Right in the middle of the mantelpiece, however, one plain white card with a
small red heart right in the middle caught his eye. He picked it up, smiling as
he read the words printed inside.
"A heart is not just for Valentine's Day, it's forever."
He felt a lump rise in his throat as he traced Daniel's words with one finger.
God, he needed to be with Daniel tonight, but the risk was way too high.
He ran a hand over his stubble roughened jaw and glanced at the telephone.
Suppose they could get away with phone-sex? Daniel loved phone-sex. He was
reaching for the receiver when his doorbell rang, jarring him back to reality.
He jumped guiltily.
Jack opened the door, and staggered backwards into the hall as five perfectly
groomed and disconcertingly effeminate guys pushed past him, all saying hello to
him at once. They were closely followed by a camera crew with a sound man in
Jack was immediately shoved back against the wall by a skinny blonde guy who
cast aspersions on Jack's ratty sweat pants and faded grey tee shirt. Jack's
hand snapped up to capture the man's fingers as he tugged at the hem of the tee.
Then his eyes tried to go in four directions at once, following the
other members of the strange raiding party.
"Hey, what gives?" he shouted over the racket.
One guy was busily tossing things out of his fridge. He waved a triangle of
rock hard cold pizza under Jack's nose. "You have a dozen cans of cheap beer
and fossilized junk food in here. How do you expect to impress your friends with
that?" he accused.
"My... what?" Jack had noticed the camera crew now and was backing rapidly
towards the living room, the blonde guy still insistently tugging at his
"Hi. I'm Carson, and I can't wait to get into your closet." He grinned, and
Jack's eyes tried to pop right out of his head.
"What the fuck?"
He backed into another young man who wasted no time in sinking his fingers into
"Okay, we'll have to beep THAT out. Hi. I'm Kyan. I do grooming. Well, this
won't need too much work, but let me ask you, what products do you use?"
"Pardon me?" Jack asked, his face screwing up in confusion as "Kyan" ran the
back of one hand over his jaw.
"Do you moisturize?"
Jack ducked around him, only to find his way blocked by yet another man, this
one holding out one of his throw cushions like it was a Goau'ld symbiote.
"Jack, these are so yesterday! Where are you shopping? Goodwill? I'm Thom, by
Jack's legs gave way, and he sank onto the sofa, finally recognizing the five
men who were ripping his way of life to pieces. "Okay, who put you onto me?
Carter? Feretti?" he growled, slapping away the multitude of hands that kept
pawing at him.
cut to one-to-one interview: Lou Feretti – fellow officer and friend
Jack is very old fashioned. He's a slob, too. And someone needs to teach him
that there are more than two food groups. Beer and pizza are fine, but a man
needs Fruit Loops too, ya know?
One of the hyperactive men, the same one who had complained about his taste in
beer and pizza, dragged him into the kitchen. He introduced himself as Ted.
"Okay, Jack, I'm going to show you how to prepare and serve a wonderful
Valentine's meal for your friends. I need you to remember what I'm showing you
here. Think of it as a mission briefing."
"What makes you think I pay attention at those?" Jack asked, wondering what Ted
had planned for the mini blowtorch. He was beginning to suspect that Lieutenant
Siler might have something to do with all of this.
cut to one-to-one interview: Lt. Dave Siler – subordinate
Colonel O'Neill likes to do his own home maintenance. He spends most Saturdays
tackling little projects around the house. Then he spends most Sundays
supervising me while I... *fix* whatever he breaks. I have a very big wrench.
"Jack, what is this... Barry Manilow?"
Jack stuck his head through the pass through window in his dining room and
scowled at the fifth member of the team, who was currently sitting cross legged
on his living room floor, knee deep in Jack's CD collection. He had introduced
himself earlier as Jai, but Jack's brain had gone into meltdown long ago and
could only remember him as the ‘culture guy', whatever the hell that meant.
"What's wrong with Manilow?" he asked nervously, as Mr. Culture grinned back at
"Copa Cabana? And right next to it, Pavarotti singing Pagliacci. Eclectic
Jack's eyes widened in confusion, but he felt a need to defend his taste in
"I LIKE Manilow. I LIKE opera."
"You SURE you're straight?" asked the handsome, dark eyed man, with a small
assessing smile. Jack ducked quickly back into the kitchen before the camera
could film his furious blush.
cut to one-to-one interview: Daniel Jackson – co-worker and best friend.
Jack's idea of good fashion sense is to wear matching socks. I think he's
happier in uniform, so he just doesn't care about civilian clothing. He thinks
Armani is an Italian restaurant.
Jack reluctantly pulled on his jacket and followed Carson's swaying ass up the
hall. He hesitated at the door and watched as the men tutted and shook their
heads while moving all his furniture around. "Guys, leave the model Space
shuttle where it is, okay? It belonged to my son."
The men paused, looked at him searchingly, and then nodded to each other,
seeming to understand on an instinctive level that this was important to Jack.
They then returned to their frantic activities.
