Jack mentally plans the unfortunate accident that will claim Dave Dixon's miserable life as soon as SG-1 returns to Earth. It's more elaborate than accidental because—to be properly satisfying—Jack will first have to coerce Dave into the ritual dress of the natives of P8X-682 and film him thrusting his groin at an archaeologist.
Oh yes, Dave will regret recommending SG-1 for this assignment. Especially since he went through Balinsky, who of course went through Daniel, who then argued for the chance to participate in a cultural event that had developed concurrent to an Earth tradition on the other side of the universe.
Daniel would be suffering the same unfortunate accident as Dave, if he weren't already suffering beside Jack. As it is, Daniel will require a different form of punishment.
Daniel winces, hitching his hips forward.
"Itches, does it?" Jack shifts, the grass skirt scratching through the thin covering of military-issued boxers. He tugs at the yellowed grass, modestly adjusting it. His boots have never looked stranger.
"Oh, it'll be fine." Daniel waves off the complaint, tracing one of the painted drawings on his chest. "I just hope I'm not allergic to this stuff."
A cough draws their attention to the door where Carter and Teal'c are now standing.
"Nice look, Colonel." Carter manages to keep her smile mostly hidden, but Jack has the distinct impression that she's going to snicker when his back is turned.
"The tribal designs are most complimentary on your pale skin," Teal'c intones. Jack squints, unsure if Teal'c is being serious or has finally mastered sarcasm.
"It is pretty interesting." Daniel sucks in his stomach, making his back concave, contorting to see the drawings on his own body.
Carter bends over, peering at Jack's midriff. "What's this swooshy thing?" Her finger grazes Jack's skin when she points.
Daniel's face is suddenly inches from his waist, and Jack doesn't need the mental images that come with that position. Grass skirts don't really hide erections very well.
"It's the Stargate. I think." His breath tickles, prickling Jack's skin. Daniel pushes up his glasses, carefully stretching the painted flesh with this other hand. Warm hand, very warm, and very, very familiar.
"Okay." Jack steps back, biting the inside of his cheek. "Can we examine a different human canvas now?"
"Well, I can't exactly see myself." Daniel starts to cross his arms, but stops—probably worried about distorting the designs on his own body—and settles for putting his hands on his hips, a stance that accents his toned abs and makes his appendix scar shine white. "You want me to find some of the other tribesmen? I'm sure one of them would be happy to have me examine his body." Daniel raises his eyebrows pointedly, perhaps being a little too obvious in front of the rest of the team.
"You want to parade around out there—in front of the camera—for longer than necessary? Be my guest." Jack holds out a hand to the door, knowing that even cultural curiosity won't propel Daniel into that meat market. One thing they are in agreement on: they want this to be over with as quickly as possible.
Carter's smile is shaky as she steps between them, hand pushing her P-90 to the side. "Actually, that's why we came in here. The rain dance is about to start." She steps towards the door. "And I promise to keep the camera off you as much as possible." Her grin confirms that she's going to do the exact opposite, and Carter's name gets added to the People Jack Will Punish List.
Teal'c bows slightly. "I look forward to seeing you both perform." His face stays straight again, but this time Jack's sure that Teal'c's making fun of him. Mostly sure, anyway.
Daniel hands him the turquoise and horsehair mask he's supposed to wear, and slips his own over his face, covering his eyes. Carter takes his proffered glasses, tucking them into her tac-vest.
"The differences between this rain dance and the ones preformed by the Southwestern Native American tribes really are quite interesting." Daniel's mask bobs as he talks, the long horsehair swaying behind his head.
"That's lovely, Daniel. Remind me to care." Jack puts on his own mask, discovering the need to breathe through his mouth to avoid the over-pungent aroma of livestock. "Naquadah is worth it," Jack chants, "Naquadah is worth it."
"I hope they still allow us to mine even if the rain doesn't come." That's Carter, ever the optimist in the face of SG-1's inter-planetary humiliation.
Daniel shrugs. "Regardless, this is a pretty unique opportunity."
Carter laughs. "Only you would be this excited." She jerks her head, putting a hand on Teal'c's arm. "Come on, we don't want to miss this." They leave; Carter waving over her shoulder.
"Naquadah is worth it. Naquadah is worth it," Jack chants at Daniel.
Daniel's smile paired with the painted wooden mask is eerie and strangely arousing. "Shall we?" He holds out his hand, but Jack shoulders past. Daniel is not leading this damn thing.
* * *
Jack raises his hands, whooping again as he passes Carter and the video camera. He grins at Teal'c and laughs when he spots a child swinging from the Jaffa's arm. Teal'c's just a big ol' jungle gym.
Daniel dances past in the opposite direction, a smile splitting his face, and even though Jack can't see his eyes, he knows they're sparkling in delight. This is Daniel in his element, going native, as it were, and for the first time Jack knows why Daniel stayed behind on Abydos. He understands the allure of really joining a community, of completely accepting their practices, and he briefly thinks fondly of Laira and Edora.
The drums pound, gaining speed and volume, the whoops start coming from the crowd. The crowd sways, a song rising up in a language Jack doesn't know but understands innately.
Daniel grabs his arm, pulling him closer. The drums drown out his voice, but the hand sliding up Jack's arm is enough to convey the arousal they both feel.
"Not off-world," Jack shouts over the noise.
Daniel sticks out his tongue probably because Jack can't see his eyes roll.
The tempo increases, their fellow dancers wildly spinning, but Jack feels his knees protest and he motions Daniel out of the circle. They nearly trip, navigating through the half-naked bodies, but eventually make it back to Carter, Teal'c, and the video camera.
"You'd better cover that," Daniel says after taking a mouthful from this canteen. He pushes up his mask so that it's sitting more on his forehead.
Carter looks from Daniel to the camera. "Um . . . why?"
"Rain dance." Jack gestures to the still flailing dancers, pushing up his mask as well. "You weren't in there."
Teal'c smirks, he definitely smirks. "I believe we were able to observe enough from where we stand."
"Just because it sounds like something derived from mysticism doesn't mean that there isn't science involved, Sam." Daniel builds a head of steam, sloshing water from his canteen as he gesticulates. "They dance on the same night each year. Maybe there's a yearly storm, or, or, some technology that's triggered by the song or the drums, or—"
"Or the flesh market on display," Jack adds.
Carter sighs. "It's not impossible," she says, "just not. . . ."
The rumble comes from overhead, loud enough to overpower the drums. A moment later and the sky opens, the sudden downpour sizzling as it hits the fire. The dancers keep dancing, letting out elated shouts at random intervals. Carter clutches the camera to her chest, running off to the nearest hut.
The rain feels wonderful on Jack's heated skin, exactly the kind of cold shower he needed. Daniel tilts his head back, closing his eyes.
"I believe the treaty is—as you would say, O'Neill—'in the bag'."
Jack bites back his grin and pats Teal'c on the shoulder. "Exactly." He pulls his mask down again and offers his hand to Daniel. "Want to keep dancing?"
"No camera now. Wanna go crazy?" Daniel's grin is already crazy as he slides down his mask.
Before they jump back into the circle, Jack pulls him close, whispering directly in Daniel's ear. "Just remember that if we're asked in the debriefing: the aliens made us dance."
Daniel laughs and dances away from Jack with arms raised and Jack removes one name from his punishment list.