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A Vacation of Sorts
Annika growled in frustration at the lump of sugar paste in her hand. It was supposed to be a raccoon. At the moment it looked more like a fat rat with a bushy tail. In a fit of temper she threw it across the room. She felt a malicious thrill of satisfaction when it flattened against the wall then slid to the floor, landing next to two other sugary blobs.
She was in a rotten mood that had been plaguing her for three days. Nothing had been going right. Her normal creative flair for her cake designs was practically non-existent, her psychic abilities were driving her crazy, she’d been haunted by dreams she couldn’t explain and to top it all off SG-1’s mission was taking longer than expected. They were already two days overdue, with no idea as to when they would return home.
Apparently Daniel had managed to secure naquadah mining rights with a race of people who took partying to a whole new level. It was supposed to be a standard meet and greet with SG-1 handing over the negotiations to the diplomatic SG-9. But the Porichnees had the custom of only making a bargain with the first representatives they met from a ‘new’ world. The deal had taken all of a day, however the celebration to confirm the treaty had already lasted seven nights. None of them could leave without giving offence, so they were ‘forced’ to attend the party to the duration.
Annika had been hired on a part time basis at the SGC assigned to SG-1, with the option of making it fulltime if she so desired. She was ready to close up shop on her cake decorating business, especially today, but her commitments made that impossible. That particular decision was made ten minutes after an aggravating phone call with a client, who couldn’t make up her mind on whether her cake should be colored cream or ivory. After grumbling to Daniel about idiotic customers, she realized that prior to finding out about the Stargate such a phone call wouldn’t have bothered her. There had been a fundamental shift within herself, her ‘reality’ had been irrevocably altered. She’d done some hard thinking and as much as she loved seeing the joy on people’s faces when they saw her sugar creations, her heart was no longer dedicated to making her customers happy. Realistically how could she compare baking cakes to the Stargate? Besides it wasn’t fair to her clients when she could be required to go off-world at any moment, missing their delivery date, and vice versa for the SGC. After Christmas the last of her pre-orders would be collected and she would be able to devote herself fully to the Stargate program.
For the past two months Lya had been helping Annika gain control over her new mental abilities, but the progress was slow going. Though she’d had a few premonitions that had stopped SG teams from walking into ambushes and had identified two more NID spies, everything Annika had done during those first days of meeting Daniel came from panic or pure emotion, necessity forcing them to surface. It was an unpleasant discovery to realize that moving things with her mind was a lot harder when the adrenaline wasn’t pumping. She’d managed to move small objects from one side of the room to the other, however when it came to anything bigger than a pen, she could barely lift it from the table. Considering that she knew she could and had thrown heavier things with her mind, it was damned annoying that she broke out in a sweat trying to simply lift a cup.
She’d also asked the Nox to show her how her people could make things invisible, thinking that it would be a very handy trick to know. Patiently Lya had taken her step-by-step through the process. Using Jack O’Neill terminology she explained that the air had to be folded around the object to be hidden. Origami had never been part of her repertoire. While Annika could mimic the individual components involved, she’d as yet been unable to cause even a visual ripple in whatever it was she was trying to hide.
Her training in astral projection was going a little better. Using meditation she was able to travel outside her body at will. It was taking less and less time for her to regain consciousness when her spirit and body remerged, though she awoke feeling exhausted. The little Nox insisted that eventually her body and mind would become used to the experience and she would be able to switch between the two with ease. General Hammond had even sent her on a series of exercises to teach her stealth tactics when in her astral form. While she couldn’t be hurt when floating around, she was clearly visible and she’d had fun trying to dodge her way around a battalion of SG teams.
After the first exercise Daniel was banned from participating due to the unfair advantage of their bond that let him, and thus SG-1, know where she was at all times. So far no tracking technology, whether it be human, Asgard or Goa’uld, (thanks to the Tok’ra lending them one of their teltaks,) had been able to detect Annika when in her astral state and the general hoped that they would be able to use her in recon situations.
