This story was written strictly for the purpose of entertainment. No attempt has been made to copyright any characters which may not have been originally created by the author, and no profit is made from this work of fiction. Any original characters and the stories themselves are the property of the author.


Mac and Daniel sat opposite each other in the living room of the house they shared, Mac in the recliner and Daniel on the couch. On the coffee table between them was a disassembled remote control. Mac was explaining what they were looking at and Daniel was fascinated. The explanation was in Arabic with Daniel correcting Mac periodically. Mac's Arabic was definitely the street variety and Daniel was helping him clean it up.

The phone rang and Daniel raised a finger to pause Mac long enough for him to answer it. "Oh, hey, Teal'c," he said and then, "Oh crap, I guess we lost track of the time." Mac grimaced, realizing that they were late picking up Teal'c, SG-1's Jaffa strongman. They had to show up for some sort of SG-1 team building/social occasion at the home of their recently promoted teammate and new CO, Colonel Samantha Carter. In addition to Teal'c, Mac, and Daniel, the fourth man on Carter's team, Chuck Kawalski, had also promised to put in an appearance. He had been planning on manufacturing some excuse but met with heavy duress from the others who believed that if one suffered, all should. "We can be there in," Daniel looked at Mac and said tentatively, "15 minutes max." Mac nodded and Daniel confirmed, "Yeah, Teal'c, 15 minutes at the most. You want to call and say we'll be a little late?" He thanked their teammate and the two men got up hastily.

"You think we need to change?" Mac asked, looking down at his t-shirt and cargo pants.

Daniel punched Mac lightly in the arm. "Hey, ever since cargo pants came back, sort of anyway, you're good to go all the time."

"Too bad for you grunge died over 10 years ago," Mac countered, eyeing Daniel's flannel shirt critically.

"There are enough people who think I'm gay without me being well dressed," Daniel said ruefully as he started for the door.

Mac grabbed his keys and followed him. "Stereotypes aren't pretty, Jackson," Mac admonished, smiling at Daniel's comment. "That woman, Laurel, I fixed you up with last week sure didn't think you were gay." They both remembered the attractive blonde dental technician who didn't have a shy bone in her body and made it very clear that she was quite interested in finding out what sort of bones Daniel had in his. "You going out with her again?"

They got in Mac's car since Daniel's was in the shop. He had refused to let Mac apply yet another rubber band based remedy to the car's problem. "She's terminally perky, Mac."

When there was no more forthcoming, Mac said, "Is that a bad thing?"

Daniel looked at him over his glasses but the gesture was lost on Mac who was looking at the road. "Okay, the thing is, I cannot stop thinking about Carter ever since you put the idea in my head last week."

Mac sighed, "I've given her more thought than I really want to myself. It's like when you get part of a song in your head and you keep singing it over and over."

"Not a bad analogy," Daniel said. "We don't know her song either, do we, despite working with her for 7 going on 8 years? We know how she is at work but all we know about her personal life is that her father is ex-US military and now a Tok'ra and she used to be engaged to some other military guy who went through the gate, went native, followed by crazy, and tried to kill us all.

"Well we're bound to find out more about her tonight," Mac observed. One of the first things that Carter had done after assuming command was to decide there needed to be an emphasis on team building and had invited all of SG-1 to her house. SG-1 had gone through commanding officers like SpinalTap did drummers and the others really hadn't been there long enough to worry about it. Up until now, Mac and Daniel, as the lone civilians on any of the SG teams, had hung together and not really mixed with their military colleagues off-duty.

"Do you really want to know more?" Daniel asked. "Personally, I just want to stop having stray inappropriate thoughts popping into my head at inopportune moments. I mean, it's not like we can do anything about it since she's our commanding officer."

Mac shrugged. "Damn good thing, actually. Might strain our friendship a little if we were both going after the same woman."

When they pulled up to Samantha Carter's place with Teal'c, they saw that Kowalski's jeep was already there as well as a cute little red Miata. "Whose is that?" Daniel asked.

"I think it belongs to Janet Fraiser," Mac said.

"Interesting. I bet Carter started feeling uncomfortable about being the only woman," Daniel speculated.

They were greeted warmly by the three people already in the house. It was obvious that Kawalski, Janet, and Carter had been finding conversation very heavy going. Doubling the people hopefully meant that there was now the required critical mass to get the conversational ball in the air and keep it there. Mac and Daniel disconcerted Carter by asking for soft drinks. "So you neither of you drink?" she asked, clearly discomforted by working with someone for so many years and not knowing something like this. Kawalski suppressed a snigger. Although he had come to respect their contributions in the field, he had initiated a few attempts at male bonding with the two civilians and discovered that they made unsatisfactory drinking buddies. Admittedly, it was true that if you could get a beer into Daniel, it was usually good for a laugh since Daniel had a low tolerance for alcohol.

