Title: Sticky Situation
Summary: Sometimes someone has to make that decision for you...
Category: Daniel & Janet, UST, Humour
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be. Damn.
Author's Notes: This is a bit of an odd one: my response to Vengeance Goddessís Duct Tape challenge, where the only specification was that Daniel and Janet somehow, for some reason, end up taped together by Teal'c.
Dedication: For Bryn, Alli, Lucy and Jia, whose second, third, fourth and fifth opinions on the ending are greatly appreciated, even if it did mean I had to actually finish the thing; and for Becca, who saved me the pains of coming up with a title!
Copyright © 2004 Nike Ann Johnston
"I still canít believe he actually did it."
The pointed silence following this statement lay heavily over the room. Daniel shifted clumsily, trying to wiggle the beginnings of a knot out of his lower back, waiting to see if *any* comment would be forthcoming from his sole companion, who hadnít deigned to speak to him in almost half an hour now. When it became clear that she was intent on maintaining her distinctly peevish attitude, he amended, "I mean, obviously he *did*, but I just canít believe that he was *capable*..."
"Would you cut that out?"
Surprised, Daniel stopped wriggling and turned his head as far as he could, so he could almost see her out of the corner of his eye. "Sorry."
Janet sighed, and he felt her body move against him; could feel her shoulders slump slightly and her hair tickling his neck as she shook her head. "No, *Iím* sorry. Itís just that this floor is so damned uncomfortable."
Daniel had to agree. They had been sitting together on a cold concrete floor for well over an hour - mostly in aggravated silence - and the awkwardness of their positions was beginning to take its toll.
He was getting too old for this sort of thing.
It was Janetís turn to shift as she pulled her knees up slightly so her feet were planted firmly on the floor. "I donít suppose we should try standing up again?" she queried, rhetorically.
"Probably not," Daniel replied anyway. Last time they had managed to work their way up together into a sort of half-crouch, before the pins and needles in his feet betrayed him and he stumbled, bringing them sliding back down to the floor with an undignified thump. Besides which, even if they did somehow manage to get standing, there remained the problem of what to do afterwards; the door to the room was shut tight and, at the moment, their upper body movement was somewhat...restricted.
In short, they were tied together.
No, not tied. Taped.
He, Doctor Daniel Jackson - prominent linguist and archaeologist - and Doctor Janet Fraiser - CMO - were stuck in one of the infirmaryís large isolation rooms, bound together back-to-back by several feet of strong, grey, military-regulation duct tape.
Way too old for this sort of thing.
It was wrapped tightly around their waists, pinning them to one another and effectively locking their arms by their sides. If he twitched his fingers a little, he could feel them brush against hers. The door to the room wasnít locked, but since they couldnít move their arms at all they were effectively trapped. No amount of wriggling, writhing or general struggling had gained them even a spare inch of space to move. It could easily have been a scene from any hostage situation; a step in the evil plan of some ruthless Goaíuld System Lord; the work of any of the run-of-the-mill, common or garden Bad Guys?TM who turned up here at the SGC on a regular basis. Except that it wasnít.
*This* was the work of a friend.
Ex-friend, he reminded himself cheerfully. Accursed ex-friend. When all this was over, he was going to take great pleasure in hunting him down, getting him alone in a room with no witnesses and...and...
...well, exchanging some pretty strong words with him, anyway.
As he was contemplating this, a wicked smile working its way across his face, he was aware of Janet shifting again, making herself as comfortable as possible before she spoke.
"So...you wanna tell me exactly what happened here?"
Ah. Heíd known it would happen eventually. After all, you couldnít go around getting yourself tied to a woman with duct tape by a six-foot-five Jaffa without her getting a little suspicious.
Auto response: stall for time.
"How do you mean?"
If she was facing in the opposite direction, how come he still felt as if her glare was melting the back of his head?
The application of the Janet Fraiser Warning Voice, heíd come to learn over seven years of first hand experience, was never a sign that the ensuing argument was going to go in his favour. Sighing, he wisely decided that he may as well get it over and done with, and settled down to tell his story.
"Well, it started this morning, on the way to the infirmary..."
"Hey Janet!" Too eager.
"Hi, Janet." Too boring.
"Janet!" Well done. You know her name.
"Doctor Fraiser!" Too formal.
"Doctor?" Oh, just...no.
"Greetings, Doctor Janet Frasier." Oh thatís good. Be Tealíc.