A casual conversation with Lya revealed an unexpected, (but very welcome as far as Annika was concerned,) side effect to all the astral traveling she was doing. Part of the reason she woke so tired from her astral experiences was that besides the mental strain, a fifteen minute trip was the equivalent of an hour's physical workout. While no one believed that the Nox was capable of lying, everyone was skeptical of this revelation. Lya had tried to explain the connection between the spiritual and physical bodies but said explanation flew right over the scientists, doctors, military and psychic’s heads. The next day the general had sent her with a bunch of new recruits to participate in the physical endurance test. No one was more surprised than Annika when she finished the obstacle course within the set time limit. When a slightly awed Jack told her that she had almost broken the base record for the fastest time she was positive he was joking. It was Daniel’s stunned and slightly miffed expression that convinced her that the colonel was serious. The archaeologist knew that the one and only thing Annika did that even remotely resembled actual ‘physical’ exercise was in the bedroom. Though he was over the moon that she could join them on missions, he was put out that he had spent countless hours in the gym to get in shape. The rest of SG-1 had worn similar expressions. So to soothe their bruised egos Annika now visited the base gym with them at least twice a week, (even though it wasn’t really necessary).
That’s not to say that she hadn’t had any astral mishaps. Sometimes when on an emotional high, she unconsciously split her spirit in two like the first time she ‘visited’ General Hammond. Annika vividly recalled one particular incident that still left her cheeks burning in embarrassment whenever she thought about it.
Three weeks ago she had front row tickets for a Bon Jovi concert. An old school friend and she had been looking forward to it for months and by the first beat of the drums Annika was lost in the wonder of being only a few feet away from her favorite band. All was going well until Jon Bon Jovi announced he needed help singing the next song and plucked her from the crowd. To say she was excited was like saying the Antarctic was a little nippy. Not only was she up on stage with her idol, but he was singing her favorite song to boot. At that precise moment, unbeknownst to her, she appeared in front of Daniel in the SGC briefing room, singing at the top of her voice.
Unfortunately Daniel wasn’t alone at the time. Besides the rest of SG-1 and General Hammond, (which wouldn’t have been so bad,) Selmak/Jacob and Freya/Anise of the Tok’ra and Master Bra’tac were there, discussing the current status of the System Lords.
The two Tok’ra instinctively drew their knives from their belts while Bra’tac almost shot the singing apparition with his staff weapon. It was only Jack’s bark of laughter that stopped them.
"…I ain’t got a fever got a permanent disease…it’ll take more than a doctor to prescribe a remedy…"
"What trickery is this?" Bra’tac demanded.
"You have holographic technology?" Anise spoke at the same time.
"…I got lots of money but it isn’t what I need…gonna take more than a shot to get this poison out of me…"
"Meet our latest recruit," Jack could barely gasp out the words.
"…I got all the symptoms count ’em one, two, three...first you need…"
"I guess Annika’s enjoying the concert, huh, Daniel?" Sam was trying very hard to keep a straight face.
"…That’s what you get for falling in love…then you bleed… you get a little but it’s never enough…"
"Well, it is her favorite song," Daniel’s lips twitched. "I’m guessing she still hasn’t managed to control this part of her gift."
"…On your knees…that’s what you get for falling in love…"
"George, care to tell me what’s going on?" Selmak had retreated to allow Jacob Carter to watch the spectacle of Annika’s ghostly image hopping around the briefing room.
"…Now this girl’s addicted cause your kiss is the drug…whoa oh oh…"
"Tweaking the lyrics a bit, isn’t she?" Jack had managed to control himself.
"…Your love is like bad medicine…bad medicine is what I need…shake it up…just like bad medicine…"
Daniel could feel his face heat up. "You might say she’s adapted it to herself." He knew what was coming and didn’t try to hide his grin. Once Annika found out he was ‘Doctor’ Daniel Jackson, as a joke she’d altered the lyrics slightly whenever she played it. It should be ‘There ain’t no doctor that can cure my disease’, but she’d started singing…
"…There’s just one doctor that can cure my disease…"
Jack cracked up again.
"Can someone please clarify what is going on?" Bra’tac was not known for his patience. "Who or what is this woman and why is she singing about being ill?"
Even Teal’c grinned at his former teacher’s question.
"…Baaad, baaad medicine…"
"Doctor Jackson, can’t you stop her?" General Hammond asked over the din.
