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The Easy Choice

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In the quiet of the evening, Jack, Sam, Daniel and Teal'c gathered around Jack's fireplace and relaxed with beers and pretzels. Jack tied flies. Sam and Teal'c set up a long, complex pattern of dominoes around Jack's furniture, over the hearthrug, and around a lounging Daniel, who was muttering to himself. Tax forms and receipts were spread around him in fluffy piles, and a calculator had bitten the dust early in the proceedings. It wasn't slowing down Sam or Teal'c, but Jack was beginning to look askance at how close the forms were getting to the fire.

Finally, Daniel threw a handful of papers in the air and collapsed in an un-domino'd portion of the rug, grumping to himself. "I should've stayed dead another couple weeks. It would've been a lot simpler."

Jack looked up from tying a complicated fly and raised an eyebrow. "You prefer death to taxes?"

"Definitely." Daniel rubbed his eyes and shifted a foot so Sam could lay out another few dominoes. "After I got back from being Ascended last year-- and got most of my stuff back-- the Air Force sent out this nice accountant to fix my paperwork and the death certificate and my taxes. All very simple." He rolled his eyes, and held a receipt in front of his face, squinting at it. "And now? I'm considering a hefty bribe to Sam to do this for me."

"You're not making enough money to bribe me to do your taxes." Sam paused, and smiled at Jack. "Heck, the General isn't making enough money either, and his salary is twice ours, now."

"I don't need your help. I have TaxTurbo." The entire room stared pointedly at Jack, who shrugged. "And a couple SF's who wanted to suck up to me, all right?"

"Right." Daniel shot evil glances at the papers again. "Stupid self-employment taxes. Stupid rollover taxes from the IRA distribution. Stupid death benefits."

"You're not self-employed, Daniel," Sam pointed out. Teal'c moved one of Daniel's arms, folded it over his chest, and laid out more dominoes in a spiral around his head.

"I did some article reviews for a few journals this last year. Mostly to prove I wasn't dead, I should add. I got paid peanuts, to anyone who isn't the IRS. Somehow, this has all affected my withholding status at the same time." He groaned. "Shouldn't we get a break on this? I mean, the next time we save the world, instead of giving you guys medals you can't even explain, and hearty handshakes to me and Teal'c, couldn't they make us tax-exempt?"

"I am already tax-exempt," Teal'c said, standing up and dusting his hands together. "Do not move, Daniel Jackson."

Jack blinked. "You're tax-exempt? How'd that happen?"

"Major Carter arranged it during my first year with Stargate Command."

Daniel turned his head, and Jack looked inquiring. Sam shrugged, and placed the last few dominoes, before getting up to join Teal'c near the door. "I just pointed out to the GAO that if they weren't going to let Teal'c be tax-exempt, they'd have to set up an entirely new classification for 'alien resident' tax status, and that would require review by the Department of the Treasury, and--"

"Ah! Carter. We get it." Jack stowed the flies in his tackle box, and crossed his arms. "You just like Teal'c best."

Teal'c and Sam exchanged a glance, and Sam shrugged, smiling the new, calmer smile she'd been sporting for the last week. "If you say so, sir. Daniel?"

"Yeah?"

"Brace yourself."

She tipped over one domino, and the entire pattern cascaded away from the doorway, around the couch, over the table, down the easy chair, around and around and around Daniel, and finally revolving into one spinning domino--

--which tipped Daniel's pile of tax forms into the fire before he could catch them.

He made one abortive move toward them, then stopped, grimacing.

Sam winced. "Oops."

"Our apologies. That was entirely unintentional."

Daniel glared at them both. "Yeah sure you betcha.... Jack?"

"Yeah?"

"Just tell the IRS I was resurrected on April 16 this year, okay?" He kicked another pile of papers into the fire.

"Want my copy of TaxTurbo? It isn't even registered yet...."