A/N: For Nyx Ro, who was quite concerned about Daniel's careless handling of zats in another one of my stories. Don't worry, I think he's learned his lesson now. : )
"Ow!" was the first conscious thought he had.
That he heard the word at the same time it went through his head left him hoping that this wasn't one of those times when it would be best to feign unconsciousness for as long as possible in the hopes of delaying additional 'fun' with sadistic captors.
"Daniel," a familiar voice drawled in response. The volume made him wince as pain spiked through his head, even as it reassured him that there were no sadistic captors in his general vicinity.
Cracking an eye open, Daniel decided that this definitely wasn't one of those times when he would be better off playing possum. Opening his other eye, he looked up at the figure towering over him and blinked in confusion.
Ignoring the lethargic, achy muscles that protested against the very idea, he tilted his head back a fraction of an inch to get a better look at the area behind the person studying him so closely. The new vantage point allowed him to see enough of his surroundings to identify the warehouse they often used to train potential SG team members drawn from the Academy.
That explained why he felt like he'd just been zatted.
"I thought they were using intars," Daniel groaned. The rest of the day's training exercises were not going to be fun for him. It was one thing to shake off a zat's effects in a life or death situation, but it would be considerably more difficult to do without the benefit of adrenaline flooding his system.
"Oh, they are," Jack assured, looking down at him with the expression Daniel privately referred to as his 'Smug Bastard Smirk.'
"Then who zatted me?" Daniel demanded grouchily. He refused to move until he got answers.
That's what he was telling himself, anyway.
"You tell me," Jack retorted, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
The Smug Bastard Smirk was getting bigger with every passing second, leaving Daniel to conclude that Jack was having entirely too much fun right now, considering someone had launched an unprovoked assault on a member of his team just minutes ago.
"Sam and I are supposed to be the only ones with zats out today," Daniel stated pointedly, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "And Sam would never shoot me without reason…" He left the sentence dangling and studied Jack's face carefully.
They both knew full well that the older man periodically threatened to zat him if he didn't get to the point of one of his seemingly endless (to Jack, anyway) cultural lectures. Daniel had always thought that was a joke, but…
"You are. And Carter's not here right now," Jack stated.
Heaven help him, was that actually a grin on Jack's face?
"Something came up with the iris and she got called back to base, but she was sure she'd be back before we start this afternoon's scenario, remember?"
Which meant that his own zat was the only one out…
It was at that moment that Daniel realized the discomfort in his lower back was completely unrelated to the hit he'd recently taken from a zat, but was due to the zat he was currently laying on top of. He shifted on to his side. The unhappy sensations the rest of his body was treating him to were more than worth it to ease the pain caused by the alien weapon digging into the small of his back.
The final pieces of the puzzle fell into place as his memory of what he'd been doing immediately before losing consciousness chose that moment to return.
Jack had needed help moving crates to set up this afternoon's training scenario and had called him over. Daniel had retrieved the zat from one of the curious lieutenants they were training and had sent him off to join the others for lunch. On his way over to help Jack, Daniel had stuffed the weapon into the waistband at the back of his BDUs. The last thing he remembered was bending down to grab a crate…
"Oh," Daniel said flatly.
"'Oh' indeed," Jack gloated, rocking on the balls of his feet with barely contained glee.
"You're going to say 'I told you so,' aren't you?" he asked glumly, staring at a crack in the concrete floor.
He was going to lie right here on the floor for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe a hole would appear and swallow him up. He could really do with a nice big tear in the space-time continuum right about now.
"Many, many times," Jack assured.
The boots that filled most of Daniel's field of vision were practically bouncing with amusement. He glared at the boots in silence, hoping that his narrowed eyes spoke for themselves.
"How many times did I warn you?" Jack asked. It was, presumably, a rhetorical question, although Daniel strongly suspected that he was well aware of the exact number. "How many times did I say 'Daniel, if you keep shoving your weapon back there, it's going to come back to bite you in the ass'?"
"Jack…" Daniel groaned, knowing what was coming next.
"Mind you, the zat didn't bite you so much as shoot you…"
Daniel rolled his eyes. There was nothing else he could do. Jack was going to bring this up for the rest of eternity. Maybe longer. He'd definitely be putting it on Daniel's gravestone if Sam and Teal'c weren't around to stop him.
The familiar thud of combat boots on concrete signaled that someone was coming towards them. A flutter of panic rose in Daniel's chest and he prayed to each and every god he could think of, dead false gods included, that it wasn't one of their students. That would simply be too much for him to take.
Daniel knew it was a futile effort, but his dignity compelled him to ask anyway. "Can we keep this just between us?" he pleaded, angling his neck so he could give Jack the widest, most innocent big blue eyes humanly possible.
The answering quirked eyebrow spelled 'doom' as clearly as the appropriate letters from any alphabet Daniel had ever seen.
He let his head thud back down to the concrete floor beneath him, ignoring the newest addition to his collection of aches and pains. The headache now throbbing in his temples was nothing compared to the pain of his all but vaporized pride.
Of their own volition, his knees inched their way up to his chest, making him as small as a six foot tall man could possibly be.
The thudding grew closer and a much smaller pair of boots entered Daniel's skewed peripheral vision but he didn't bother to look up. He didn't care who it was that was joining them, he was just hoping whoever it was would zat him again and put him out of his misery.
"Sorry about that, sir," Sam apologized, presumably for being called away to forestall problems of potentially apocalyptic proportions.
Daniel didn't know why she bothered; it wasn't like any of them were going to get angry with her for saving the world.
Actually, now that he thought about it, he would be a bit irked to learn that she'd averted a life-as-we-know-it endangering situation. Those were always good for distracting Jack.
"No worries, Carter," Jack replied jovially. "I take it everything is fine now?"
"Yes sir," she replied.
From his limited point of view, it was difficult to tell, but Daniel knew, just knew, that she was looking at him strangely.
"What did I miss, sir?" Sam asked, a hint of curiosity seeping into her words.
Daniel loved her for having too much tact to come right out and ask why the hell he was lying on the floor in the fetal position.
He tried to win Jack's silence by unashamedly unleashing his most pathetic puppy dog expression on his so-called friend.
The honest to goodness grin that lit up Jack's face was more than enough of a reply.
"Oh not much, Major," Jack assured, his eyes locked on Daniel, clearly making an effort to memorize every moment of his mortification. "The kids learned about Goa'uld tactics, Teal'c got confused by their whippersnapper lingo, Daniel shot himself in the ass…"
Daniel groaned and rolled onto his stomach, burying his face in his crossed arms.
Yep, anytime now, a tear in the space-time continuum…