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Title:  Never Leave Your Wingman
Author:  dennydj
Rating:  PG
Category:  Gen, Wing!Fic
Spoilers:  Set after The Other Side
Word Count:  approx 26,000
Notes:  Written for eilidh17's birthday!  Thanks to gategremlyn for the cheerleading and the beta, and to cleothemuse for the title and lovely manip she made to go with it here:  http://tiny.cc/98e5m

“Well, this stinks.”
“What is it, sir?”
It is this,” Jack replied, sweeping his arm to encompass the area surrounding the ‘gate.  “It stinks… literally.”
“It is a most unpleasant odor,” Teal’c agreed.
“It smells a little bit like sulpher,” Carter offered. 
“It’s more than that,” Daniel added, “It smells… moldy.”
“Like someone dropped a pair of dirty socks behind the hamper and forgot about ‘em.”  Jack could speak from personal experience on that one. 
“Well, it’s no wonder,” Carter said, always looking for the scientific explanation, “it’s really damp here; add in the large number of dead trees and…”
“I get it, Carter.  It still stinks.”
Carter shrugged and nodded her agreement as she continued to survey the area.  Daniel checked the DHD for the point of origin while Jack and Teal’c joined Carter in exploring the small clearing. 
Tiny might be a better word for it—it couldn’t be more than thirty feet across in any direction.  A dense forest of deep green, brown, and gray trees pressed in on the clearing from all sides.  Moss-covered vines hung from branches which reached far overhead, coming together to form a dark canopy over the area around the ‘gate.  It gave him an uneasy feeling, and he instinctively tightened his grip on his weapon. 
“How far to these ruins?”  He tossed the question out there, knowing Carter and Daniel both knew the answer. 
Carter was quickest.  “Two clicks, sir.  That way.”  She pointed down what might have once been a path, now mostly overgrown. 
“All right, let’s get this over with.”  He didn’t miss the offended look on Daniel’s face.  Dammit, he hadn’t meant it that way, but somehow couldn’t bring himself to say so.  Things were still a bit strained since their visit to Euronda; neither man had been in a hurry to discuss those events past the uncomfortable debriefing with Hammond.  Maybe it was time to extend the proverbial olive branch.  Jack looked up, ready to make some sort of apology, only to find Daniel was already at the edge of the clearing, ready to step into the forest. 
“Hey!”  Jack quickened his pace, passing Carter and Teal’c until he reached Daniel, who turned to face him.  “Since when does the team archaeologist take the lead on a strange planet?” 
Daniel pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes.  And didn’t say a word.  He just moved aside, sweeping his hand out as if saying, ‘after you.’ 
Crap.  He really needed to get a handle on this before it started affecting the team.  Actually, it already had, and if he wasn’t careful, he’d also lose a friend.  “Look, Daniel.  I’m sorry.  This place’s just got me on edge.” 
There, he’d said it—the ‘S’ word.  He watched Daniel’s face as it moved from angry to confused, his forehead wrinkling as he considered Jack’s apology.  His friend’s features softened even more, eyebrows lifting as he replied.  “Apology… accepted.”
“Great.  Why don’t I go first; that way you can search the area as we walk.”  He mentally patted himself on the back for his diplomatic approach.
“Um, sure, Jack.” 
“Okay, campers, let’s move out.  Keep both eyes open—wouldn’t want to run into any lions or tigers or bears.”
The gloom of the forest was beginning to get on Jack’s nerves.  The rising fog that was wound itself around their legs didn’t help.  He felt like he’d stepped into some '50s horror movie.  No one spoke—the only sounds were those of dead leaves crunching under their boots. 
Jack turned his gaze to where Daniel pointed and made out the dark forms of stone walls through an occasional gap in the trees.  He picked up the pace, anxious to get out of the damp, dank woods. 
Entering first, Jack swept his gaze and his weapon around the room, finding it empty.  He motioned for the rest of his team to follow and walked further into the room. 
“Wow.” Daniel’s gaze had turned upwards and Jack followed it. 
The ceiling was probably twenty feet above them, and through the criss-cross of vines he could see the remnants of a once-colorful mosaic.  “Look familiar?” Jack asked.
“Not really,” Daniel replied, squinting.  “But it’s hard to tell with all those vines covering it.” 
“Well, we didn’t bring a ladder, so I suggest we keep looking.”
The room wasn’t large, and except for the ceiling, was unadorned.  A doorway in one wall beckoned.  Daniel started towards it, stopped, and shot Jack a questioning look.  Now that was a first—Daniel asking permission before exploring.  Jack moved past him and entered the next room, Daniel on his heels. 
“I’ll see your ‘wow’ and raise you a ‘holy cow.’” Jack gazed around the huge room.  The ceiling was a good twenty feet higher than the previous one, also adorned with vine-covered mosaics.  In addition, this room contained large crumbling columns covered in intricate designs.  At the opposite end of the room from the entrance was a wide raised platform with a pedestal in the center.  On either side of it were tall stone statues—one male, one female—also crumbling with age.  Running the length of the platform was a low stone wall with one opening that held steps connecting the rest of the room to the raised area. 
“Holy Hannah.” Carter’s voice echoed as she joined them. 
