Col. Jack O'Neill
I shoulda known this was gonna be trouble the minute Major Carter approached me outside the gateroom.
"'Morning, Carter," I say cheerily, unaware of what's in store.
"Colonel!" she says brightly. Too brightly, now that I think on it.
"So. Whazzup?" I ask. Not that I really want an answer, mind you. Asking Carter 'whazzup' can be dangerous, if you don't have three or four hours to spend. Still, she isn't clutching any papers, she doesn't have any thingamajig in her hands, and she isn't currently involved in any big research, so I figure I'm safe.
"Are you and Daniel in?" she asks.
In? In what? In the mountain? In the know? In the latest football pool? In trouble? In-cognito? In-visible? In-sane. That's what this is.
"In what, Carter?" I ask.
"Oh. Guess Janet hasn't asked you yet," she says, just vague enough to be irritating.
"Asked us what, Carter?" I say, amazed at my patience.
"Never mind. It will be better coming from Janet," she says.
Better coming from Janet? Our Napoleonic CMO with sharp needles and an even sharper tongue? That Janet? Now, don't get me wrong, I love her like a younger sister, but what could possibly be better coming from Janet?
"Should I be worried, Major?" I ask, lifting an eyebrow in what I hope is an effective show of skepticism.
"Er...no, sir, I don't think so," she says, that bright smile faltering slightly.
What the Sam Hill's up?
Major Samantha Carter
'Way to go, Sammie,' I groan inwardly, watching the Colonel raise 'that' eyebrow. 'You've really stuck your foot in it this time.' I desperately pray that Janet will round the corner and put me out of my misery.
No such luck. Instead, the third reason for most of the female fantasies here at the SGC comes sauntering down the hallway, hands shoved deeply into his pockets.
"Oh, hey, Sam, Jack," Daniel Jackson greets us. "What's going on?"
"Apparently we are, Daniel," Jack says, rocking back on his heels. "Carter wants to know if we're 'in'."
A slight frown creases those adorable features. I've got to admit, Daniel's awfully cute when he's confused, or concerned, or thinking -- which is 90 percent of the time. Cocking his head to one side, Daniel pushes his glasses back up the bridge of his nose.
"Excuse me? In? In what?"
"Exactly," Jack replies. "Apparently Fraiser knows."
"Knows? Knows what?"
Jack shrugs his shoulders expressively. "Who knows?"
Is anyone following this?
Just then Dr. Fraiser comes down the hall, her face lighting up when she sees our intrepid trio. There are times when I'd love to be in Janet's shoes. There's something very attractively -- er -- vulnerable about a man standing within arm's reach clad in nothing but regulation boxers. Especially three certain someones who shall remain nameless but make up the remainder of my team. I've lost count of the number of times I've been told by other female, and some male, members of SGC over a friendly beer -- or three -- what a lucky, lucky girl I am. Of course, I'd like to think they've been told the same. About me, that is. But I'm getting off the subject.
"Hey, Sam," Janet says brightly. "Colonel, Daniel -- glad I caught you two together. Have you been asked about the base's charity fund-raiser?"
"Oh, is that what this is all about?" the Colonel grouses, reaching for his wallet. "So, how much are the tickets? I'm not going, y'know. Hate these dress-up affairs. All those clingy women. Single and otherwise. But I feel I'm good for a ticket or two. What is it this year?"
"Er, no, Colonel," Janet says, grabbing his arm. "I don't need money. I need, well, you."
"Excuse me?" The eyebrow and the voice raise even higher.
"Well," Janet begins. Is that nervous sweat beginning to bead on her upper lip? "This year the base has decided to raise money for the families of those lost at the disaster at the Pentagon in September."
"That's a great idea, Janet," Daniel says.
"Shut up, Daniel," the Colonel says.
I just step back a step and fold my arms over my chest. This is going to be good.
"General Avery's wife -- you've met her a few times, Colonel -- decided that our normal auction wasn't such a good idea this year. Merchants have been feeling the effects of 9/11 and we didn't want to hit them up for donations. So, we've decided to hold, well, a bachelor auction."
"Excuse me?" Again with the eyebrow.
"Yes. Margie -- that's General Avery's wife -- suggested it. She's on the organizing committee with Gwen and Susie. They're the wives of General Harrell and General Burroughs. They loved the idea."
Daniel has a cheeky grin on his face. "I think it's a great idea, Jack!"
Janet turns to him, an equally cheeky grin spreading across her lips. "Not so fast, Daniel. They want you, too."
It's Jack's turn to grin. "Sweet."
Daniel looks appalled. "But...but...but I don't even know these ladies! I'm not military!"
Janet raises a hand for silence. "Oh, but you do know them, Daniel. You met them at General Avery's birthday party last month. They asked for you and the Colonel specifically."