"…I don’t need a needle to be giving me a thrill…and I don’t need no anesthesia or a nurse to bring a pill…"
"I don’t think so, General, I mean look at her." Daniel gestured to the dancing vision. "Annika obviously has no idea she’s projecting herself. She can’t hear us talking."
"…I got a dirty down addiction, that doesn’t leave a track…I got a jolt for your affection like a monkey on my back…"
"Daniel, how about you leave the room?" Sam suggested. "Maybe she’ll follow you."
"…There ain’t no paramedic gonna save this heart attack, when you need…"
"It’s worth a shot." Daniel rose and started backing towards the door. When he had moved about a meter away from the table, Annika’s astral self started floating towards him. "I’ll leave it up to you guys to explain Annika’s little quirks."
The general waved him away turning to the Tok’ra and Jaffa to explain the rather lengthy tale of Annika’s recruitment to the SGC.
"…That’s what you get for falling in love…then you bleed…you get a little but it’s never enough…"
Daniel kept backing away into the hall and headed for his office, making sure Annika followed him, ignoring the startled looks from the military personnel he passed. Once inside he closed the door and settled down to watch His Angel finish the song. He didn’t dare reach out to her through their bond for two reasons. The first was that he didn’t want to interrupt the once in a lifetime experience, and second he didn’t want to embarrass her. He knew that if she realized she’d split herself in two, she would try to see where she’d projected herself. She’d be disorientated while on stage in front of thousands of people.
Instead he’d happily watched her bounce around his office until the last note, saw her give some unseen person a hug, he assumed it was Jon Bon Jovi, and then began walking away. As she left the stage her image gradually dissolved. That night Daniel told her what had happened and the next day, totally horrified, Annika had watched the security tapes. Thankfully the two Tok’ra and Bra’tac could see the funny side of the situation, but that didn’t stop her cheeks from burning whenever she saw them.
Admitting defeat she began packing away her tools. There was no point in trying to work while in her current mood, there would only be a bigger pile of squashed icing for her to clean up if she did. Eyeing the gray lumps she centered her thoughts on transporting them to the rubbish bin. (Lya encouraged her to use telekinesis as much as possible, even for everyday things.) After a shaky start the destroyed ‘raccoons’ slowly rose a few centimeters and began floating towards the kitchen.
Just as she felt a glimmer of triumph that maybe she was finally getting the hang of her ability, Hathor pounced on the moving blobs thinking it was a great new game. Annika stifled a cry of agony as her concentration shattered. It was the first time an object had been forcibly wrenched from her mind’s grip and a shooting pain ripped through her skull. Dammit, now she had a pounding headache to top off her day.
Picking up the icing, this time the old fashioned way, she dumped it in the trash and decided a long bath was definitely needed to help her relax. While the hot water steamed up the room, she added a generous amount of bubble bath and lit an oil burner topped up with vanilla oil. Breathing deeply she let the sweet smell invade her soul. The throbbing in her head gradually subsided and the water soaked the tension from her body.
A wave of yearning swept over her and she tentatively reached out to Daniel through their bond. Normally when he was off-world she let him make the first contact because she didn’t want to distract him at a critical moment. However Annika knew that SG-1 were in no danger on their current mission, unless one counted the massive hangovers they were bound to have when they finally returned. The clumsy response from Daniel made her snigger. For the last few days she’d received the same wash of emotions. A mixture of frustration, longing, and what could only be called giddiness, careened through their bond. Yep, Daniel was drunk as a skunk. She wondered how the rest of SG-1 was faring. Jack could consume vast quantities of alcohol before passing out, but Sam and Teal’c were not heavy drinkers. She didn’t envy their aching heads when they sobered up.
Her bad mood went down the drain with the bath water and Annika was about to fix herself a late dinner when an unfamiliar car pulled up.
Peeking out the window she saw Daniel stagger to the sidewalk. Jack almost fell out on top of him. Sam managed to keep her feet under her though she was using the car bonnet for a leaning post. The Marine driver was trying to get the colonel back into the car but Jack was fending off his assistance. Teal’c, who didn’t look drunk at all, was helping Daniel weave a path to her house.
