I don't own the characters of Stargate SG-1, yada yada, and no copyright infringement is intended.
"Jack!...Come on, Jack, make him stop."
Daniel's voice sounded from the living room, his tone an aggrieved whine; and as Jack O'Neill stood in his kitchen feigning deafness, a decidedly devilish grin appeared on the Colonel's lean face at the intriguing series of noises he could hear coming from down the hall.
"No...now, look, I said NO! N-O, no. Aw, geez, don't give me that, that--hangdog expression, no pun intended...I know exactly what you're doing, and it won't work. No means no, darn your hide! Jack!" Daniel's voice had gone from aggrieved to desperate, and Jack snorted back laughter as he plucked two bottles of imported beer from his fridge and strolled nonchalantly from the kitchen.
"Were you calling me, Daniel?" he uttered with casual interest as he entered the living room; lifting one of the opened beer bottles to his lips, he took an appreciative pull of the cold brew inside and leaned indolently against the doorway, amusement lighting his brown eyes as he took in the scene before him.
"You know very well that I was, Jack," Daniel huffed out a reply; his irate voice was somewhat muffled, but Jack supposed that was only to be expected, given the circumstances his friend now found himself in. Tilting his head to one side, Jack absorbed the sight of his best friend--no, make that his TWO best friends--eyeball to eyeball on his sofa, the both of them locked in the throes of yet another epic battle of wills. And from what Jack could see, he'd have to say that Daniel Jackson was getting the short end of the stick this time around. Or should I say the short end of the couch, Jack snorted silently to himself.
And it was no wonder that Daniel's words sounded muffled, Jack mused; it had to be tough, trying to speak with a big ball of scraggly fur right up in his face like that.
"Get...him...OFF!" Daniel gritted out now, glaring around the slightly quivering, sentient mound of fur stretched out on his chest; rolling one scarily irate blue eye in Jack's general direction, the trapped archaeologist added with ominous calm: "As in N-O-W."
"Why do you keep spelling in front of him, Daniel?" Jack asked, lifting an interested eyebrow. "It's not like he knows what you're saying, anyway. " As Daniel sent him a look that clearly stated, 'Oh, yes, he does,' Jack grinned boyishly and took another sip of his beer.
"Besides," the lanky Colonel continued cheerfully, "he likes you. While you were hanging out here with me during our recuperation from that oh-so-fun last mission of ours, Scout really seemed to...bond...with you." A teasing smile played around the corners of Jack's mouth, and Daniel silently extracted one hand from under his living dog blanket and offered a startlingly out-of-character, one-fingered salute to his team commander and friend.
"Bond with THIS, Jack," he muttered balefully, and as Jack gave an exaggerated exclamation of mock dismay, a low growl of tacit disapproval emanated from Daniel's uninvited, furry snuggler.
"I think he's telling you he doesn't approve of your language," Jack grinned, then shrugged nonchalantly and strolled across the carpet to stand next to the couch.
"He's not exactly the reincarnation of Cujo, Daniel," the commander of SG-1 smirked down at the two figures lying on his sofa; Daniel's stubborn blue gaze was locked now in an unflinching staring contest with the pair of placid canine eyes mere inches from his own, and Jack grinned again and waggled the second beer bottle he held just over both contestants' heads.
"He can't weigh more than thirty pounds, tops; why don't you just lift him off you and set him on the floor?" Jack baited his friend. A disgusted exclamation erupted from Daniel's lips, and he wriggled once, unhappily, beneath the warm weight of fur and paws and grizzled muzzle resting atop him.
"Oh, come off it, Jack; you know why I can't just shove him off me," Daniel growled and received a low, incongruously affable growl in return from the dog stretched out on his chest. "And don't try to tell me he just does it cause he's old and can't help it; he seems to have perfect control of his...bodily functions...around everyone else."
"Yeah, that IS a puzzle, isn't it?" Jack murmured, unable to hide the laconic grin that stole across his face again. "You're the only one he does that to."
"He pees on me, Jack." Daniel heaved a huge, longsuffering sigh and slid his gaze from the dog's to scowl into Jack's amused face. "Why don't you just say it right out? Everytime he lies on me like this and I try to carefully--and POLITELY, I might add--remove him from my person, he PEES on me. With unerring aim and accuracy," the annoyed archaeologist elaborated as Jack reached out to fondle the ears of the canine offender currently under discussion.
