Precious Moments by Amperage
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Category: General
Genres: Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, Holiday, Humor
Rated: Pre-Teen
Warnings: None
Series: The Furling's Gift
Summary: Jack made a promise. Now Daniel's going to hold him to it. And Teal'c gets to come along for the ride.

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Too often in my time among the Tau'ri am I called upon to fulfill the role of warrior. This gives me pride and honor, and yet it is a great pleasure to me to pursue gentler goals. Thus, when O'Neill called upon me to accompany him and DanielJackson, I accepted. Of course, as Bratac used to tell me, there are battles and then there are battles.

O'Neill dragged me through the door of his home with small ceremony. From the kitchen came the familiar clatter indicative of DanielJackson seeking his favorite beverage. "Good morning. . ." O'Neill stopped my greeting with a raised finger and a shake of the head that I recognized from our exercises in the field. Perhaps I was not, after all, so far from my role of warrior this day.

O'Neill drew me close and hissed, "Listen. You earn your pizza today, T. When we get there, remember . . . dogs. Go over to the dogs. Talk about the dogs. Dogsdogsdogs. Big. Little. Well, not so much little. No little rat dogs. Just no. . . ."


O'Neill flinched at the war cry from the kitchen. DanielJackson had always been a man of passion, enthusiastic in his pursuits, but the Furlings had given him the metabolism of a child. Under the influence of those passions and his copious intake of the drug caffeine the former adult was a whirling, frenetic force of nature reminiscent of a sandstorm and perhaps even more grating.

Small, sturdy boots tapped an uneven dance as he joined us. "CATCATCAT! "

"As you say, DanielJackson."

"Yeah. Right. Cat." O'Neill pushed his hands into his pockets and hunched unhappily, face drawn into a rictus.

"Hi, Teal'c. Jack trying to recruit you in his anti-felis domesticus campaign?"

"It's not a campaign. You make it sound like some giant anti cat conspiracy. It's just . . . Dogs and kids is right. I'm trying to maintain . . . social order. You know. Mental hijinks."

"Hygiene." DanielJackson drank half his cup of coffee. "Mental hygiene."

"Right. And that means dogs."

"He's been trying to wear me down, Teal'c. Ignore him."

"As you wish, DanielJackson." I shared a private gaze with O'Neill, who appeared to be chewing on his cheek in his attempts to refrain from comments. He has moments of wisdom.

"I'm just sayin' . . ." Then again .

Sympathy loosened my tongue. "DanielJackson, let us regard the creatures all as equal and permit their individual virtues to commend them."

O'Neill nodded enthusiastically. "What he said, Daniel. That's fair."

The Warrior's Way teaches when one must step carefully, as well as when one must stride boldly. My small friend's curled lip and bared teeth counseled the former. I smiled. DanielJackson frequently caused me to wish to smile, and I indulged the urge, in particular because I had been told the expression could intimidate and hopefully quell his response. He grumbled softly, yet audibly, invoking an array of Abydonian expressions which, had he been my offspring, I might have discouraged. O'Neill merely rolled his eyes then turned a beaming smile upon me. It was, perhaps, less than gracious of me to find his expression to be . . . alarming.

Jaffa have long had premonitions of danger. Our breeding and training creates fearsome combatants who do not flinch from battle. Yet any Jaffa, no matter how fearless or fierce, would rightly flee in the face of a Tau'ri conflict regarding choice of vehicles. If one could have forced Apophis to ride in a truck, then O'Neill and DanielJackson could have defeated him with words alone. They had carried their conflict from the house without cease. Their ability to continue speaking without seeming to breathe was remarkable.

It fueled a continuous stream of words as DanielJackson climbed up and into the housing that O'Neill had recently provided for him, the "booster seat," all the while singing "McCavity's a mystery cat, he's called the hidden paw!" DanielJackson has many gifts. Song is not among them.

O'Neill buckled himself behind the wheel and winced at a particularly high note.

