After Heroes, before Threads. Lots happens.
My stories don't necessarily build on each other. This one isn't related to others that I've done.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these people. I won't make them do anything they don't want to do.
"I wonder if they fart."
Daniel's head hit the window with a distinctive 'clunk'. It wasn't for the first time.
"I mean—they're part human." Jack paused, seriously considering. "Sometimes you've just gotta let loose."
"Jack, I don't think that Goa'ulds pass gas."
"Why not? It's a basic human function." Finger quotes. He loved using those finger quotes.
Jack sat in the driver's seat, his seat belt unbuckled, one foot braced on the map pocket in the door. His face alternated between being shadow and green, shadow and green. The hazard lights were blinking.
"I just think that any digestive processes that result in the creation of more gas than is necessary would be better regulated by a symbiote than by an unblended human being. Therefore it's not a basic human function for a Goa'uld." Daniel's breath made clouds on the glass.
"Too bad Teal'c's not here—he could tell us."
But Teal'c was off world—visiting his Hak'tyl girlfriend. The down-time mandated for SG-1 had allowed enough leeway for Teal'c and Ishta be relieved from their respective duties and spend some real time together. It had only taken the big Jaffa a few minutes to ready himself and depart the SGC.
Daniel wished that he'd thought of it first. But, sadly, without the Jaffa libido and mo-jo, there was very little chance of his finding a Hak'tyl warrior girlfriend anytime soon. And for some reason, Earth women were too—Needy? Spoiled? Whatever, they didn't appeal. He'd had a long, dry spell lately.
That's why he'd accepted Jack's offer of a night of stargazing. What the hell, he'd thought, he may as well see them from this side of the universe as from some point beyond.
But then the Super Duty had sputtered to a stop on the side of a deserted road, forty-ish miles outside Colorado Springs. Jack's sputtering about the faulty gas gauge hadn't impressed. Daniel had started cursing Teal'c and his girlfriend long before this point in the conversation about Goa'ulds and their gastrointestinal issues.
Jack had been talkative. They'd already discussed whether or not Ba'al had any. Jack thought that was funny. Ba'al, as in Bocci. Ha ha.
Daniel counted thirteen blinks of the green lights before Jack spoke again.
"How about boogers? Do you think they have to pick their noses?"
"Excess gas, excess mucus. Kinda the same, Jack. I'm sure that the symbiote takes care of that, too."
"Teal'c had a symbiote and he still used to the cheese from time to time. And I saw him pick his nose once—although he told me it was a scratch. But, hell, you've been with him at Mexican Night at the Commissary." O'Neill waved a hand meaningfully in front of his face. "Now there's some chemical warfare. Oughta inform the NID. Put that stuff in a missile."
"Oh, for Pete's sake." Daniel muttered.
"Who?" Jack pretended not to have heard.
Daniel didn't answer. He'd forgotten that some names were better not used at all these days.
"Yeah. Teal'c can really let 'em fly. Beep his horn. Toot. The colonic calliope. The rectal shout. The gluteal tuba."
Daniel didn't answer, unless you counted a long-suffering sigh.
"But these drones—these Goa'ulded bad guys—"
"The Super Soldiers?"
"Yeah. Them. They gotta pee, right? How do they do it in those suits?"
"Oh, good grief."
"I mean, they have those hard suits on, and Jacob had to cut that one's off to do the little alien autopsy. I didn't see a flap or anything, did you?"
Daniel covered his face with both hands and groaned. "Please, Jack. Could you stop? Please make it stop." He found that he was only a little embarrassed by his own pathetic pleading.
"What, you thinking about ascending again?"
"I'm just sayin'."
The darkness around them filled the cab of the truck—punctuated by the clicking blinkiness of the hazard lights. Daniel started translating the lyrics to "The Day the Music Died" in his head. He wondered if you could sing it in Asgard.
He was halfway through the first verse before Jack spoke again.
"Do they have to do number two like the rest of us?"
When Daniel didn't answer, Jack poked him in the shoulder.
"Pooping." Jack clarified. "Do the Goa'uld poop?"
"Everything poops, Jack. They even wrote a book about it."
Jack was genuinely surprised, and oddly intrigued. "Really? Who?"
"I don't know, Jack. I'm just saying that for all that the Goa'uld are symbiotes, they still have to perform the fundamental operations of the human body."
"But you said that they wouldn't need to fart or pick their noses."
"Not everything with a nose has to pick it, but everything that eats has to eliminate waste, Jack."
"Why? Wouldn't their overwhelming biological prowess allow for better energy storage? Waste is just extra resource that our bodies can't metabolize, right?"
