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Fanfiction: Three Wishes

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Summary: Mistaken for a genie, bashed on the head and thrown in a box: Jack contemplates wishes and genies with Sam.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sam & Jack friendship.  Written for the Sam & Jack Friendathon.  Prompt was 'let there be cake'.  Set S1 sometime between The Nox and Singularity.  Thanks to Davina and Michele for the beta and assistance. 
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Three Wishes


His head hurt. Jack O’Neill gingerly reached up and touched his forehead, grimacing when he encountered cloth wrapped around it instead of his favourite olive cap. He had a moment’s worry that he had lost it before it occurred to him that he really should be more worried about the fact that his head hurt. It hurt a lot.

‘Sir?’

It was Carter. Jack would have recognised the calm if slightly relieved voice of the Captain anywhere. Where were they again?

‘Sir?’

Her voice was more insistent. He wondered briefly whether it was bad that they hadn’t even worked together half a year and he recognised which tone she used when he was injured. She had one for each of them. Daniel Jackson got the compassionate ‘I’m so sorry you’re hurt’ timbre Jack figured Carter would use if she ever had a child. Teal’c, on the other hand, got the ‘indulge me even if you don’t need me’ version. He, on the other hand, always got the ‘suck it up, flyboy’ attitude that he associated with his old drill sergeant during his Special Forces training. Just once he wanted to be Daniel.

‘Colonel?’

OK, he was in trouble; the ranks had come out to play. Jack lowered his hand and pried open his brown eyes. He was relieved that wherever they were the lights were dim. Carter’s face swam into focus although he really couldn’t remember her having three eyes before nor the purplish bruise that graced one cheek. ‘Hey.’ He croaked, and winced. That was so not the authorative kick ass Colonel impression he’d been going for.

Carter grimaced. ‘You took a bad knock to your head, Colonel.’ Her fingers were already checking that he hadn’t dislodged the dressing she had applied. ‘The bleeding has stopped though.’

‘Uh-huh.’ Way to go at constructing a sentence, O’Neill, Jack derided inwardly.

‘How many?’ Carter prompted briskly.

‘What?’ Jack replied grumpily.

‘Fingers, sir.’ Yep; there was the drill sergeant snap.

Jack tried to focus. ‘Four.’ He guessed.

Carter frowned at him.

Oops. Evidently four had been the wrong answer. Time to take charge. Jack cleared his throat and waved a hand toward her blurry outline. ‘Report, Captain.’

‘We got jumped.’ Carter informed him. He remembered that bit. They had barely arrived in the primitive village, barely begun to explain that they’d come through the Stargate before things had turned ugly. ‘The natives managed to knock you out, sir, and I was surrounded when I went to help you.’

‘Daniel? Teal’c?’ Jack motioned for her to help him sit up.

‘They escaped back to the Stargate, sir. Hopefully the SGC will send a rescue.’ Carter frowned as she registered his expectant look that she would help him change position. ‘With all due respect, sir, I don’t think sitting up is a good idea. I think you have a serious concussion.’

Yeah, he was pretty certain he had a concussion. He’d had them before. He’d walked across a desert with a beauty so he could damn well sit up with this one. He gestured at her more forcefully. She gave in and slid an arm underneath his shoulders while the other grasped one of his and firmly pulled him up.

His head swam and his vision blurred. For one horrible moment, Jack felt his stomach roil and bile rise in his gullet. He stilled hurriedly.

‘Sir?’

There was a distinct edge of ‘I told you so’ buried in the ‘sir’. He’d be pissed at her if he wasn’t so focused on not emptying the contents of his gut on her lap. Jack breathed deeply through his nose and out through his mouth. The nausea subsided. He shuffled backwards and was relieved when two seconds later his back hit a wall. Wall was good.

Carter left his side but returned a moment later with a wooden cup filled with water. It tasted brackish and bitter but it soothed the nausea away. He drank greedily but he pushed the cup back at her.

‘More?’ She asked.

He didn’t make the mistake of shaking his head. ‘I’m good, Carter.’ He pointed at her cheek. ‘You?’

‘Just some bruises, sir.’ Carter said dismissively. ‘I’m fine.’

