What in tarnation was Walter telling him? Hammond squinted his eyes. He pinched up his mouth and shook his head. “Sergeant, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Maybe you should just see for yourself, sir.” The technician shifted from foot to foot as he juggled a thick hard covered book and several file folders in his grasp.
“Maybe I should.” Hammond rounded his desk and started toward the door with Walter in tow. “Where are they?”
“Major Carter’s lab, sir.”
As they walked down the corridor, Hammond attempted to clarify the situation. “From my recollection, Major Carter has been on vacation for the last week.”
“And this ancient artifact came from area 51?”
“So you’re telling me that Major Carter took her vacation at area 51, found something interesting while she was there, brought it back here and now we have this situation?”
“Yes sir, that about sums it up, sir.”
Shrugging his shoulders, he rolled his eyes. Didn’t any of his frontline team know how to relax? At least Jack did, at least Jack had spent the last week up in Minnesota fishing. “And Colonel O’Neill and Doctor Jackson are involved.”
“Involved sir?” Walter did a double take.
He furrowed his brows and shook his head. “Involved in the incident, involved in the incident. Keep up with me, sergeant.”
They entered the elevator and his technician hit the button, the lift began to move. “Has anyone been called in to assess the situation?”
“That’s just it General. Major Carter would be the best person to resolve the situation but since she affected,” he paused. “Siler’s been asked to take a look at it sir and Doctor Lee, sir.”
Exiting the elevator, they continued down the corridor as Walter informed him of the facts. “Major Carter, Doctor Jackson and Colonel O’Neill were reviewing the artifact at the time and the Major had this book with her.” He passed the book to Hammond.
This was getting more confusing instead of less. “I’m really not interested in what Major Carter was reading for recreational purposes, sergeant.”
“Yes sir, I understand that sir but this is particularly important to the situation.”
Shaking his head, he gestured for Walter to lead the way. The lights were dim in the lab, the flash and flicker of all the machinery gave the room an eerie atmosphere yet it was undisturbed by the incident. Nothing seemed a miss. Three members of SG1 huddled together as if whispering and concealing their conversation from the guards at the door. As Hammond entered the lab, they jumped, spun around and stood rigidly with hands at their sides.
“Sir, do you know anything about that book?”
“Walter?” He was getting impatient. What did the darn book have anything to do with it? The technician refused to explain until he received an answer. “Yes my granddaughters are in love with it.”
“Good sir,” Walter stepped forward and pointed to Major Carter. “May I present to you, Hermione Granger.” He then indicated Colonel O’Neill. “Ron Weasley and finally,” he nodded to Doctor Jackson and said, “Harry Potter.”
“Professor Dumbledore,” Major Carter cleared her throat and said, “I’ve been considering the problem and I believe it might be a good idea to consult the Historical References on Magical Aging.”
“Magical what?” He really needed a vacation himself. “Walter!”
“Personally, I want to know why I got stuck being so much older than the rest of them. And why are you bald?” Jack asked.
“Colonel O’Neill, you’re treading on thin ice.” Hammond huffed and said, “Walter I need an explanation and I need one now.”
“If you will sir, I think I might be able to provide one,” Doctor Jackson smiled and pushed his glasses up his nose. “It’s the flagon with the dragon.”
“With the brew that is true,” Major Carter added.
“Isn’t that a movie?” Jack asked.
“What?” he said. For some reason when he walked through the entrance to the lab, he entered the twilight zone where movies, books and reality seemed to converge.
Major Carter was pacing back and forth in front of him as he combated a growing headache. “Professor, sir, I think it must be the flagon here. I recall discussing it with Harry.”
“That’s right!” Doctor Jackson grabbed the chalice and began examining it. Around the rim and down the bowl a dragon curved about the chalice. “I was reviewing the symbols on the stem.” He scrunched up his face. “Now why would I do that?”
“Maybe it has something to do with the one who shall not be named?”
“Anubis?” A deep baritone asked and Hammond turned to greet Teal’c. “I was informed that there existed a situation in Major Carter’s laboratory.”
“Bloody hell, what happened to you?” Jack asked.