She lowers her voice conspiratorially.
"They also asked for Teal'c, well, Murray to them, but since it's going to involve the public and not just the SGC, I told them he would be unavailable. They were very disappointed."
"Yeah, well, you're just gonna have to disappoint them again, Dr. Fraiser," Jack growls. "That's two members of SG-1 who won't be available."
Daniel raises his forefinger. "Make that three, Janet. I have a previous engagement."
"But I haven't even said when it is," Janet says.
"Doesn't matter," Daniel replies, shaking his head. "I have a prior commitment. Appointment. Liaison. Meeting. Tied up. Incommunicado. Unavailable."
"Oh, that's too bad," Janet says, shrugging her shoulders. "I'm sorry you two force me to use my trump card, but...,"
"Uh-oh," Daniel says. "I have a feeling the boom is about to be lowered."
"General Hammond has instructed me to guarantee both you and the Colonel will be there, bright eyed and bushy tailed, barring only the worst of unforeseen disasters, like a Gou'ald invasion."
"The boom has been lowered," Jack grumbles. "I hate it when he pulls rank that way."
"I probably shouldn't tell you this, but you'll find out soon enough," Janet says, unable to keep the twinkle out of her eyes. "But he gave that order because, I think, misery loves company. He's part of the auction, too."
"S-w-eet," Jack repeats, unable to keep a big grin from creasing his features. "Can't wait."
Dr. Daniel Jackson
Well, Jack seems pleased that he, the General and I are all in this together. I just want to find a safe place to hide. I can think of few things more -- more -- 'embarrassing' than this auction. I wouldn't dream of asking Sam or Janet to participate in one. It's demeaning, degrading, and -- did I mention embarrassing?
And I don't know how to get out of it.
I'd feign being sick, but Janet can spot a faker a mile away. And if I got sick for real, she'd have me dosed and cured in nothing flat. Can't use my tonsils. Don't have 'em. Ditto for my appendix. Everyone here knows that fact too well.
And I won't stoop so low as to get purposefully injured off-world. That wouldn't be ethical, fair to the team, and I guess I'd prefer the auction to Janet's needles and pen lights -- or a catheter -- or a bed pan -- or a sponge bath.
Oh, well, nothing left to do but grin and bear it.
I do hope that particular choice of words doesn't come back to bite me on the ass.
I am not sure I understand the purpose of a fund-raiser, as O'Neill puts it. On Chulak families were responsible for taking care of their own. Widows and orphans were taken in by family, or by others if no family was available. Warriors had a minimum of choices: serve well and be provided for; fail and die.
I have seen auctions before on other planets. The planet where Daniel Jackson's Unas friend Chaka was taken held auctions. I found them to be most disagreeable for the beings who were sold.
Yet both Major Carter and Doctor Fraiser assure me that is not the case with these so-called 'bachelor' auctions. And they are not for the purpose of finding mates. I have caught O'Neill on occasion boasting about being sold to the highest bidder and 'bringing in a pretty price.' He and Major Ferretti have been caught laughing about the customs, punctuated with winks, elbow jabs and 'God's gift to women' comments. I do not understand.
The only one who has not commented on this auction is Daniel Jackson. I do not believe he is looking forward to the event.
Most of the women on base, however; are. I have heard them talking while we pass them in the hallways, and also while sitting together in groups in the cafeteria. I have heard O'Neill's and Daniel Jackson's names brought up frequently in conversation. I have been asked by several if I am also to participate. When I tell them I am not, they have shaken their heads, gotten strange looks in their eyes and have said, "too bad."
As I said, I do not understand this strange Taur'i custom. And I have seen nothing on television to give further information. Perhaps I should ask O'Neill. His extensive knowledge of films may shed more light on the subject.
And I think I shall be truly sorry to miss this event.
Doctor Janet Fraiser
I will be so glad when this event is over. The General has been apprehensive, the Colonel has been insufferable, and poor Daniel has been beside himself. If I didn't think it was unethical, I'd sneak some Valium into his coffee the day of the event. If he doesn't calm down, I still may.
The Colonel, on the other hand, has jumped into this with both feet, talking up the auction to anyone who will listen. He's also been working out like a fiend -- not that that body needs much improvement, thank you very much! -- and has drug Daniel to the gym with him every afternoon they're not off-world. He's even asked Sam's and my opinion on what he should wear.
Margie has told me a local men's clothing store has offered to provide suits, tuxes or casual attire for the event, or the guys can provide their own clothes, provided the organizing committee -- that's Margie, Gwen and Susie -- approve of their choice.
Honestly, much of the Colonel's casual wardrobe could go to Goodwill -- but I'd love it if he wore that black leather jacket of his.