Jack figured she would tell him she was fine even if she wasn’t but he couldn’t see any other signs that she was injured apart from the bruise on her face. He let his eyes slide around their cell. It was basic but effective. They were in a wooden box. What little light there was filtered through the slats and drew lines across the straw-strewn floor. There was a hole in the ground in one corner which he assumed were the facilities, and he could see a water bucket in another. He couldn’t see a door. ‘No way out?’

‘There’s an opening to your left, sir.’ Carter motioned at the outline of a small hole. ‘They threw us in here and blocked it up.’ She sat beside him and drew her knees up to her chest. ‘About an hour after that they brought some water.’

‘How long have I been out?’ Jack investigated the dressing she had constructed. His searching fingers found an egg-shaped lump with a raw scratch over his left eye. It was covered with a thin strip of cloth that wrapped around his head and tied at the back, the excess material left dangling behind his right ear.

‘Three hours, sir.’ Carter informed him. ‘It takes two to the gate so…’

‘So the rescue will get here in another couple of hours.’ Jack pulled a face. Another two hours trapped in a wooden box on an alien planet. His gaze dropped to their clothing. Their captors had removed their tactical vests, jackets and weapons; both of them wore only the black t-shirts and green pants. He realised Carter must have torn a strip from her t-shirt for his head because hers had a ragged edge and was shorter than normal although it still covered her modestly enough. They had their boots, he realised with satisfaction. Footwear was good. It made for an easier escape. Jack slid a hand down his left ankle and frowned.

‘Sorry, sir.’ Carter sounded regretful. ‘They searched you and took your knife.’ She smiled suddenly. ‘I have mine.’

‘How?’ Jack demanded.

Her eyes widened questioningly – all three of them.

‘I assume they searched you too, Captain?’ He clarified briskly.

‘Uh, well, I may have bit one of them during the search.’ Carter said mildly, looking away from him. ‘They kind of left me alone after that.’

‘Ah.’ Jack looked at her and wondered whether she had bit one of them for touching something they shouldn’t or just for touching in general. Go Carter, Jack thought proudly. He leaned back and carefully let his head fall back until it rested on the solid surface. ‘So, we have a knife, our boot laces and the clothes on our backs?’

‘Along with our dog tags, half a stick of chewing gum, some string and a pack of tissues.’

‘So, what?’ Jack murmured, half-embarrassed to realise that she must have been through his pants’ pockets while he’d been out and half-impressed at her competence. ‘Give you five minutes and you’ll MacGyver a bomb?’

Carter only managed a half-smile. He caught the downcast look she tried to hide. She had been alone and dealing with their situation for three hours, Jack mused. No doubt she was worried that they would be dead before Daniel and Teal’c could mount a rescue; he knew he was. Leadership 101: When the team was kidnapped by aliens and awaiting rescue, maintain spirits.

‘Daniel and Teal’c will be back soon.’ Jack said with more confidence than he felt. ‘With a whole team of Marines.’ He hoped.

‘Yes, sir.’ She settled against the wall and stared at the floor.

He searched for a topic. ‘What set the natives off in the first place?’ Jack wondered out loud.

‘I think Daniel said they thought we were evil spirits. They kept calling us jinn.’ Carter said.

‘Jinn?’ Jack looked at her bemused. ‘As in genies?’

‘I think so.’

He felt her shoulder move against his as she shrugged.

‘I wasn’t really listening to Daniel, sir.’ Carter admitted quietly. ‘I was busy running.’

‘Don’t worry, Carter.’ Jack assured her. ‘I didn’t listen either.’ He had also been running. Well, running and yelling at Daniel to focus on running rather than giving them a history lesson about jinn in Middle Eastern mythology.

‘Anyway, I think Daniel said they thought we were genies because we came from the Stargate and…’

‘Because we were evil spirits they decided to beat us up?’ Jack sighed. In travelling through the Stargate to other worlds, he had determined there were three usual reactions; the natives believed they were Gods and bowed before them, or they believed they were evil and tried to kill them, or they were simply befuddled that someone had stepped through the ‘gate. Jack, on the whole, preferred befuddled. The first was just creepy and the second had a tendency to result in prisons and concussions.