Mac just shook his head but Daniel said, "I've got nothing against drinking but alcohol has a tendency to immediately go to my head. Doesn't seem like a smart move when hanging out with my commanding officer."

A half an hour later, the conversational ball was still not in play. There had been some missed goal kicks and more than one bungled pass attempt. At least the ball had stayed in bounds so far during play. No one, for instance, had brought up Carter's loony ex-fiancé.

It had started to snow and Mac got up to watch it for a moment out the window. Suddenly he made an abrupt movement to one side just as a bullet came crashing through the window. He had immediately fallen to the floor as had everyone else. There was no need in this group to yell "Down."

Janet crawled toward Mac. "You hit?"

"No, I'm fine. I noticed something out there, a glint off something across the street."

Carter had grabbed the phone and held it to her ear where she lay in front of the fireplace. She finished reporting the situation to the police and set the phone down. Kawalski asked, "Do we need to set up a defensive perimeter? Make sure we're ready for the next move?"

She grimaced. "Wouldn't hurt to watch from all sides of the house but I don't have any guns." She looked at MacGyver.

He got the point right away. "Piece of cake. I'll be in the kitchen watching from that side and seeing what I can put together." He went in that direction, crouching low. Kawalski went into the study to the right of the living room and Janet dashed, doubled over, into the dining room on the other side. As fast as Mac was, the local police, for once, were at the top of their game, and arrived before Mac had gotten beyond the assembly of raw materials. They spread out and confirmed that whoever it was had not hung around.

The party continued to get much more interesting for everyone. After the officer in one of the black and whites called in his report, a detective showed up. They all had to go over exactly what they had seen with the bulk of the questioning being for Mac. "So any ideas as to who the shooter might be, Ms. Carter," Det. Callahan asked.

Carter didn't really have any helpful suggestions. "I get along with all my neighbors. There is a little kid who doesn't like me because I gave him a talking to after I caught him picking on a cat but…"

"He wouldn't be likely to have the equipment or skill to retaliate," the lieutenant said dryly. "Anyone else? Ex-boyfriends?"

Everyone thought about her ex-fiance, who was nasty enough but, of course, out of the game. Carter said, "Not really anybody. The only really ugly argument I've had with anyone in years was at a question and answer session after a talk I attended at the American Physical Society, oh, three years ago." She made a face. "They were just so WRONG but the information I needed to refute them was mostly classified." She sighed. It was obviously not a happy memory but also clearly not helpful in terms of identifying the assailant. Mac and Daniel made eye contact and shared the thought, "Another hidden side of Carter."

Mac cleared his throat. "I, uh, was a sort of troubleshooter for a large company for several years working all over the world and managed to make my share of enemies. There have been a couple of incidents where someone turned up to settle an old score. I'm betting the gunman was after me specifically. May have originally intended to take me out when we went back to the car and just got cold and impatient." The last part made sense. The temperature, already low, had fallen precipitously while they had been at Carter's.

Callahan looked at Mac speculatively. Evidently the open faced, clean cut man didn't fit his idea of an international "troubleshooter." He may have been considering what troubleshooter was code for and whether the company was "The Company." Maybe he was expecting James Bond or Boris Batinoff or someone else way different than the friendly, pleasant man from Minnesota. Mac's statement was also a very interesting revelation to Kawalski and Janet who hadn't seen Mac's file the way Carter had. Kawalski, who had NEVER been able to figure out why the Air Force had decided to assign Mac to SG-1 in the first place, was considerably enlightened. When he had asked Mac what he did before SG-1, Mac had given unhelpful answers like "Oh, this and that." Janet was not only enlightened but, for the first time, intrigued by the tall, good looking Stargate Jack of all trades. The height difference would eliminate their doing any graceful slow dancing together but the pixyish doctor was thinking, at that moment, that slow dancing wasn't everything.

Callahan said in a tone of voice that suggested he didn't expect to learn anything useful, "You couldn't give us a list, sir?"

"Naah. Plus there are plenty of people whose names I wouldn't know but they'd know mine."

The police then took over the living room and Kawalski hung out there, kibitzing and watching them dig the bullet out of the wall and take pictures of the window. The rest of the guests joined their hostess in the kitchen where Mac demonstrated, should this ever come up again, just how he had planned to improvise weapons.

When at last they dropped Teal'c off, Mac and Daniel were able to have the conversation that had been pent up for Daniel ever since the shot had come through the window. "A COUPLE of times, Mac? Someone has come after you a COUPLE of times. Remember a couple is defined as two. Personally I've witnessed three individual incidents before we even got to tonight." There was no way for Daniel to live with Mac for years and not have come into more information than anyone including Carter since not everything was in the file.

