Irrevocable Decision Part 17

When Janet eventually descended on the cabin, everything became a whirlwind of activity. Given no time to voice any objections – Janet knew better than to provide such an opening – Jack was examined, administered various shots, given oxygen to assist his breathing, had an I.V. attached and kept on various monitors even while transported by helicopter.

There was no time for farewells when the CMO was on a mission and even if he'd been inclined – which he wasn't – the sedative Janet had added to the I.V. had ensured Jack slept the sleep of the innocents and had no recollection of being moved from his bedroom until he awoke many hours later in the way too familiar environment of the SGC infirmary.

He should have known better. Had he learnt nothing from all the times he'd been a prisoner in the infirmary?

"Ouch. Damn and blast, woman! Have you nothing better to do than blind me the moment I wake up?"

"It's my favourite pastime, Sir."

Ugh oh! He must have said that out loud. Big mistake.

"Come on now, open up, I just want to make sure the anaesthetic is wearing off nicely."

'And when, for crying out loud, has any anaesthetic been known to wear off nicely?' He had a rather strong and unpleasant recollection of throwing up at some stage and swearing like a master sergeant when gentle hands had disturbed him by attempting to clean him up.

Jack groaned, swatting at the hand he knew was hovering over his face. "Leave me alone," he grumbled, past caring that he was speaking to the person who wielded the biggest needles known to man. He tried removing the hated mask over his mouth and nose.

"Can't do that, Colonel." The voice sounded amused. "And leave the mask alone!"

"Yes, you can."

"No, I can't."



"Still playing those juvenile games, Jack?"

For just a moment, the patient stilled, hardly daring to open his eyes. When he did, he showed nothing of the unease which was rippling through his body, though the monitors he was attached to were doing a good enough job.

"I learnt from the best, Daniel."

He took comfort in seeing the indignant look his old friend threw at him before Janet's penlight blinded him again. It was a few moments before he could return his attention to SG-1's archaeologist and linguist while he waited for Janet to complete her checks, and when he did he found him in his customary defensive mode, arms wrapped tightly around his sides whilst he tried to look as if he meant business.

"I'll leave you two alone for a little while. No doubt you've got a lot of catching up to do."

And giving Jack the eye warned, "If I come back and find you've removed the mask, Sir, there'll be trouble." Then turning to Daniel, continued just as sternly, "Don't tire him out – he's going to be with us quite a few days more, okay?"

She didn't move until Daniel nodded his acceptance of her rules; he knew better than to ignore them when she had been so specific. Then, giving him a reassuring pat on the arm as she passed him, she moved through a gap in the curtains, calling, "Fifteen minutes – no more."

She didn't hear his answer, but Jack did. "It won't take that long."

"You pissed with me, Daniel?"

"Now why would you think that, Jack?" the younger man asked cynically, his blue eyes blinking repeatedly, unable to hide the hurt of his loss but trying all the same, while his folded arms tightened further still.

Feeling at a distinct disadvantage as he lay on his back, Jack closed his eyes and offered up a silent prayer.

"Oh, I don't know – maybe the fact I almost blew you to pieces a while back and I never apologised."

The younger man frowned, just for a moment confused by words he hadn't expected to hear.

"There was nothing to apologise for."

"Then why the attitude?"

Daniel jerked like a marionette, furious that Jack still had the capacity to rile him and unable to restrain himself and hide the fact.

"Attitude? You call this attitude?" His glasses sparkled under the fluorescent lighting as he fought to keep his voice down.

"God forbid that I should have an attitude when my…" he faltered, uncomfortable with his next words which would reveal his naiveté and helplessness, "when you simply disappeared out of our lives, leaving SG-1 leaderless, leaving Teal'c without the brother he has come to admire so much, leaving me without anyone to argue with and leaving Sam-." He stopped, speechless, unsure how to continue.

Ignoring for the moment what hadn't been said, Jack pushed himself up onto his elbows hoping he'd get a better grip on dealing with such a disgruntled linguist. He pulled the mask down.

"You mean to tell me you miss arguing with me?" It was Jack's turn to look helpless as he raised an incredulous eyebrow.

Ducking his head, to hide the flush of embarrassment creeping up his face and neck, Daniel stared down at his shoes.

"You actually missed arguing with me?" The question was repeated in the same astonished tone.

Snorting in disgust, Daniel raised his head, his eyes daring Jack to laugh.

"We…I…Ah hell, what's the point?" And turning on his heel, the younger man escaped the curtained-off area just as Teal'c entered.

With obvious relief, Jack met the Jaffa's clear gaze, knowing there would be no hidden words or meanings for him to work out the cryptic code.

"Teal'c, it's good to see you."

The warrior's eyes shone with a distinct glow of happiness. "My heart is glad to see you, O'Neill, though I wish it were in better circumstances."

"Ah, well," Jack brushed off his injury as if it were a pesky fly. "So, Teal'c, how are things?"

The warrior inclined his head, considering how to answer. "Things have been inauspicious since you left, O'Neill," and eyeing the oxygen mask hanging uselessly round the patient's neck, the Jaffa said, "and Dr. Fraiser requested me to remind you that your future will also be most unfavourable should she find you have not listened to her orders."

Rolling his eyes theatrically, Jack groaned, "Oh?" How to sabotage a promising conversation in one easy lesson. He frowned. "Have you been taking lessons from Daniel or Carter by any chance?"

Teal'c stared long and hard and then said, "I have not. To what purpose would I have taken lessons?"

Jack waved a hand, "Just wondered, no sweat. Forget it." He began to fiddle with the edge of his bed sheet, choosing to leave the mask where it was. "So tell me, where have you got to in Star Wars?"

(Chapter 18 to follow soon)