“I am not sure to what you refer, O’Neill?”
“You shrunk and your beard is gone and so is your hair.” Jack gestured to Doctor Jackson. “Am I bald too?”
“No, Ron you are not bald.” Doctor Jackson waved Jack off and averted his attention to Teal’c. “Hagrid can you tell us anything about flagon with the dragon?”
“I am not Hagrid.”
“Someone better start explaining something to me,” Hammond warned, but put up a hand to stop Hermoine, crossed that out, Major Carter. “And not you.”
Doctor Jackson raised his hand but Hammond glowered at him and he shrunk back to stand next to Ron, no Jack.
“According to the video survelliance sir,” Walter clicked a few keys on the computer. The video appeared and they could see Major Carter, Doctor Jackson and Colonel O’Neill conferring about the ancient device.
“Do we have audio?”
“Yes sir.” The volume was increased.
From the video surveillance tape, Jack spoke, “All I’m saying is that it looks like the flagon with the dragon.”
“Jack.” Doctor Jackson jerked the chalice away from Jack. “This is an ancient device of some sort. I’m trying to translate it for Sam.”
Jack leaned back against the lab bench, hands in pockets and said, “Doesn’t matter still looks like something out of a Danny Kaye movie.”
Doctor Jackson rolled his eyes and asked, “You found this at area 51?”
“I thought it might be important in our search for the lost city.” Major Carter touched the carving on the cup. “Kind of reminds me of the goblet of fire or what I imagine it to look like.”
“Goblet of Fire?” Doctor Jackson asked.
“Harry Potter, Daniel. Everyone knows about Harry Potter.”
The archeologist just grumbled at her in reply and bent over the bench his hands on the chalice. He scratched at the surface and then asked, “What drew you to this, Sam?”
“I thought the writing looked like it might be Ancient.”
“Well you’re right about that.” Doctor Jackson turned the artifact over and examined the base. “Looks like it’s some kind of transformation device. It can change a person into someone else.”
“Now that would be interesting, could I be Wayne Gretzky?” Jack jumped from the bench.
“Hmm, no.” Doctor Jackson shook his head. “I think it’s an entertainment device of some sort. It doesn’t literally transform you, just allows you to be the character or person for a time. See here?”
Major Carter leaned over the chalice. “I don’t see anything.”
“Here?” Jack asked and pointed to something far out of range of the video camera.
“Yes,” Doctor Jackson rubbed his finger down the length of the stem, a light pulsated in the room and the three fell to the floor.
“Bugger, looks like you did it Harry.”
“Ron watch your language!” Major Carter chided. Jack rolled his eyes at her and then went to the bench and picked up the chalice. “You might want to be careful with that considering it is an artifact of great magical significance.”
“Really Hermione, you can be a bit of a nag sometimes,” Jack was saying.
But what drew the General’s attention was Doctor Jackson. His hand hesitated as he reached up to his forehead to search for something. “It’s gone.”
“Ron, you can be such,” Major Carter started but stopped as what her team mate uttered sank in. “What do you mean, Harry? What’s gone?”
He pushed up the fringe of his bangs and glared at her. “My scar! The one Voldemort gave me.”
“Voldemort? Who is this Voldemort and when did he harm Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c stiffened by his side.
Jack supplied, “He who shall not be named.”
“It was my impression that was in reference to the Goa’uld Anubis.”
Hammond held up his hand and bellowed, “Everyone stop.” The room froze with three members of SG1 staring up at him with the look of deer in headlights. “Just settle down,” he said in a softer tone. Looking down at Walter he directed, “Get Doctor Lee here immediately.” The sergeant rushed out of the lab.
“Professor?” Doctor Jackson raised his hand and peered at Hammond with the expression of a young boy. “We’re not us, are we? Or them? Or whatever, I mean whoever.”
“If you mean you are not the characters from this book.” Hammond presented the novel to them. “No you are not. You are SG1, my frontline team.”
“So he’s not Hagrid and you’re not Dumbledore?” Jack asked.
“I’m afraid not, son.”
“Then who the bloody hell are you?”