Daniel's mouth opened and closed a few times without any words actually emerging. Sometimes, he forgot just how smart Jack actually was.
Finally, he managed a reply. "I'm sure that they would still need to eliminate."
The Colonel's response was immediate. He raised his index finger in an 'A-ha!' gesture. "Yeah, but do you think it would still smell?"
"There were no vents in the bathrooms in any of the Goa'uld vessels we've been in. Obviously, smell to them is not a problem."
"Maybe they just like the smell. Like dogs." Daniel couldn't believe he'd been drawn into this debate.
O'Neill thought about that for a moment, scratching absently at his chin. He hadn't shaved for a few days. Really, there was no point, was there? They had been given a week's leave—although what the point of that had been Jack still couldn't tell.
Because a week couldn't make up for what had been lost recently.
Dr. Frasier. Sam.
He instantly sobered. What did they say about time and healing wounds? It took longer than a week.
His sigh betrayed him.
Daniel glanced over at that sigh. The clenching jaw, the narrowed eyes, the slight hitch in the intake of breath—Daniel knew what they all meant.
"You couldn't have done anything."
"I could have done something."
"I was standing right beside her when it hit. I have it on tape. Remember?"
Jack didn't answer. The green of his turn signals blinked in unison along with the clicking of the hazards outside the truck cab.
"Or are you thinking about Sam?"
Still no answer.
"You're thinking about Sam."
Jack suddenly found a mark on his jeans that was very interesting. He licked the pad of his thumb and scrubbed at the spot with it.
"She's with Pete now." Daniel decided for some tough love. "She's with Pete and she seems to be very happy."
"She's very something."
He started on the spot with his fingernail.
"Jack, this won't work."
"This what? What are you talking about?" Foolish innocence—even Jack knew Daniel wasn't buying.
Daniel shook his head. "This—thing—that you're doing." He paused, glanced over at O'Neill, and then splayed his hands out in front of him in supplication—to whom? Didn't matter. "Did you call her? Just now. For gas. Did you call her?"
"You called Sam." Daniel breathed deep and then turned so that he was sitting sideways in the seat, one knee cocked up next to the center console. "You called her to bring us gas?"
"Jack. She and Pete were going to spend the weekend together."
"Yeah, well, so what?" Jack growled. "She owes me. How many times have I saved her ass?"
Daniel turned again to facing front. He rested his elbow on the ledge near the window on the door and played with the O. S. handle with his fingertips. He counted twenty clicks of the hazard lights. Taking off his glasses, he rubbed his eyes in an action that bespoke frustration, sadness, guilt, and so much more—admiration, even love, maybe, for the stubborn man sitting across the console from him.
Daniel had long ago admitted that Jack O'Neill was one of the best men he'd ever known. More than anything else in the world, the Colonel deserved happiness. For eight years, he had watched the relationship between his two best friends grow and cool, morph, and falter. It had affected him nearly as much as it had broken them. He felt like the teen-aged son of bickering parents at the moment—glad that Mom was finally happy, and yet so bone-weary heartbroken for Dad that it hurt to breathe.
Jack's voice rose, hoarse, from the quiet. "She came to me after the Super Soldier thing. After Doc Frasier—after—that—she came to me again. She came to me when Cassie was so—broken. Where was Pete? What has he ever done but stalk her? He doesn't understand her. He doesn't deserve her."
"And you do?" Daniel knew he did. "You deserve her and she owes you? That's—that's—Jack, you know it doesn't work like that."
Jack stared out into the night—inscrutable, impenetrable.
Daniel watched him for a moment before turning to his own window. He didn't think Jack would want him observing that kind of pain.
He counted a hundred clicks, then fifty more.
When Daniel spoke again, his voice was calm—soothing.
"Jack. Maybe it's time for you to go see someone."
Click. Click. Click.
"A therapist—someone to help you get over this. Get through."
The Colonel's chin dipped down towards his chest. His lips thinned, his eyes narrowed. Daniel wasn't sure if he was listening or not.
"You need to get over her."
Click. Click. Click. Click.
"Daniel—we still work together."
"I know. That's why this—obsession needs to end."
Jack ignored that. "And besides, how do you do that, anyway?"
"What, find a therapist?"
"No." He made a swipe with a hand. "How do you move on? When it's someone like her? Where do you go from her?"
Daniel didn't answer—couldn't answer.
Salvation came in the headlights that threaded their way up the road and cruised to a stop behind them.
Jack caught Daniel's gaze then, and made a little move with his head. "I can't."
With a quick movement, the door was opened and the Colonel stepped out of the Super Duty into the night.