If You're Happy and You Know it
Never seen a sky so blue
I've never been happy with anyone
Like I am when I'm with you
Look at the sun shining up in the sky
I feel a little closer to heaven, baby
When I'm looking into your eyes
And as long as we're together boy
I'm sitting on top of the world
Last night I lay in the dark
Tryin' to figure it out
Tryin' to talk to my heart
But now it's morning and I still don't know why
All I know is that you've got me feeling so good
All I know is that it feels the way that true love should
Ain't no one luckier than you and I
And everybody's got an opinion 'bout how this should be
But they don't understand it
No, they just can't see
That I belong with you and baby
You belong with me*
*"Sitting on Top of the World"--Amanda Marshall
"Are you ready, sir?"
Carter's crystal clear blue eyes meet mine as she lounges gracefully in the infirmary doorway, and I can't help the wry grin that curves my lips in response to her innocent query.
"Ready? Am I ready, she asks; Dr. Fraiser, do I LOOK ready to you?" From my indolent slouch on the side of my hospital bed, I lift both hands and gesture mutely down at myself while Janet stands with her fists loosely planted on her hips and gives me a considering once-over with those shrewd, sherry-colored eyes of hers.
"You look PAST ready to me, Colonel," she returns after a long moment, and a sardonic little smile takes her pursed lips by surprise. "And speaking for myself and the beleaguered staff of this infirmary, I know that WE are definitely ready for you to vacate the premises."
"Ah, now you've gone and hurt my feelings," I sigh heavily, looking to Carter for some sympathy. "Didn't that seem just the tiniest bit...harsh...to you, Carter?" I add, and Sam exchanges a quietly amused smile with Janet.
"Don't put ME in the middle of all this, sir," she begs, straightening up in the doorway and raising both hands in surrender. "I'm just an innocent bystander-turned-chauffeur for the afternoon. Besides, the last time I had to help look after you during one of your post-injury recovery stints, I needed a week's vacation afterward myself just to recover."
"Et tu, Samantha?" I sniff disparagingly as my 2IC crosses the infirmary to scoop up my personal effects bag off my bed.
"I'm just here to drive you home and leave you in the capable hands of Daniel and Teal'c," Carter grins as she easily hefts my pack onto her shoulder. "What happens after that is none of my business."
"So Teal'c's at my place, too, huh?" I ask lightly, taking care to hide the almost crushing wave of disappointment that washes over me at the news. Damn! And I was SO looking forward to having Daniel all to myself and enjoying a sweet reunion, just the two of us...
"He's been helping Daniel get some shopping and cleaning done, trying to tidy up before you get there," Sam explains cheerily as she watches Janet scribble something official-looking on my medical discharge papers. Finally, I'm being sprung from this joint and can go home, where Daniel has been waiting for me for the past three days; it just doesn't seem fair that such a happy occasion should be marred by the knowledge that I won't be able to limp in my own front door, shove Daniel Jackson up against the wall, and kiss the holy living hell out of him while my hands reaquaint themselves with every square inch of his body...
Ironic, I think now, how Janet's vindictive little hissy fit five days ago led her to order up NEW blood work for me (like I hadn't already lost ENOUGH of the stuff during that mission), which in turn revealed evidence of yet another infection trying to start up in my weakened system. It was a terrible blow to my morale to have to lie in that damned hospital bed for another three days with more antibiotics trickling into my veins, while Daniel received a clean bill of health and was allowed to go home three days ago--with the strict proviso that he do absolutely NOTHING beyond eating, sleeping, and resting, of course. Janet hadn't been all that keen on letting him go, but she'd declared that she had her hands MORE than full just with me, since I was making such an impossible nuisance of myself and driving her to the edge of insanity with my continued insistence on springing nasty new complications on her out of the blue...yeah, Doc, I ordered that last little infection up special, just for you. Sigh.
And did she appreciate it when I pointed out--quite accurately, I might add--that had it not been for Daniel and myself driving her to distraction with our own boredom and need to escape, then she never would have ordered up those blood tests in the first place and found the nasty little sucker trying to sneak into my system? Do you think she gave me any credit for that, or that she offered even the slightest apology for being so pissy that day to a man brewing some possibly-deadly germ in his poor, weakened body? Oh, no, not Fraiser. But at least the ongoing snark-fest between us as to whether I should have been commended for my inadvertent assistance in discovering my own illness has given us something to relieve the boredom these past three days.
"Take him home, Sam," Janet mutters now with a disparaging glower my way. "Take him home, have Teal'c put him to bed, and so help me, Colonel, I had better NOT see you in here with some other unexpected disease or injury during the remainder of your medical leave. Is that clear?"
"As a bell, Doc," I grin, and Janet waves an ominous finger in my face.
