Two of the three women from Norcross were getting really annoyed. Granted, they had started out already a little testy because they had bungled their arrival at the con. The parking lot known as the Atlanta Beltway had worked its typical magic. Their tardy arrival had translated into a poor angle from which to properly watch two of the stars of "Stargate: SG1" during a Q&A session at GriffinCon. Their little section of seats, clearly added as an afterthought against the side wall of the Centennial Ballroom of the Atlanta Hyatt Regency, was horrible enough without the rude behavior behind them.
The source of their annoyance was two men who kept whispering like freshmen in study hall. Barbara and Jennifer had made allowances at first since the fiftiesh, silver haired man with military bearing and his shaggy haired, younger companion were extremely good looking with toned, well muscled frames. Good looks shouldn't get you tolerance but they do and they did.
Finally, it was just too much for Barbara. Raised in Savannah, polite and pleasant public behavior had been bred into her bones, but for the moment, she channeled a New York City cab driver on a hot day. Make that after both the Mets and Yankees had lost a game. She swiveled around and favored the two men with the glare that consistently served her well in front of her third grade class in Norcross. "Do you mind, John?" she asked the older man, capturing his name from his badge.
Without any change of expression on his unreadable, hard-planed face, John said in a deep drawl, suggesting a boyhood in the Mississippi delta, "Beg your pardon, Ma'am."
John did not, of course, know Barbara, nor realize that, as she approached her fortieth birthday, Barbara had gone very sour on being called Ma'am. It made her feel like her two eccentric maiden aunts who lived together outside Americus. Finding him quite unsatisfactory, she transferred her glare to his companion, identified by his badge as David. He was looking quite embarrassed in a charming, boyish way but she refused to weaken. She deepened his discomfort considerably by saying huffily, "I don't want an apology. I… just… want… you… both… to... shut… up."
She had already turned her back as David was saying, "We're really sorry. It's just so, so exciting." With her back turned she missed the rolled eyes and dirty look this breathlessly ingenuous statement had earned David from John. Arlene, seated between Jennifer and Barbara, and eavesdropping shamelessly, did hear their final whispered exchange. John hissed, "It's comments like that that make some people think you're you know." David replied, "They don't think I'm 'you know,' they think DANIEL'S is."
The two men did, indeed, get quiet after that, which annoyed Arlene considerably. She was not in any way a fan of Stargate, preferring the younger stars and youth oriented crises of "Smallville." Her older sister had dragged her to this track where she had been subjected yet again to these two actors for the third time in the past two years. She was finding entertainment where she could and marking time until an interesting Smallville panel at 3:00. Unlike her companions who had been straining to understand the Stargate celebrities over the whispers, Arlene had been straining to understand the whispers over the celebrities. She had unusually acute hearing and a boyfriend who, along with his entire band, thought it was cool to mumble. This gave her the added advantage of hours of practice making out the near unintelligible.
After her sister's outburst, she confirmed out of the corner of her eye that John and David had started passing notes. "Damn it," she thought and got up hastily as if she felt ill and had to leave. When she got away from their line of sight, she waited a few moments and then edged back until she was leaning up against the wall, almost behind them, and craned her neck to try to read what they were writing.
As she shifted about fruitlessly, she reviewed what she had heard. Both men had commented on how badly Stargate: SG1 had miscast the part of the Jaffa. They had mentioned someone named Hilen or Hilan, maybe they even imagined an apostrophe in there somewhere since they were clearly delusional. According to them, this guy, Hi'lan perhaps, who apparently was their idea of a true Jaffa, was more Asian looking. Someone asked a question about the possibility of romance between Daniel Jackson and Sam in the next season. She could swear John had said something to David like, "As if you and Marki would ever get up close and personal without a gun to your collective heads." There had been a negative comment on the response to a question about how a force lance was postulated to work. She wondered if these two men didn't have some sort of shared insanity that made them believe they were part of an actual Stargate Program.
John noticed the young woman get up and was well aware when she tried to ease back and read over their shoulders. Yet another American who thought watching cops and secret agents work on the screen had prepared them for covert ops. He crumbled the paper David's note had been jotted on, jammed it in a pocket, and jerked his head toward the door. David looked unhappy but followed his leader out of the ballroom.
As soon as they got into a sparsely populated corridor, he hissed, "That is the last time I let you talk me into something this lame."
"It was a trade. I go fishing with you; you come to the con with me."
John said, "We are part of a highly classified and, did I mention, covert program. The government deliberately planted this whole entire series so that if a) the Stargate became public knowledge, people would be programmed to think that we were doing intergalactic good and that you and I and the rest of the real SG-1 are great guys and b) people would dismiss rumors about it because they would figure it was just something dreamed up by people who couldn't tell the difference between TV and reality."