Pointing his finger at Jack, the General said, “I’ve had just about enough of you. You seem to be a mixture of our colonel and this Ron Weasley character.”
“Sir?” Doctor Bill Lee walked into the laboratory. He adjusted his glasses and sniffed once as he surveyed the room’s occupants.
“Even Professor Snape is balding!” Jack turned to Doctor Jackson. “Must be something about this place, huh?”
Hammond scowled at the colonel and asked Lee, “Do you have any idea how to change them back?”
“Yes, back. I’m not interested in having Harry Potter and his sidekicks-”
“Sidekick, is that what you think of us Harry?” Major Carter said as she crossed her hands and tapped her foot.
“Stop!” Hammond ordered. As the General rubbed his temple he said, “I am not interested in having these three permanently at the SGC. Can you get our SG1 back, Doctor Lee?”
“I don’t, I don’t really know.” He shuffled forward and picked up the chalice, flipping it around in his hands. “It could be,” he said as he looked up at the General. “No, no that can’t be it.”
“Has anyone thought about why it’s a cup in the first place?” Jack said.
“Brilliant, Ron! Bloody brilliant.” Doctor Jackson seized the chalice from Lee and sniffed the inside. “Smells odd.”
“Well of course it smells odd, it’s been stored for years.”
“Oh right, Hermione.” He took another sniff and coughed. “Moth balls.”
“But still Harry you are onto something. If there is a specific potion for the flagon to work the reverse spell then we should be able to distill it from any residue left inside the cup.” Major Carter smiled at him.
“It’d be pretty old,” Lee said shaking his head. “No, I don’t, I can’t see how that would work.”
“The residue within Ancient Egyptian urns have been analyzed and found to have contained beer at one time in the distant past. If we did the same thing with the chalice we might be able to discover the ingredients of any potion that it once contained.” Doctor Jackson blinked twice, rubbed his forehead and then he commented, “Now how did I know that?”
“Actually, Harry, I think you’re right. Muggles do some kind of scientific examinations of artifacts to figure out such things. Really quite clever of you!” Major Carter said, her smile infectious.
Doctor Jackson bowed his head and shuffled his feet while Jack shook his head. “Why do I get the feeling I’m always the one trying to keep up regardless of who I am?”
Major Carter just snickered and Doctor Jackson punched Jack in the shoulder and said, “Sometimes Ron you’re such a git.”
Hammond waved them off and, shook his head to clear it of the insistent ringing and asked, “Doctor Lee is this true? Can this be done?”
“Yes, yes. He must possess Daniel’s knowledge as well as his own.”
“Get the chalice analyzed immediately,” Hammond said. “I want this cleared up before I go home.” He glared at each of them. “I do not want to have to tell my grandchildren that Harry Potter and his sidekicks are hold up under Cheyenne mountain and not likely to be released anytime soon.” He scowled once more at them, spun on his heel and left the lab. Unfortunately, the tension still kept his shoulders as tight as a bow string.
His hands in his pockets, Ron whistled as he walked down the corridor. Hogwarts never looked like this, but then again they kept telling him this wasn’t his school and reminding him that he wasn’t himself. He shrugged and walked into the VIP room where he and Harry had been assigned.
His best friend was sitting on the bed, his knees to his chest, chin resting on his folded arms. Ron threw himself in a chair and angled it back so that it hung precariously on its back legs only. He definitely felt different, a little more self-assured, almost cocky in some ways. There must be some of this old geezer colonel in him after all.
“Kind of feel a little lost without my wand, you know. Seems wrong somehow.” Ron let the chair drop with a resounding bang. “It’s not like it’s the summer or something. It’s mid-term after all.”
Frowning, he shook his head and went over to the bed. He dumped himself at the foot and asked, “Harry?”
His friend looked up through those round glasses but it wasn’t his face – it was someone else’s face and someone else’s eyes.
“Did you think about it Ron? It means we really don’t exist, we’re really not friends.”
“Bloody hell we’re not friends! After all we’ve been through how can you say that Harry?” Ron asked but something twisted in the pit of his stomach like he understood what Harry was getting at.
