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Stocking Yet?

by Christi

Post-Message in a Bottle

Another day, another extended visit to the infirmary. Really, Jack needed to stop being surprised when his week ended with him attached to monitors and IVs. In fact, it might just save time if all of SG-1 had catheters permanently installed into their wrists, ready and waiting for the inevitable saline drip to be hooked up. And hey, if the saline drip came with a side order of nice happy pain meds, who was Jack to complain?

But then, if you stood at the right angle, he was pretty sure you could currently see right through his shoulder. So it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise that he was hankering after some pretty serious drugs. And Doc, who was currently one of Jack’s favorite people, seemed more than happy to oblige.

So, Jack was in bed. But he was happily drugged in bed, so things could have been much, much worse. And it was in this bed, while on the happy drugs, that he came up with the Brilliant Sock Plan.

Yes, the Brilliant Sock Plan was so brilliant that even in thought, it deserved to be capitalized.

It began with Carter. Because see, he had been pinned up against that wall for a really long time. Really long. And while there were definitely some hazy parts (he could have sworn Teal’c was cracking jokes, but that just didn’t happen…right?), he knew that the reason he had eventually gotten down was Carter. In Jack’s book, she deserved a medal. Or five. Short of that, some kind of thanks-for-saving-me-from-being-an-alien-shish-kabob gesture seemed called for.

Why didn’t Miss Manners ever write about the appropriate gift for that occasion?

But he digressed. The point was, he needed a gift for Carter. Problematically, Jack had never been great at the gift thing.

Then Dr. Penelope March, physical therapist, showed up the morning of his third day in the infirmary, knitting bag close at hand, and Jack was blindsided with the perfection that was the Brilliant Sock Plan.

“Penny,” he said slowly, “I think I just had an exceptionally good idea.”

She looked unimpressed, pulling up a chair. “Did it hurt?”

“On these drugs?” he scoffed. “Not a chance. Now, gimme some threes.”

Maybe it was the morphine, but he could’ve sworn she was trying to hide a smile. “Feeling ambitious, are we?”

“More like goal-oriented. You’re going to teach me how to make socks.”

To her credit, Penny did not laugh, even though Jack suspected that she really, really wanted to. “I think I’ll stick with ambitious. Are you certain that you’re quite ready for that?”

It was difficult, but Jack managed not to be too offended. “Hey, I’ve been practicing. A lot.”

To be completely honest, he was beginning to think that knitting should be thoroughly studied and subsequently classified as an addictive drug. But that was neither here nor there. “Come on,” he wheedled petulantly. “Gimme.”

“Narcotics do nothing good for your disposition,” she seemed compelled to inform him while digging through a disturbingly large carpet bag. “Ah-ha, here we are. Size threes. Anything else?”

Little old ladies should not be this snarky, Jack decided with a glare. “Um, yarn?”


Inspiration struck him and he grinned. “Blue. The brightest blue you’ve got.”

Once more she went diving into the seemingly bottomless carpet bag, and when she emerged, she held in her hands two skeins of a disturbingly familiar electric shade of aqua. “Will this do?”

“Perfect!” he proclaimed, taking the skeins with relish. “You know Penny, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

“Don’t count on it,” she replied dryly. “And my name is Penelope. Or, even better, Dr. March.”

“Awww, come on Penny. Let your hair down a little.” After finishing that statement, he dubiously eyed the tight bun she had once again tortured her hair into. “Does it move?”

Judging from the quick whack he received from Penelope’s own set of needles, their relationship was not yet secure enough for hair jokes. That was okay, though. Jack had little doubt that there would be plenty of missions that resulted in the need for physical therapy sessions in the future. They had time.

Humming happily, Jack cast on a tidy row of stitches and ignored the dull pain emanating from his shoulder as he worked them carefully in the round. This was a good idea, Jack was pretty certain. And he had Penny to thank, uptight bun and all. “Hey, Penny?”

She stubbornly refused to acknowledge him, and he sighed. “Dr. March?”

A wide smile greeted him this time. “Yes, Colonel O’Neill?”

“I just wanted to tell you that this is the best physical therapy I’ve ever had. And trust me, I’ve had to have a lot.”

This seemed to really touch her, and the smile on her face softened a bit. “Thank you, Colonel.”

