A staff blast, taken from close range anywhere in the torso, is almost inevitably fatal. Sometimes, though, a person gets hit by the charge as it deflected off another object, or sometimes, the blast hits something nearby causing that something to explode into shrapnel. Such was the case when a blast, hurled from the staff of the last standing Jaffa, struck and pulverized a small boulder a few feet away from where Jack was crouched behind a larger boulder. Pieces of shale shot out, most very small, spraying both he and Carter, who turned away to protect her face before turning back and firing the final shot to dispatch the Jaffa.

The strangled cry from her left spun her back around where the sight that greeted her turned her blood cold. Jack was standing, looking down, both of his hands clutching his groin. Blood was quickly soaking the front of his pants.

"Oh my god, Colonel." She moved quickly to him, but his knees were already buckling.

"Crap," he said, and passed out.

He had no idea how long he was out, but he awoke to a searing pain in his lower regions and the sound and sensation of a knife cutting through his pants. He was on his back and through bleary eyes he identified the welder of the knife as Carter. She was clearly in a panic, mumbling to herself as her shaking hands divested him of his clothing. She paused to clutch her radio on her shoulder.

"Daniel, Teal'c. Are you out there?"

Daniel's voice came back. "We're here, about …about three clicks. "

"Daniel. Get here as fast as you can. The colonel's down, bleeding badly. Teal'c's going to have to carry him to the gate."

"Hold on, Sam. We're coming."

She went back to work. By this time, Jack had remembered what had him in this position. A soldier's worst nightmare. It had finally happened. He had had his balls blown off.

"Gahh. Don't touch me." He began flailing at her.

"Colonel, stop. I'm trying to staunch the bleeding."

"Don't bother," he ground through clinched teeth, still pushing her hands away.

"What?"

"It doesn't matter, Carter. I'm not a man any more."

"That's the stupidest thing I have ever heard you say. Now keep your hands…, "she took hold of them and firmly pushed them up to his chest, "out of the way, and don't move."

He complied, more from weakness than resignation, covering his face with one forearm. She finished cutting away his trousers and boxers.

For what seemed like an eternity she poked around whatever was left of his genitals, using his torn trousers to wipe away the blood, her jaw set. Then she retrieved a field dressing from her med kit. She pulled his left leg up and out, bending his knee.

He yelped in pain.

"I'm sorry, sir, but I've got to do this." He was reminded of Antarctica. Carter was more competent now in her field medic skills, and he was more confident in her. But this was not a broken bone.

"..hurts."

"I know, sir. But I have to apply pressure to stop the bleeding." With that she secured the dressing with a piece of his trousers, wrapped around his leg and tied over his hip.

"Okay. It missed the femoral artery. There is a piece of shrapnel imbedded in your buttock, sir. I left it there. We'll let Janet deal with that."

"...don't care about my ass, Carter. What about…" he gestured downward with this right hand.

"Oh, that." She pulled his left arm down so she could see his face. "Sir, you're alright. All your, uh, equipment is there."

"It is?" He tipped his head up, trying to see.

"Yes, sir. Here…" She placed his hand on his naked groin. He took hold of his cock, tentatively at first but then firmly. It did seem to be in one piece and fully attached. Still holding his penis, he reached down with the other hand to check his balls.

"Careful, sir."

"Ow, I thought you said they were okay."

"I said they were there. There's a laceration that may need some stitches. And some bruising. I'm going to dress that cut now."

She took his hands and placed them back on his chest. He laid his head back and tried to relax as she applied the antiseptic cream. It burned like hell, but he didn't care. At least he was still whole.

"You have one large cut and several other small cuts around it. I have a feeling the doc is going to be pulling pieces of that rock of there as well." Then she began wrapping his whole scrotum up in gauze.

"Ow."

"Almost there, sir."

"No, you're there. Stop. That's a great…dressing"

"Yes, sir." She smirked at him. She remembered Antarctica, too.

"Carter."

"Sir."

"Don't let Daniel and Teal'c see me like this."

"Yes, sir."

What was left of his boxers was still attached to the waistband which she had not cut through. She pulled the fabric down so that it was a kind of little skirt. At least it covered him. This was accomplished timely as their two companions arrived at that moment.

"Oh my god," Daniel exclaimed, seeing the blood-drenched and torn undergarment.

"I'm okay, Daniel." Jack insisted, "Tell them, Carter. All my parts are still attached."

Carter nodded, trying not to smile. "Most of the blood is coming from his…uh…leg. I got it stopped for the moment, but we should get him back to the SGC."

Without further delay, Teal'c knelt and lifted Jack up and onto his shoulders in a fireman's carry. Daniel threw his jacket over him so that his lower half was covered. 15 minutes later he was in the infirmary.

…..

As it turned out, the sharp piece of shale had cut through into the muscle of his buttock and several layers of suturing were required to close the wound. As Carter had predicted, several small fragments were also removed from his scrotum, but none had gone deep enough to do any real damage. The longer laceration had been caused by the main piece, on its way into his butt, and needed only a few sutures. Janet predicted his full recovery, but in the mean time, the nature of his wounds was such that Jack was sure to be the orneriest patient on record.

Daniel waited to visit until he was out of recovery. Jack lay on his back, his knees bent and spread apart. Daniel didn't say anything beyond, "Hey, Jack," but Jack scowled at him anyway.

"It's the only remotely comfortable position I can find."

"I'm sure."

"They've got my nuts wrapped up like…I don't know like what, but they feel like they're twice their normal size. And don't even get me started on the catheter."

Daniel's face began to color. "Might be a little too much information, there, Jack."

"What are you complaining about? At least you're a guy. And you're not the one who had Carter groping all around your private parts."

