Torn

By: sharilyn

EMAIL: sharilyn

 

Even though I'm writing about the nail thing, I didn't really hurt Jack; wasn't ME who ripped his nails off! But I'd be more than happy to give him a little TLC to make it all better...

"But it HURTS!" Jack whined miserably. He sat flat on the dusty ground, his back leaning up against the trunk of a short, stubby tree, and scowled blackly at his heartless companions as they exchanged discreetly amused glances.

"We're just glad you're okay, Jack," Daniel murmured soothingly, hiding his smile behind a cough as he discovered a sudden, urgent need to root in his pack for something.

"Daniel's right, sir," Sam took up the thread of Daniel's thought and smiled placatingly at her unhappy commander. "If you had fallen off that ledge...well, there's no telling how many bones you might have broken."

"It would indeed have been most inconvenient had you broken your neck or knocked yourself unconscious, O'Neill," Teal'c agreed imperturbably, turning up his canteen and taking a long drink of water. As Jack levelled an ugly frown in his direction, the Jaffa recapped the lid on his canteen and continued smoothly:

"It would have made for a most arduous return trip, had we been forced to carry your limp body all the way back to the stargate. Therefore I believe you should be feeling most grateful at this moment."

"Oh, I am, Big Guy," Jack snarled sarcastically, holding both hands up before his face and wiggling his bandaged fingers with vehement emphasis. "I'm feeling really... grateful... right about now. Not to mention all warm and fuzzy inside over the unabashed concern of my team mates."

"I'm sure it's very... uh... painful, Jack," Daniel murmured from behind one of his ubiquitous journals. "And as soon as we get back to the infirmary, Janet can probably give you something for the pain. But... ah... I don't think this is the worst injury you've ever had."

A small, quickly stifled snort erupted from Sam's throat, and she blushed a becoming shade of pink as she hurriedly turned to fiddle with her own pack. Jack sent an absolutely blistering glare her way, one which Teal'c and Daniel were certain would leave scorch marks on their 2IC's lovely back; then the commander's features settled into a sulky pout as he gazed broodingly at his injured digits.

"Well, it DOES hurt... a lot," he muttered defensively, and Daniel was almost certain he saw Teal'c roll his eyes heavenward. His own brows lifting in amazement at the very notion, Daniel stifled another smile and made sure it was well cloaked by the book he held in front of him.


"Okay, Colonel O'Neill, what was it this time?" Janet Fraiser sighed, her gaze alighting on Jack's bandaged fingers with longsuffering patience. "Have you been sticking your hands where they don't belong again?"

As Daniel began choking on a surprised laugh on the ramp behind him, Jack gave the SGC's head medical officer a surly growl and waved one hand in front of her unimpressed face. Though he towered over her diminutive frame, his threatening demeanor had no more effect on the doctor than if he had been but a small, sulky boy. And come to think of it, that description fit Jack to a tee right at this moment, Janet reflected to herself with private amusement.

"No, I did NOT stick my hands where they don't belong," Jack retorted acidly. "In case you've forgotten, that's Daniel's purview." Daniel gave a small bark of protest, which Jack tacitly ignored.

"He almost fell off a cliff," Sam explained cheerfully from her place beside Daniel, diverting the topic back to the matter at hand, so to speak; and Jack turned to give her another killing glare while Janet's left eyebrow rose in cool disbelief.

"A cliff, Sam?" she murmured, a tiny bit of respect entering her voice; Teal'c nodded lugubriously at Jack's left elbow and intoned with his usual, grave courtesy when addressing the doctor.

"It was a very small cliff, Dr. Fraiser. I am confident that, had Colonel O'Neill actually fallen, the fall would not have proven fatal."

"You don't know that!" Jack bit out in growing exasperation, a petulant grimace twisting his lips. "And if you guys had just moved your asses a little FASTER, I wouldn't have had to hang off the edge of that drop-off by my nails, ripping half of them loose in the process, I might add. It hurts, Janet," he declared mournfully, again lifting his bandaged hands for the doctor's professional perusal.

"I imagine it does, Colonel," Janet murmured, the slightest ripple of empathy crossing her face. "And we certainly don't want them to get infected, so we'd better get you to the infirmary right away and get them cleaned and treated properly."

As the lively physician took hold of Jack's right arm to walk him down the ramp, the silver-haired C.O. of SG-1 turned back to his three team mates and mouthed with grim satisfaction: "Infected...?", his gaze traveling over Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c as though to say: "And you all said it was nothing."

