"So how's the new girl working out?" Jack asked casually, hands in his pockets as he strolled down the halls of the SGC with his second favorite person still stationed under Cheyenne Mountain.
Daniel shot him a sideways, querying glance at his comment. "New girl? Are we keeping her, then? I thought she was only here on temporary loan."
"More like temp to hire," Jack replied, "depending on what she decides to do. And I'm guessing she'll decide to stay. I was there for her introductory briefing, remember? I thought she was going to explode from pent-up questions before we were through."
"Well, that certainly hasn't changed," Daniel replied dryly, thinking of the million and one queries the young woman had cornered him with over the past few weeks. Sometimes there was a downside to being the universally acknowledged expert on the history of the program. Since Ms. Rosenberg's arrival, he'd spent more time than he liked to think about 'enlightening their guest', as General Landry liked to put it, rather than getting any of his actual work done.
"Still," he continued, pushing open the door to his office, "while she's been very helpful in deciphering the texts we found on PZ3-29Q, and she has a very strong expression of certain Ancient-linked genetic traits unmatched by anyone else we've found, she doesn't seem very fond of the military in general, and she's still in constant contact with her employer back in England. I was under the impression she planned to return to them when she was done here."
Jack made a non-committal noise as he followed Daniel into the crowded, book-strewn space, and Daniel turned to face him with a frown.
"But I'm sure you know that already," he said slowly. "So-- why did you ask?" he prompted, curious despite his irritation with the woman in question.
Vala was fond of saying he disliked the girl mostly because he saw in her the mirror of several traits he disliked in himself; and publicly, Daniel was willing to concede the point on grounds of excessive babbling and enthusiasm about obscure subjects that bored everyone else to tears. Privately, however, he thought it probably had more to do with a certain lingering, subconscious distrust of pale, persistent, redheaded women. Fortunately, the other members of SG-1 had been more than willing to take up the slack for him. Sam, especially. And--
"Teal'c brought her up in conversation the other day," Jack replied, shrugging. "I suppose I was curious."
"Teal'c brought her up?" Daniel asked, his eyebrows creeping up his forehead in surprise. He dropped the books he'd been carrying onto his desk, then picked up a pen, twirling it idly as he thought. "That's... interesting."
"I know!" Jack said, throwing his hands up as he leaned back against the doorjamb. "Teal'c just doesn't bother to mention new things, or people, over the phone unless he happens to find them relevant. And I gotta say, nothing against Rosenberg, but I never figured her for Teal'c's type."
"Or Teal'c for hers," Daniel snorted. They did make a striking and incongruous mental picture; he'd have been hard pressed to pick a pair of people more visually unalike, or more dissimilar in temperament. The older, stoic warrior and the youthful, exuberant magician... though when put that way, it sounded more legendary than strange. He frowned as he began categorizing archetypal congruities and disparities between the two.
"Daniel?" Jack interrupted, dragging him back to the present. "Earth to Daniel-- what was that supposed to mean?" His intrigued expression faded into a frown. "She holding the alien thing against him, or what?"
"Oh, no, it's not that," Daniel filed his musings away for a later moment, tapping the pen against his other palm. "More along the lines of a certain subject she wasn't sure if she was allowed to ask or tell about while she was working here? Not the most awkward conversation I've ever had, but it came pretty close." As had the following conversation with Vala, when she'd asked just what Rosenberg had said to fluster him so thoroughly. He ought to have known the alien woman would take it as a challenge.
"Oh." Jack blinked at that, then narrowed his eyes, gears almost visibly turning behind them. "Huh. Well that just makes the whole thing even weirder. What's she doing hanging out with him so much, then, if she's not interested?"
"Convenience?" Daniel shrugged. "She can't always be asking me questions; she can only take so much of Sam thinking up new ways to test how she manages to draw out and utilize zero point energy through a purely human interface; and Vala... flusters her."
Which had, of course, only managed to entertain Vala-- and fuel her teasing of her-- no end. Daniel had actually caught the girl muttering about faith under her breath during the last meeting he'd been present for between the two women; Rosenberg must be seriously stressed if she was appealing to a higher power to help her deal with the situation. Ah, well. Vala would tire of her shiny new pursuit soon enough; and in the meantime, Daniel had actually managed to get through an entire week without so much as a pinched cheek from his most annoying teammate.
Jack frowned, waggling the fingers of his right hand as though counting on them. "Aren't you forgetting someone?" he asked.
"You mean, 'the other Dr. Jackson'?" he replied, biting back a smile.
