn't make love to her convincingly and he didn't want to compromise what he believed about sex in any case. He used a ploy copied right out of a movie and told Briana that he had had a problem with physical intimacy ever since his wife's death because he blamed himself for what had happened to her. This had kept him from feeling free to be with anyone else. The story went that he felt more alive with her than he had in years and if she could be patient with him and take it slowly he thought there was hope.
They let the women set the frequency with which they saw them so they didn't scare them off. The second time they went out, Briana didn't go home but spent the night with Daniel although they only shared a bed. He pretended to sleep but was so wired that he couldn't. About 2:00 AM she got up quietly and went to search his house. She spent about an hour at it. Daniel had no way of knowing whether she found anything but when she was eager to see him again the next night, he concluded she was still looking.
The next time she stayed over the same pattern repeated itself. This time she was only out of bed for a half-an-hour. Daniel watched her carefully the next morning when they said goodbye. Did she seem a little less eager for their date to start late that evening? At this point, he couldn't tell what he was observing and what was wishful thinking.
When there was a knock on his door just after dark, he opened it quickly expecting to find Douglas. Instead to his dismay, it was Sam. He stared at her, completely at a loss.
She looked very uncomfortable and finally said, "Can I please come in?" almost as if she was expecting him to refuse.
"You know what," he said at last, "I really feel like a walk. Let's go for a walk, huh?"
"Oookay," she said, taken aback, but completely willing. They walked three blocks to a little park and sat side by side on swings.
"Did Douglas say anything to you about talking to me?" she asked.
Daniel thought about playing dumb but knew she would never believe it. There was no way Douglas would have kept that conversation to himself. He scuffed at the gravel with his foot. "Yeah, he mentioned it. He said you and Pete called off the wedding. He made it sound like it was your idea."
"It was. Pete is a wonderful, wonderful guy. But all the wanting in the world to have the typical American dream could not make him be the right guy in the end."
Daniel couldn't stop himself. "Douglas also said you asked about me. Did I have anything to do with this or was it your feelings for Jack?" He traced designs in the gravel. Almost any answer would be problematic but he had to know.
"There are two dimensions to being a couple and having it be good enough to want it to last." She laughed ruefully. "Be patient because you are about to get the short course on the newfound Samantha Carter theory of love." She twirled slightly in her swing, looking out into the soft night and the lights twinkling in the houses rimming the park. "You have to have really good companionship. Share things. Enjoy talking to each other for hours on end." She reached over and touched his hand for a moment. "Like we always have. And there has to be something physical." She reached over and grabbed the chain of his swing. "Do you agree?"
"I think a lot of couples are pretty okay with mostly one or the other. Maybe most marriages are mainly built on only one or the other but to be really good, I guess I agree."
She let go of the chain and started to twirl again. "You are the only one with whom I ever really had the companionship side. And that's the side that I think matters the most. Sex gets less and less important although they say it never stops mattering."
"Jack and Pete, I respect and like both of them but when I look it hard, it seems like mostly physical attraction. Neither of them really want to talk about the things I want to talk about. They're both bright but sometimes they can't keep up with me." She stopped talking for a minute and then said, so sadly, "My parents had all of it. It was the most wonderful love. And then he lost her, it almost destroyed him. And I think I decided that I really didn't want it all. It was too dangerous."
She stopped her swing and stood up. She stood in front of him and held out her hands. He took them and stood so close to her, within an inch of touching her body but feeling only its warmth. He was glad it was dark because he was afraid and hopeful and so many other emotions and he was sure they were all showing on his face.
"Daniel, I've been trying to psychoanalyze myself and now agree that it's dangerous to practice medicine without a license. I honestly can't figure out why I never thought about you sexually and then, all of a sudden, I can't think about anything else." She put her arms around his neck. "I've gone over things you've said and I'm convinced you feel something for me."
He didn't say anything. Instead he ran his hands down her back and pulled her against him. Her breath caught. Then he kissed her. It wasn't particularly skilled. It was too raw and too urgent for that. She matched his need in her response. The kiss went on for a very long time. At last they broke apart.
Daniel surprised her by putting his arm around her and leading her toward the fountain in the middle of the park. He sat down on the lip and pulled her down on his lap. "Sam," he breathed into her hair. "I love you. It killed me to hear you talk about Jack and Pete and I got to the point when I couldn't take it any more. And I thought maybe if I wasn't there, you would miss me."
She responded by kissing him deeply and the resulting excitement almost made them fall into the fountain. He stopped her kisses after a minute. "There's something you have to know and you can't tell anyone. I mean not Jack or Teal'c or anyone. Promise?" Sam agreed.