"Is everybody else okay?" Janet called over her shoulder, and Daniel winced a bit and rubbed at his left shoulder.

"Well...I think I might have wrenched my shoulder a bit helping to pull Jack back up off the ledge," he offered tentatively, and Jack turned in disbelief as Janet promptly abandoned him and scurried back to check Daniel's shoulder. Her concerned murmurs drifted lightly on the air as both Sam and Teal'c wisely made a break for the door, almost running down General Hammond as they made their escape.

"Colonel O'Neill... what happened to you?" Hammond demanded as he marched up to the disconsolate commander; mutely Jack wiggled his bloodily bandaged fingers in the General's face and sighed,

"Cliff, sir; very big cliff. Had to hang by my nails, literally. Painful, very painful."

"Well, I would think so," the General empathized, wincing a little at the very thought of feeling his own nails being ripped loose from his fingers. Fortified by this glimmer of merciful humanity from his commanding officer, Jack gave Hammond a grateful, longsuffering look and headed for the infirmary in brave solitude, the stoic set of his shoulders blocking out Janet's protective clucking over Daniel in the background.


"So, what brings you guys over?" Jack sighed; he stood barefoot in the front doorway of his house, a pair of faded jeans hugging his lean body while the old blue sweatshirt he'd thrown on this morning emphasized the attractive silver glints in his hair. His brown eyes studied the three discomfited bodies on his front porch with considered disinterest, and Daniel gave a sigh as he elected himself spokesman for the group.

"We... uh... we feel bad about the other day, Jack," he began cautiously, his voice low and properly contrite. "I guess we just didn't realize how truly painful your fingers were. I mean, I dimly remember slamming my finger in a car door once and how badly that hurt, but I guess I just... blocked out the pain over the years. That alone should tell me how traumatic it was."

"Can the suck-up talk, Daniel," Jack sighed boredly, standing straight and piercing all of his team mates with an implacable glare. "It's Thanksgiving tomorrow, you should all be trotting off to see your loved ones. Teal'c, isn't Ry'ac waiting for you back on Chu'lak? And I believe, Major Carter, that you should be flying out this evening to visit your brother and his family. Which leaves you, Daniel... no trip to Abydos this season?"

"Yeah, well..." Sam's voice was a bit chagrined as she slid one booted foot across the porch and risked flicking a quick glance Jack's way. "I kind of forgot to reserve my ticket in time to beat the holiday rush, so... It appears I'm grounded this Thanksgiving. Stuck here, though I HAVE been invited to spend the day tomorrow with Janet and Cassie."

"And I will indeed travel to be with my son tomorrow, O'Neill," Teal'c spoke up once Sam had finished her explanation. "Though we of course have no Thanksgiving holiday on Chu'lak, I am still gratified to have this opportunity to return to my home and visit both my son and Master Bra'tac. But my time today is fully available, and I was most pleased at the thought of spending part of the day with my friends."

Jack sent the stolid Jaffa a long, contemplative look at this last, and something in his gaze softened as Teal'c returned the stare with patient equanimity. Daniel cleared his throat then and chose this moment to offer his two cents' worth.

"I... uh... I guess I'm just not really in a traveling mood this holiday, Jack," he murmured with a level of quiet mournfulness, and the look of sudden bereftness deep in his eyes was more than Jack could stand. Heaving a huge sigh, he threw up his arms, his brown eyes flashing imperiously.

"Well, dammit, it's about time," he groused, stepping back and flinging the door wide. "I already cooked this huge, honking turkey, for God's sake, and that was hard enough; how the hell do you expect me to carve it with my fingers like this?"

A slow, beautiful grin suffused Daniel's pale face as Jack mock-glared at them all, and Sam stepped forward to give the Colonel a quick hug before slipping into the house.

"I shall endeavor to carve this turkey for you, O'Neill," Teal'c offered stoically, inclining his head the slightest degree in Jack's direction; and as he moved past the Colonel into the warm environs of the house, Daniel reached out a hand and gently took hold of Jack's, turning the other man's hand palm-up and studying the ravaged places where Jack's nails had been torn loose.

"It WAS a pretty big cliff, Jack," he murmured softly; and as the Colonel shot him a look of quiet curiosity, the younger man smiled and gave his friend's fingers the gentlest of squeezes. "Happy Turkey Day, Jack."

"Same to you, Daniel," Jack murmured; and as he followed the archaeologist into the cozy, deliciously fragrant depths of his house, he was amazed at how much better he was feeling now.

END

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