Ok, that wasnít him...
Daniel pivoted around in the corridor and found himself face to shoulder with the very Jaffa in question, wearing an extremely puzzled expression.
"Tealíc! Hi!" There - that was pleased, casual, not-too-crazed...
"For what reason are you talking to yourself?"
Oops. "Oh, you heard that, huh?"
Daniel flushed, embarrassed at being caught. "Oh, I was just-"
"You appeared to be rehearsing your greeting to DoctorFraiser."
"-rehearsing my greeting to Doctor Fraiser," he finished, lamely.
Tealíc raised an eyebrow, regarding Daniel scrupulously. The archaeologist shifted from foot to foot. "For what reason?"
Yes, for what reason? "Oh, just...you know," he attempted.
"I do not."
Daniel shrugged desperately, searching for a non-humiliating answer to give to his friend. Truthfully, it was so he would appear relaxed and offhand and not at all as though he had trekked all the way down to the infirmary specifically to see her. Which, if he admitted as much to Tealíc, would earn him at least a good few months of - if not merciless teasing - at least unrelenting Ďlooksí. The kind where you could just *tell* that he was laughing at you internally, but would categorically deny it if asked.
He hated those looks.
Fortunately, Tealíc had the good grace to recognise a friend in torment when he saw one, and chose not to press the issue further, instead carrying on down the corridor in the same direction Daniel had been headed, the younger man in tow. Unfortunately, the next logical step in the conversation didnít leave him in a much better position.
"For what reason are you attending the infirmary?"
"Are you ill, DanielJackson?"
Sick maybe; ill, no. "Oh, no! No I was just...going to...um..." Danielís mind raced, frantically trying to find a plausible excuse. "To check and see if... if..." He spent most of his time in the infirmary, for goodnessí sake! He must have been there at least once or twice for non-injury related reasons.
The eyebrow was raising; mouth, frowning; head, tilting. If he didnít say something coherent soon, his friend was going to drag him down to psychiatric, never mind the infirmary. There was really nothing for it: he was going to have to come clean, and damn the consequences.
"...if Dr. Fraiser was in," he admitted with a sigh. Attempting to salvage some of his dignity from his forced confession, he added, "I was just going to, you know, chat. See how she is."
"I see," Tealíc replied noncommittally. They continued walking in silence, the only sound the steady thud of their boots on the concrete floor, and Daniel was just losing the battle against the urge to say *anything* to fill the smothering quiet when Tealíc surprised him.
"I have noticed you frequently take a great deal of interest in the wellbeing of DoctorFraiser."
Spluttering to a halt, Daniel gazed up at his friend. "I-uh...What?!"
"I said, I have noticed you frequentl- "
"I know, I heard what you said, Tealíc," he clarified. "I just...what do you *mean*?"
He frowned, thinking carefully before answering, something Daniel decided he really needed to get the hang of. "I mean that you spend a great deal of time in DoctorFraiserís company. Often when you do not require medical attention of any kind."
Faintly annoyed that Tealícíd pre-empted his Ďsheís my doctorí excuse before heíd had time to form the first syllable, Daniel waved his hands uselessly in front of him.
"Well, sheís, you know, a friend."
"A friend! A good friend. Someone I enjoy spending time with." Dimly wondering why he was still talking as his subconscious threw up the red flag, Daniel nevertheless ploughed onwards. "Someone I care about a lot. I really like her..."
"...as a friend."
Was it his imagination or was there just a hint of a smug smile creeping furtively across Tealícís normally impassive features. "Indeed."
He was being baited. My God, he was being *baited* by *Tealíc* and he was falling for it hook, line and sinker.
Fishing metaphors now. Jackís fault.
He was so focused on trying to interpret Tealícís expression that he would have walked straight into the closed elevator doors if the Jaffaís abrupt halt hadnít warned him that they had reached the end of the corridor. Tearing his gaze away from his friend and staring resolutely forward, Daniel shoved his hands in his pockets and took the opportunity to scrutinise his reflection in the metal. The tips of his ears were an interesting shade of red, he noticed, no doubt a result of his conversation with Tealíc (he scowled at Tealícís reflection, on principle.) Besides that, he seemed fairly presentable, so long as he fluffed his hair up *here*, and adjusted his glasses like *this*, and took his hands out of his pockets and stopped slouching, and straightened out his jacket like *that* since he couldnít help the creases now, and...