My prim'ta twitched.

"Daniel, could you give it a rest?"

He merely kicked O'Neill's seat and exclaimed, "Jaffa, KREE!"

"What did I tell you about that?"


I turned to my host. "O'Neill, when do Tau'ri children grow out of this particular phase of comedy?'"

"Not soon enough. He's been doing that since we got him the seat."

"Have not!"

Had I not known DanielJackson to in fact be a person of great learning and depth, I would have thought him a small and highly irritating child. Of course, it was always possible in his case that both should be true. With that in mind, I sought to advise my harried friend.

"I was able to assist Rya'c'd to mature beyond that phase, O'Neill. He achieved this at an early age."

"How early?" There was a note of longing in O'Neill's voice as he started the truck.



"Uh huh. And did your assistance involve threats?" I smiled. Widely. O'Neill snorted.

DanielJackson kicked his seat again. "KR-!"

"One more time and we turn around, Daniel."

"You promised. You promised me a cat."

"I didn't lay out a time-table."

"You're cheating!"

"Tell you what, Daniel. When we get a new car we can get a cat."

"Jack! You promised. When I was sick." He produced several convincing sounds of breathless wheezing and O'Neill rolled his eyes.

"But Daniel, come on. I've got a WRANGLER! It's a TRUCK. You can't put a cat in a truck. The instruction manual says so!"

I had explored the truck's small document compartment in the past. I also did not wish to hear DanielJackson's continued pleas for a feline companion. "I do not follow your logic, O'Neill. I have seen no documents thus restricting use."

"Yeah. What Teal'c said." DanielJackson was quick to pounce.

"You never see cats sticking their heads out of truck windows. It's a secret contract thing. They just don't want cat people to sue."

DanielJackson made a rude sound. "Even if you weren't full of it, Jack, it doesn't apply to Wranglers. Wranglers aren't trucks--they're overpriced 4- wheelers."

"It's almost a truck, Daniel. Close enough. Dogs. That's the way to go. Dogs."

"The neighbor's Cocker, Puddles, has peed on the tires of your Wrangler at least 5 times. That's gotta be enough dog for any Wrangler."

"Cocker Spaniels are like miniature Dobermans. They don't really count."

"It doesn't matter anyway. I WANT A CAT. CAT Jack."

"They'll take my Wrangler awayyyy. They'll make me drive a . . . a . . . a MINIVAN or something. Daniel, are you trying to destroy my last vestige of masculine identity here?"

"O'Neill, this is unseemly."

"We'll get a boy cat if it makes you happy." O'Neill's seat shook as it was once more kicked from behind. Daniel continued, "actually. . .I've been meaning to ask about the mini-van thing when we go look. Lisa has one of those SUVMinivan crossovers. And there's like room to do stuff and keep things in those."

O'Neill shuddered and muttered under his breath. Jaffa hearing revealed his comment to relate to spherical toys.

"We can obtain more 'marbles' for you, O'Neill. And I am sure that DanielJackson has a ball or two he can lend you." They both ignored me.

"Maybe Lisa'd let you drive her van for a week." DanielJackson suggested helpfully.

O'Neill turned red. "No! No! No socker-mom-car! I used to fly FIGHTERS for Christ's sake! I parachuted and did death marches and . . . . and . . . ! Now . . . I'm doomed."

"Well. . . .Mark drives their car. Isn't he a pilot. . .or something?"

"I have seen many happy Tau'ri in televised broadcasts, extolling the virtues of these 'mini-vans.'"

"They get paid for it."

"Jack, the new ones are cute!"

"Cute." O'Neill shuddered.

"Don't you think they're cute, Teal'c?"

"They resemble teltacs."

"Well, except for the tacky Egyptian paint jobs."

"I'm going to be driving a TicTac. I know it. Marines will laugh at me. Pilots will snicker."

"We could get one of those Saturn SUV's." DanielJackson conceeded.