Sam and I have had this discussion many times. We'd put him in either his dress blues or that jacket with a black ribbed turtleneck and grey slacks. In that outfit, with the lights catching the silver in his hair -- well, he might just fetch that pretty price he's been boasting about.
Daniel -- now there's a challenge! The man has a terrific body -- I should know, I've seen it often enough -- but he has the fashion sense of a six-year-old. Those baggy BDU's and plaid shirts -- please! Oh, well, we'll think of something. Something in blue, perhaps, to match his eyes. Or white. Or denim. Yeah, denim.
Major Samantha Carter
The day of the auction dawns bright, crisp and cold. Perfect Colorado weather.
The event's being held at the Broadmoore. When I heard that, my jaw dropped. I thought the cost of renting the ballroom alone would offset any profit the fund-raiser could possibly make, but Janet assures me that's not the case here. Seems one of the owners' sons had a close friend killed in the Pentagon disaster so the group is getting the hotel for a song. Janet tells me that Margie has geared all the publicity to read: "A World Class Event at a World Class Hotel". I don't think there are any tickets left for the auction.
Something else is going on, too. Seems the guys are going to take the stage twice. First, in casual attire as a group, so that the potential bidders can get a look at them. Then, one at a time, in formal dress, when they're actually auctioned off.
From what I understand, neither the Colonel nor Daniel is too happy with this latest wrinkle, but the General assures me they'll cooperate.
I wouldn't miss this for the world.
Col. Jack O'Neill
Looks like Carter and Dr. Fraiser are gonna get their wish about seeing me in both leather and dress blues. They've been so insistent I wear these I felt the decision was really out of my hands. Anyway, I 'modeled' these duds in front of the 'committee' and got three very avid 'thumbs up' from the generals' wives. So, I'm set. The General's gonna wear his uniform, too, for the actual auction, and a pale blue shirt and khakis for the casual group thing.
Daniel, on the other hand, is a complete mystery. I haven't the foggiest idea what he's wearing for either event. Not that horrible brown suit, I hope. I think Carter talked him into getting rid of that. The black one would be nice. And he's got that great white cable knit sweater he could wear for casual.
If he's asked Carter or Fraiser for any advice, they're not saying. And I don't think they know.
Understand the ladies'r gonna feed us, too. Those of us being auctioned are supposed to 'mix and mingle' with the crowd at the dinner before the auction. I think it's supposed to give the ladies bidding on us an opportunity to 'examine the merchandise' up close and personal before they open their pocketbooks. George is an old hand at pressing the flesh at these kind of things -- he didn't get to be General on just his good looks. I'm no slouch in that department either, if I do say so myself. Daniel's better at one-on-ones or small groups, but I'm sure he'll lighten up and do fine.
It's all pretty innocent, too. Our being auctioned off really just obligates us to spend the remainder of the evening with our respective 'owners' and then us taking the person out once at a later date -- at our expense. Y'know, to dinner or that sort of thing.
Y'know, I'm actually starting to look forward to this shindig.
Doctor Janet Fraiser
The ballroom is exquisite.
Tables seating 20 are scattered throughout. Greenery and swags cover the doorways and fresh-cut flowers in huge vases stand near each entrance and exit. The carpeting is so plush you could take your shoes off and curl your toes in it. The dance floor is of gleaming polished oak. Five massive crystal chandeliers are hung strategically around the room.
The stage dominates one side of the room and there's a u-shaped runway coming off it, with an orchestra pit in the middle. Right now the pit is occupied by a jazz trio -- piano, bass and drums -- playing light, upbeat dinner music.
Heavy cream-colored tablecloths are draped over the tables, small centerpieces of Peace roses and baby's breath dot each one. The crystal water goblets and gold-edged plates shine in the light, which is low, intimate and flattering.
There are 15 tables and 14 bachelors participating in the auction, so the committee has arranged for one bachelor to be seated at each table except for the head table.
Ninety percent of the audience tonight are women. There are a few men scattered among the crowd, but the hotel made arrangement for spouses and significant others to be entertained in its large pub, and it seems like most of them have taken up that offer.
Glancing at the place cards, I can see Gwen's influences at work.
Gwen Harrell has the uncanny knack of putting disparate people together at dinner parties and having them hit it off. She never plays it safe. So I notice that none of our SGC bachelors are seated at the two or three tables reserved for the women who work at the mountain. Instead, we've got a tennis pro, a high school football coach, and an investment banker.
I've seen a lot of the names on these place cards in the society columns. Pretty heady stuff. Some of these women's monthly allowances from their trust funds cover what I make in six months. Should be interesting.
General George Hammond
Since most of my time the last few weeks has been consumed guaranteeing the presence of Dr. Daniel Jackson at this event, I haven't had much time to be worry about the fact I'm to be auctioned off, too.