"And if you coerce Daniel Jackson in any way, shape, or form to over-exert HIMSELF or do some damned fool thing neither of you is in any shape to do while you're both recovering...and if such activity then causes one or both of you to end up back in my infirmary...well, we just won't even go there, will we?" she finishes sweetly, a scary gleam coming into her eyes.
"For crying out loud, Doc; what would we do?" I scowl defensively, praying to God that the lascivious thoughts in my mind where Daniel is concerned aren't revealing themselves in my expression. Oh, yeah, I can think of several rather strenuous activities I intend to 'coerce' Daniel into once I finally get him alone...and for a brief, panicked second I wonder wildly if Janet has developed some freaky sort of mental telepathy and KNOWS about Daniel and me...
Get a grip, Jack, I tell myself as both Sam and Janet stare at me with mildly exasperated half-smiles twisting their faces. No one knows a damned thing, and they won't so long as you don't start acting all guilty and jumpy every time his name is mentioned.
"I have no idea what you two might do, sir," Janet replies with just enough bite in her tone to be subversive. "But I'm learning that where you and Daniel are concerned, anything's possible."
"I'm wounded, deeply wounded, by your cynicism, Doctor," I sigh, then flap an imperious hand in Carter's direction. "To the car, Jeeves," I order her in a really bad British accent, and she merely rolls her eyes as Janet steps over next to the bed to help me to my feet.
"Remember, Colonel, no unnecessary lifting or exertion, no alcohol consumption, take ALL your meds EXACTLY on schedule, plenty of liquids and sleep..."
"I know the drill, Janet," I grimace as I stand somewhat unsteadily on my own two feet and leer down at her. Finally, I'm back to my superior vantage point, towering comfortably over her petite, tyrannical form instead of lying flat on my back at her mercy in that damned bed. "I'll be good...well, reasonably so. You wouldn't want to take ALL the fun out of a guy's medical leave, now would you?"
"Colonel..." she begins in that frightening voice of doom; but before she can start in on me with hideous threats, I plant both my hands loosely on her shoulders, lean in just enough to bestow a smacking kiss on her forehead, and then proclaim with soft sincerity as I gaze into her shocked eyes:
"Thanks, Doc, for everything. You really are the best."
"If you think that 'naughty boy' charm is going to work on me--" Janet begins huffily, but her expression is rather dazed and even a bit sentimental, and a warm current of genuine affection surges through me as I lightly rub my knuckles across her cheek in a gesture of farewell.
"Enjoy not having me around for awhile," I smile crookedly, and for the tiniest second a gleam of something that looks suspiciously like tears shines in her eyes. The doc, going sentimental on me? Naw, it will never happen, I think drily as I decide I really HAVE overstayed my welcome.
"Oh, I have a feeling you'll be back soon enough, more's the pity," Janet calls after me with the ghost of her usual spunkiness creeping back into her voice. "You seem to have the habit of turning up over and over again in my infirmary, just like a bad penny."
"I only do it to be closer to you, Doc," I smile, turning to give her a mocking salute on my way out the door. "Try not to miss me TOO much."
"Just get out of here before I change my mind and stick you back in that bed," Janet gripes from somewere behind me, and I give Sam a cheeky grin as I meet up with her on my way out the door.
"C'mon, Carter, this place is just for sick people; get me the hell out of here," I quip, and with a murmured farewell to Janet, Sam follows me out of the infirmary and takes her place beside me on the walk to the elevator.
"So," I begin nonchalantly as we make our way down the corridor; it's quite obvious that I'm moving much slower than is usual for me, and Sam's unspoken notice of this fact fairly vibrates between us as she tries to unobtrusively shorten her pace to match my pitiful hobbling.
I will NOT be pissy and childish about my own deplorable physical condition, I order myself as I furtively slide my eyes to the left to assess Sam's reaction to my glacially slow locomotion; the look of polite interest on her face, coupled with her most sincere 'See me NOT noticing that my c.o. is a helpless cripple' expression, suddenly has me seeing the rather dry humor in this whole situation, and she seems a bit startled now at the sudden, brilliant grin I flash her as she dutifully keeps pace with me.
"I'm going home, Carter," I announce exuberantly, reaching out to give her slender arm a weak but still-enthusiastic squeeze. "Hot damn, I am finally going home!"
"Yes, sir; and we're all very glad you're doing so much better," Sam smiles, that lovely Carter glow springing to life in her face."'We,' Carter?" I ask, gently mocking, and she blushes the smallest bit and murmurs,
"Yes, sir, 'we.' But me, too, sir, I mean, I'm glad you're better, too, personally, just me and me alone..."
"Glad you cleared that up for me, Major," I grin, and Sam sends me a brief look of amused exasperation.