Harry unfolded and leaned against the pillows. He shoved a hand through his hair and it stood up on end. No scar marred his forehead. Ron dropped his gaze, somehow it felt wrong to stare.
“If we’re just characters in a book, or a movie or even the telly, how can we be friends?”
It was exactly what Ron didn’t want to hear, it was exactly what was holding onto his guts and contorting him inside. “It depends on what you think friends are, I guess.”
Harry glanced up at him, expectant and hungry for an answer. Did he have one? Shrugging he said, “Look, it seems to me it shouldn’t matter if we’re characters in a book or on the telly. It seems to me, if we’re friends, we’re friends no matter what.”
“But it isn’t real now, is it? It’s just fake, made up stuff from someone’s head.”
“How can friendship be made up?” Ron said. He turned and looked directly at his friend. Crossing his legs, he continued, “So maybe our story there in that book is about friendship and that’s important and even if we don’t exist except as a figment of someone’s gross imagination, then we’re still important.”
He pursed his lips, shook his head and said, “Because all the best stories mean something. That’s it. It means something. Our story is about friendship, sticking with each other no matter what and no matter whom.”
Harry smiled and Ron settled back resting on his arms.
“You think this Jack and Daniel – you think they’re friends?” Harry asked.
Ron fished out a chocolate bar from his pocket and unwrapped it. He handed a chunk of it to his friend and, shrugging, commented, “Definitely. They’re friends.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Just eat your chocolate. Pomfrey gave it to me.” Ron frowned. “Or someone calling herself Doctor Fraiser. I don’t know. Anyway it’s pretty good.”
Harry bit into the chocolate and smiled. It wasn’t bad, not as good as some of the stuff they bought on the train to Hogwarts but it would do.
The door burst open and Hermione raced inside. “They have it. They think they have the potion.”
“Are you sure?” Harry asked.
She nodded. “While I’m not sure about this Professor Snape, he seems a bit odd if you ask me, I think they’ve figured out the right potion to turn us back.”
“Back into what? It isn’t like we’re someone else now, is it?”
“What? Well of course we are Harry. Look at us, we’re OLD.” Hermione said. “Especially Ron.”
“Well, it is true Ron. You are old. You must be in your forties or something.” Hermione pointed to his hair.
“She has a point Ron. You are pretty old.”
“Well thanks for that, Harry, sticking up for me and all.” He slide off the bed and started out the door. “I better find my cane and start on my way. It might take me some time to hobble there.”
He left the room but heard his friends sniggering. “I can hear you!”
“Well at least your hearing hasn’t gone yet,” Harry said as he and Hermione trotted up beside Ron.
“Ha-ha, very funny.”
Harry put his arms out to stop them. “What if this is it? What if we change back to what we were, or are or whatever and we aren’t friends.”
“Oh Harry don’t be ridiculous. Of course we’re all friends. Didn’t you hear that military chap? He said we were a team. We’re friends, most definitely.” Hermione laced her arm around his as Ron slung his arm about Harry’s shoulder.
“Okay then, we’re off to see the Wizard,” Ron said and for some reason saying that felt right on so many levels.
He was hunched over his desk, fingering a carving when Jack found him. The lights were dim in his lab as they always were. Only a small desk lap illuminated the space as the archeologist referenced the dozen books splayed out across the lab bench.
“And you’re doing what, Daniel?” Jack asked as he leaned against the doorjamb.
As he glanced up his glasses slipped down. Instead of pushing them up the his nose, Daniel raised his head further to look through the lens. “What I normally do Jack, work. What you should be doing. Don’t you have some files or something to file in the trash can?”
Dropping the bag he was carrying outside the door, Jack slipped into Daniel’s office and perched on one of the tables. Daniel jumped up and grabbed a few of the rocks or whatever they were while adjusting his glasses. Jack flicked over some of the books, closing some and turning over others. “What I’m wondering is where you keep it. Do you just read it at home or do you read it here too?”
Cradling some of his precious artifacts, Daniel stepped to the shelving and started to place them. “It would help if I had a clue about the topic of conversation. Subject line would be appropriate Jack.”