Gwen Harrell is a sly minx. It's been no secret that I'm the oldest bachelor at this event. I thought she'd take it easy on me tonight at dinner -- seat me with our SGC attendees or at least with some ladies I'd recognize. But no, not a familiar face at the table, although the woman seated to my right is lively and charming.
Susie suggested I wear an everyday uniform to the dinner and I'm glad I took her advice. Gives me a bit more "presence" than a casual outfit would, and, seeing the competition, I'll take all the help I can get.
Actually, all the women at my table are quite personable and very nice, and we've had lots to talk about. I notice they've been checking out the other bachelors seated around the room, and, at the risk of sounding egotistical, I think our SGC trio has made quite an impression.
Jack's obviously enjoying himself, because waves of laughter keep emanating from that table in the corner. I've noticed the woman seated to Jack's left keeps putting her hand on his arm when she speaks to him, and the one on his left is leaning in a bit closer than casual dinner conversation warrants. He's in uniform, too. I have to say the man cuts a fine figure in blue.
Dr. Jackson's table is on the other side of the ballroom, closer to the SGC tables, so I haven't been able to see what's going on there. He did wear that nice black suit of his, with a blue shirt and dark blue tie. I'm certain he's holding his own.
Dr. Daniel Jackson
This actually isn't too awful.
When they first sat me at this table -- so far from Jack and Sam and Janet and the General -- I'll admit to being a little worried. But my dinner companions have been interesting.
Judy has a degree in foreign languages and she and I have been telling dirty jokes in French and Italian and translating them to the others. Stephanie's father financed several digs for the University of Colorado in Utah and Egypt and she's traveled to sites all over the world. Ali is an architect and has studied early Egyptian building techniques.
Lin is a teacher, Jenni's a writer, Carrie's an artist, Lynn is a musician and Nancy works at a bookstore. Jeanne raises horses, Debi skis, Babs runs a day-care center, Kathi runs marathons and Denise works for an insurance company.
Mavis is a grandmother with twelve grandchildren. Tamy, Andrea, Kathi, Denise and Sharon all model. Well, that should be obvious -- they're all tall, striking, extremely well-dressed and have picked at their food all night.
In fact, dinner went much too fast and the committee is now calling us backstage to get into our casual attire. It's show time. At the risk of making a 'Jack-ism', I so don't want to do this.
Major Samantha Carter
Janet and I have been doing some eavesdropping, passing the tables where General Hammond, the Colonel and Daniel have been seated, hoping to catch some snatches of conversation to see how well our guys are fairing.
They've got to be better than Jason, the investment banker seated at my table. Very nice to look at, with coal black hair, green eyes, a nice body, a million dollar smile -- and an ego to match. He spoke to all of us at the table like we were totally brainless and couldn't possibly understand all the intricacies of the banking world. Thank God for Cecile. She works for Edward Jones and 'cleaned his clock', so to speak. He wisely switched subjects about midway through dinner. Last I heard he was swapping personal trainer stories with two of the society types seated near him.
The General and the Colonel take their leaves graciously. What's happening at Daniel's table? All the women there have insisted on hugging him good-bye! There are a few pecks on the cheek, too. Daniel's face is flaming, but he good naturedly hugs everyone back. He's such a sweetheart.
Janet makes her way to where I'm seated. Our table is closest to the stage and we get permission for her to take the seat Jason vacated. The show's about to start.
There's a podium set up on the right side, and Margie is there making announcements and setting the ground rules for the auction. Most of it is fairly straightforward -- no IOUs or credit cards, at least two forms of ID with personal checks, that sort of thing, keep it friendly and at least somewhere in the boundaries of good taste, no fondling the merchandise (that brings a collective chuckle from the crowd, as well as a few audible groans). It appears she, Susie and Gwen will share the mistress of ceremony duties.
Margie again reminds everyone of the reason behind the fund-raiser. The events of September 11 hit the military community very hard. Many folks at the complex have friends working at the Pentagon. In fact, Janet told me that both Gwen's and Margie's husbands were scheduled to be there the week of the disaster.
Okay. Margie has called for our bachelors to come forward on stage. They're filing out now. The tennis pro seated at Janet's table is in tennis togs; no big surprise there. Jason has opted for a midriff-baring muscle shirt and bicycle shorts; can the man be any more obvious? Several others are in dockers and polo shirts; one or two in jogging shorts and loose-fitting tees. Lots of nice looking legs on stage, that's for sure.
There's the General -- that blue is such a nice color on him. Brings out the blue in his eyes.
Now the Colonel in that wonderful black leather jacket, looking rumpled and dangerous and, yes, I'll be the first to admit, sexy. Those grey slacks accentuate his long legs and his hair gleams in the florescent lighting.