"How about a Grand Cherokee, Daniel. It's still a Jeep." There was a pleading note in O'Neill's voice.

"That's not a mini-van, Jack. That's still a gas-guzzling road hog."

O'Neill's voice had grown wistful. "I want one of those SUVs you need a ladder to get into. The ones so tall they give you oxygen masks."

DanielJackson, behind us, uttered another rude noise. I considered my knowledge of Tau'ri masculine culture. "O'Neill. Is this not said to be a form of compensation . . .?"

"Don't say it."

"Yeah, Jack! Nice truck. . ."

"That'll be a one!"

". . .shame about your dick!" DanielJackson grinned broadly, clearly willing to incur a demerit.

I could not allow a fellow warrior to fall so shamefully. I turned to our friend and launched a distraction. "DanielJackson, did you not say that the place of procurement has limited hours of operation?"

"Uh-huh. And your point . . . oh. If Jack puts me in time out . . ." He attempted a cynical look. It would have failed had he been thirty-nine. At his current age I found myself striving not to laugh.

"I would not wish you to miss your anticipated search for a beast." His good cheer returned.

"A cat. We're going to the cat house!"

O'Neill groaned. "I'm spending Christmas eve in a cat house."

"I would've thought you'd like cat houses, Jack."

"Daniel, you make one more crack about my . . ."

"You prefer the dog house, O'Neill?"

"You've BOTH got a two!"

"He can't ground us both, Teal'c. We've got superior forces."

"I'm driving. I can still turn around."

"O'Neill. I would discourage any attempt to enforce discipline in this case."

"Yeah! Try it with me AND Teal'c!"

"DanielJackson" I sought another means of distraction. "Was not your solstice some 3 days ago? If so, why are we to celebrate the mid-winter tomorrow?" I asked, gazing out on the streets of Tau'ri settlements. They lacked the spontaneity and liveliness of my home on Chulak, or the grandeur of the Goa'uld worlds, yet there was a certain exuberance in the displays of the mid-winter festivals that festooned them.

DanielJackson immediately launched into an explanation and spent great energy and detail upon describing the variety and origins of the various Tau'ri solstice celebrations, much to the relief of both myself and O'Neill. I observed, but did not comment upon the fact that with his new safety equipment, DanielJackson was once again able to see out the windows of O'Neill's vehicle.

DanielJackson's high voice continued to expound upon the Tau'ri celebrations, and I found my Primta and I both dozing comfortably as a result. When I did open my eyes, O'Neill would glare darkly at me.

O'Neill muttered more unflattering comments as we halted before a low, brick building. It was strung with lights and images of small animals. Children squealed within. "Daniel. One thing. And I want to hear those magic words 'I understand' when I'm finished. We will get one cat. ONE cat. No more. One fully spayed or neutered functioning cat. One. Not two. One." O'Neill looked in his review mirror at DanielJackson, fixing him with the darkest of stares.

"But the best way to keep a cat healthy and happy is -"


Their exchange put me in mind of an entertainment I had enjoyed. "Thou shalt count to one, Daniel Jackson." I was privately of the opinion that several of Monty Python had been Jaffa. Their discourse resembled that in which we occasionally engaged when discussing our masters, the False Gods. I had warned O'Neill about this possibility in the past, only to have him dismiss the likelihood of danger, though I believe that he did give much consideration first.

Daniel snorted from his booster seat. "One" he agreed. "Now let's GO!"

There was an acrid odor about the place, compounded of cleaning products, animal waste, and the candy scent which accompanies small Tau'ri. DanielJackson seemed to know where he wished to go in advance, which did not surprise me. His capacity for research remained impressive even as his size became more . . . diminutive.

O'Neill took a deep breath and squared his shoulders as I had seen him do in the face of innumerable threats in the past. He turned a bleak smile upon me. "I keep reading my oath of service, but I have yet to see anything about cats." He swallowed, then clenched his teeth into an expression resembling a smile and we followed Daniel into the back of the square building.

