Christmas Countdown: December 12
Colonel Jack O’Neill was usually a pretty laid-back kind of guy. Although he was high ranking in the Stargate program, he didn’t stand on ceremony, something which endeared him to the rank and file. O’Neill was also brave and loyal; when the man had your back, he had your *back* and no question about it. He’d saved the planet a number of times and had managed to do it with a panache all his own. O’Neill was respected almost as much for his dry wit as he was his bravery, banter was the man’s stock and trade. It was hard to think of anyone in Cheyenne Mountain who was more liked.
When Jack was pissed, however, just about everybody knew to stay out of his way. And nothing pissed Jack O’Neill off more than Daniel getting hurt.
General Hammond was waiting for Jack just inside the entrance to the facility. The older man had a particularly calm and determined look on his face. Jack thought that was really too bad; he was in no mood to be placated.
“What the hell happened?” Jack snapped as soon as he was within speaking distance.
He hardly slowed down to address the other man. Jack blew passed Hammond on his way to the elevator. The general was forced to walk at a fast clip in order to keep up.
“Now, Colonel, it’s really not all that serious,” Hammond said in a soothing voice. “Carter and Teal’c got him back to the infirmary right away and Dr. Fraser said he’ll be right as rain in no time.”
Jack stepped into the elevator and punched the proper button savagely. “I thought we had an understanding, General,” he growled. “Danny is not to be on a mission – any mission – without me accompanying him.”
“Now, Jack,” Hammond chided him. “This wasn’t even anything off world-….”
“I don’t care,” O’Neill interrupted him. Even for Jack, he was being belligerent with the higher ranking officer, something he knew he could get away with only because it was just the two of them in the elevator. “His lab, the cafeteria and the sleeping quarters are the only places that Dr. Daniel Jackson is allowed to go on his own.”
“He wasn’t alone,” Hammond pointed out in a reasonable tone of voice. “Carter and Teal’c were with him.”
“And don’t think I won’t be grilling them about that,” Jack snapped. “Carter, at least, should know better.”
“Looks like you’ll have your chance,” the general murmured.
The elevator stopped and the doors opened, revealing a very nervous Samantha Carter waiting for them. Teal’c was by her side, but had his usual implacable expression on his face.
“You better have a damn good explanation, Carter,” O’Neill barked.
“I’m sorry, sir,” she apologized. “I really didn’t see how it could be dangerous.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “Carter, you ought to know by know that Danny will find a way to make just about anything dangerous.”
She grimaced. “I know, sir. I should have known better. . . but Daniel really wanted to go.”
“DanielJackson was most insistent,” Teal’c added in that deep voice of his.
For the first time, Jack relented a little. “Unleashed the puppy dog eyes on you, did he?”
Teal’c clasped his hands behind his back. “Indeed. DanielJackson is well versed in the canine ocular powers of persuasion.”
Jack shook his head. “You have to learn to resist. I know it’s hard, but why do you think I wear sunglasses all the time? It cuts down the effectiveness of those baby blues.” He turned back to Sam. “What happened?”
“Sir, we were just getting a Christmas tree for the base,” Carter tried to explain. “And decorating it. It wasn’t like we took Daniel to explore a new world. I thought it would be perfectly safe.”
“Guess again,” Jack responded dryly. “How’d he get hurt?”
Sam sighed. “We went to one of those tree farms where you can cut your own.” Seeing Jack frown, she hastened to clarify. “Teal’c did all of the chopping, Daniel wasn’t allowed to touch the axe.”
“Smart choice,” Jack stated.
“We didn’t have any problem until we brought the tree back here and started decorating it,” Carter went on with her story. “The lights and ornaments went on without any trouble, but then it was time to put the star on top.”
Jack’s eyes widened. “Oh, you didn’t.”
“We did,” Sam replied glumly. “Daniel wanted to do it, so we let him go on the ladder.” She sighed. “I could have sworn that I checked it and that it was steady, but Daniel overbalanced and fell. Right into the tree.”
Closing his eyes, Jack could all but see the accident. Something like that could only happen to Daniel. “How bad?”
“DoctorFraser did not think DanielJackson was injured badly,” Teal’c answered.
“She’s keeping him in the infirmary until you arrived, though,” Sam interjected.
Jack nodded briskly. “All right. You two finish with the Christmas tree and I’ll take Daniel home.” He shook his finger at them. “But next time, no ladders without me to act as a spotter.”