"Well, may I say that I'M glad YOU'RE okay," I add, my gaze going to her left arm. "I still feel bad that I didn't ask you about your own injury that night. I did see you take a hit earlier, and I meant to check up on you as soon as we all found each other again, but then..."
"I understand, sir; you had a few other things going on at the time to occupy your mind," Sam smiles, and I can see by her expression that she truly isn't upset with me for not having thought to ask her about her own injuries that night.
"But you're fine now?" I persist, drawing the both of us to a halt and gesturing for her to show me her arm. "No residual damage or anything?"
"It was just a flesh wound, sir," Sam murmurs, trying to brush off my concern; but as I snap my fingers demandingly, she sighs and obediently rolls up her sleeve enough to show me the red-but-already-fading entrance wound in the flesh of her upper arm.
"Ooh, exit wound, too," I whistle admiringly, gently taking her arm between my fingers and turning it so I can see where the dart or whatever it was had made a clean path straight through and out the other side of her muscle. "That's gonna leave a nice little beaut of a scar. Something to tell the grandkids someday, huh?"
"Sure, sir; someday I'll be able to flap my sagging, wrinkly-skinned old lady arm at my completely disinterested--not to mention merely hypothetical at this point--grandchildren and force them to listen to 'Tales of Grandma, Universal Soldier'." Carter gives me a longsuffering half-smile, and I watch idly as she rearranges her shirt sleeve and then gestures politely but meaningfully for me to keep walking.
"Don't be ridiculous," I chide her as we stroll along. "You have great muscle tone; your arms will never be loose and flabby. And if any of those hypothetical grandkids give you any lip, just have the orderlies haul my ancient carcass out of whatever rest home I'm in at the time,and I'll drive my jet-powered wheelchair to your house and kick their asses for you."
"I appreciate the thought, sir," Carter grins, and I give her a thumbs-up as we finally reach the elevator.
"So...Teal'c's at my place," I muse as we wait for a small group of lab techs to exit the elevator before entering ourselves. "If he's messed with my Tivo, he's a dead man."
"I doubt he's had much time to watch tv, sir," Carter smiles as we begin our ascent up through the bowels of the SGC. "He--well, he and I both, actually--decided yesterday afternoon that maybe we should go check on Daniel, just to make sure he wasn't overdoing things in light of the fact that he knew you were going home today, and so of course he'd want to have everything shipshape for your return..."
"Are my eyes glazing over yet?" I interrupt pleasantly, and Sam blushes even as her own blue gaze flashes a disgruntled, silent reprimand my way. So sue me for being an ass; I'm still in fragile condition, the Doc said so herself, and I really don't have the patience to listen to Sam's ramblings. Bottom line, Carter; just give me the facts.
"It was very nice of you to let Daniel stay at your place these last three days, sir," Carter blurts out, and I lift a curious eyebrow at her. Just what is she insinuating? I think suspiciously.
"I mean, so he wouldn't have to worry about going up and down in that clunky old elevator in his building; if it had gone on the fritz as it sometimes does, and poor Daniel had been forced to climb all those flights of stairs in his condition...Well, it was just very sweet of you to offer up your house to him for awhile. And Teal'c and I knew Daniel would want it to be spotless for you--you know how he tends to clutter things up when he gets distracted--and neither Teal'c nor I wanted him to be lifting or cleaning anything...so Teal'c went over last night and stayed the night so he could get a head start on things and help Daniel with any shopping or errands he might need to run."
"Teal'c spent the night...at my house...with Daniel," I echo slowly, and Sam nods, a puzzled look in her eyes.
"Yes,sir; we didn't think you'd mind. And it was really a good thing that he was there, too, cause when we arrived Daniel was up on that step stool you have, trying to dust the entertainment center, and his foot slipped just as we came in, and Teal'c had to rush over and swoop him up before he fell on his--"
"Daniel...was on a step stool, CLEANING...not a week out of the hospital, and he was climbing up on something NOT flat on the floor..." I begin, little black spots of rage beginning to float before my eyes.
"Hmm...oops. I guess I shouldn't have mentioned that, sir..." I hear Carter's chagrined murmur as if from a great distance and turn on her with fire in my gaze.
"I hope both you and Teal'c read Daniel the riot act for being such a stupid ass," I grit out, and Sam nods wordlessly, her mouth forming a small, apprehensive 'o' at my expression.
"Yes, sir, we did," she verifies meekly, and as memories of our archaeologist's near miss replay in her mind, she comes up with a little spark of anger in her own clear gaze. "Teal'c especially let Daniel know in no uncertain terms that such behavior would not be tolerated. I believe he promised to tie Daniel to a chair till you got there unless Daniel agreed to sit down, shut up, and let Teal'c and me handle everything else."