The last to come out is...is...is...
Oh. My. God.
Dr. Janet Fraiser
I feel Sam clutching my arm as my mouth hits the floor along with hers.
There were some good natured cat-calls and light whistles as the other bachelors made their way to the stage, more frequent actually when the Colonel hit the spotlight. Then, complete silence and now, an underswell of murmuring.
Daniel couldn't, *couldn't* have come up with this outfit himself.
Our favorite archaeologist is wearing a pair of faded, soft, well-worn, light-blue denim jeans, which cling to those long legs and wrap snugly over that tight butt. They're strategically torn -- just over the left knee and under the front right-hand pocket. And snug -- did I mention snug? Enough to tell he's dressing to the left tonight. And that little bit of skin showing at the front suggests he's going commando. Bet those jeans haven't seen the light of day since his last university archaeological dig.
And they still fit him perfectly.
He's paired this with a pristine white, tight T-shirt and a well-worn, battered, butter-soft brown bomber jacket. Open. All the way.
And he's barefoot.
Lord have mercy.
He's let his hair grow a little in the past few weeks, so that it's fuller in front and just touches that collar in back. It's actually got some blonde highlights and gleams in the diffused overhead lights. He's lost the glasses, and his blue eyes sparkle.
Just then he shrugs out of the jacket and flings it over his shoulder, catching it on one finger. He hooks the other hand in the corner of that right-hand pocket, pulling the jeans slightly down on that right hip.
I was wrong. It's not a full T-shirt. It's an athletic T -- scooped low over the chest in front, and baring those broad shoulders and well-muscled upper arms. The hair on his arms gleams blonde in the lights. The work-out sessions with the Colonel have produced some impressive results. Guess I just hadn't realized how much Daniel has - er - filled out in the last few months.
Is it hot in here or is it just me?
Major Samantha Carter
I can't believe my eyes.
It's Daniel. Our Daniel.
Looking like the poster boy for every woman's wildest fantasies.
My God. That face. Those shoulders. That T-shirt. Those jeans. That -- that pose. Does he not know what kind of an effect he's having on the women in this room?
He looks up -- I know without his glasses he's having trouble making us out. Then he spots me -- me or Janet, we're both right up front -- and smiles that wonderful, shy Daniel smile. The one I've come to know the last four years. The one I don't see very often these days, but that fills me with a sense of wonder and delight at having this gorgeous, bright, gentle, complex man as a good friend.
Then it hits me.
Seeing the slight stain on his cheeks, I realize he's not really comfortable in this outfit and the only way he can pull it off is not being able to see the audience's reaction.
We're going to have to have a talk, you and me. After all this is over.
Provided, of course, we can get him back alive from this group of predatory she-cats.
Margie dismisses the bachelors to go backstage and dress for the actual auction.
Daniel is the last to leave, and he must be able to feel the hot stares drilling holes in that broad back and that great ass.
The crowd releases the collective breath I don't believe they know they were holding and slowly idle dinner chatter fills the room as we wait for the first bachelor to be called back on stage.
Janet turns to me. "Where do y...wha...who do you supposed dressed Daniel tonight?" she exclaims. I shrug my shoulders.
One of the women who works in communications -- Captain Jane Morgan, I believe -- clears her throat. Partially to get our attention and partially to clear the saliva build-up, I'd be willing to bet.
"Er, Captain, Major," she says. "I think Dr. Jackson got his outfit pointers from Major Davis."
"Major Paul Davis?" I ask.
"Yes, ma'am," she replies. "I overheard them talking in the cafeteria last week. I'm not sure, but I think I saw the major hand Dr. Jackson that bomber jacket."
Hmmm. Paul Davis. Makes sense. The man has had the hots for Daniel for as long as I can remember. Oh, all very innocent, I'm sure. I think. Anyway, he's always had a great fashion sense. And, anyway, it's really none of my business.
Janet snorts beside me. "Paul Davis. Figures."
Does she know something I don't know?
Oh, well, whatever the case, Daniel has certainly made an impression.
This is going to be interesting.
Col. Jack O'Neill
What the hell!?
I couldn't believe it when I saw him -- Daniel looks like every woman's fantasy and every man's wet dream -- and I'm saying this as his team leader and best friend.
Some of the other bachelors here are certainly giving him the eye -- not sure I'd trust that tennis pro within 10 feet of him.
There's also a woman at my table who strikes me as dangerous. As far as Daniel is concerned, I mean. Call it Colonel's intuition, but I don't think I'd trust her as far as I could throw her. She caught sight of Daniel earlier this evening -- even before he came up with this damned 'sex on a stick' outfit -- and nearly threw a hissy fit when she wasn't allowed to move to his table. And she implied -- things. When she didn't know I was in earshot. Damn, didn't think I'd end up having to protect Daniel on-world, too.