“You’re welcome.” They continued knitting in silence for a few more moments before Jack couldn’t resist adding one thing. “I’ve been wondering something, though.”


“…What do you do if someone needs physical therapy for their legs?”

Her smile was almost frightening in its serenity. “Why don’t you do your best not to find out?”

Somehow, Jack found himself agreeing and, suitably chastised, returned to his knitting.

Surprisingly, it was Dr. March who broke the silence awhile later, with a neutrally intoned observation. “Interesting color choice,” she said, not even seeming to glance up from her own project.

It was, in fact, the exact same shade of electric blue that had so recently been creeping up the walls of the gateroom, not to mention all through Jack, lighting him up like a radioactive Christmas tree. Looking at it was both fascinating and terrifying, but Jack didn’t feel up to trying to explain that. Instead, he just shrugged. “Hey, this is supposed to be therapy, isn’t it?”

Physical therapy.” Her tone implied that Jack was probably in dire need of various other forms, as well.

Not that Jack was really in much of a position to argue. “I’m multi-tasking?”

“Hmmm,” was Penny’s response. Was it possible that in her last life, Penny had been Mary Poppins? Because really, with the hair and the tone of voice and the bottomless bag, there was a striking resemblance. Somehow, Jack sensed that she might not appreciate the comparison, though.

Still, the next half hour or so was happily spent knitting and silently listing the ways in which Penny was Mary Poppins. Jack bet that Mary Poppins had been able to knit. It was a useful thing, after all, and Mary Poppins was practically perfect in every way, or so the tape measure said.

Huh. Now that he thought about it, he wondered how she could possibly knit with a tape measure like that. Did it say snarky things about knitting projects like it did about people? Because that could be fun.

“Colonel O’Neill, you’re supposed to be turning the heel about there.”

He stopped and looked down at his knitting. “Oh. I don’t know how to do that.”

“Well, watch me then.”

Her needles moved so fast that at first, he had trouble making out what he was supposed to do. Eventually, though, he caught on. “Hey, Penny?”

Silence. He sighed. “Dr. March?”

“Yes, Colonel O’Neill?”

“Can you sing?”

In what he was quickly learning was Penelope March fashion, she seemed unfazed by his random question. “That, Colonel O’Neill, is for me to know.”

“And me to find out?” he added hopefully. At her scathing look, however, he wilted. “Or not.”

“Not,” she confirmed. “Now, pay attention.”

Maybe it was the drugs, or maybe he was just getting tired, but he actually followed her instructions. Which was why, a mere three days later, he found himself sneaking into SG-1’s locker room, one pair of bright blue socks safely stuffed into his pocket.

He knew the sneaking was unnecessary – Carter was currently in the infirmary, getting her monthly check-up with Doc and no one else would think it was weird for him to be in here. Well, okay, the guys might if they stopped to think about it for a minute, but T wouldn’t say anything and Daniel probably wouldn’t notice either way, so it didn’t matter. Essentially, his bases were covered. Still, Jack couldn’t help but feel like his current mission called for a little covert action.

After all, it wasn’t everyday that he broke into his second-in-command’s locker.

Luckily, the actual breaking in didn’t cause him too many problems – simple combination locks could not keep the great Jack O’Neill from completing his mission. No, sir.

With a satisfied smirk he swung open the metal door and, trying to curb the impulse to poke around a little, quickly fished the socks out of his pocket and placed them carefully on top of the few things stacked at the bottom of the locker. There. She couldn’t possibly miss that. And, because of the perfection that was the Brilliant Sock Plan, she also couldn’t possibly tie those socks back to him.

He shut the locker feeling particularly cheerful, whistling his way out the door and down the hall. Those socks were definitely an appropriate thanks-for-saving-me-from-being-an-alien-shish-kabob gift, and yet, he had somehow managed to avoid the whole awkward mess of actually having to say the words.

It was quite possibly the best use for knitting that Jack had discovered yet.

You’ll have to excuse the pun in the title. I like puns. Even bad ones. Especially bad ones, if I’m honest. Also, you’ll have to excuse Jack in this, as he’s a bit loopy. I justify it by claiming that hey, after being hung on a wall for that long, you’d be stoned out of your mind on meds. So. This is Jack’s brain on drugs.

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