Surprised, Annika threw open the door and ran out to hug her inebriated lover. "Welcome home." She wrapped her arms around him giving him an eager kiss. His breath tasted sweet like honey. "I didn’t feel you come back."
"Nope." Daniel swayed in her arms. "I wash tryin’ not ta’ think ’bout it. Wanted to shurprise ya’," he slurred grinning from ear to ear.
"I recommended that Daniel Jackson remain at the SGC until he was no longer intoxicated, however he insisted on coming home." Teal’c was holding onto the back of his shirt to keep him upright. "O’Neill and Major Carter demanded that they accompany us, something about a road trip."
"That’s alright, Teal’c," Annika assured the Jaffa. "Even off his face, I prefer to have him here."
"Shee, I told ya’." Daniel slapped the Jaffa on the back. "My Angel will take care o’ me."
"Help me get him in the house." Annika wiggled her way around to Daniel’s side and the two of them practically carried him to the couch. "Teal’c, you seem remarkably clear headed."
"Indeed I am, Annika Murdoch."
"Yeah, ya’ traitor!" Jack tripped into the room and collapsed on the stairs.
"Someone had to remain sober, O’Neill, if only to ensure the correct sequence was entered into the DHD."
"Ash tha’ leada’ of SG-1 it wash up ta’ me to deshide who the deshignated driva’ should be." The colonel was trying unsuccessfully to use the banister to pull himself up.
"How did you end up the lucky one?" Annika asked smothering a grin.
"He claimed he couldn’t drink for religious reasons." Sam appeared in the doorway being supported by the driver. While her voice was steady her face was pale as a ghost.
"That was quick thinking, Teal’c," she approved helping the Marine guide Sam to a chair.
"Ishts’ all Shpace Monkey’s fault," Jack declared. "Shoulda’ neva’ taught T ta’ read English."
"Huh?" Annika was confused.
"He’s bin learnin’ ’bout Earthly religions," Daniel hiccupped. "Found out Mushlims don’t drink."
"Ah…Ma’am?" The Marine was hovering at the door. "I’m supposed to take Colonel O’Neill and Major Carter back to the base to…uh… recover."
Annika looked at the colonel who had promptly passed out with one arm wrapped around her banister and then at the major slumped in the easy chair. "I don’t think they are going anywhere right now." She turned to Teal’c. "What exactly were they drinking?"
"Some sort of fermented fruit. It was of a syrupy consistency. Very potent."
"So there’ll be no ‘alien’ side effects?"
"I do not believe Doctor Fraiser would allow them to leave if that were the case. Her only instructions were that none of them be allowed to drive."
"It’s okay." Annika turned back to the Marine. "They can stay here for the night. I’ll call General Hammond to let him know and I’ll bring them back to the base tomorrow. Wanna stay too, Teal’c?"
"I will remain to assist you."
The Marine left with an inward sigh of relief, glad that he would no longer be responsible for the drunken team.
Surveying the blotto heaps that made up three quarters of the infamous SG-1 she cracked up. "Teal’c, tell me they haven’t been debriefed yet."
"Indeed they have not." He picked up the now snoring archaeologist and tossed him unceremoniously over his shoulder.
Annika led the way to her bedroom being careful not to tread on the unconscious colonel.
"They are in fact not as inebriated as when we first arrived at the SGC."
"How could they possibly be any drunker than they are now?" Annika asked incredulously. "Just dump him on the bed, I’ll sort him out later once we get Sam and Jack taken care of."
"Before reaching the Stargate, O’Neill decided to do a rendition of a Yuletide song. I believe the lyrics involved the twelve days of Christmas, but I cannot be sure, the words were not very coherent."
They headed back downstairs where Jack was also picked up like a sack of potatoes.
"Jack was singing?" A snort of laughter escaped as she grabbed spare pillows and blankets, while the Jaffa laid the oblivious colonel on the couch.
"Yes, as were Major Carter and Daniel Jackson. They were most exuberant, especially when they sang about ‘a partridge in a pear tree’. That line was repeated many times."
Annika slipped a pillow under Jack’s head, before moving to the study. Teal’c helped transform the spare couch into a pullout bed.