I considered his words, then leaned close. "Your protests ring false, O'Neill."

He rolled his eyes, an expression he shared with Danieljackson.

"I shall, however, be sure to report to our colleagues that you protested with all due force."

"You damn well better, Teal'c. They hear I caved on this and I'm dead meat. Dead. Carter'll have every gadget that comes down the pike. I don't even want to THINK about what Fraiser'll do."

"You fear that accommodating DanielJackson will create a precedent?"

"Damn straight. The little shit's already ruining my rep. If this gets out I'll never see the end of the purchase reqs." He shuddered as though faced with dire peril.

Looking past him I saw our friend pacing the length of a room lined with cages containing felines of all descriptions. He gazed briefly into each cage, studying the occupant. I saw several small creatures play engagingly with his fingers as he tapped upon the metal.

DanielJackson, as ever, showed his ability to draw out others, even when they belonged to lower orders. I said as much to O'Neill, who grimaced.

"Like that's news? He was a teaching assistant."

An exuberant female dressed in the bright apron of a servant came up to DanielJackson and, having exchanged pleasantries, began to walk next to our small friend. I studied her until I was sure that she was merely extolling the virtues of various creatures.

They walked, pausing before several cats, but at each, Daniel shook his head. As they walked down the far end of a row of the metal cages, a long pair of paws were pushed through the mesh of a cage on an upper level. The female made to bat the limbs away, but the beast managed to snag DanielJackson's hair in passing.

O'Neill, beside me, cursed and hurried through the welter of small Tau'ri offspring, yet I could see it was too late. DanielJackson had reached up and been snared by the wily beast.

The animal shook his sleeve and it engaged its other paw, setting claws into his sleeve. The young female attempted to prise it loose but DanielJackson protested, rising on his toes to gaze into the cage and laugh.

"Oh, you don't want that one. He's . . . he's . . ."

"One UGLY mother-, err, puss." O'Neill hovered, one hand poised to defend his charge.

DanielJackson ignored him, though I doubted he was unaware. He tapped his fingers on the animal's cage. "What's his name?"

Small humans moved aside as I joined my friends. I heard several speculate upon my involvement with one or another of the Tau'ri clans which perform their ritual games. It was amusing, but less so than the spectacle of O'Neill's fretting and DanielJackson at play, hooking his fingers through the mesh front of the animal's cage and scrambling to pull himself up to eye level with a large, striped beast of distinctly disreputable appearance.

"Hang on!" O'Neill said with exasperation. He shuddered but lifted his charge by the waist. "But I'm warning you. That's not a cat up there."

"Of course it's a cat, Jack." DanielJackson's already-high voice crooned,

"Hello, fella . . . "

"It's not YOUR cat, Daniel."

"I like him."

The female attendant fluttered nervously on their periphery. Oddly, for one whose duty was to find homes for her charges, she protested that this feline was not an appropriate choice. "Nonono I don't think you want him, no, he's . . . he's a difficult darling."

"I'll say," grunted O'Neill as he ducked a swipe from the creature's barbed paw.

It growled.

DanielJackson, however, chortled and batted back at the beast. It immediately withdrew its claws and purred. Then began patting the small face so close to it.

"Daniel," O'Neill turned abruptly, shoving his burden towards a cage containing a large, round, sedate feline, putting distance between the formidable creature and DanielJackson. "What about that one? The nice, orange one?"

"Jaaack! Stop that. I want to. . ." He paused as the cat he'd been attending reached with legs longer than I would have estimated. It snagged his shoulder and pulled with impressive force, half tugging DanielJackson's jacket over his face and holing the fabric quite thoroughly. It was complaining loudly as DanielJackson protested and O'Neill yelped and the young female began to yammer and wail.

Children began to gather, pointing and excitedly commenting on the fray as the beast engaged a second paw in drawing DanielJackson back to its cage. O'Neill tightened his grip. The feline was pulling DanielJackson's jacket up and off of his body, as neither the beast nor O'Neill would relent in the battle.