"Gotta give him credit for ingenuity," Jack said wryly, but Daniel was not amused.
"Get him off me, Jack, or I'm going to turn the tables and pee all over HIM," the disgruntled linguist muttered warningly. "My back teeth are practically floating, here."
"Oh; then I guess you won't be wanting THIS," Jack murmured, draining his beer and starting on the one he'd procured for Daniel.
"TWO at once, Jack?" Daniel queried rather pointedly, and Jack sighed and sent his friend a disgusted look.
"Oh, for crying out loud! Janet hasn't let me even get NEAR alcohol for the past two weeks straight; two little beers now aren't gonna hurt me. And anyway, I'm going to NEED some liquid courage today if I'm to be expected to make nice at Carter's little get-together." A pained grimace flitted across Jack's face, and Daniel gave him a look that was part-accusing, part-empathetic.
"Sam's worked very hard, putting this whole SGC cook-out together," Daniel defended his team mate as he tried to squirm, oh-so-carefully, out from under the comfortable sprawl of dog draped across his torso. "The least we can do is go and try to actually enjoy ourselves for an obligatory hour or two."
"Now, see, that one little word--OBLIGATORY--is a red flag clue to me, Daniel, telling me that even YOU are secretly dreading this. We're OBLIGED to show up, OBLIGED to act like we're having the time of our lives...when all I really want to do is drink at least a six pack of beers, eat a huge hoagie sandwich and some greasy chips and snore in front of the tv all afternoon." Jack sighed mournfully and leveled a pleading grimace Daniel's way.
"Now, doesn't that sound better than standing around nursing a glass of weak tea with all the ice melting in the cup and smiling fixedly while Siler or Feretti, or--heaven help me, DAVIS--babbles on and on about some damned, boring something or other...God, I can feel my eyes glazing over already," the Colonel finished moodily.
"And I can feel my bladder bursting," Daniel groaned. "Really, Jack, get him off me; have mercy. If you save me from drowning in my own urine, I'll try to get us both out of Sam's gathering early."
"Gee, how can I resist a noble offer like that?" Jack drawled, moving at a maddeningly leisurely pace to set both beer bottles down on the coffee table. "And may I say I am astounded and dismayed that a linguist as erudite as yourself would stoop to such language, much less planting such a patently GROSS mental picture in my head. I didn't even know genius scholars were allowed to say 'urine.'"
"Jack, you're about to hear a lot of OTHER, even more superbly scatological words from these lips if you don't get this confounded hair ball OFF me!" Daniel growled, and Jack grinned a grin of sublime enjoyment as he snapped two fingers and called softly,
The dog nestling on Daniel's chest cocked its head to one side, its rather scraggly tail beating an affectionate tattoo on Daniel's thigh as its equally scraggly owner responded to the sound of its beloved master's voice. A wet, pink tongue lolled out of Scout 'Zippy' O'Neill's laughing canine mouth as the dog uttered a short, sharp bark of warm greeting and then settled itself more cozily onto Daniel's midsection.
"Yeah, I see that dog training video is really working for you," Daniel huffed, and Jack gave him a glare before snapping his fingers yet again.
"Come on, boy, time to release Daniel from captivity," the Colonel half-ordered, half-cajoled; Scout lifted his head and seemed to consider Jack's request before giving a regretful sigh and resting his muzzle back atop his neatly folded paws. Sorry, his woeful brown eyes sent to his new master-in-training; no can do.
"Oh, for heaven's sake!" Daniel grumped and tentatively prodded the dog's body in the general direction of the floor. A low, decidedly disapproving growl came from Scout's throat, and the dog stood up on all fours and delicately, warningly, lifted one back leg over the general area of Daniel's crotch.
"NO, NO!" Daniel gasped out, raising both hands high in hurried surrender. "Okay, okay, no more shoving! Good dog, good Scout..." As Jack dipped his head to hide the huge grin stretching across his face, his furry housemate lowered his back leg with a great show of dignity and decorum and prepared to resettle himself on Daniel's heaving chest.