"When I dialed the DHD they reached the final verse and were lined up similar to a barber shop quartet that I have seen in your classic movies. I was forced to push them all through the wormhole before it closed. I am told they continued singing as they rolled down the ramp at the SGC."
Teal’c was gentle when he carried the major in his arms, showing a lot more care than he had with the men.
"General Hammond decided to wait until tomorrow when my teammates are in a more conductive state of mind before debriefing them." Tenderly he laid Sam on the fold out bed.
"Oh, I don’t think they’re going to be very conductive tomorrow," Annika predicted still laughing. "They’re probably gonna wish they were dead." She placed the other pillow under Sam’s head then began untying the major’s boots. "I’ll make her more comfortable."
"I shall do the same for O’Neill." Teal’c quickly left.
A few minutes later Annika had managed to remove the blonde woman’s shoes and socks and had stripped her fatigues from her. She ducked upstairs for a loose fitting nightshirt and carefully maneuvered Sam into it. Gathering up the discarded clothing, she made her way into the lounge where Teal’c had stripped Jack down to his boxers, and dumped both sets of clothes in the washing machine.
"Do you require assistance removing Daniel Jackson’s clothing?" Teal’c asked, tucking the blanket around the colonel.
She shook her head smiling, "I think I can manage. Help yourself to something to eat and drink, I won’t be long."
Annika found Daniel in the same position as they’d left him, with his glasses perched crookedly on his nose. She removed them and blue eyes flickered open.
"My Angel, I missed you." His gaze was a little unfocused but his voice no longer slurred.
"I missed you too." Tenderly she kissed him and his arms locked around her.
"Those Porichnees really know how to party."
"So I hear," she giggled. "Have you been drunk the whole time?"
The archaeologist battled to remember. "I don’t know, it’s all kind of hazy. How long have we been gone?"
"Eight days? Don’t tell me I’ve been drunk for eight days!" Daniel bolted into a sitting position and immediately clutched his head when the room began to spin. "Oh, that was so not a good idea."
"Getting drunk or sitting up?" Annika asked amused.
"Both," he groaned.
Annika started unlacing his boots and he let her remove them and his socks while trying to keep his head as still as possible.
"Okay, let’s get your pants off."
"Do I have to move to do that?"
Annika heartlessly tugged him to his feet, ignoring his moans. "I won’t have those grotty fatigues in our bed." She deftly yanked them down his legs and Daniel unsteadily stepped out of them, then she pulled his shirt off.
"Can you stop that?" he pleaded.
"Tipping the room around? It’s making me dizzy."
She watched amazed, as Daniel’s face turned a remarkable shade of green. Of course she’d heard the phrase before, but had always thought it was only a figure of speech. A second later he clapped a hand over his mouth and ran for the bathroom.
While he hurled his guts up Annika hurried downstairs with the military clothes and added them to the now full washing machine. Flicking it on she kept one ear trained on the pitiful groans coming from above. "Teal’c, do you want me to wash your clothes as well?"
"That will not be necessary, I was able to change at the base. I take it Daniel Jackson is beginning to sober up." Teal’c had made himself a sandwich and was taking a hearty bite.
"Oh, yeah, his new best friend is the porcelain throne."
"I sense a surprising lack of sympathy from you, Annika Murdoch." He raised an eyebrow.
"Hey, it’s all self inflicted. He’s going to have enough sympathy for himself by morning, he doesn’t need mine." She poured herself a cup of coffee.
"Are you not worried that in his current state Daniel Jackson may pass out and choke while he is purging himself of the numerous alcoholic beverages he consumed?"
"Not while I can still hear him heaving." Sipping the dark brew, she averted her eyes. "I’ll check on him in a few minutes."
"There is something you are not telling me."
Annika sighed. "He’s embarrassed, Teal’c. I can feel it through our bond. He doesn’t like me seeing him like this."
"And yet it was he who insisted on coming home to you." The Jaffa frowned in confusion.
"That was probably the drink talking."
"I think not. Daniel Jackson’s desire to see you was more important to him than any embarrassment he may be feeling at the present time." He reached over to lay a comforting hand over hers. "I know he finds it difficult to be separated from you when we are off-world."
Annika was about to reply when she realized there was no longer any movement from above. With her heart pounding, she ran upstairs to find a swaying Daniel intently studying the flush mechanism on the toilet.