I might have been tempted to introduce my own efforts into the combat were I not thoroughly enjoying the entire display.

The young female's cries were rising in pitch as she grew frantic. The children were reacting in various ways, the younger crying out in confusion as the older youths laughed, and their parents attempted to enforce order.

The young female intruded, trying to extricate DanielJackson's sleeve, and gained a raked hand for her troubles. The cat had begun to yowl in a threatening tone as O'Neill yelled threats of severe harm in return. "Let go of him, you mangy fleabag! I'll grind you up for snake food, you damned hellcat!" DanielJackson, meanwhile, also attempted to comment, but he was well-muffled in the body of his coat as the cat and the Colonel continued to pull in opposite directions. "Goddamnit you filthy monster! Let GO!"

"'ack! 'ack! 'atun! 'atun!"

"Stop it! Stop it! You terrible, terrible thing!"

Finally, I could no longer remain aloof. I gently tapped the cat's paws and it promptly let go, though it growled in a truly menacing fashion. I drew back from its reach and turned to O'Neill, who had lurched back, and who now held the waist of a small boy whose upper torso was shrouded in a half-dislodged, fluffy jacket which was leaking its stuffing from various holes. Indistinct yet violent protests came from the bundle of fabric.

The feline ceased its threatening sounds and drew itself up, watching its audience. I turned to O'Neill, who was glaring at the cage. "You furry mugger! Keep your lousy claws off my kid!"

A steady stream of sound was issuing forth from the attendant,


"Mommy, will that kitty get us?" Whined one of the tiny, shrill-voice progeny.

"That cat could kick your dog's butt!" Cheered another youth.

I turned to look at the cat, which studied me from one baleful, yellow eye that glowed under mounds of long, mottled brown and grey fur. Turning back to O'Neill, I could not but comment, "I have trained battle beasts, and I would have found this to be a worthy and formidable addition to a war force, O'Neill."

"Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of." O'Neill replied sourly as he put our mutual friend back down.

"I want THAT one!" came a clear, high voice as DanielJackson finally tugged his jacket back into place.

"Nononono! You don't want this one! He cornered a whole family in their trailer and held them prisoner for a week!" The attendant fluttered.

"That true?" O'Neill gave the cat a look of awed respect.

"Please don't do this to me!" Whined the female. Behind me, the cat made a highly disgusted noise.

I heard a mutter of "what he said," from O'Neill just before he shook himself. "Daniel, not that one!"

DanielJackson, however, has always been a difficult person to dissuade once he has chosen a path. He tugged himself forward, was pulled back by O'Neill, and then let loose after giving a look for which I would have strongly chastised Rya'c.

I stepped from his path as he made his way back, reaching up towards the cage. O'Neill's low mutter of "Let him scratch the little shit," was largely unnoticed.

DanielJackson waved a small hand before the cage and the cat lowered itself to its belly, reaching back out. For an instant I saw claws, which were then withdrawn so that only the soft paw patted Daniel's hand. Startled, I turned to meet O'Neill's stunned gaze. "O'Neill, it would seem that each has chosen."

"Please, please tell me you didn't just say that, T."

"It is a meeting of warriors, O'Neill. They are battle mates."

"They are not! They are my kid and a mangy, tuna-breathed menace!"

I could not but chuckle at my friend's desperate - and forlorn - protest. "I fear your words are as grain before scythes, O'Neill. As enemies before a staff. As -"

"Okay, okay already. I get the idea. As chocolate bars before the swine. Somebody get me some Prozac NOW."

A low, broken stream of words came from behind us, " . . .nimal control, disturbing the peace . . . endangerment . . . dangerous animals . . . mountain lion genes. . . liability, doomed . . . "

Before us, DanielJackson crooned, "yes, you'll like it with me, we'll have fun." Beside me, O'Neill heaved a sigh devoid of hope and turned to face the wan woman who nursed her scratched hand.