"Jack..." Daniel moaned pitifully; but before the highly entertained Colonel could make a move to assist his friend, the front doorbell pealed.
"Hello!" came Sam's muffled voice from the other side of Jack's front door, and at the sound Scout suddenly came alive. He sat up straight, both bedraggled ears perking up with keen interest, and that lively tongue swept out again, dangling an excited trail of saliva off its tip to break loose and land on Daniel's shirt front.
"Yick," Daniel sighed, but a look of sheer relief suffused his face as Scout gave an ecstatic bark and leaped from the couch with all the vigor of a dog half his age. As the animal raced for the front door, Jack sent Daniel a disgruntled frown and muttered:
"What's with that mutt and Sam? He makes a complete fool of himself every time he sees her."
"He's nuts about her, Jack," Daniel shrugged, clambering to his feet with a swiftness that revealed both his urgent need for the bathroom and his fear that if he DIDN'T make tracks, Scout would return to hold him captive on the couch again. "What can I say, Jack? He loves and respects you, but Sam...well, the way she scratches his belly and sweet talks him makes him feel like a pup again." Daniel grinned briefly at the look of disgusted outrage that crossed Jack's face at his remark.
"That's just...sick, or something," Jack chuffed, folding his arms and scowling at Daniel. "I happen to think it has more to do with the doggie sausage treats she hides in her pockets for him whenever she comes by," he added haughtily.
"Well, they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach," Daniel agreed philosophically as he made a dash for Jack's guest bathroom. "Oh, and by the way...are you going to let Sam in or just stand there glowering all day?" he threw back over his shoulder on his way out the door.
"Like she'd actually go away if I DIDN'T answer the door," Jack snorted; but as Daniel beat a hasty retreat and slammed the bathroom door behind him, Jack turned and made his way to the front entry hall, frowning severely at the sight of Scout standing on his back legs, scratching eagerly at the closed front door with his fore paws and whining excitedly.
"Have a little pride, for pete's sake," Jack growled at the mutt, who threw him a woeful, lovesick look over his shoulder and barked once, peremptorily.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming," Jack told both the dog and the woman waiting on the other side of the door. As he reached for the knob, he carefully held Scout back with one foot and called out warningly, "Dog!" as he opened the door.
"I hear him, sir," Samantha Carter smiled as her short mop of blonde hair and a pair of lively blue eyes peered around the door at Jack. "Hey, Scout, hey you big, beautiful, perfect dog!"
As the second-in-command of his team slid gracefully in through the partially opened front door, Jack wrinkled his nose in quiet resignation and watched the joyful, lovestruck furball that used to be a perfectly good dog launch itself at Carter in a frenzy of adoration.
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Jack gagged as Sam got down on one knee and proceeded to rub Scout's belly until the dog was quivering and moaning in hedonistic delight. "How can I train him to be a decent guard dog when you make him act all GOOFY like that?" Jack accused sourly.
"Hey, Sam," Daniel smiled at her from over Jack's shoulder now, refreshed and bright-eyed after his trip to the bathroom. As Sam returned his greeting with a friendly sparkle in her own azure eyes, Daniel nudged Jack's arm and murmured provocatively: "If a beautiful woman rubbed MY belly like that, I'd probably act a little goofy, too."
"Will you STOP already with the icky mental images you keep implanting in my head?!" Jack ground out irately, then threw up his hands and announced grimly to his new pet:
"Very well, you traitorous hair ball; see if I save you a hot dog at the cook-out later. One tummy rub from a female, and it's good-bye Jack, is it?" His only reply was another blissful moan from the dog as Sam moved her attentions to that itchy spot just behind his left ear...ah! And wasn't that the intriguing aroma of a beef-flavored dog snack wafting from this sublime goddess's left jacket pocket...?
"He's just jealous, Sam," Daniel explained teasingly as Jack brushed by him with another forbidding scowl. "I keep trying to reassure him that Scout loves him first and foremost, but it's just not sinking in. He's just so...sensitive about these things."