David retorted, "Cheez, John, that whole little diatribe was worthy of some long, boring expositional dialogue they usually put in the mouth of my surrogate. Do you think I don't KNOW all that? I've got more doctorates and masters than anyone gives Jackson credit for and I speak more languages."
John replied, "Not fluently," and started walking to the elevators. "We are going to our room, get our luggage, and leave." They were quickly surrounded by other con attendees and more conversation had to wait until the door to their room swung shut behind them.
"You've never been crazy about this since it started. It's been a real litany of bitching and moaning," David said and began to tick off John's complaints as he quickly gathered up his toiletries from the bathroom: "Let see, number 1, why does Jack O'Neill have to be from Minnesota, not Mississippi? Be happy it starts with M. That's just one of the many carryovers from MacGyver. You lucked out when they didn't also have him be phobic about guns. In the same way, I'm betting that haircut Daniel got was purely the actor's idea. Maybe he's got some sort of a deal with a company selling gel or wax or something because it sure wasn't an improvement.
After pausing a moment for a private moment of irritation over the hair, which he knew grated on him unreasonably, he continued. "Fortunately you and MacGyver both like fishing or you'd be steamed about that too. Okay next major beef which I've heard a hundred times at least: why did they have to introduce all this tragedy in our lives? You've never lost a kid because you've never had one. I think it really annoyed you that I was the one who got the alien sexpot for a wife."
John snorted, "Instead of your actual ex, a belligerent Anthropology professor from Cornell."
David gave him a quelling look and continued, "You never gave her a chance, John. In all fairness, Brooke does have her issues but belligerent seems a little strong. Back to the point. What else? Oh you like to complain about how they made Jack O'Neill so sarcastic? Duh? Do you not know just how sarcastic you are?"
David ran out of steam, stuffed the toiletries in his bag, and plopped on a bed. "Even given all that, after you agreed to come to the con to help me satisfy my curiosity, you got especially hinky. What happened?"
John just kept stuffing things in his duffle. "John?" David repeated.
"It's this slash fan fic." David's eyebrow was raised. "About you and me."
"Oh," David said. "You actually read some of it?"
"I never regretted anything so much in my life. I couldn't look you in the eyes for days." John admitted. He looked at David considering and suddenly asked, "You've read it?"
"Nope but I made a point of learning the language first. I bet you didn't know what slash was."
John made a face at his condescending tone. David continued, "What I did read was a lot of stuff about me and Marki aka Daniel and Sam. I joined a group devoted to discussing Marki and I, the Sam-Daniel Resistance. Sam and Daniel are usually problematic as a couple. Frequently it's because many people seem to believe she's in love with you or thinks she's in love with you or rather with O'Neill."
"Why? I mean, good grief, why would you read that stuff?" John demanded. "You and Marki are like oil and water. "You can't stay in the same room for more than 10 minutes outside of work without some sort of brawl ensuing. I regard my greatest accomplishment in command as somehow getting the two of you to be totally professional on missions."
"Well, actually, John, that's something I've been meaning to talk with you about. "See, after I started reading the fan fiction posted on the group, I started, well looking at Marki differently. Finally I hacked into her computer and fixed it so that it come up on the best of the stories with links to more – there are ENTIRE Web sites, John -- when she turned on the computer just to see what would happen. She was intrigued despite herself. Unlike the television series, you're still in command meaning I'm not under her command, and I'm a civilian. There really isn't any reason why we can't do whatever if we're discrete."
"Meaning!" John said, standing up and glaring at David, hand on hips
David looked sheepish and very pleased at the same time. He picked up his suitcase from which he had only unpacked his toiletries the night before, grabbed a linguistics tome off the bedside table, and went to the door. He stood there, hand on the knob, waiting for John to pick up his duffle.
"Meaning?" John repeated.
"The pen is mightier than the sword," David replied. John sighed, aggravated by David's penchant for sounding quasi-deep but he couldn't argue with the sentiment expressed given the living proof in front of him.
In the lobby, Arlene stood with a clear view of the line of people at the desk, checking in and out. They were supposed to go over to the vendor area in the Marriott but Barbara was dawdling somewhere. She spotted the two men from the Q&A session. Viewing them standing up, they looked even better than they had sitting down. As she was assessing the one called David, he happened to glance over and their eyes met.
David evidently was something of a loose cannon if the expression that crossed John's face when David suddenly abandoned his carryon suitcase and walked over to her was any indication. He rested against the railing next to her as she watched him with lively curiosity. He did have the most beautiful blue eyes. He leaned over and whispered in her ear, gave her a brilliant smile, and rejoined John.
Her sister, who had seen the exchange from across the lobby as she came around the elevators said, "That was the rude guy from the Q&A session, right? What did he say to you?
Arlene said, thoroughly bemused, "Spread the word. Sam has got the hots for Daniel big time."