‘It’s weird I always thought genies were meant to bring good luck.’ Carter’s confusion broke into his own thoughts.

‘Tell that to Captain Nelson.’

Carter stared at him blankly. ‘Captain Nelson, sir?’

‘I Dream of Jeannie? TV show from the Sixties? Barbara Eden? Larry Hagman?’ Jack prompted. Her face remained dumbfounded. ‘Oh, for crying out loud, Carter. You’re making me feel old here.’

Carter’s lips twitched and she ducked her head. Score for Team O’Neill, Jack thought smugly. For some reason his irascibility always seemed to amuse her.

‘Should I ask what the show was about, sir?’

‘Probably not.’ Jack replied, not wanting to explain about scantily clad blonde haired genies waiting hand and foot on male Air Force officers. He didn’t really want an enraged Carter in a confined space.

‘I guess I always think of genies like the genie in Aladdin and the Lamp.’ Carter said.

‘You mean the whole three wishes gig?’ Jack pursed his lips. ‘Yeah, I could go for that.’ He nudged her. ‘So, what would you wish for, Carter?’

Carter wrinkled her nose. ‘I’ve never thought about it, sir.’

He looked at her askance.

‘Probably something typical like world peace or an end to the Goa’uld.’ Carter admitted.

‘You get three, Carter.’ Jack reminded her. ‘You’ve wished for world peace and the Goa’uld being toast so, next?’

‘Um,’ she bit her lip.

‘What about something just for you?’ Jack encouraged her.

‘Maybe a new motorbike, sir.’

‘Motorbike, huh.’ Jack stored that nugget away. ‘I had this great Indian when I was eighteen.’ He sighed. He really missed that bike.

‘Really?’ Carter smiled. ‘I’m rebuilding an Indian. It’s in pretty bad shape but I’m sure I can restore it.’

If anyone could she could; Jack had no doubt.

‘What about you?’ Carter asked suddenly. ‘What would you wish for?’

Oh, he’d walked into that one, Jack thought as he sucked in a breath, the question jarring. What would he wish for? The son he’d killed alive and well; redemption from the nightmares that plagued him, nightmares he had perpetrated? The serious answers all seemed too serious. Certainly, his answers were too serious to dump on Carter when he was supposed to be maintaining her spirits.

‘Sir?’

His eyes jerked to Carter. She’d used her Daniel tone. His pride kicked in at the idea she might have guessed at his thoughts and his chin went up. He much preferred the drill sergeant treatment. ‘To get the hell out of here would be a start.’ He returned brusquely.

Her expression shifted subtly, losing the compassion and regaining the professionalism he needed.

‘And to get my cap back.’ Jack continued, changing tack and going for unpredictable.

She raised an eyebrow.

‘What?’ Jack said defensively, crossing his arms. ‘It’s my lucky cap.’

‘And your final wish?’ Carter prompted. Her eyes were pinned to a spot on the floor.

‘Cake.’ It was the first thing that came to Jack’s mind.

‘Cake?’ She questioned. Her head tilted as if considering the idea.

‘Cake.’ Jack said firmly. He waited a moment as though thinking about it seriously. ‘With chocolate frosting.’

Carter sighed as her eyes tracked the lines of the floorboards underneath them. ‘Why cake?’

‘Why not cake?’ He rejoined, rising to the challenge of arguing for his choice. The more he thought about it, the more he quite liked the idea of wishing for cake and some genie clapping their hands and decrying ‘let there be cake’ in a deep voice. Jack grimaced, wondering why his mental image of a genie was Teal’c. That was just wrong.

‘How’s your head, sir?’ Carter asked bluntly.

Jack glared at her. ‘Cake is a valid choice for a wish, Carter. My head has nothing to do with it.’

‘Yes, sir,’ Carter agreed dryly, ‘but the reason why I’m asking is that I think I’ve figured a way out but it’ll only work if you can move.’

She’d figured a way out? While they were talking about wishes and discussing cake? Of course she had, Jack berated himself. She was Carter.

‘I can move.’ He assured her.