The color in Daniel's face deepened another shade. "Okay, now you're not even making sense."

"I'm just saying."

"Uh, yeah. So…you're going to be okay, I guess."

"So they tell me. It's not like I've had a chance to check anything out. I don't even know if I can still pee properly. Did I mention the catheter?"

"Something."

Silence.

"You know Jack. It's not like you need to be embarrassed about Sam seeing you. I mean, your equipment is reasonably impressive."

"Daniel. Have you been looking at my equipment?"

"We do share a locker room and showers, Jack."

"Yeah, but you're not supposed to look."

"I'm just saying. You are pretty well endowed, I mean, you're not Teal'c, but hey, who is?"

"Daniel."

"What? You're the one going on about catheters and having huge wrapped nuts."

"Anyway. Teal'c's not that big."

"I thought you weren't supposed to look."

"Okay. You're not supposed to admit to looking."

"I see."

"So, you think she was impressed?"

"Sam? I wasn't going to go that far. I mean you were all bloody and disgusting. And whiney."

"I thought I had had my balls blown off."

"Well, they weren't."

"No, just punched full of holes."

"Jack. I'm sure you're fine."

"We'll see."

…..

"Sir. How are you feeling?"

"Carter. Where've you been?"

"I visited before, sir. You were sleeping."

"Oh. Because I thought maybe you were uncomfortable about…"

"No, sir. Well, maybe… I mean. I hope you're not…"

"Because…" They said in unison.

"There's nothing to be embarrassed about." She finished.

"Right. I know."

She sat down on the stool next to the bed. She stared at her hands for several moments before looking back up at him.

"You know. It's not like I haven't seen…a man's…"

"..package."

"…genitals, before."

"But not mine."

"No, sir. Not yours."

"Not that they were exactly at their best."

"No, sir." She shook her head and looked at him quizzically. "Sir, do you really want to be talking about your privates? With me?"

He paused to think. It was a little out of character.

"Are you worried, sir?"

"About what?"

"About whether everything works?"

"Have you been talking to Daniel?"

She shrugged.

"Since you asked. I guess I am a little concerned. It's not like I've had a chance to check it out. At least I can pee."

"Sir?"

"The doc took the catheter out so I was able to give that a test drive."

"And it went okay?"

"Stung a little."

She winced sympathetically.

Okay. Way, way out of character. Why was he talking to her about this? To his second-in-command. His female second-in-command.

"Am I making you uncomfortable, Carter? I don't mean to. I'm not sure what's going on with me."

"Maybe it's because I was there, sir. That you feel we're kind of in this together."

"That actually makes some sense," he agreed.

"Or maybe it's the pain meds." That made more sense. He did feel a little dopey.

"You did a great job out there, by the way. You kept your head, and managed to salvage at least some of my dignity. Thanks."

"My pleasure, sir."

"Really?" Was that flirting?

"Let's just say I'm glad that rock stuck in your butt cheek and not somewhere more…sensitive."

"Yeah."

"Who knows, you might actually need them someday."

He stared at her. She blushed.

"I can't believe I just said that."

"Me neither."

"Cause I'm sure you use them all the time…"

"Are you going to stop talking now?"

"I think I'd better."

…..

Jack blinked and batted away the penlight-welding hand. "Doc, how's shining a light in my eye going to fix my…"

"Colonel. If you don't let me complete this exam, you will not be leaving the infirmary. Now hold still."

He glared at her but was silent. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Teal'c standing, waiting patiently. His expression was stoic, but Jack could see the sympathy in the slight upward twitch of his eyebrow.

"Well, everything looks okay. Teal'c."

Nodding, the big man took hold of the handles of the waiting wheelchair and rolled it forward.

"Doc, is the chair really necessary?"

"Colonel, do not make me repeat myself. I do not want you walking. Teal'c do you understand? He is not to walk. At all."

"I understand."

"When he needs to relieve himself, you help him to the toilet and he does it sitting down."

"I understand."

"Doc." Jack knew he was whining. But really.

"Or you can stay here, Colonel."

"Fine."

"And Colonel." Ah, here we go.

"I know you want to… test things out. But you should really wait until the sutures are removed."

Doh!

"I don't know what you're talking about." He tried to look as innocent as possible. She didn't seem to buy it.

"Teal'c."

"Yes, DoctorFraiser?"

"I mean it; don't let him pull his stitches out. Do you understand?"

"I do."

…..

The sutures were removed a week later. Jack had given up on his dignity long ago, at least so far that medical staff was concerned. Oh, and Carter. And Daniel. And Teal'c.

Teal'c. Who'd been a great help. He loved the alien like a brother, he really did. But a human male would have been sympathetic. A human male would have understood another human male's need to know. A human male would have given him five minutes alone. God, he hated him.

"I am sure you are fine, O'Neill. Surely you do not wish to have the wound repaired again."

Well, that was true. And now, finally, the damn things were out, and he was allowed to walk and not be babysat anymore. Which is why he hightailed it, okay a bit gingerly, but as fast as he could, to the VIP quarters that he had been assigned for the week of his supervised convalescence.

Ten minutes later he was exiting those same quarters when Carter, Teal'c and Daniel rounded the corner.

"Jack, you're up," Daniel chimed out cheerfully.

"Well, I was. Thankfully" He responded without thinking.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Have you found yourself to be fully functional, O'Neill?"

Oh yeah, dignity gone for good. Oh well, the important thing was…

"Yep, everything's…peachy." He couldn't help but smirk. Even if Carter and Daniel were both looking horrified.

"Sorry, Carter."

"It's alright, sir. I'm just glad you're okay."

"More than okay. Who's up for cake?"

Fin.