Page 35

    * * * * * *

    Daniel looked around him.
    *Why are we in here?*
    *Apparently Jack and Corvores have a thing about meeting in storage rooms.*
    *Not a clue.*
    *Why is it dark?*
    *Probably because I'm leaning against the light switch and Jack let the door close. He's fumbling with the doorknob. You hear all those breathy grunts punctuated by words I'm not supplying mental images to explain?*
    *That's Jack trying to get the door open and not figuring out I locked it.*
    *You enjoy making him upset.*
    *He dragged me into a storage room to chaperone him and Corvores. Of course I'm enjoying this.*
    *You do not enjoy being dragged into a storage room with them, but you enjoy being in a dark storage room with them and listening to him make those primitive grunting noises?*
    Daniel covered his eyes as he immediately flipped on the light, hearing both Jack and Corvores protest against the discomfort.
    "I found the light."
    Daniel grinned unabashedly at the look of extreme disgust on Jack's face as he then reached over and flipped the lock.
    He probably should've done that first, but Jack's face was pretty funny right at that moment.
    All those pretty colors.
    Daniel felt a bit queasy as Jolinar rolled her mental presence in fits of laughter.
    He couldn't help but be slightly disgusted at her deliberately leading him on.
    *You understood every innuendo you made. How?*
    *I have been mated for a very long time, Daniel.*
    Feeling not a little stupid as well as amused, Daniel watched Jack and Corvores take up protective positions between the shelves.
    "Should I leave you two a..."
    "You finish that sentence, you die."
    Daniel wisely shut up, but grinned to let Jack know he wasn't taking being imprisoned with Corvores without at least a semblance of a fight.
    Jack glared at Corvores and Daniel equally.
    He'd chipped a nail trying to get the door unlocked, not that he'd ever, even on his deathbed, admit to it.
    The chip had cut into his thumb a bit and he concentrated on the slight pain, blaming it entirely on Daniel.
    It gave him focus.
    "Sir, I know it was Dr. Jackson that sent the note to Col. Maybourne and I also know that the lab tape that should've recorded the incident was edited."
    Jack just glared at her from a different angle, uneasy with the trouble she could make if she took that line to its possible conclusion.
    He had no intention of letting the General get hurt in any way.
    "You know, Dr. Jackson is in the room. You could at least address him..."
    "No, no, no, no. That's okay. No need to address Dr. Jackson. I'm just here to chaperone. Jack don't make her talk to me."
    Jack stared at Daniel, realizing he'd managed to get the door slightly opened while Jack was deciding how far he'd go for the General on this.
    Walking over, he glared at Daniel as hatefully as he could, even more annoyed when Daniel just grinned and inched the door open a couple more inches.
    Leaning close to Daniel's ear, he placed a hand on the door.
    "Good thing you've got a symbiote now. She can heal your poor broken foot."
    He'd barely finished the sentence before he was pushing the door closed and Daniel had done a really cute sidestep to protect the threatened foot.
    "Umm...Jack, Jolinar can't heal me like a normal symbiote. That takes a physical body because the symbiote secretes a substance through these really cool glands..."
    "Eww...Daniel. Shut up. I don't need or want to know that."
    Jack shook his head, desperately trying to get rid of the picture of a slimy slug inside Daniel's head pouring goop into Daniel bloodstream.
    Totally nauseated, Jack ignored the glee in Daniel's eyes and turned back to Corvores.
    He couldn't ignore the amusement in her eyes.
    "Something funny?"
    He had to stop threatening Daniel in public or else no one would ever be scared of him again.
    He formed his face into the cold, forbidding mask only to feel it drop dead away as Daniel fell to the ground, laughing.
    Directing a fully vicious, retaliation-promising glare at him, he was relieved to see Daniel sit straight up, trying to contain his mirth.
    "Sorry, Jack. I know you were trying to scare her, but..."
    Daniel collapsed in fits again.
    Jack gave up.
    Corvores would never be afraid of him now and that meant she could do damage.
    Time to negotiate.
    Amber looked from Dr. Jackson to the Colonel and back in inward astonishment.
    She prayed none of it showed on her face.
    They were like little boys.
    Were they like this on missions?
    No wonder SG-1 lived in the infirmary.
    They probably made up half of the angry natives stuff to cover the fact they'd knocked each other around just like her foster-brothers had.
    Capt. Carter should've been a calming force, but Amber had read many rumors on the Official SGC Grapevine homepage.
    It was now her start-up page.
    From what she could tell, Capt. Carter was just as bad as the rest of them.
    The Colonel and Dr. Jackson's regularly broken arms were probably from arm-wrestling Teal'c.
    "Okay, Doctor, we obviously have a few things to discuss."
    Amber felt her eyes widen and willed them to stay focused.
    The Colonel was reasoning with her.
    If he was trying to be diplomatic, he probably thought she knew more than she really did.
    Well, she'd bluffed this far, what was a bit farther?
    "Sir, I don't want Col. Maybourne anywhere near me, but I also don't want to get on his bad side. Since SG-1 got me into this mess, I expect you to get me out."
    She saw the Colonel's eyes widen and then settle into expressionless orbs she couldn't read.
    So she bluffed.
    She squared her shoulders and looked him in the eye.
    "You get to tell Col. Maybourne I'm already taken and that the card he received was meant for you."
    Stunned silence met her statement.
    Daniel didn't look like he was breathing and for a second she thought his eyeballs might actually pop out.
    The Colonel just stood there, frozen, like a living statue.
    If she bluffed well enough, she could not only get the Colonel to leave her as well alone as possible, but get Col. Maybourne away from her, too.
    If this could just work.
    The silence was shattered by gales of laughter from a convulsing archaeologist who was holding his sides in a desperate effort to keep his ribs from shattering.
    That shocked the Colonel out of his shell and he turned to stare at Dr. Jackson.
    For a moment, she was certain the doctor was about to die.
    The Colonel even walked up to him and lifted his head as if he was going to stomp Dr. Jackson's head to bits, but then he put his foot down and slid to the floor, slouching a bit against the wall.
    "Since Daniel did it, why doesn't he have to do the honors?"
    So Dr. Jackson was the one that did it.
    That had been a total bluff since Capt. Carter could've done it.
    For that matter, there were a few people who could've popped into the lab and done it.
    Since that part of the tape was edited, she really hadn't known for sure.
    Don't lose your courage now.
    "He's married and everyone knows he's completely devoted to his wife, whether she's here or not."
    It was true.
    Many a woman on base both wanted to replace Dr. Jackson's wife simply because she was the object of such complete devotion even though that same devotion meant they didn't stand a chance.
    The Colonel obviously recognized the truth of it and she watched him hang his head in his hands.
    It honestly didn't even annoy her that he considered her equal to a death sentence.
    That was part of the fun.
    This was the ultimate way to get him to keep away from her.
    Not only did all lower ranking men stay far away from any woman the Colonel might have his eye on, but it would also humiliate the Colonel even more every time it happened.
    Nothing but good for her either way.

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