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Casting On

by Christi

Post-Brief Candle

Someday, Jack reflected, he would get Doc back for this. Because really, the entire fiasco was her fault.

Okay, so maybe Janet couldn’t be blamed for the fact that he currently looked about sixty-five (which, granted, was a marked improvement from a few days ago). That was the cake.

Damn cake.

But being quarantined in the Infirmary? Definitely her fault. Allowing the constant stream of visitors to waltz in without warning? Her fault again.

And the knitting was most definitely her fault.

Everything would have worked out fine if Janet had just bitten the bullet and handled his rehab herself. But, much to Jack’s misfortune (and, he suspected, Janet’s relief), she was currently tied up with a plague-like thing that SG-4 had brought back from P3X-825. So Jack and his measly need to regain dexterity in his fingers as the arthritis began to ease were pawned off on Dr. March.

Jack knew the second he met Penelope March that this was going to prove problematic.

Penelope March was…everything you might assume someone named Penelope March would be. Between the reading glasses, the white hair pulled tightly into a bun, and the well-practiced disapproving glare, she seemed a more likely candidate for the Headmaster of a stern British prep school than a physical therapist. What’s more, whenever she made that particular tsking noise in the back of her throat, Jack felt like little more than a kindergartener. A misbehaving one, at that.

As a result, Jack had been cowed into submitting to whatever physical therapy regime she deemed necessary with very little protestation. Except instead of little hand pumps or squishy balls, Penelope had calmly handed him two knitting needles and a ball of yarn.

His first reaction had been laughter – until, of course, he realized that Dr. Penelope March did not joke.

Especially about knitting, it seemed.

So, he had taken the needles, swallowing the smart remark that was on the tip of his tongue when he saw Penelope’s glare, and begun to knit – or attempt to, anyway.

His problem now was that he couldn’t seem to stop.

At first, Dr. March had sat calmly at his bedside several hours a day, knitting alongside him as an example and saying little. But yesterday, she had left him to his own devices most of the day, only checking in twice.

Today, it had only been once.

Jack could now feasibly blow off the knitting. Except really, he couldn’t. Knitting, as it turned out, was highly addictive. Up there with Fruit Loops and Class A Narcotics.

Which was how he had ended up here, stuck in an Infirmary bed and trying to make small talk with his team while a knitting needle stabbed him in the ass.

Oh yeah, Doc Fraiser was going to pay.

“O’Neill, are you well?”

Jack grimaced and surreptitiously tried to shift away from the needle digging into him. “Sure, T. Just wanna get out of here.”

Daniel grinned. “I don’t know, I think the bed rest is good for you. Why, you look at least fifteen years younger than you did yesterday.”

His annoying expression reminded Jack to put Daniel on his shit-list, too. Although realistically, he was rather permanently at the top of it.

Carter, in what he convinced himself was an attempt to be respectful of his commanding officer status, tried to curb her smile – though she didn’t really succeed. Well, at least she got points for trying. “You do look much better, sir,” she agreed.

Somehow, she managed to say it in a way that didn’t make him want to pull out the knitting needles and use her for target practice. Not that Jack could say that.

After all, there was a reason he was putting up with a quite literal pain in his ass right now –it was imperative that his team never, ever find out about the knitting. Because as far as Jack could see, under no circumstances would that turn out well for him.

Daniel…well, he’d be Daniel. There would be gloating and an endless mentioning of the knitting and eventually, it would lead to Bad Things. (Probably for Daniel, if Jack was realistic. But then, Jack would probably lose his job over that, and his job was pretty damn cool, so it’d be bad for him, too.)

There would be no teasing from Teal’c (Jack wasn’t sure T had caught on to that concept yet). However, there would be interest. And, Jack suspected, the desire to learn. And if Teal’c learned how to knit, then he’d totally be better than Jack. Honestly, Jack already got beat up by Teal’c on a daily basis in the training room. He didn’t need another reminder of his shortcomings.

And then there was Carter. Seeing as she really was the consummate professional, Jack knew that Carter would make no comments about the knitting. But he would wonder, the next time he gave her an order, would she take a moment to second-guess it? After all, a man’s stern and commanding image was bound to be irreparably damaged after seeing him knitting with bright pink yarn.

Hey, it was all Penelope had at the time. And he could always donate the scarf to charity. For his next project, he would be sure to choose a strong, manly color. Though really, he wondered if any color could make mittens look strong or manly.

But that was a problem for later. Right now, Jack’s top priority was figuring out how to get his team the hell out of here so he could move the damn knitting needle before it broke skin. After all, wouldn’t that be a fun injury to explain to the doc?

Unfortunately, they didn’t seem inclined to go anywhere. In fact, they were making themselves downright comfortable, lounging against the wall or sitting on the next cot or - in Teal’c’s case - looming silently somewhere around the head of the bed.

“So,” said Daniel after a bit of a pause. “You are feeling better, then?”

“Yes,” Jack replied succinctly.

“Janet said you were getting your appetite back. Enjoying the commissary’s fine fare? I’ve heard they make an excellent cake.”

It was official – Daniel’s name was now permanently tattooed on the list. “How long is this going to last, exactly?”

“Oh, awhile yet, I think,” Daniel replied cheekily.

“No more today, though,” said the doc as she hustled in on those scary-looking pumps of hers. “Colonel O’Neill needs his rest.” The doc was temporarily Jack’s favorite person – at least, until she added, “After all, he’s elderly, you know.”

If Jack wasn’t mistaken, a sound suspiciously close to a snort came from Sam’s direction, which meant that Teal’c was now the only person in the world Jack liked.

When Teal’c bowed a little and said, “We will leave you to regain your strength then, O’Neill. Please refrain from any…vigorous activities,” Jack knew it was time to call it a day.

“Ack! Enough! Get out, all of you!” he ordered.

As Janet showed them to the door, he heard Daniel mutter, “Wow. He really is a grumpy old man.”

Damn straight, Jack thought.

Seeing as the coast was temporarily clear, Jack quickly readjusted the needle he was sitting on until the pain stopped – there was at least one pain in the ass that could be fixed easily enough.

Still, he glared at Janet when she returned to check his vitals. “Got anything else to say?” he asked, clearly warning her not to.

Because she was the doc, she did not heed the warning. “No, nothing else to say. However, I have compiled a series of handouts on STDs that I would like you to read.”


Janet merely raised an eyebrow, gesturing at his currently bedridden self. “You’re seriously going to fight me on this one?”

Jack was silent. A menacing, disapproving commanding officer kind of silent.

She, like his team, didn’t seem to notice. Was it possible that he was losing his touch?

While he worried over that, Janet finished noting her charts and graphs. “One more thing, Colonel?” she said entirely too sweetly.


Her eyes darted down to the side of his bed. “Your…yarn…is showing.”

And so it begins.

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