"You know you love it, Daniel. Lets some fresh air into an otherwise staid existence," Mac said innocently.

"Generally speaking I prefer to leave the life threatening situations on the other side of the gate," Daniel returned. "I assume you are going to call Pete. See if Phoenix has information that could shed some light on this?"

"Already did. I stepped out and used my cell right after the police got there. Off topic, did you notice Sam talking to the lieutenant again before we left? They appear to have reached a first name basis."

Daniel shook his head. "Don't change the subject. So maybe, should you go somewhere else tonight? I mean whoever is after you, would know where to find you."

Mac said, "No need. Pete said he'd have people in place. Actually, he thinks he knows who this is and I make better bait in my own house."

"Oh that's just great," Daniel groused.

"You could go somewhere else, you know," Mac said.

"Look we're both off-world for two weeks starting tomorrow. Hopefully they'll catch whomever it is tonight. I'll stay put." Daniel demurred. It just felt cowardly to run out and leave Mac home alone. That made him think of the little kid in "Home Alone" and his ingenuity. Mac could have been that little kid. He was so lost in that scenario that he started and dropped his keys when Mac spoke his name.

"Daniel, buddy, focus and let us in the house, eh?" Mac requested.
"And your keys would be where?" Daniel retorted. Mac patted his pocket and said, "I just noticed when we got out of the car that they must have fallen out at Carter's."

"Why aren't they on the same key chain with your car keys?" Daniel asked.

"Why are we having this discussion? I can't believe you care." Mac retorted. Sometimes Daniel's curiosity about literally everything didn't know when to quit.

Once in the house, Mac started a conversation with Daniel about Wayne Gretsky. Daniel immediately realized that Mac would never have been talking to him about the hockey great if he expected a real exchange of ideas. Mac had simply picked a topic he could do on automatic pilot. He gestured to Daniel to check out the kitchen while he cased out the rest of the downstairs. They met again in the front hall, Mac still nattering on about Gretsky. Daniel had contributed several, "Really's" and a couple of "I honestly didn't know that's" as they started up the stairs. Daniel was really completely over Wayne by now and very grateful when Mac fell silent.

Mac had a conversation with the men in place outside. He informed Daniel when he got off the phone, "They're all set. They think it's Murdoc by the way."

Daniel rolled his eyes. "It's always Murdoc. He's like the Anubis of Tauri criminals."

Mac began creating booby traps with great gusto should Murdoc get past Pete's men. Daniel said, "I want a thorough orientation in all these when you're done. It's no fun setting one off by accident." They both fell silent for a moment remembering an incident where there had not been a thorough briefing and Daniel had ended up with a dart in the posterior. "I'm going to go up, take a shower, try to read."

Daniel knew there was no hope getting any sleep in a house with a manic MacGyver rigging up Rube Goldberg devices all over the place and a crazed, highly trained killer lurking around outside. He knew Mac was downstairs like a kid waiting for Christmas morning hoping that Murdoc got past Pete's men so there would be an opportunity for one of his devices to do its work. Before showering, Daniel decided to set up his own secret failsafe. Mac would kill him if he found out. Daniel reflected if he found out, the circumstances would be such that Daniel was likely to be killed anyway. Daniel was willing to go for the tradeoff.

He pulled a heavy trunk from under his bed that had an bassortment of odds and ends from past digs. At the bottom was something wrapped in a soft cloth. He retrieved it and slid the box back. He took the time to unwrap and make sure it was ready and then took it in the bathroom with him and put it on top of the shelf in the corner of the shower where it would be handy but not get wet.

The water was beating down on him and he was humming but he still heard the faintest of clicks. He peered cautiously out the gap between the heavy shower curtain and the wall and saw that the bathroom door was open a crack and then saw it close again. Furtively peeking at him in the shower just wasn't something Mac would do. Someone else was in the house and checking on his whereabouts before going after Mac. Daniel wondered briefly why he just hadn't been shot but perhaps, even with a silencer, the intruder feared it would alert Mac.

He left the shower water running, grabbed the gun from the shelf and unwrapped it from its cloth. He snatched up his glasses and started to leave the bathroom but then, realizing he was buck naked, grabbed a towel and wrapped it around him first. It took a moment but he just didn't think he feel very heroic nude.

He eased out of the bathroom and then the bedroom, moving very quietly and pausing every few moments to listen intently, the gun held straight down at his side. He went through the upstairs and found nothing. Daniel looked at the stairs with trepidation. Mac hadn't briefed him yet. If he went down there, he'd be on an even playing field with the intruder, with little more knowledge of what sort of traps awaited him. He rubbed his backside reflexively, then drew a deep breath, and started to make his way down the stairs, thinking as he frequently did in situations of physical peril, "What would Indiana Jones do?" This very secret mantra, unknown even to Mac, had given him confidence on any number of occasions.

