Author's Note: I hope this comes across as ridiculous as I meant it to. :-)
As little time as he spent in the Gate Room – the Embarkation Room, the higher-ups made him call it – George Hammond really, really liked it. From above, in the briefing room or the control room, he could look down upon the Stargate with ease, watching the comings and goings of the teams under his command as if there were nothing strange about it. But in that room… The Stargate towered over everything, its mass imparting an energy to the room that never ceased to amaze him.
And so the general was standing just off the ramp, Sergeant Siler briefing him on the latest improvements to the iris, when the doors slid open and SG-1 made its presence known.
Colonel O'Neill walked in first, as usual, with Daniel on his heels. The young archaeologist was clearly trying to talk to him about something, but whatever it was, the colonel didn't want to hear it. He just kept walking until Daniel repeated, louder, with just a hint of irritation, "Jack!"
The older man stopped halfway to the ramp and turned on his heel. "Daniel?" he asked, feigning innocence.
"Jack," Daniel growled back, clearly growing exasperated.
"Daniel," Jack taunted back, then spun back toward the center of the room. "General," he acknowledged, making his way to the ramp.
"Colonel." Hammond wished the exchange he'd just seen was something out of the ordinary for the two men, but he knew better. And they weren't done.
"Jack, really?" the younger man wheedled.
Major Carter jumped a little at her CO's irritated bark and immediately fell in beside him. "Sir?" When Jack just nodded angrily toward Daniel, she winced and turned to the other scientist on her team. "Daniel," she began softly, trying to placate him.
He looked at her in disbelief, as though she was supposed to take his side. "Sam!"
"Major," the colonel growled from behind her, and she bit her lip, screwing her eyes shut.
"Okay, then," Jack pressed, clearly putting an end to the conversation. "Walter!" Putting one finger in the air, he pointed at the Gate and swung the finger in a circle, and the dialing procedure began.
"Major Carter." Teal'c's calm, stoic voice drew the general's attention, and he looked up just in time to see the Jaffa look pointedly at O'Neill, then Doctor Jackson, then back to Major Carter, who was standing between them. He clearly didn't feel it was a good place for her, and she shot him a grateful smile as she moved to a safer position next to him.
Daniel looked like a little boy who really, really had to go to the bathroom as the Gate dialed each chevron. It was almost finished when he just couldn't help himself. "Jack."
"Daniel!" Both of the colonel's hands came up in frustration, and the general was a bit afraid for a split second that Jack might actually hurt the younger man, but he clamped his jaw and turned resolutely back to the Gate.
It opened with a swish, the light reflecting off their eyes – O'Neill's annoyance, Daniel's frustration, Major Carter's unease. Teal'c's eyes, of course, were totally neutral. "Campers," Jack invited tightly, motioning them up the ramp.
"Sir," Sam acknowledged swiftly as she stepped past him.
Halfway up the ramp, Daniel glanced over at the general, and it was everything Hammond could do not to cringe. "General…"
"Daniel!" Carter hissed, her eyes wide.
Now the seasoned soldier honestly looked like he might do some damage. He even took two steps toward the man before Teal'c's calm voice stopped him. "O'Neill."
Jack's eyes danced briefly over to where Hammond stood, and the general knew he felt a little bad. "General…"
"Colonel," he interrupted, holding up a firm hand to stop anything else from spewing from the team's lips. "I don't even know what you're talking about, and I don't want to. Have a good mission."
And as they stepped through the Gate yet again, he knew he'd never, ever be able to split them up. For no one else he knew could say or hear so much in so very, very little.