”As you wish, ColonelO’Neill.”
Leaving his chagrined subordinates behind, Jack strode towards the infirmary, General Hammond trailing along in his wake. It didn’t take but a few minutes to get there, but word had obviously proceeded him. Janet Fraser was waiting at the door and started to give him an update before Jack could so much as open his mouth.
“The tumble didn’t do much damage,” the doctor reported. “He hit his head, but didn’t loose consciousness and there’s no sign of concussion. He did sprain his wrist and there are a number of small cuts from broken glass. Other than some bruises that I’m sure will be pretty colorful by tomorrow, Daniel didn’t really sustain all that much harm.”
The cold knot that had formed inside of Jack’s stomach ever since he’d gotten the call about Daniel unwound a little. “Good. I can take him home, then?”
The doctor’s smile was unshadowed as she answered him. “Of course. I wouldn’t even have kept him this long except I was waiting for you.”
“About time somebody does something right,” Jack grumbled under his breath.
“I should warn you that I gave him a mild pain medication, though,” Dr. Fraser stated. “He’ll be good and sleepy.”
Jack nodded and, without a backward glance, entered the darkened infirmary. There was only one bed occupied, so he unerringly went to his lover’s side. Daniel was laying flat on his back and Jack winced at the sight of him. One arm was folded across Daniel’s chest and the wrist was wrapped in a thick bandage. The young man’s eyes were closed, a bruise developing just off to the left side. Daniel was lucky he didn’t get a black eye. There were several small cuts on his face, but none of them looked serious. No doubt they were from broken ornaments or scratches from the branches that broke his fall.
In short, Daniel looked like he’d done a couple of rounds with a Christmas tree. . . and the tree won.
As Jack stood, just silently taking inventory of his lover’s injuries, Daniel stirred. He opened his eyes and one look from those bright blues melted Jack from a disgruntled soldier to a concerned lover.
“Hey, Danny,” Jack said quietly as he perched on the edge of the bed. He picked up Daniel’s glasses from the bedside table and handed them to him. “I heard you took a dive.”
Daniel smiled as he put his eyewear on, wincing when the expression pulled a cut over his lip. “Yeah. Christmas tree decorating is a full contact sport.”
Jack shook his head fondly. “Only when you play.”
“Don’t be too hard on Sam or Teal’c,” Daniel requested. “I talked them into it; it wasn’t their fault.” He sighed at Jack’s expression. “You already bitched at them, didn’t you?”
”Yes, and I’m happy to report that both their heads are still attached.” Jack replied. He added in an undertone, “Barely.”
“You have to stop being so overprotective,” Daniel protested. “Sheesh, Jack, I’m a full grown man.”
“So does that mean you don’t want a full body massage when I take you home?” Jack asked blandly. “Or for me to wash your hair for you since you hurt your arm?”
Daniel sat up on the bed. “Well. . . .”
Jack was the picture of innocence. “You are a full grown man; I wouldn’t want to be too overprotective.”
Sighing, Daniel swung his legs over the mattress and slowly stood. Jack was right there at his elbow, ready to steady him. “There’s a difference between fussing and being overprotective.”
“There is?” Jack lifted one eyebrow.
“Yes,” Daniel replied firmly. He kissed Jack and allowed himself to be led from the infirmary. “Fussing is acceptable.”
“Got it,” Jack replied.
“And was that a full body massage?” Daniel questioned as they made their slow way to the elevator. Dr. Fraser was evidently right about the bruising, from the gingerly way he was walking.
“Yeah, on one condition,” Jack stated. “No more Christmas tree decorating without me.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “Jack, that’s being overprotective.”
Jack O’Neill was a career soldier, but he’d learned something about the art of negotiation along the way. “You’re jumping to conclusions there, Danny. Maybe I just want to be there to decorate the tree with you.”
They made it to the elevator and got in, Jack reaching over to press the appropriate button. By this time, he had an arm wrapped around Daniel’s waist and the younger man was leaning into him.
“You want to help decorate the tree,” Daniel repeated, blue eyes narrowed in disbelief. Jack wiped any trace of smugness from his face and, after a few moments, Daniel relaxed. “All right.” Daniel sighed. “Now that was a full body massage, right?”
Jack stifled his victory dance. Sometimes you just had to know how to manage Daniel.
“Yup, Danny. A full body massage.”
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