I wish Teal'c were here.
Time to get into our formal wear. How the hell is Daniel gonna top his casual outfit?
I've got to get a message to Carter and Fraiser.
Captain Janet Fraiser
The auction has turned out to be lively, titillating and a lot of fun. We're down to the last four bachelors -- Jason's up next. They've saved our guys for the last. I noticed Margie shuffling cards when they all came on stage in their casual wear. I don't think she had Daniel placed this late in the program, but Margie knows a 'hot property' when she sees one. I think Daniel amazed her as well.
Jason goes to a giggling, blushing young thing seated at table 10. She's been bidding pretty freely all evening -- Daddy's money, I'd be willing to wager. He is pretty -- too bad Sam tells me he's such an egotist.
The room grows quieter. Gwen and Susie have been sharing emcee duties, but now Margie steps up to the podium. Seems she's saved the best for herself.
"Ladies," she says, "thank you for a most successful fund-raiser. Our bachelors so far have brought us $18,500, and that, combined with ticket sales, brings our total to $25,625.00."
The room erupts in applause. Margie holds up her hand for silence.
"We've seen the cream of Colorado Springs' bachelorhood here tonight. These men are handsome, bright, talented and -- most importantly -- extremely good sports!"
"You may have noticed from your programs tonight that we've saved our military bachelors until last. There's a reason for that..."
"Yeah!" A voice rings out from the back. "They're gorgeous!"
Laughter follows this remark. I smile and look at Sam. I'm sure the General is flattered to be included in that 'gorgeous' comment.
Margie laughs also. "Well, true, but also, these men embody the reason we're here tonight. To honor our fighting men and women in Afghanistan, and to help relieve the suffering of those who lost friends and loved ones at the Pentagon disaster, we're asking you to perhaps dig a little deeper in your pockets while bidding on our last three bachelors. And the fact that they're 'easy on the eye' might make that job less painful for you all.
"You also might notice that the biographic information on these men is missing in your program. We just listed names. That's because, due to the nature of their work, they might not have been available for our fund-raiser. I'm here to provide a bit of background information as you meet each one. So, let the bidding begin!"
Cheers and applause greet her statement. The lights dim; a spotlight comes up in the middle of the stage, and the General steps out.
"Our first military bachelor of the evening is Major General George Hammond. He may be a bit older than many of the bachelors you've met this evening, but he can certainly show a lady a good time. He's the commander of the Cheyenne Mountain complex, a loving grandfather, enjoys gardening and being with his two granddaughters Kayla and Tessa. And, rumor has it he's close personal friends with the President. You see, they're both from Texas! He's..."
As Margie continues her introduction, the General begins walking the runway, smiling and nodding at the women.
The General is such a jovial man, and he really has the cutest twinkle in those blue-grey eyes of his. He always looks so impressive in his uniform. Passing Sam and me, he gives us a little wink. I think he's actually enjoying himself!
The bidding is lively. The older woman seated at Daniel's table is making a concerted effort to out-bid another older society matron seated near the back. The bidding gets to $1,200, and then stalls.
"Twelve hundred; I have twelve hundred dollars," Margie says. "Going once, going twice..."
Daniel's lady raises her hand. "Fifteen hundred," she announces imperiously, and looks back at the other older woman, as if daring her to top it.
"Going once, going twice -- sold to Mavis O'Conner for fifteen hundred dollars!"
The room erupts into applause. General Hammond, as has been the custom this evening, grabs a red rosebud from the vase on the podium and carries it over to Mavis, presents it to her, and pulls up a chair to sit beside her. Before sitting, however, he gives her a little peck on the cheek. She blushes; he smiles and takes her hand as he sits down. The crowd loves it.
The crowd quiets, and the spotlight again hits the stage. Margie begins reading: "Our next bachelor is Colonel Jack O'Neill, career military. Watch out for this one, ladies, he learned his moves from the Air Force Academy! When not on duty he enjoys fishing, hockey and astronomy, and..."
The Colonel steps out onto the stage. He's absolutely gorgeous in his dress blues. Usually he's very serious while in that uniform, but tonight he's made a few changes. For one, he's not wearing his hat, instead; he has it tucked under his arm. His eyes twinkle in the light and he's got this mischievous little grin on his face.
His posture is perfect, and that uniform is tailored to show all the long, lean lines of the man. With that salt and pepper hair, he'd charm the devil himself. He walks the runway with grace, that disconcerting direct stare bringing blushes to several of the women. He glances at Sam and me. "Give 'em hell, Colonel," I say, just loud enough for Sam and him to hear me. He grins and moves on.