Tealíc was still smiling that damn smile, and Daniel felt his ears turn just a little bit redder.
"I said nothing, DanielJackson."
"Shut up anyway."
Sergeant Alberts smiled in greeting as the elevator doors slid open and Dr. Jackson and Tealíc stepped silently in, moving to stand side by side behind him. If he noticed the slightly strange atmosphere between them, or the way in which it seemed to amuse the older man, he made no sign of it.
"Going down?" he asked nonchalantly, reaching for the buttons.
"We are going to the infirmary," Tealíc intoned. As Alberts nodded, and pressed the button for level 21, he added pleasantly, "...to see DoctorFraiser."
The sound that followed this statement, Alberts reckoned, could well have been made by, say, Dr. Jackson groaning loudly and hitting his head off the back wall of the elevator. Showing incredible insight and instinct worthy of a sergeant of his standing, he got off at the next floor.
Daniel kept his eyes closed and ground his teeth silently together until he heard the elevator doors close behind the sergeant. Scowling, he lifted his head and folded his arms tightly across his chest.
"Did you really have to?"
Tealíc cocked his head towards him, his expression all false innocence.
"Inform the sergeant of our destination?"
Daniel sighed in frustration and shook his head. "Tealíc..."
"But are we not going to see DoctorFraiser?"
Daniel bit back his first response as his brow suddenly wrinkled in realisation. "No." That threw his friend a little, he noticed with no small flicker of satisfaction.
"We are not?"
"No," Daniel replied, a gleeful note creeping into his voice. "*We* are not going anywhere. *I* am going to see Doctor Fraiser. *You* are not coming with me."
Tealíc raised an eyebrow, recognising a direct challenge when he heard one. "I fail to see how you will stop me."
"You had to be going somewhere before you ran into me," Daniel reasoned. "You must have something to do."
Tealíc raised his head and returned his gaze forward. "Nothing of importance."
"Youíre not coming with me."
"Indeed I am."
"No, youíre not."
"Indeed I am."
"Then Iím not going now."
"Iíll go later," Daniel continued. "When youíre not around. When you *do* have Ďsomething of importanceí to do."
There was a thoughtful pause. "I see," Tealíc replied. Daniel grinned triumphantly.
"You and DoctorFraiser wish to be alone"
The elevator jerked to a halt as Daniel whacked the emergency stop.
"Thatís not what I meant!"
The Jaffa smiled slowly, as Daniel gaped at him, struggling for words.
"I mean...I just...I..." Suddenly exhausted, Daniel let himself slump back against the elevator wall. "Okay. You win." He was too drained even to be amused at the flicker of surprise on Tealícís face.
"I *was* going down to the infirmary to see Janet," he admitted. "And not just to chat, not really. Thatís just an excuse." Removing his glasses, he rubbed them forlornly on his sleeve, gazing down at them. "Itís just that, recently, Iíve gotten used to...to spending a lot of time with her. I mean, Iím in and out of the infirmary a lot, for one thing or the other, you know?" Tapping his glasses distractedly against his wrist, he screwed up his eyes and squinted at their reflections in the metal door. This would probably be easier if he couldnít see the expression on the other manís face. "I like her, Tealíc."
"As a friend."
Daniel snorted as Tealíc echoed his earlier statement back at him, recognising the Jaffaís attempt at taking sudden pity on him, offering him a way out. It would be easy enough to take it.
"No. Not just as a friend."
There was a brief moment of silence, and then he felt Tealíc nod beside him.
"And itís like, I never get to see her out of work, you know? Unless itís some *thing* for Cassie, and there hasnít been anything lately." Once he got started talking, it really was difficult to stop. Plus it was such a relief to get this off his chest. "So I know I barely even know her outside of her job, but Iíd like to. Iíd like to spend at least a little time just...really getting to know *Janet* Fraiser."
Tealíc stood for a moment, visibly digesting this information. "Have you informed DoctorFraiser of your feelings on this matter?"
Daniel snorted incredulously. "Uh, no!" He laughed, a little bitterly. "I have no idea how sheíd react. For all I know, sheíd be so appalled sheíd transfer my medical care over to Dr. Warner and refuse to see me again; or sheíd laugh in my face. I wouldnít even know what to say."
"Perhaps it is best to be honest. She may surprise you."
"Maybe," Daniel conceded. "But Iím not sure I want to take that risk. Maybe sometime I will, but now..." He sighed. "I just canít."