“Hmm,” he nodded. “You’re possibly right about that. Maybe.” He flipped through another book and added, “So are you over being Harry Potter?”
He only huffed at Jack.
“Can’t say being your sidekick was one of my favorite roles.” Daniel just glanced at him and continued to move artifacts about on the shelf. “I think Carter liked being Granger. Evidently being the smart one never gets old.”
Daniel stopped and spun around to stare at him. “And the point of this would be?”
“I’m just wondering where your copies of all the Harry Potter books are?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Of course not.”
“Of course not,” Daniel mimicked.
Jack nodded again and smiled. “Well I took a look at the security video again.”
“Good for you.” Daniel avoided his eyes and Jack knew he had him. For certain, he nailed him.
“You know what I noticed?”
“Not a clue.”
“Of course not.”
“Of course not,” Daniel said again.
“Well let me tell you,” he paused, mainly for effect. “I noticed that you were the one that was holding the ancient cup thingie.”
“Well that is just a monumental discovery,” Daniel started.
Jack raised his finger to quiet him. “You were also the one to activate it.” Daniel pinched the bridge of his nose and did a good impression of someone really bored and annoyed. He wasn’t fooling Jack. “And thanks to you and your translation of the flagon, well I know your secret.”
He stuck his hands in his pockets, stuck his tongue in his cheek and rolled on the balls of his feet. “Yep.”
Daniel said nothing. The room faded to silence as he considered Jack. After a moment’s pause, he dropped his head then raised it to look at Jack. “I’m surprised Sam didn’t figure it out first.”
“Not with the tiny little naquada microchip in the cup thing. It’s like Disneyland and fishing all rolled up into one for her.” He gave a little laugh.
“Well I’ll have to tell her at sometime.”
Jack waved him off. “No you don’t. It can be our secret.”
Daniel shook his head. “I should never have translated that damned thing.”
“You were counting on me not reading your report.” Jack snickered. God he was loving this.
“You never read reports, never.”
Jack closed a few more books in a vain attempt to find the offending novel. “How else was I going to find why I ended up being the sidekick?”
Daniel shook his head and said, “You actually read the report to find out why you weren’t the main character?”
“I am the leader of SG1 Daniel. It would seem logical for me to be the main character of the novel.” He didn’t finish his sentence.
“What if I was reading Little Women or Anne of Green Gables? Would you have wanted to be Jo or Anne?”
“What? No!” He frowned and furrowed his brow. “Why would you be reading girlie books anyhow.”
“I’m not reading girlie books.” He squeezed his fists closed and arghed at Jack. “That isn’t the point Jack!”
It was his turn to interrupt. “The point, dear Harry, the one to trip the mechanism on the flagon thing is the one that causes the transformation into whatever entertainment you are currently involved in according to your translation. So it was you. You are reading Harry Potter.”
Daniel remained silent. He wrapped his arms around himself, regarding Jack. “And if I am -- it is only because I had a rough childhood and am now compensating for it by delving into children’s literature.”
“That’s your story?”
Daniel bit his lower lip, tilted his head as if considering it then nodded. “Yep, that’s my story.”
“And you’re sticking to it?”
“That would be a yes.”
Jack clapped him on the back then ushered him out of the office. Picking up a bag he’d placed in the corridor, he said, “How about we go have some quality time? I’m sure as a neglected child you never had any friends.”
Daniel eyed the bag and tried to pull away but Jack’s hold was firm. They kept walking down the corridor. “Jack what do you have in the bag?”
He started to laugh.
As they turned into the elevator, Daniel asked, “So mind telling me what you’ve been reading lately?”
Jack shook his head and reached into the bag and felt the distinct curve of the flagon with the dragon.
|Summary:||Sam goes on vacation and brings back a world of trouble for the SGC.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
This was an answer to a challenge on the AO list I am on. It is a bit of a departure for me since it is supposed to be humor! As usual - no beta was harmed in the writing of this fic so all mistakes are mine! None of these characters (who ever they claim to be) are mine - this is a parody for entertainment purposes only!