The bidding for the Colonel is fast and furious. One thousand, fifteen hundred, two thousand, three thousand. Then it narrows down to three women, who keep upping the amount by fifty dollars a bid. The Colonel finally goes to one of those society women with, as he likes to say, 'more money than sense' for five thousand and fifty dollars. So far, his is the largest amount bid in the auction, topping a male model sold earlier for three thousand five hundred.
Then, the strangest thing happens. As the colonel passes our table on the way to his new owner, he presses a wad of money in my hand and whispers fiercely, "Fraiser. Make sure Daniel is purchased by 'friendlies', okay?" I don't know what he means by that.
Major Samantha Carter
Margie knows how to draw out the suspense. She's got one bachelor left -- Daniel -- and she calls a fifteen minute intermission. It's on the pretense of giving us ladies a 'powder room break', but I think it's because there are ATM's in the hotel lobby and she's giving those who'll be bidding on Daniel a chance to draw out more cash, or hit up their husbands, significant others, or 'sugar daddies' in the bar for more money.
Janet shares with me the Colonel's cryptic comment, and we wander over to where he's seated with his new 'date' for the evening -- a beautiful woman of indeterminate age named Colleen Montgomery. I'm guessing she's close to 45, but looks years younger.
Once we introduce ourselves as friends of the Colonel, Colleen relaxes and excuses herself to go to the restroom, assuring she'll be right back. The Colonel doesn't look too unhappy to be 'purchased'.
So, it's just the three of us.
"Colonel, what did you mean by asking me to make sure Daniel is purchased by 'friendlies'?" Janet asks.
He nods his head over toward a table where a woman in an extremely low-cut dress is busy checking out her makeup in a heavily jeweled compact mirror.
"Name's Tonya Simpson. She was at my table," he explains. "She saw Daniel when she came in tonight. Had a big argument with Margie about getting switched to his table, something about needing to be closer to an exit, but Margie didn't buy it and didn't switch her. Then she started talking. A couple of her friends were at my table also. I don't think they knew I was listening to their conversation, or knew that Daniel and I knew one another. They kept talking about likin' 'em young and innocent and pretty...I dunno, nothing specific. They just gave me the willies. She was on her cell phone a good part of dinner. I overheard The Cage mentioned once or twice."
"The Cage," Janet says, paling. "I've heard a couple of the SF's mention that place. It's an S & M club, isn't it?"
"I think so," the Colonel replies. "Anyway, I'd just as soon she not get her claws into Daniel."
"We'll do what we can, sir," I say. We make our way back over to the table, a bit subdued.
"It's probably nothing, Sam," Janet says, trying to put a positive spin on the situation.
"How much money did he give you?" I ask.
"I don't know. I didn't count it," she says and sticks her hand in her purse, pulling out the money.
We count it. "Holy Hannah," I exclaim. "There's more than five thousand dollars here!"
Janet fixes me with a look. "We might just need every penny, and more," she says. "How much you got on you?"
We pool our resources, and also tap some of the other women at our table. Without going into detail about our suspicions, just saying that we'd like to keep Daniel 'in the family', we manage to scrape together ten thousand dollars. I pray we won't need it.
Doctor Janet Fraiser
Margie calls for order and the place soon settles down. I glance at Sam and she glances at me. Hopefully we won't need to mortgage the farm.
It's so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The lights dim again and the spotlight falls to the center of the stage. Margie begins her notes.
"Our last bachelor of the evening is a very special young man. Although a fixture at Cheyenne Mountain, he's not military, but rather a civilian consultant. Dr. Daniel Jackson is a multiple Ph.D. holder, a skilled linguist who speaks at least 23 different languages, which means he has a talented tongue!" That brings a roar from the crowd, which breaks off abruptly as Daniel steps out on stage.
Gone are the snug jeans and tight T-shirt and the battered bomber jacket.
Instead here stands a man dressed in a black Armani tuxedo, fitted to him like a second skin. With it he wears a baby blue shirt and a cummerbund of deeper blue. No tie, and the shirt is open at the neck. On his feet are dress loafers.
He shrugs out of the tux jacket, flinging it across his shoulder as he did the aviator jacket. His hand fists into the front right pocket.
The shirt is perfectly fitted and shows off that deep chest and those wide shoulders. His hair touches the back of the shirt collar and gleams like molten gold in the lights. The cummerbund hugs his narrow waist and the tiny striping down the side of those black tux trousers emphasize the length of those legs.
He looks up. He's wearing his glasses, the gold wire-rims catching the light. Even through the lenses you can see the deep blue of his eyes, accentuated by the shirt and cummerbund.
"Shit," Sam says beside me.
Amen, Sam. He's not helping our cause.
Margie starts the bidding at one thousand dollars, just to show she's serious about why she saved Daniel until last. We get to two thousand -- then three, four, five. The bidding slows a little, going up in seventy-five and hundred dollar increments until it reaches seven thousand five hundred.