"She's still calling him that?" Jack cracked a grin. "Ouch."
"Yeah. She's polite enough to his face, but I think something about him bothers her." Daniel shrugged. He hadn't yet determined why, as Mitchell was one of the most determinedly friendly people Daniel had ever met, but the lieutenant colonel's non-scientific military affiliation was probably part of it.
"Go figure." Jack shook his head. "So-- convenience. Well, that explains her, but not Teal'c. You see anything strange in his reactions to her? She's not-- doing something to him with her abilities?"
"You're like a dog with a bone," Daniel marveled, setting his pen carefully down on his desk. Something else was obviously at work behind Jack's sudden fascination with Teal'c's friendship with Willow Rosenberg-- and Daniel thought he knew what it was. "Teal'c is perfectly capable of taking care of himself, you know; it's not like the Jaffa Council's latest message to him was all that much of a surprise. Of course he'd prefer to be more involved in the reconstruction now that the Ori threat has been eliminated, but he's made his allegiance to the Tau'ri abundantly clear over the years. He knew this was coming, and he's fine with it; he's not stoically depressed, or vulnerable, or whatever else is going through your mind."
"So sue me for worrying about a member of my team," Jack said, making a put-upon face. "Seriously, though, it's not just that-- I've heard a few things about Rosenberg's background that aren't for public consumption, and this thing with Teal'c...." He shrugged. "It bothers me."
A few non-romance-related things, apparently. Daniel thought about that a moment, trying and failing to picture Rosenberg as a danger to Teal'c, then glanced down at his watch. He was pretty sure Jack was overreacting, but if he wanted to see how they behaved around each other first hand.... "Well, if you have a few more minutes to spare, they meet up in one of the smaller gymnasiums this time of day when we're on-world for an hour or so of kel'no'reem."
"She meditates with him?" Jack straightened up and leaned away from the door jamb, crossing his arms as he shifted his aging weight back onto his own two feet.
"Apparently it helps her maintain control of her advanced abilities," Daniel replied with a bland smile. "And of course you know why Teal'c meditates. I gather they thought it would be interesting to compare techniques."
"Well, then," Jack gestured, eyebrows raised. "After you."
Five minutes later and a couple of levels away, they reached the gymnasium in question. Daniel peered inside first, then eased the door open more fully when he spotted the dark and light figures seated cross-legged on one of the mats in the corner. Teal'c did not normally use candles when meditating outside of his room, but he apparently made an exception for her; a single flame flickered between the two from a wax taper in a shallow, decorative dish.
Neither looked up at the sound of the door opening; they remained completely absorbed in their inner worlds as Jack followed Daniel inside to observe them. Their eyes were closed, their hands resting palm-up on outthrust knees; a small smile curved Rosenberg's lips, and Teal'c's expression was as relaxed as Daniel had ever seen it. Together, they presented a near-perfect image of peace.
"And this is-- it?" Jack murmured quietly in his ear. "This is all they do together?"
"As far as I know," Daniel replied briefly, in soft tones. "I haven't actually meditated with them." He thought they were far enough away that even Teal'c's sensitive hearing wouldn't pick up their conversation, but he didn't want to push their luck.
He thought he'd failed when Rosenberg's eyes flew open a moment later-- but her green gaze fixed solely on Teal'c, and he held his breath in hopes that she wouldn't notice her observers.
"Feel that?" she asked her companion, mouth curving up further into a mischievous grin.
Teal'c opened his eyes as well, staring back at her; his mouth curved in answer, and he gave her a small nod. "Indeed," he said, a pleased note in his rumbling voice.
Her grin widened; one of her hands lifted from the knee it rested on and reached out toward him; he reciprocated the gesture, enveloping her small, delicate fingers with his own, much larger ones. Then they closed their eyes again--
--And abruptly began to float off the floor, drifting in a slow, lazy spin around the focal point provided by the candle. If Daniel had thought their expressions were peaceful before, they were nothing short of blissful now.
"What the hell?" Jack whispered harshly. "What is she doing?"
"Magic," Daniel breathed, and a smile crept unbidden across his face as he dragged Jack back out of the room.
Whatever he thought of Rosenberg, and however different she and Teal'c were-- appearances could often be deceptive, and that was obviously the case here. He'd heard enough of her discussions with Sam to understand that utilizing her 'advanced abilities' with someone else, especially someone without access to similar gifts, required some sort of fundamental connection between the parties involved; and if she and Teal'c had managed to reach an understanding on such a fundamental level--
Well, maybe he'd have to learn to tolerate her, after all.