"I know when I'm beat. What's the monster's name."

Her lower lip trembled and she huddled over her wounded hand. "Precious."


"Its name is Precious." She stammered to the irate colonel. "It's . . . that's its name." "Precious." O'Neill sagged, the stunned look back on his face.

Behind us, DanielJackson, whose hearing was ever acute and inconvenient, piped, "HIS name is Precious. Yesss, my Precioussss . . ."

O'Neill buried his face in his hands. "The Earth is doomed."

And thus a new member joined O'Neill's rather motley home. The beast was freed from captivity and remanded unto our care with a short, curt instruction to never bring it back. O'Neill seemed surprised by this, which led me to wonder what further advice he'd thought to hear.

He was wary as we re-occupied the Wrangler. The cat had been coaxed, and then forcibly compressed into a carrier, at which point it had begun a loud and grating noise that set my Prim'ta thrashing in my pouch.

DanielJackson promptly, and to O'Neill's vast alarm, released it into the car. The animal made a low, happy sound and promptly began prowling, peering out windows, slithering along the dash and distributing its long, banded furs upon us all.

It leapt briefly upon my lap and I found it unexpectedly heavy. It gave me a look that seemed oddly speculative, then lunged back into the rear seat to coil around DanielJackson's torso, where it remained and let forth loud purrs and burps, issuing digestive gasses into the air in a most unpleasant way. The cat uttered a particularly loud belch, and fumes of spoiled fish wafted through the air. O'Neill clamped his lips tightly and paled. I found myself rapidly retracting the window into its housing. Behind me, DanielJackson merely laughed. He seemed immune to the most noxious odors, perhaps a remnant of a life spent in unusual and varied circumstance.

Had I not known the source I would have believed the stench to be the fetid breath of Netu upon my neck. Behind me the terrestrial, mortal beast issued another resounding burp and another breath of supernaturally foul gas. I clutched my hands across my pouch and envied my larva its lair.

We were quiet. Daniel immersed in meditation with his chosen battle-partner. O'Neill and I engaged in a desperate attempt to breathe only the air that came in through our opened windows, unbefouled by the malodor emanating behind us. Arriving at O'Neill's domicile seemed to take longer than interstellar travel. At site of his home, I departed the vehicle. O'Neill might have preferred I wait for it to stop moving as his neighbors already considered him odd, but the promise of fresh air was too alluring to resist.

It did not escape my notice, however, that O'Neill did not linger in his vehicle, though he did hesitate before moving his seat forward so that Daniel Jackson could exit. The beast crouched on DanielJackson's legs but did not interfere as O'Neill aided in releasing the buckles that held our friend in his booster seat. He and his new pet leapt down and the cat preceded us to the door as though he ruled this place.

O'Neill nudged the cat aside from the door with a toe, earning a rather sour utterance. He responded, as though conversing with the beast. "Hold your horses. When you pay the mortgage THEN you can be the first one through the door."

"You don't pay a mortgage, Jack. It's paid off."


DanielJackson scooped up his pet. Or attempted to. The beast was nearly as long as he was tall, and it draped inelegantly from his arms. Nonetheless, it purred, its single eye half-closed in appreciation as he lurched awkwardly into the house, cat in his arms. "Welcome home, Precious! Jack, where's the cat food we got?"

"You know where it is."

"I'm busy."

"That's not MY cat!"

I remained neutral as my friends bickered. The beast, likewise, seemed willing to remain apart from the debate.

In fact, it seemed fascinated by me, fixing its eye upon me. Upon my abdomen, to be specific. Slowly, almost against my will, I found myself weaving my fingers together, locking my hands across my pouch. It belched and licked a long, pink tongue across its lips and whiskers before finally trotting off to explore. DanielJackson and O'Neill continued to bicker as O'Neill prepared a meal and DanielJackson prepared dinner for his cat. We could all hear odd noises of scratching and inquisitive "rrrwwr" sounds as it prowled its new home.