“I’ve got a ‘holy Hannah’ from Carter—what about you, Teal’c?”
“Most impressive.”
“Hmm, I think Carter’s ‘holy Hannah’ trumps your ‘most impressive,’ big guy.”
Teal’c dipped his head, acknowledging his defeat, and it occurred to Jack that he was getting used to odd Tau’ri behavior; either that, or he was just indulging them.
“This is amazing.” Daniel’s awe-filled voice drew Jack’s attention.
“Why don’t you stop drooling and start checking it out?”  Jack was going for teasing, but the irritated look Daniel shot him told him that’s not the way it had been taken.  Oy. 
Nevertheless, Daniel moved to the platform, unclipped his pack, and began pulling out what he needed.
Jack sighed, pulling off his cap and running a hand through his hair.  He’d hoped this mission would give them a chance to smooth things over, but it was turning out to be harder than he’d anticipated.  “Carter, Teal’c—check out the outside; I’ll stay here with Daniel.”  He didn’t miss the brief glance the man gave him over the top of his glasses even as he continued to go through his pack.  
“Yes, sir.”  Carter hesitated, looking at him and then Daniel before turning and leaving.
Figuring the best approach would be to leave Daniel alone for awhile, Jack began his own exploration of the ancient room.
Bored was an understatement.  Jack had walked every inch of the room, staying out of Daniel’s way, for two hours.  Carter and Teal’c had returned from their survey of the area around the building, finding nothing but another overgrown path leading further into the forest behind them. 
The three of them were in the outer room, discussing the mission and how long to give Daniel. 
“There's some naquadah in this building,” Carter was saying, “but not enough to account for the high readings from the MALP.”
“Do you believe we should continue searching further from the Stargate?” Teal’c asked.
“I think it’s worth checking out.”  She looked to Jack for his decision.
“Okay, we’ll keep looking.  I’d send you and Teal’c while I stay with Daniel, but I’m not keen on splitting up the team.  Something about this place just doesn’t feel right.”
“I know what you mean,” she agreed. “The planet’s uninhabited—we haven’t even seen any animals.  There doesn’t seem to be anything threatening, but it’s just… creepy.”
“Is that the scientific term for it?”
She gave him that awkward, embarrassed half-smile that meant she didn’t know how else to explain it. 
“Don’t worry—we all feel the same way, right Teal’c?”
“My symbiote does seem restless.”
“See, even Junior’s unhappy,” he said heading for the door.  “Let’s get Daniel and blow this—”
He left his sentence unfinished, swinging his weapon into position as he crossed the threshold and found Daniel facing a man in a dark gray cape who, at first glance, looked like one of the statues.  Both men turned their heads as the rest of SG-1 entered the room.
“Who’s your friend?”
“Um,” Daniel glanced from Jack to the caped man; a tall man with dark hair and icy blue eyes which were now focused on Jack, “I was just about to find out.”
“I am Trestin.”
Jack inched closer to the pair, weapon trained on the visitor.  Flanking him, Carter and Teal’c were likewise engaged.  As he got closer, Jack could see the man’s features better; what he thought had been the play of shadow across his face turned out to be skin with a decidedly gray cast to it.  Ridges followed his jaw line and also formed a row from his forehead to the tip of his nose.  His shoulders bulged beneath the cape, or maybe he was deformed in some way, and he was tall—a head taller than Jack, but he couldn’t see much of the rest of him because of the cape wrapped around his body.  A perfect way to hide a weapon.
“Daniel, back away.”
“But Jack—”
“Daniel, do it!”
Daniel took only a couple of steps back and addressed the man again.  “I’m Daniel Jackson.  This is Colonel Jack O’Neill, Major Samantha Carter, and Teal’c.  We’re explorers from a place called Earth.”
“He is Jaffa.”  Piercing blue eyes scrutinized Teal’c.
“Yes, he is, but he is no longer aligned with the Goa’uld.” 
“Daniel, ixnay—”
“That is good.  Why have you come?” Trestin turned his attention back to Daniel.
“We’re interested in learning about the civilization that built this place.  Were they your ancestors?”
“No, they were not.  But that is not the only reason you are here.”
He’s either very observant or he’s reading our minds, Jack thought uncomfortably.
“We are also interested in trading for a mineral we call naquadah,” Carter spoke up. 
“You wish truly wish to trade with us?  Or do you plan to take what you want by force?”
“We do wish to trade, Trestin,” Daniel replied.  “Our weapons are only for protection—isn’t that right, Jack?”  His eyebrows went up expectantly as though daring Jack to say otherwise.   
“Right,” he acquiesced, lowering his P-90 only slightly.  Carter and Teal’c followed suit, still keeping a tight grip on the lowered weapons, he noticed with approval.
Trestin paused for several long seconds before replying.  “I cannot speak for everyone; this is a matter that must be presented to our elders.  Come.”


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 10th, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
Squee Alert!!!
User eilidh17 referenced to your post from Squee Alert!!! saying: [...] and artwork!  YAY! You'll find the story here: http://dennydj.livejournal.com/1737.html [...]
May. 11th, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)
very cool
it's got my intrest. please continue!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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