"Well, it's understandable, really," Sam replied with mock gravity, slipping the dog his treat and rising to her feet. "I mean, there the Colonel was, stuck in that awful village, just he and Scout against the world, so to speak...that's going to foster some serious bonding, you know? But now that he and Scout are here, safe and comfy and surrounded by friends, Colonel O'Neill is feeling somewhat abandoned. I'm sure he's still dealing with some residual trauma, and it's only logical that he might displace some of that latent hostility onto--"
"Excuse me, I'm standing RIGHT HERE," Jack butted in, casting both of his gently smirking friends a baleful look. "And you, Major Carter, can take your fifty-cent psychoanalysis and your doggie treats AND the linguist who would be peed upon, here, and remove yourselves from my home." As both of his friends gaped at him uncertainly, Jack mysteriously produced a long leash from behind his back and dangled it in Sam's face with a rather predatory smile.
"He needs walking," Jack ordered. "And since I am still...recovering...from my grievous and terrible wounds, I don't feel quite up to taking him out to do his business. Surely the two people who have teamed up to turn my formerly lean, mean, bad-ass dog into a big old mush ball of love can handle that assignment?"
"And we're walking,sir," Carter replied meekly, sliding her eyes to Daniel's half-indignant, half-amused face. "C'mon, Daniel, let's take Scout on a tour of the block."
"Hey, I'm still in recovery, too," Daniel began; but as Jack turned and made a terrible face at him, Daniel shrugged and edged carefully around the Colonel's 'I'm-recovering-but-I-could-still-kick-your-ass' figure.
"Come, Scout; we're walking!" he called out, and the scrappy dog shot Jack a suddenly contrite look before trotting over to flop down across the Colonel's bare feet. The dog's brown eyes sent Jack a message of quiet devotion as Scout studiously ignored Daniel's adjurations for him to come, and Jack felt a surge of impossibly sappy emotion rise up in him at the sight of the calm loyalty the old dog was displaying toward him now.
"Oh, go on with you, you old manipulator, you," Jack ordered gruffly; Scout tilted his head to one side, considering this, and then with a small whine of acceptance and anticipation the dog raised itself to its feet, swiped a pink tongue across Jack's toes, and trotted happily out the front door with his two newest friends.
"Ingrate," Jack muttered as he closed the door behind them; but a small smile chased itself around his face as he made his way to the living room for a few minutes of blessed peace and quiet.
It warmed his heart to know that Scout--darned old dog, he loved the heck out of him already--would always have willing hands to watch over him if and when Jack himself was unable to. Everyone back at the base was nuts for the silly mutt; Hammond had offered to act as dogsitter whenever SG-1 had to go on extended missions, gruffly averring that his granddaughters would welcome the chance to take care of the animal; Ferretti and Siler and several others at the SGC had offered to do a tour of duty as dog boarders, as well, if Jack ever needed them to help out. It was amazing, really, how one small, scarred, tenacious mongrel from some mudball, nothing planet had already touched so many lives in such a positive way.
"Not that I'M giving in to any of that ridiculous, mushy animal-lover stuff," he assured himself as he aborted his planned trip to his easy chair and detoured to the kitchen instead to check Scout's food and water. "A man's gotta show he's boss of his own home, after all, and that dog is still a tough old warrior underneath all those fancy, herbal-scented flea shampoos and that ridiculous collar Carter put on him. It's up to me to keep the rest of them from turning him into a glorified lap dog, for crying out loud." This was said with stubborn conviction as Jack measured a meticulous amount of obscenely expensive gourmet dog food and some imported bottled water into Scout's shiny, new, top-of-the-line dog bowls.
"They'll spoil him rotten, that's what they'll do," the Colonel continued griping to himself as he made his way to the living room and fluffed the thick, luxurious cushion of the deluxe-model sleeping basket he'd bought for Scout till it was back to its original, sinfully comfortable state. "Ridiculous, catering to a mutt like he's some kind of royalty...it's a good thing he has ME here to keep him in line, to remind him what it's like to rough it a little..."
And as he settled his aching bones into his own comfy chair, ice-cold beer in one hand, tv remote in the other, Jack O'Neill sighed contentedly and wondered if he could train Scout to fetch him extra beers under the table at Sam's cook-out later. There had to be some way to evade Janet Fraiser's watchful eyes...
"Team work, that's the ticket, buddy" he murmured drowsily now; and as he drifted off into a peaceful slumber, he was already planning Scout's first fishing trip with him to the 'wilds' of Minnesota.