I allowed the cat and the Tau'ri to find each his own way as I sought the company of O'Neill's widescreen television and his remarkable digital cable deluxe. I was happily engaged in learning the latest news of the Taur'ri mythic propaganda when O'Neill, having laden the air with the scents of cooking pasta and sauce, joined me. "Entertainment Tonight? I'll never know how you stand that crap."

"It is a most enlightening program, O'Neill. I have learned much of your values and icons by my study."

DanielJackson, having joined him, wrinkled his nose and resettled his glasses before his eyes. "You might want to watch the History Channel. It's a little less . . . tawdry."

I was well aware of their views and had learned to ignore their advice, having noticed that the way they wished to be seen was not necessarily the same as the way they behaved. Smiling, I returned to my perusal of the latest summer fashion trends, savoring the irony of displays of flesh and illusions of heat in the midst of a Colorado winter.

Or I attempted to return to my pastime. The advent of The Cat disturbed my repose as it perched nearby and pricked its battered ears, studying my belly with a focus much akin to what I had seen its master exhibit.

DanielJackson happily threw himself next to me and reached out to stroke his new pet's fur. It purred but never wavered in its attention. I found myself folding my hands once more across my pouch. "Jack said you were talking about battle beasts."

"Indeed." An array of improbable Tau'ri females scampered and frolicked on the screen.

"What kind of beasts? You never mentioned them before."

My eyes strayed to his pet. Muscle bunched beneath its straggly coat. The long pink tongue flickered again, accompanied by an audible sound of gas being released into the air.

It was with profound relief that I then heard O'Neill. "Come and get it while it's still worth eating. Daniel, wash your hands with soap if you've been petting that thing!"

Leaving the TV behind, I fled.

The fare O'Neill served was simple but good. A soldier learns to love such food and to eat it with enthusiasm. So, apparently, does a cat, as early in the meal the beast leapt upon the table to be rapidly driven into retreat by O'Neill's superior force.

DanielJackson scowled at his guardian but to no avail. This relieved me greatly, though I would not voice such an opinion unless I were willing to endure an unpredictable run of ill luck while in the presence of my young friend. Rather I devoted my attention to my meal.

As did others.

A flicker of motion attracted my eye. Shielded from O'Neill's view by a convenient basket of bread, a foray was being staged. DanielJackson was aware of this too, though he kept silent as he watched the attempt proceed.

I might have drawn my friend's attention to the incursion but one must honor the warrior spirit in life, and there was little doubt that a warrior's spirit, not to mention a scavenger's, was behind the paw which blindly groped the table's top.

The paw found a stray strand of pasta and clenched, drawing it down. Tangled noodles followed in a subtle stream to meet their fate, out of sight, at our feet. DanielJackson looked up, met my eyes, glanced towards O'Neill and attempted to bind me to a silent pact.

While I was not immune to his persuasions, I was also not willing to commit my well-being to shield the deeds of his cat. Instead, I chose to rummage for another slice of O'Neill's excellent bread, drawing attention to that quarter without exposing the beast in so many words.

O'Neill, a seasoned warrior himself, glanced up and his narrowed eyes declared he'd seen the theft. He shot a look of warning towards DanielJackson, then leaned deliberately down to study the scene beneath the table. Sighing, he sat back up. "One last chance. A nice German shepherd or maybe a Doberman pinscher . . ."

"The cat stays, Jack."

"Why me?"

My kind live long and we learn much. The young fight fate and seek to force their will upon the world. To me, the Tau'ri are young, a people of great promise and lively will. Yet even they come eventually to know that some things cannot be changed. Jack O'Neill's face bore that knowledge tonight, faced with the dual force of DanielJackson and his cat. It is said that knowledge is a Precious thing. As the scent of rotten tuna once more perfumed the air, O'Neill and I both knew that thing to be true.
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