"The FBI knows that Briana, the woman I've been seeing, is trying to get information on Doug and on the Stargate. For awhile, Corinne, the one Doug has been dating looked she might be part of it too but they've cleared her. They want me to keep seeing Briana as a way of leaking misinformation that may lead her people down the wrong path, wrong enough to protect Doug. I gave my word I wouldn't say anything to anyone and there's a real threat there Sam. I have to keep seeing Briana until she ends it."
Sam was very still. "Do you believe me?" he asked, afraid of what she might say.
At last she answered in a very small voice, "Yes. But what does this mean?"
"They know you came to see me and they are probably watching us right now. I am praying that the fountain noise has made it impossible for them to understand us with whatever remote listening device they might be using."
She started to look around but he clamped on the back of her neck, hard. "Be careful Sam. We are going to have to make this believable. You need to find out about Briana and make a scene. Otherwise they'll know I told you."
He shifted so he could see the luminescent dial of his watch. "I'm supposed to pick her up at 9:00. We could stay here a little longer, then you leave. Come back in the morning and make a scene."
Sam asked, with deadly calm, "You're going to sleep with her?"
"I told her I had problems with intimacy since Sha'ree died and she is supposed to be helping me slowly get over it."
"You're serious," Sam said, incredulous.
"So far it's working." Daniel shrugged. "It's a little hard on my ego that she believed it so readily but better than the alternative."
Sam considered the situation for a moment while Daniel stroked her hair. "Okay," she said at last and kissed him fiercely.
Daniel picked up Briana as planned and they went to have sushi. He was very pleased that she seemed to be building up to a break up. She talked about how she was thinking of taking some time off from graduate school and accepting a dream job she had been offered in New York. She started an argument over the choice of DVD's to rent. He was reasonably certain she got up for a only a few moments during the night.
The next morning, he was drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper in his briefs and a t-shirt when the doorbell rang. He only cracked the door and tried to look very guilty as he saw Sam standing there with a sack of bagels and a couple of coffees. "Hey Sam, what a great surprise! You should have called. I need a shave and I have dragon breath. How about if you let me get cleaned up and meet you at the park in 15?"
"You are going to leave me out here because you need to clean up?" She let her voice get louder. "Why can't I come in and wait?"
Briana provided the answer, coming up behind Daniel and looking around him. "Because," she said silkily, "he isn't alone."
Sam stood stock still for a moment and then yelled at Daniel. "After the way you kissed me last night and the things you said, you turn around and sleep with some other woman. You, you bastard."
She dropped the sack and one of the lattes on the ground. She tore the top off the other latte, pushed the door open, and threw it at both of them. Then she stamped on what was left of the breakfast and ran out to her car. The tires squealed as she drove off.
They closed the door, coffee dripping off both of them. "That was your 'co-worker' Daniel from the restaurant?" Briana asked tightly. "Just what kind of work were the two of you doing last night?"
Daniel stammered something out. She put her hands on her hips and looked at him with disgust. "You know, I don't need to put up with your crap any more." She pulled up the tail of his t-shirt and wiped off her face, went back in and grabbed her purse, and left.
Daniel slammed the door behind him and cheered. He was free but not out of the woods. He immediately called Douglas. "You alone?"
"Corinne got in a huge fight with me last night, threw my key at me, and left."
"I'm sorry but I know what you mean. Briana just took herself off in a similar state of high dudgeon."
"I love it when you use words like that 'dudgeon.' You would have been quite the Victorian poet."
"Stop it Doug. Listen, there's still a problem. Sam caught me with Briana. She got pretty angry."
"As in she threw a latte all over both of us." Daniel suddenly realized it was still dripping down his neck. "So I have a campaign to plan."
It took three weeks before Daniel and Sam felt like they could convincingly allow her anger to cool. Douglas got so into helping Daniel with his romantic assault on Fort Sam that Daniel never told him that it was all an act.
Shortly after that, he ran into Jack in the parking lot as he was leaving for the day. "Jack, how's it going?" he said, feeling very friendly toward an old friend he had nearly lost through jealousy.
Jack masked his surprise well and answered, "Not bad considering the mileage."
"You want to join us for a drink and some darts at Aggie's?"
"Us? You mean you and Douglas?" Jack asked.
"And Sam and Teal'c." Daniel smiled. "You know those unhealthy team dynamics?"
Jack looked at him warily, "Yeah."
"All better now."
Many thanks to my excellent beta, Nerowill. If you like this story, she deserves a lot of the credit. If you don't, it's probably because I didn't listen to her carefully enough.