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Special Ops IV – Dutch Courage by iiiionly


Jack’s POV

 

Yeah, so it’s a bribe and I know he knows it.  But he’s gonna need something to hold onto while they’re poking and prodding at his brain.  Because I’m damn sure there’s going to be a whole heck of a lot of poking and prodding going on, and maybe not just his brain.

Daniel, in his adult manifestation, never tolerated that well.  I can imagine the hell it’s going to be for him in this manifestation, especially since it’s likely to be his two latest nemeses doing it.

Thor’s been least in sight the last few weeks.  No more friendly beaming-in to borrow Dr. Jackson for a day or two, which naturally makes me wonder if he’s been working up to this agenda from the beginning.

I suppose in the interests of intergalactic harmony I should refrain from accusing him of lying to me, but I sure have every intention of asking him point blank why he let this happen. 

Carter and Teal’c are coming for dinner and I have a few minutes to kill before I need to start anything, so I go in search of my kid.

“Hey, whatcha doing?”

He’s half-propped against the wall staring at the Khafra pyramid on the wall across from his bed, though I don’t think he’s seeing anything in the room.

“Waiting,” he responds, without batting an eye.

Earth to DanielJackson.

“You could come out into the living room and wait with me,” I suggest.  “Or you could take a nap.  Could be a long night, ya know.”

His head turns and he blinks at me, as though he’s only just realized I’m standing here.

“Jack?”

“What?”

Daniel slides off the bed and totters over to me on legs that belong on a toddler;  which tells me there’s something going on here I need to pay attention to.

Automatically I hunker down on my heels.

“What if we get caught?”

This close I can see the pulse fluttering wildly at his throat and it occurs to me – d’oh – all this bravado has been a façade.  Right now he’s just a terrified little kid, worried half-sick we’re going to get caught.

“We didn’t before,” I offer.  “Why do you think we might now?”

He hesitates, shrugs, and mumbles, “Well, there will be four of us this time, which exponentially increases the odds of getting caught.”

“Are you forgetting it also exponentially decreases the amount of time we’ll be out, which proportionally decreases the odds of getting caught?  Besides, Carter and Teal’c are old hands at this kind of operation.”

His small hands get shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans and both shoulders come up around his ears.  “But what if I get caught alone?”

“Ahhhh,” I acknowledge, wondering why I didn’t think of this before, “that’s not going to happen.”  I pull him between my knees so our faces are only inches apart.  “First of all, we’re not going to leave you alone.  Second, you were great at this before and now that you’re smaller you can melt that much easier into the shadows.”

From the frown that flits across the expressive features I realize smallness equals even more vulnerable in these circumstances.

“Listen, Daniel, if something goes wrong and we do get caught, I want you to promise me you will fade into the shadows.  One of us needs to be free to call the General to bail us out.  Promise me?” 

When he nods slowly, I give him a grin and a quick hug. 

“Don’t forget to make sure your cell is charged and in a pocket, please.”

On reflection, I think a little Dutch courage could go a long way toward settling that pulse.

“I suppose being drunk off your ass last time might have helped these pre-mission jitters.  Come on, let’s go find the scotch.”

I scoop him up and leverage both of us to a standing position, creaking joints and all.  His arms go instinctively around my neck, though he pulls back to look at me in disbelief.

“You’re actually going to let me have scotch?”

“Sure, a teaspoonful, with lots of ice and water.”

“Can I have it with club soda instead of water?”

“You betcha.  One word of this to Frasier, though, and your drinking days are over, my friend.  Got that?”

He nods, grinning happily, and I think again how little it takes to make him happy in either manifestation.  Wonder why it’s so easy to lose track of that with the adult manifestation.

So, yeah, I’m not above bribery in soliciting cooperation.

We’re doing this tonight because Daniel asked and I owe him for making him go to Frasier’s to begin with.

But we’re also doing this because if we’re successful, I’m hoping it will be the confidence booster he needs before he gets his feet swept out from under him again.

More and more I’m coming to the conclusion Daniel and Destiny have an appointment.  I could wish we had a little more intel to go on, working blind is never fun, but as long as he’s willing to follow the path, Carter, Teal’c, and I have every intention of sticking like glue.

After all, even the next quantum leap in humanity needs someone covering his six.

~*~

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