Claiming the Beautiful Distraction

It was that time of year again and Daniel was hiding.

“Daniel, there you are!”

Just not very well.

“Hi Sam.” Daniel quickly shuffled some papers together, didn’t really matter what. “I’m sorry, got a meeting to go to…”

Fake stash of mismatched papers clasped in one hand, and quickly grabbing his coat with the other, Daniel hurried towards his office door and freedom.

“The briefing isn’t until 1600…”

“Well, yeah,” Think, think man! “But I promised Jack-“

“What did you promise me?”

Daniel, who had been slowly backing out the door, bumped right into Jack who pushed him back inside again with a careful shove.

Jack stood, hands in pockets, by his only exit looking expectant, while Sam drilled twin holes through his head with suspicious eyes. For the life of him Daniel couldn’t think of a single thing to say. “Well…”

“Never mind.” Jack cut him off, one dismissive wave of his hand making it clear he knew he was bullshitting, but at the same time didn’t give a crap. “I need your help with something.”

“My help?” Daniel echoed.

“Yes, don’t look so shocked Daniel. You are useful for something’s… no matter what I say.”

“Sir, I was hoping to drag Daniel out of the mountain this afternoon.” Sam didn’t say the words ‘because he looks like a wreck’ but Daniel felt them hang in the air all the same.

And knowing, or so he believed, Sam’s idea of relaxing was to drag him Christmas shopping Daniel jumped at the chance to get out of it without bloodshed – most likely his.

“No, no that’s okay. Jack, whatever you need, I can go out later… it’s not a problem.” He knew he’d put too much enthusiasm into it when Sam’s hands came to rest sharply on her hips.

“Riiiight.” Jack stared at him. “You need to lay off the coffee.” He looked toward Sam with a smile. “Actually Carter, this does involve leaving the mountain, you can help too.”

“What is it, Sir?” Sam relaxed slightly.

Daniel, paralysed with fear, dreaded the next words he’d hear. He chanted ‘don’t be the mall - don’t be the mall - don’t be the mall…’

“I need you to take Daniel to the mall and pick up something ‘nice’ to wear to the function next week?”

“Function?” Sam parroted

“Nice?” Daniel hissed.

“As in not plaid Daniel. Carter, I trust you to make him presentable.”

Sam was laughing, bully for her, Daniel knew if Jack had asked her that seven years ago she’d have written a feminists’ speech and shoved it up his arse. As for the plaid comment, he wasn’t rising to the bait, it was an old joke that Jack was never going to let go.

“Where is it we’re going again?” Daniel conceded to his fate, dumping his stash of fake papers into a messy pile on his desk.

“Some boring luncheon, you’ll hate it.”

“Then why do I have to go?” Daniel walked over to lean against the nearest wall and crossed his arms.

“Because, Dr Jackson,” Jack walked over and stood directly in front, mirroring his posture, “you are the one they want to meet. God’s knows why, they want to hear you talk.”

Daniel loosened up a bit, until he realised how gullible he was being… “No they don’t, you just want me there so you don’t have to be bored alone.”

“Well misery loves company.” Jack replied, grinning for some reason.

“Take Sam as arm candy!” He wined.

“Daniel!” The sound of his name being shouted by two, very loud, air force officers nearly blew his eardrum. “It was only a suggestion” Realising that he was sounding a little bitchy, Daniel retracted his objections, with deep misgivings mind you, and agreed to the whole charade. “Fine.”

“Good.” Jack’s smile returned instantly and he strode off, out of the room. “And try not to lose him this time Carter.”

Sam did as good a job at ignoring Jack as he did nowadays.

“You know, since we’re going to be there anyway we should probably do some Christmas shopping.” Sam said as an aside before taking her leave too.

“What?”

“Meet me by the elevators in fifteen.” And with that she left.

Daniel groaned deep within his own head, lest Sam hear his utter displeasure at the thought of going anywhere near a shopping mall. Why was he always left playing the gal pal? Jack was way more camp than him.

*

Karen was on her break when she spotted him. She would never forget that face, not even after, what, three years? A Coffee in each hand, balancing with her handbag and open purse she made her way over to their table without taking her eyes off him. She narrowly avoided pouring coffee over someone’s baby buggy; the kind that came with cup holder’s, wheels the size of a jeep and built in sat nav. Recovering her footing quickly, giving the owner’s parent a tight smile, she finally reached her seat. Sitting down, coffee’s resting safely on the glass table top, she slumped back dreamily.

“What’s going on with you?”

Her friend was talking to her, she really should answer him.

*

“Daniel you really should be more invested in this.” Sam grasped another hanger and presented it, with the attached jacket, to him.