He glanced up when she appeared in the doorway. "Since when are there six buttons to choose from?"
A relieved giggle escaped her lips. "Try hitting one of the middle ones."
"Oh, okay." Daniel slapped the button and grinned when the water gurgled around the bowl. "Hey, it worked!" His brow crinkled into a slight frown and he rubbed the spot under his heart. "You’re worried about me."
"Not anymore," she assured him.
"There’s no need for My Angels to be worried." He sat down on the edge of the bath.
"Uh huh," Daniel nodded and beckoned her to him. "There are three of you. C’mere."
"All of us?" she teased, stepping towards him.
"Yep, until I determine which one is real."
"Try the middle one again."
He reached out and hugged her around the waist. "All three of you are pretty smart."
"I suppose, but we’re not paralytic." Annika gently stroked his hair.
"I’m sorry," he mumbled into her belly.
"Coming home like this."
"My Love, don’t worry about it. I’ve seen people in a worse state than you."
He tilted his head and glazed eyes stared up at her in disbelief. "Oh yeah? Who?"
Annika started laughing. "Well, to name two, Jack and Sam. They haven’t moved since Teal’c and I put them to bed."
Daniel’s eyes widened. "Together?"
"No, they’re in separate rooms," she assured him. "I wouldn’t do that to them, especially as I’m sure they won’t remember a thing in the morning."
"Maybe you should." To Daniel’s pickled mind the idea was absolutely brilliant. "It could give them the shove they need to finally admit they love each other."
Pulling him to his feet Annika began leading him to the bed. "I somehow don’t think either of them would see it that way."
"Why not?" He could see nothing wrong with his plan. In fact it was sounding better and better by the second. "They’d think they’ve already taken the plunge, especially if we stripped them and tucked them in all nice and cozy." Daniel started towards the door ready to put his strategy into action when the room started to rock again.
"Okay, Doctor Romantic." Annika steered him back and gently pushed him onto the bed. "That’s quite enough of that. Let’s see what you think of your plan in the morning."
"By then it’ll be too late." He tried to get up but found himself trapped under the covers.
"My Love, I promise you it’s a terrible idea." Annika tucked the blankets around him.
"But they so want to be together," he pouted, his eyes pleading. "We could help them."
"I know." She kissed him lightly on the mouth trying very hard not to laugh. "But not that way."
"You’re sure?" Daniel frowned. He was positive his idea would work.
Admitting defeat, a reluctant sigh whooshed from his mouth. "Okay." He blinked and the room swam out of focus. "I think I’ll just pass out now." Blue eyes fluttered closed.
Annika waited a few minutes making sure that he really was asleep. She wouldn’t put it past him in his sozzled state to sneak downstairs to put his scheme into motion. When his soft snore echoed in her ears she crept out of the room and made her way back to the kitchen to finish her now cold cup of coffee.
Teal’c looked up eating another sandwich. "All is well?"
She nodded. "He’s sleeping it off." Realizing she hadn’t yet eaten, she fixed a sandwich for herself. "Though you might want to keep an ear out for Daniel trying to creep downstairs."
Teal’c raised an eyebrow in question and the mirth she’d been holding back escaped. Annika explained Daniel’s ‘operation matchmaker’ and Teal’c’s deep laugh joined hers.
"I will be sure to keep one eye and ear open for any nocturnal activity."
They finished eating and Annika showed him to the spare bedroom.
"Should not O’Neill be in this bed?"
"Nope. He would still be on the stairs if we hadn’t moved him," Annika said. "You’re the conscious one, you may as well be comfortable. Here." She handed him a key. "It’s a spare to Daniel’s. I’ve only got two bathrooms, and I have the sneaking suspicion that we’ll need three when the sun rises."
Teal’c smiled. "I believe you are correct. Good night, Annika Murdoch."
"’Night, Teal’c." She left the Jaffa. After making a quick call to General Hammond to update him on SG-1’s condition, she returned to her room and her snoring love. When she climbed under the covers Daniel, even in his zonked out state, automatically reached to hold her. Snuggling into his embrace Annika drifted off to sleep. Her day hadn’t been so bad after all.
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