"Then perhaps you do not want to tell her. Perhaps you enjoy feeling spurned."
Daniel choked. "Donít be ridiculous! Iím not enjoying this a bit! Iíll tell her when...*if* I decided the time is right."
A mischievous smile danced across Tealícís lips for a moment before it disappeared, feeling out of place amongst the Jaffaís usually range of stoic expressions.
"Perhaps the decision will be made for you."
Daniel shook his head feverently. "Besides, who says she doesnít know already? Maybe sheís figured out how I feel and sheís choosing to overlook it! She might not *want* to hear it anymore that I want to tell her! You know how busy she always is around me, it could be her way of avoiding the issue!"
"So then I said, ĎI mean, if even I did decide to go charging in there and announce how I feel, itís not like you can tie her down and force her to listen to me.í In retrospect, that was probably my biggest mistake."
Daniel shifted slightly, staring resolutely at his knees, trying desperately not to wonder at his silent companionís current train of thought. "So, I started up the elevator again, and we got down to this level. We were walking along the corridor to the main infirmary when he caught me off guard and shoved me in here and locked the door. Next thing I know heís reappeared with you under one arm and a roll of duct tape in the other and the rest you kinda know." He cleared his throat in embarrassment. It was really quite mortifying how two of them, both with years of military experience (although, his subconscious whispered treacherously, she had proper *training*) had been completely useless against one large, determined Jaffa. The glint in Tealícís eye when he had left them without a word...
"So, you yelled at me for a while," he concluded with forced cheerfulness. "And here we are. And now you know."
Daniel fell silent, resisting the urge to clear his throat again just for something to do to fill the awkward vacuum between them. As the minutes stretched on with no discernible reaction from Janet, he felt the tension in his body increase. If he could have fidgeted, he would. Finally, when he felt he couldnít stand her lack of response for a second longer, she spoke.
Releasing the breath heíd been holding, Daniel craned his neck in a vain attempt to see the expression on her face.
"ĎHuhí?" There was no possible way he could be getting off that lightly. He felt Janetís head nod briskly behind his.
Any nervousness heíd been feeling was quickly dispelled by utter confusion. "You...donít seem...too upset," he ventured.
Janet tilted her head a little, her voice thoughtful. "No, Iím not. I guess...itís almost kind of flattering."
"Yeah," she answered. "Iím flattered."
"And youíre not angry?"
He could almost hear her smile. "Iím not angry."
The warmth of her voice dispelled any lingering doubt in his mind, replacing his apprehension with blissful relief. She wasnít furious, she wasnít laughing, and - most importantly, she hadnít wrenched herself free and run screaming from the room at the very idea that he had...feelings. In fact, sheíd almost appreciated the admission. Daniel chewed his lip pensively for a second. "So...you kind of like this?"
"Donít push it," she replied.
Daniel tapped his feet lightly on the concrete, trying to regain some feeling up and down his legs. They must be approaching the two hour mark by now, and any time soon he just knew he was going to start feeling a serious urge to go to the bathroom. "We could try shouting for help again?" he suggested
"No, if anyone was coming, theyíd have been here by now. I think weíre being ignored," Janet pointed out matter-of-factly. He felt her wriggle slightly, moving her neck from side to side to work out the kinks, and then, unexpectedly, her head on his shoulder. "Iím sure theyíll turn up sooner or later."
"Oh," he answered.
"Know any good songs?"
As she began to laugh, Daniel allowed a grin to grace his own features. Emboldened, he reached blindly out beside him and let his right hand cover hers. He felt her lift her head curiously.
"I really am sorry about...all this," he told her quietly. She laughed again, softly, and he couldnít stop a delighted thrill of surprise as she turned her hand and laced her fingers through his.
"Thatís okay," she reassured. "Itís not so bad. Iím sure there are worse people to be bound to."
"True," Daniel acknowledged with a hint of satisfaction. "I could be Jack."
She snorted, and settled back against him. "And," she continued, "I *have* learned some *very* interesting things today."
"Oh? Well," he began, "since we donít seem to be going anywhere for a while..."
"...Iím all yours," she concluded with a chuckle.
Danielís grin widened. "So, wanna tell me about Ďem?"
"Well," she echoed, "I was in the infirmary, pretending to work, waiting for this guy to drop by, when I suddenly look up and see Tealíc..."
He was never, he decided, going to get too old for this sort of thing, after all.
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