written August 14, 2001



by Arduinna


Jack dropped into his chair and glanced around the briefing table. "Where's Hammond?"

"No idea," Daniel said absently, flipping through the file in front of him.

"He said something about needing to talk to Perkins," Carter offered.

Jack grimaced. "Perkins, huh?"

"Yes, sir."

"You, too?" Jack asked, looking at her carefully expressionless face. Daniel's head had lifted, then lowered even further as he pretended total interest in the file; Teal'c glanced at Jack before looking away and staring stolidly at the wall across from him. "All of you? C'mon, give."

Carter glanced at the door and licked her lips. Leaning forward, she murmured, "She's just so..."

"Yeah," Daniel agreed, papers clearly forgotten in his hand as he leaned in, too. "She really is."

"Indeed," Teal'c rumbled.

Jack grinned. "Knew it couldn't be just me!" he murmured triumphantly. "What is with that chip on her shoulder, anyway?"

"I don't know, sir, but it's annoying as hell. She as much as accused me of being a sexist. Me!" Carter said, fuming.

"Are you serious?" Daniel asked, blinking. "How...?"

"I have no idea. All I said was I didn't think she was ready to go offworld. She's not ready to go offworld. She hasn't had a second's training yet. She's not gonna get anywhere with an attitude like that."

Jack debated with his better half for at least three seconds. "Oh, I dunno, I know other female officers who've gotten pretty far after starting out with an attitude kinda like that."

"What? Who?!"

Jack raised his eyebrows meaningfully at her, managing not to wink at Daniel, who was settling back in the chair next to Carter, eyes wide and alight with anticipation.

"No way. Not me. I never.... did I?"

"Oh yes," Jack said fervently. "I recall some very snippy comments about reproductive organs not having anything to do with ability."

"Oh, Sam, you didn't," Daniel said.

Carter's jaw closed with an almost audible snap. "I... God. Did I really say that?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Wow. Sir, I am so sorry --"

Jack waved it off magnanimously. "It's all in the past. And after the first couple of weeks --"

"-- couple of weeks?" Carter repeated, aghast.

"You mellowed out a lot after the mission to P3X-595," Daniel chimed in. Jack flashed him an approving glance, holding Daniel's eyes long enough to share a grin as they both remembered Carter's rather inebriated -- and uninhibited -- behavior there.

"Hey! I thought we agreed never to talk about that," Carter said.

"We did not," Teal'c put in. Jack made a mental note to get extra candles for him -- the big ones.

"Oh, I don't believe you guys," Carter muttered.

"C'mon, Carter, it was a whole new side of you."

Daniel's chin nearly hit his chest as he tried to smother his laughter; a muscle started twitching in Teal'c's jaw.

Carter's eyes narrowed. "Kinda like you, sir, on Kynthia's planet," she said sweetly.

"Whoa, whoa, that was not my fault. She drugged me!"

Daniel was looking at him now, bright-eyed. "She does have a point, Jack," he said, voice perfectly sober if you ignored the tiny quiver of suppressed laughter.

"Ah! Don't you even think about it. Don't forget about 788 --"

"Hey!" Daniel said, scowling at him. "That is so not fair -- "

"What is going on in here?" Hammond demanded from the doorway.

"Morning, sir," Jack said brightly.

"Colonel, I'd like an explanation of this. It sounded like your team was... I don't even know what." He sat down, holding Jack's eyes, not giving an inch.

"Bonding, sir," Jack said. Carter and Daniel went as still as Teal'c.

"Bon... what?" Hammond said, staring at him.

"Yes, sir. The glue that holds any good team together: blackmail material."

~ fin ~

Feedback of any sort, from one line to detailed crit, is always welcome, at arduinna at trickster dot org.


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