"Good," I say firmly, some of the rage leaving my tense body. "Good man; I'm glad you both showed up in time. And I can SO understand why Teal'c might have felt it was necessary to babysit Daniel all night--"
"Well, I don't know if I'd call it babysitting--" Sam begins hesitantly, but I merely shake my head and waggle a finger at her.
"Babysitting," I correct her in a low, furious tone. Daniel is SO going to get it when I get him alone, I think to myself as my insides turn to water at the very notion of him falling and hurting himself all over again and no one there to see...My brief surge of irrational jealousy against Teal'c is replaced now with abject gratitude, and I vow to make sure I give the Big Guy a huge, honking, thank-you slap on the back when I see him.
"Well, anyway...things should be all ready for you when you get home, and it WAS nice of you to let Daniel crash at your place. Sometimes I think he's just as comfortable over there as he is at his own apartment; you guys really do hang out together a lot outside of work," she smiles, and I give her another suspicious frown. What the hell does she mean by THAT?
"Yeah, well, he just kinda...shows up," I mutter weakly, and Sam beams one of those charming, thousand-watt smiles of unrestrained affection for Daniel my direction.
"I think it's kinda sweet, how you two guys are so opposite in so many ways and drive each other NUTS, yet Daniel always seems to gravitate to your side, sort of like you're the big brother he never had or something," she murmurs, and I'm sure my face blances a shade paler at the undeniably incestuous image her words conjure up in my head.
Ewww, gross...Daniel as my kid brother (and what kind of freak would that make ME, since all I wanna do is suck his tonsils out and run my hands all over his body everytime I see him)...? Nope, I just don't see it; the emotions I feel for Daniel, and the ones he feels for me in return, are most definitely NOT brotherly or platonic...or if they are, it's only on a very superficial level. No; what we've discovered together is the big one, the real thing, true love yada yada...Not to belittle that or trivialize it or anything; I mean, it's just that I still feel sort of awkward and uncomfortable getting into all this mushy stuff...
"I just want him to feel like he always has a place to go, Carter," I say now, my voice going very quiet and introspective. I don't look at her, though I can feel her eyes on me, because I don't want her to see in my own eyes the truth of the depth of my feelings for the other man. "He's always been so...alone, really; he just needs a friend--a solid, bedrock, through thick-and-thin friend, you know?"
"And you've been that for him, sir," Carter says quietly. I nod slowly, then clear my gaze and manage to look her in the eye.
"I try," I reply simply. "And you and Teal'c have always been there for him, too," I assure her with a small grin. "We make a good team, in more ways than one. The two of you are just as important to Daniel and to me as he and I are to each other; I mean, as far as the whole friendship/teamwork thing goes. I hope you know that."
"Thank you, sir," Sam smiles, and a sudden, strange shade of speculation glows far back in her blue eyes. Uh-oh, I think resignedly; way to go, O'Neill, now you've got her wondering TOO much about you and Daniel and your friendship...oh, screw it. I'm in no shape to deal with all this right now, and I can always claim weakness and fatigue as an excuse later for sounding so sappy in this damned elevator.
"So!" I announce now, apropos of nothing in particular, and clap my hands together in anticipation as the red digits on the elevator count down to our final destination above ground. "I just want to get home, sit my butt in my recliner with my tv remote in one hand and a big can of--"
"NO beer,sir; sorry," Sam destroys my happy little scenario with a wry grimace, and I pout at her as the elevator doors open.
"Okay, okay, spoilsport," I sigh as we step out into glorious freedom. "So I'll sit on my butt with the tv remote and a big glass of iced tea, how's that? And we'll order in pizza and then I'll have a nap and Daniel can bury his nose in a book all afternoon or watch some dusty old anthropology documentary on cable...I guess it's the small things in life, huh, Carter?"
"I guess so, sir," she answers with a little smile, her eyes glinting veiled affection my way; and as we head toward her car for the ride to my house, I cock an irascible eyebrow at her and order grumpily:
"And Carter...could you can it with the 'sirs' every five minutes? You're suddenly making me feel like your old grandfather or something."
"Yes,s--" she starts, then blushes slightly and takes the very tip of her tongue between her teeth as she catches the 'sir' on its way out. "I'll try," she mutters instead, and I grin at her and sling one lazy arm around her shoulder, not really caring who might see or what new rumors and gossip my gesture might be creating on base.
"Friends, Carter," I whisper seductively in her ear as we walk. "For the rest of today, no ranks, no regs, no fussy protocols...just friends. Okay?"
"Okay; I think I can handle that," she snorts gently in reply, and as we reach her car I bask in the warm sun beating down overhead and am truly glad to be alive.