I've not said a word. So far, another woman has been bidding steadily against Tonya, and I know her from working with Margie. Her name's Cynthia Reynolds. A little flighty, perhaps and very vain -- she'll bore Daniel to tears in minutes, but he'll be too polite to show it -- but she certainly wouldn't cause him any harm.
Then one of Tonya's cronies ups the ante to eight thousand. Damn. We didn't count on this -- that they might also pool money. Tonya smiles, Cynthia bids -- and we're at eight thousand, two hundred.
Daniel's walked the runway twice -- and starts to make a third pass. I want to scream at him to just stand still, for heaven sakes! If he only knew how he looks...
Daniel used to be somewhat clumsy, but his sessions with Jack in the gym have given him a new grace and fluidity to his stride. And here, with no artifacts to distract him, he moves almost cat-like.
Major Samantha Carter
Janet's looking at Daniel, pleading with her eyes for him to just stand still. I'm busy chewing on my lower lip -- the bidding is getting too close to our maximum amount to spend. We don't want to show our hand too soon and get out-bid. I'm afraid Tonya has deeper pockets than we do.
Cynthia goes to nine thousand. Tonya smiles and coolly ups the amount to nine thousand and fifty. She looks at Cynthia, who shakes her head sadly, officially dropping out of the bidding.
For a few seconds, you can hear a pin drop. Tonya's licking her lips in anticipation.
Margie hesitates. "For nine thousand and fifty dollars -- going once, going twice...,"
"Nine thousand, two hundred!" Janet shouts out beside me.
Tonya glares at us -- then ups the amount by one hundred dollars.
We bid back and forth until we're at nine thousand nine hundred dollars. Janet and I know once we bid our ten thousand, that's it. We can't go any higher. Tonya looks ready to go all night.
"Sam, what are we going to do?" Janet asks helplessly, looking at me.
Suddenly someone is bending down beside me, thrusting a wad of bills into my hand. It's the General.
"Tonya Simpson's reputation precedes her," the General hisses into my ear. "This is from all the ladies at Daniel's table, and from me. too. And I'm authorizing you to go as high as you have to -- understand?"
"Yes, sir," I whisper back.
It yo-yos back and forth between us and Tonya for quite some time; Tonya bidding and Janet and I raising that bid by one hundred dollars each time.
Then I notice one of Tonya's cronies elbowing her at the table. Tonya looks at us, then over to the General, all the ladies at Daniel's table, who are glaring back at her, and the Colonel and smiles -- a feral smile.
"So that's how it is," she purrs, just loud enough for us to hear. "Okay, you can have him -- this time." She shakes her head at Margie, indicating she's dropping out of the bidding.
Margie exclaims, "Sold! For fifteen thousand nine hundred dollars!"
The place erupts.
Daniel sheepishly plucks two rosebuds from the vase on the podium and brings them to Janet and me.
"Guess you'll tell me what all this was about later, huh, Sam?"
"I just love you, Daniel," I say, giving him a big hug and kissing him on the cheek. And realize, with a jolt, that it's true. More than a brother. More than a friend.
Janet hugs him and kisses him on the other cheek. "That goes for me, too, hon," she says, a hint of a tear in her eyes.
Just then Tonya walks up.
"Two women, Dr. Jackson?" she murmurs throatily. "I didn't expect that from you. You're just full of surprises." She runs her finger slowly across his bottom lip, down his chin and across his chest, stopping just short of the bottom of the cummerbund. "We'll meet again -- I feel sure of it."
She turns on her heel, gathers her things from the nearby table and exits the ballroom without so much as a backwards glance.
Daniel pushes his glasses back up his nose. "Er - who was that?" he asks. Janet squeezes his arm. "That was our competition."
"Oh," he frowns slightly, as if contemplating the mysteries of the universe. Then he makes an announcement. "She's scary."
The Colonel, who was standing nearby during this last exchange, claps Daniel on the shoulder. "That she is, Daniel, that she is. Hey, what say you, Janet and Sam, me and Colleen and the General and Mavis retire to the bar for a few drinks -- on you, Daniel."
"On me?" Daniel inquires.
"Hell, yes, son," the General quips. "You're possibly the most expensive 'date' Jack and I have had in some time."
"That goes double for us, Sir," Janet says.
Daniel just looks confused. We lead him off to the bar. This promises to be an interesting end to a very colorful evening.
I can't wait to tell Teal'c all about it tomorrow.
|Summary:||What if some of SG-1 were involved in a charity auction? Here's my take on the event. And, yeah, Daniel worship is evident, here (and a little Jack drool as well!)|
Author's Chapter Notes:
Does take place after 9/11/01.