Jack closed his eyes, afraid to think about what his home was going to look like
when he came back.
Suddenly a hand closed on his wrist, and Carson's breathy voice sounded very
close to his ear. "Come on, honey, let's get you some decent clothes."
"Fuck" Jack muttered under his breath.
"No, thanks, darlin'. I gave at the office. Maybe later." Jack's startled look
was met by a shit-eating grin from Carson.
Some time later, Jack pulled back the curtain and stepped self-consciously out
into the waiting area of the most exclusive menswear shop in Colorado Springs.
Carson made appreciative little noises in the back of his throat while circling
Jack like a well-groomed panther.
"Oh! That jacket and that cashmere sweater together is SUCH a good look for
you, Jack. Layering is always very flattering..." He was touching Jack lightly
here and there, patting him, clucking at him.
"How much do they cost?" asked Jack, planting his hands firmly on his hips.
Carson rolled his eyes and began fussing again while Jack reviewed all the ways
he could kill his entire team without getting caught. First there was the
classic ‘claymore induced landslide' scenario, then the always popular ‘close
the iris, oops I thought they were in FRONT of me' option.
By the time Jack arrived back home, he was starting to lose the will to live.
He carried the gaily-colored shopping bags into the hall and froze. His house
was tidy. His house was clean. His house looked like a cover illustration for
Eight interminable hours after they had arrived, Jack waved bye-bye to the
gaggle of gay guys and closed his front door, leaning his head against the wood
and letting out a sigh of relief. Of course the crew had left behind several
wall mounted cameras to film how well Jack put his newly found fashion and
culinary ‘skills' to use, but at least it was quiet now.
Scratching his head, he stood in his immaculate living room, terrified to even
sit on the sofa in case he rumpled or spilled something.
"Fuck!" he muttered under his breath again, giving the camera over the fireplace
a self-conscious little look.
He was supposed to cook a meal now for the evil bastards who had set him up for
this, because he didn't have a convenient ‘girlfriend' to impress. How sad did
that make him look?
He wandered into the kitchen and took a deep breath. Okay, he could do this.
He'd faced marauding Jaffa warriors and been snaked by Goau'lds. He'd been
tortured and beaten by masters and survived an impacted wisdom tooth, how hard
could crème caramel be? Now where in hell was that blowtorch thingie that Ted
had shown him?
cut to one-to-one interview: Murray – friend
O'Neill is a most determined individual. I believe he will face this challenge
with courage and fortitude. Having said that, I will not eat anything he has
prepared. I am on a special diet.
Jack lit the candles on his dining room table and stepped back with a smile to
admire his handiwork. He'd followed his instructions to the letter, his hair was
bristling with "product", his skin was moisturized, his black trousers and shirt
were pressed, and he smelled great. The table was set with his best china, the
food was almost ready, and the wine was chilling.
He'd done it! He'd even surprised himself.
Looking up at the camera, he saluted smartly just as the doorbell rang. He took
a deep breath and threw open the door, a puzzled frown marring his brow at the
sight that met him. He had expected his entire team for dinner, but only Daniel
stood there, looking way too hot in a charcoal gray suit and crisp white shirt,
the blue of his silk tie perfectly matching his beautiful cerulean eyes. He was
nervously clutching a single red rose in his trembling fingers. Jack's eyes
flew from the rose, to Daniel's handsome face, looking so nervous but happy, and
then back to the rose. Damn, Daniel looked good enough to eat.
"Hey! Where's everyone else?" he whispered, peering around Daniel and down the
"We drew straws again," said Daniel apologetically with a little shrug. "And I
Jack grabbed hold of Daniel's sleeve and hauled him over the threshold before
anyone saw him. Standing in the hall, Jack smiled. The smile grew wider. He
snorted. Finally he began laughing, tears streaming down his face, and he didn't
stop until Daniel had to thump him on the back to help him regain his breath.
This was too much. He and Daniel would be eating a romantic candle lit dinner,
dressed to the nines, filmed for the entire world to see. And yet the SCG were
not only aware of it, but amazingly had even sanctioned it. Who said there was
no fairy godmother?
He idly wondered if he would be able to get away with a good night kiss later.
Daniel dropped the rose onto the side table and sidled past his friend, looking
like he thought Jack might deck him any minute. As soon as he stopped laughing.
cut to team back at sudio:
"Oh, look, Carson. He's wearing the undershirt like you showed him."
"What a little trouper!"
"Ted, is he doing that right?"
"Gently, gently – there! Perfect crème caramel. He looks pleased."
"Oh, bless him. He's pulling out the chair for Daniel like a real gentleman.
How's the hair holding up, Kyan?"
"Perfect! Look, it's shimmering silver in the candlelight. It's a shame he's
straight, really. I could fall for a guy with hair like that."
The five men looked at each other and began laughing. Carson wiggled his
eyebrows and took a slurp of his wine with a big grin.
"He IS straight right?"
"Don't ask, Don't tell, Carson. Don't ask, Don't tell."