‘I think I remembered seeing space beneath the village huts when we arrived, sir, so if this prison is of a similar design…’ Carter darted to the floor, pulling her knife from her boot in a smooth motion that Jack admired. She swept the straw to one side revealing a crack in the wood. She used the knife for leverage and pried off a floorboard, revealing a crawlspace beneath. She beamed at him even though her hand momentarily rubbed at her side.

Pulled muscle, Jack surmised. ‘Cool.’ He said out loud. He let her pull up another three floorboards to create a big enough hole for them to wriggle their way through. He had a momentary worry about snakes and bugs as he hit the dirt but he thrust it away and focused on staying conscious. He watched as Carter stopped and manoeuvred the floorboards back into position behind them. She grimaced under the strain of her efforts and Jack almost told her to leave the floorboards but replacing them would give them more time hopefully; it would look to the natives that they had simply disappeared. Genies indeed, Jack thought gleefully.

He inched forward and peeked out from under the hut to the village. It was quiet. No-one was in sight. They could dart into the undergrowth without being seen. They could make their way back to the Stargate and meet up with the rescue party. Jack moved quietly and efficiently, burying his pounding head and nauseous stomach in the far reaches of his mind. He went into the undergrowth and stopped. Checked again. He gave Carter the hand-signal to move.

They quickly moved further into the dense forest surrounding the village. It provided good cover. Jack let Carter take point, trusting her to find the way back to the Stargate; to monitor the path for danger. He was too focused on simply putting one foot in front of the other. She stopped suddenly and Jack almost barrelled into the back of her.

‘Carter?’ He whispered loudly.

She stooped and picked up something from the ground. He started to smile as he caught sight of it – his cap!

‘There was some wind when we arrived, sir.’ Carter noted, keeping her voice low. ‘It must have blown your cap from the path where we were attacked.’

Jack took it from her and tucked it into his back pocket. There was no way he could face putting it back on his head given the constant ache in his skull. He gestured for Carter to continue.

They were past the village when Jack stumbled. His legs were rubbery beneath him and he needed the arm Carter placed around his waist, his arm around her shoulders as they made the rest of the journey. Jack was unaware of anything but the thought of getting home; one step then another. Half-way to the Stargate, they both froze at the sound of people approaching and they sank to the ground waiting, only to watch in relief as Daniel and Teal’c came into view, SG3 behind them. His vision blurred and his last sight was Carter talking urgently to him as he passed out.

Awareness came back in stages. Sounds permeated the thick cloud around his brain; the clatter of equipment, the beeps of machines, quiet voices talking medical jargon. The smell was next; antiseptic and bleach so reminiscent of the infirmary. The feel of blankets around him and a firm bed beneath him brought him back to consciousness. His eyes flew open and he groaned at the light. He slammed his eyes shut again.

When he woke again, Jack suffered through his morning ablutions and the subsequent examination with barely concealed impatience before Janet Fraiser declared she wanted to keep him for another twenty-four hours observation. He was grumpy by the time Carter showed up. Her hands were behind her back and she looked one hundred per cent improved on the last time he’d set eyes on her. Apart from the clean clothes and newly washed hair, her eyes had returned to the saner number of two and the bruise on her cheek looked less vivid than he remembered.

His eyes narrowed on her. ‘Carter.’

‘Sir.’ Carter responded with a smile. ‘How are you feeling?’

‘Peachy.’ He nodded and looked at her suspiciously given she was still holding her hands behind her back. ‘What’re you hiding?’

Carter pulled a face and revealed the plate she had liberated from the mess. Jack stared. It was cake. Chocolate. With frosting. His mouth watered. He motioned for her to give it to him and he sank the fork she handed to him into the dessert eagerly. He almost moaned out loud at the first taste, his eyes closing in bliss.

Jack reopened his eyes and licked his chocolate frosted fork. He’d actually been granted his three wishes, Jack realised. It looked like Samantha Carter was SG1’s own personal miracle genie. Just as well, Jack thought amused, he had a feeling they were going to need her.

‘Good job getting us out of there, Carter.’ The praise was deserved and he watched pleased as she brightened visibly with his words. He dug in eagerly to the cake again; he had his priorities after all.

Her smile blossomed into a smug grin. ‘Piece of cake, sir.’

fin.




Read the rest of the stories in the ficathon at Sam & Jack Friendathon.

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