Suddenly he heard a scuffle in the living room and a thud at the same time he heard a car pull up in front. He hurried down the remaining stairs to discover Mac lying on the floor, either unconscious or temporarily too dazed to move. A man in black was standing over him with a wicked looking Crocodile Dundee style knife. What happened next went very fast. The man pulled the knife back to throw it and Daniel, flashing on Indiana Jones when faced by a knife wielding ninja type, simply threw himself to one side and fired. The knife missed him, the man grunted and went down, and there was pounding on the door.

"Daniel, Mac, what's going on? It's Janet and Sam." Sam called out on the other side of the door. Feet pounded up the walk behind her, undoubtedly the Phoenix operatives responding to the sound of the gunshot. Looking at the prostrate Mac and the moaning stranger, Daniel knew that Dr. Janet Fraiser was exactly what was needed. He immediately took the dead bolt off and threw open the door to find Janet, Sam, and two unknown men with drawn guns.

The two Phoenix operatives were not at all disconcerted by a man in a towel wielding a gun opening the door and simply rushed past him to make sure the scene was secure. "Mac's hurt," Daniel said and pointed with his gun hand toward the living room. Janet immediately was galvanized into action as well. That left Daniel facing Sam who was utterly bemused at the sight of a beautifully muscled man, his body still glistening with moisture from the shower he had just left, clad only in a towel which, as she watched, started to slide south. Daniel grabbed at the towel and then the Artic blast of air from outside began to penetrate through the effect of the adrenalin. He shivered and Sam moved quickly in the house and shut the door.

They both hurried into the living room to find out Mac's status. The wounded attacker was handcuffed and being watched by the men from Phoenix. Janet hadn't tended to him yet. Mac was clearly her first priority. He struggled to a sitting position and Janet said, "I think he just took a blow to the head. I'd better do triage on the other guy and then I'll come back and check it out more thoroughly."

Sam and Daniel dropped to the floor on either side of Mac. The maneuver caused the towel to hike up and Sam couldn't help but notice. Daniel was oblivious but Mac, even in his somewhat dazed state, never missed a signal from a woman. He wavered a little and Sam immediately slipped an arm around him and propped him up. He leaned into her and gave Daniel the slightest hint of a smirk that said, "You think you can work the towel thing but I'm not out of it yet." Or it would have said that if Mac had thought there was a prayer that Daniel had the vaguest idea that he was doing anything sexy. He looked at the gun in Daniel's hand pointedly. "Where did that come from?"

"You mean this gun?" Daniel asked, buying some time.

"Yeah and put it down it down, huh?" Mac requested.

"Oh, yeah, sure," Daniel said, laying it on the floor next to him. He said to Sam, "What are you doing here?"

"One of you left keys at my house," Sam said, holding out a key ring. "Janet's car wouldn't start and I had to drive her home. We went right past here so we decided to just go ahead and give them to you tonight." Daniel thought that had lame written all over it and the expression on his face must have communicated his dubiousness. "Okay, so I was also a little worried about someone coming after Mac. I wanted to make sure everything was okay, that maybe I couldn't be some help if you needed to have someone maintaining surveillance."

"Daniel, I believe I already had a question on the floor," Mac said, mildly but firmly.

"You're on the floor yourself," Sam said, trying to make a joke. She blushed when it fell rather flat.

Daniel smiled at her politely and said, "The gun's something I had along when I did digs in third world countries with dicey political situations. It was under my bed in that box of dig stuff." Daniel sighed. "Look, I know you hate guns and you would not have been happy about it being in the house which is why I didn't tell you I had it. I'd understand if you wanted to ask me to move out."

"You just saved my life. I'm not about to complain about your methods but if you could keep the gun somewhere else going forward, I'd feel better about it." Mac observed that Sam was noticing the towelless parts of Daniel's anatomy again. He let himself fall more heavily against her and said to Daniel, "Aren't you getting a little cold?"

As Daniel got up to go upstairs and dress, the doorbell rang again. No one else moved to answer it so Daniel once again opened the door in his unorthodox attire. This time he found Det. Callahan who showed his badge and said, "One of your neighbors called in the gunshot. I was nearby and evidentially responded faster than any black and whites."

Daniel started to shiver again and opened the door wider for him to enter. Callahan had evidently not immediately recognized Daniel in the towel but, now, taking in Sam and Mac on the floor and Janet working on a bleeding man with what appeared to be a gunshot wound, Callahan said, "Well, hello again, everyone."

Sam returned his greeting but without any particular interest. Daniel and Mac both noticed and each one chalked up a point for the home team. There might be some scrambling to play certain positions in the near future, but the team had definitely done its share of building tonight.