Title: Phone Tag
Word count: 1166
Challenge (from sunn_doyouknow): Create a fic using the opening line "You've reached (insert name). Please leave a message after the tone." Any characters, 200 word minimum. Luv ya, Sunny. Cheers!
Pairings etc: Jack/Daniel, mild rating (you could even convince yourself it’s gen if you squint in a couple of places), Season 9. Frighteningly unbeta'd. Comments welcome.
“You’ve reached 555-2804. Please leave a message at the tone.”
Said tone rang in his ear for the third time in 10 minutes (he wanted to be sure she had every opportunity to wake up or get out of the shower or otherwise rush to answer his call if she were in the house) and Jack left the umpteenth message for Carter on one of her voicemail systems. This time he said, “Carter, dammit, where the hell are you if you aren’t at work and you aren’t at home? You swore you’d check in regularly whenever one of my former team is in the infirmary and I’m going NUTS here, so call your superior officer or I WILL HAVE YOU COURT MARTIALED!”
Granted, the slamming of his phone down in it’s dock was totally unnecessary, since phones nowadays all had push buttons to turn them off, but he was worried and it was frustrating to yell in code about Daniel. And he was tired of being worried about Daniel. He was tired of Daniel being stuck in the infirmary and part of the reason he’d approved Sam’s transfer back to Cheyenne was that she knew about them and would keep him updated, subtly, when Daniel was unable to get to a phone. Which was whenever he was in the infirmary. Or too absorbed in his work to answer his phone, but he thought ordering Sam to go bug Daniel might be pushing her a bit too far. Still, at the very least she could talk to him when Daniel was in the infirmary, which is what he wanted her to do right NOW.
Flipping through an address book worn at the edges and threatening to drop pages if not properly and firmly held, Jack looked for Sam’s cell phone number. He couldn’t find it. Why hadn’t he written it down? Oh, it was stored in his cell phone. Which he hated most of the time since it made him feel tethered to his desk, but as he searched pockets Jack found himself nearly sentimental about the thing… and the fact that Carter had one of her own that was about to act as a lifeline for him.
“CARTER!” He yelled partly due to frustration and partly to compensate for what seemed to be a huge amount of noise in the background. “Where the hell are you?” What he meant was, where the hell is Daniel?
“In a bar, Sir, and he’s right here.” It occurred to Jack that it should be disturbing how she heard what he meant through what he said, but then his whole team had been doing it for years.
“Is he okay?”
“Give a few of these girls half a chance to buy him a drink and he’ll be better!”
“Carter…” He growled dangerously, stopping up short to realize that if she was teasing him, then Daniel might really be okay. Or Carter could be drunk.
“Yes?” She answered sweetly. Ooh. Danger.
“May I speak to Daniel for just a moment, please?” He used his best Sunday school voice figuring that if chastised worked on nuns it might work on lieutenant colonels.
“I’m sorry, you’ve already used up your allotted phone minutes for the day leaving irate messages on my voicemail. I’m afraid I can’t let you speak with Dr. Jackson. He’s very important, you know.”
Disturbingly, Jack was fairly sure he could hear snickering in the background, which implied that someone had already bought Daniel drinks; and he was fairly sure Sam had bought herself a few as well given the level of snark aimed at him. He wasn’t even going to ask how she knew about the messages on other phones. It was probably highly complicated technical stuff.
“Why didn’t you return my calls, then?” Huh, was that petulant? He always wondered what petulant sounded like.
“Because you called me 8 times.” She explained as though Jack was a kindergartner. “And we were all fine and you need to get in touch with your inner Zen monk, Sir.”
“Carter, how much have you been drinking?” Oh dear. She giggled. Or was that Daniel? Daniel giggled when he was drunk…
“Daniel.” It came out in a rush of worked up hot air he’d been building up most of the afternoon. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, Jack, I’m fine. Sam would have called you if I wasn’t”
“It’s just that I heard about your soul mate and…”
“My soul mate?”
“Bracelets? Leash? Missing the Daedelus?”
“Leash?” Um, was that a dangerous voice or a ‘Jack you’ve just accidentally hit on something brilliant!’ voice? Jack couldn’t tell.
“I just thought there was some clause that if she died you died, and all that.”
“Apparently it wore off enough. I was awake and fine by the time we got home.”
“Oh, that’s great!”
“Well, except for Vala being dead or dying or stuck alone somewhere all after saving us, you mean.”
“Well, there’s that.”
“O’Neill.” Ah, the unmistakable timbre of the most fearsome man on the planet, when he was on the planet, and technically he was Jaffa, but yadda.
“We are attempting to improve Daniel Jackson’s attitude and your assistance,” Whoever said Teal’c didn’t have a grasp of sarcasm clearly hadn’t been on the receiving end of it. “Is not required at this time.”
“I am most certain.” Giggling? Hello? No respect.
“Just tell me you’re driving, T.”
“Indeed. Please refrain from tormenting Colonel Carter further this evening.” He heard the higher pitched voice of Sam mumble in the background and the clink of glasses, followed by more giggling.
“T, it’s my JOB to torment Carter. It’s in my contract.”
“I shall terminate the connection now, O’Neill.”
“Have fun without me, kids.” There was an audible click followed by a lack of the background noise their bar had provided through the phone.
At least Daniel wasn’t in the infirmary. Jack had to grudgingly admit he was pleased that Sam and Teal’c were trying to cheer him up, even if he was a little annoyed that they were able to go out and have a good time when he wasn’t around. Shouldn’t they at least have been happy to hear from him? Raise a glass? Something? He glared at the phone, but the fight had gone out of him. Rising, he went to grab a beer from the fridge and settle in to watch T.V.
Twisting the top and tossing the beer cap onto his coffee table he sat on the edge of his couch and thought about Daniel and his lover’s ability to mourn a loss of life so deeply other human beings disappeared for him. Daniel wasn’t alone tonight, though, and it sounded like between them Carter and Teal’c (he’d be good money Mitchell would be there too, if quietly) actually had him laughing.
Jack raised his beer in a toast to his team. Good people, all of them.
He’d torment Daniel’s answering machine tomorrow.