It looked like she was ready to batter him with it, and this was only the first shop. It would be the last too, if Daniel had anything to say about it. There was a lesson to learn here, always have more than one special suit. He was beginning to think that he really should listen to Jack more often, always being prepared meant that nightmare shopping trips like this one could be avoided.

“Like I said, a suit’s a suit.” Daniel shrugged, and then caught the expression on Sam’s face. “What?”

“You sound more like Jack O’Neill than I ever thought possible.” She said like she’d just discovered a way of mastering cold fusion.

Daniel had no reply to that, well not ‘no reply’ just not one he could voice without making the pit he was currently in any deeper. So he put on a ‘don’t know what your talking about frown’ and wandered over to the checkout with the first suit he could grab in his size.

*

Karen watched from her table in the mall food court, her friend had decided to sit right next to the giant Christmas tree, the twinkling lights creating a retro effect on the shiny floor. She had kept an eye on her beautiful distraction, as she had taken to labelling him all those years ago, until he walked into Saks. Before she could talk herself out of it, Karen stood up straightening her skirt and followed.

She checked her lipstick and scrunched her hair in Saks’ window before walking inside. There he was, stood alone by the checkout, looking even more scrumptious up close than she thought was possible. He still had his boyish looks, and that great build. The hair was a little fluffier, she decided she liked it. More strands to fondle.

“Hello,” She strolled up to him and held out her hand.

He looked around, before finally catching on that she was talking to him.

“Um, hello?” He asked hesitantly, despite no one else being in ear shot.

“How’s your friend enjoying the chair?”

“Excuse me?”

“The Relaxinator’” Karen enthused with double air quotes to boot.

A completely lost look crossed his face, and Karen could pinpoint the exact moment it dawned on him what she was talking about.

“That was… oh my, years ago, how… err why do you?”

“Remember you?” Karen smiled seductively. “Well, it’s hard to forget the day I earned enough commission to buy the Avalanche’s.”

When she could see the hint of a blush on his cheeks Karen stepped closer and explained just what he did for The Lounge Company that day. “Thanks to you, we sold more Relaxinator’s in that one day than we had the all month.”

“And you wanted to…?”

“Say thanks.” Karen said succinctly, whispering into his ear.

“R-ight.”

Suavely reaching into her handbag she pulled out one of her business cards and handed it over.

“If you ever find yourself in need to sit down again, feel free to stop by.” And with that she walked away, not giving him a chance to respond, she closed with a quick smile over her shoulder before she left the store, feeling utterly pleased with herself.

*

“Sir? Is this all?”

Daniel turned when he heard the guy’s voice, he sounded strained and from the forced smile Daniel got the impression he’d been keeping the guy waiting.

“Ur, yeah,” he handed over his credit card. “Thanks.”

The clerk asked lots of silly questions, about help he received in store, but Daniel just nodded or made the appropriate sounds to be polite. Sam broke into his revere when she placed an armful of clothing onto the checkout desk.

“What’s all that?”

“Trust me, you need options and I’m not taking the flack on this, so either try stuff on or -”

“These too.” Daniel quickly conceded and shoved the pile toward the clerk, who didn’t look too surprised at the decision.

“What’s that?” Sam asked, looking at the card in Daniel’s hand.

“Oh, I um,” he smiled smugly, “she gave it to me.”

“She?” Sam said affronted.

He guessed it didn’t matter how old he was or how much time had passed, Sam would always be on the look out for potential heartbreaking harpies.

All done, Daniel grabbed his bags and strode out the store without another word, Sam hot on his heels.

*

“Hey kids, have fun?” Jack asked them as Daniel chucked the clothes bags onto his office chair and immediately made for the coffee machine.

“Daniel got picked up.” Sam blurted, as if the words had been simmering in her mind, on the tip of her tongue just waiting for the ideal opportunity to come pouring out.

Daniel didn’t give Jack too much time to come up with a witty retort and decided he should settle this before it became something he’d never hear the end of.

“A woman gave me her number, that’s all.”

Jack shook his hands out of his pockets and, eyes narrowed, asked “What woman?”

Jack sounded intrigued and mildly shocked, as if the very concept of being hit on in a shopping mall was unbelievable.

“It was that clerk from when you brought Teal’c that chair, the one who thanked you – immensely.” Sam spoke to Jack, a twinkle in her eye.

“Really?”

“Yes, really.” Daniel snapped, adding, “Thanked you for what?”

“I don’t know, buying Teal’c a thousand dollar chair and making her commission for the month?”

“Oh, I don’t think so,” Sam snigger.

“What?” Daniel spun around to face her.

“Nothing.”

Daniel glared at Sam, and Sam tried to avoid breaking out into giggles by organising his bags. He didn’t know what was going on, or why Jack could instantly remember a woman he met only briefly years ago, when he couldn’t even remember the addresses of the planets they frequented.

“What she means, Daniel, is that she was thanking me for more than the money.”

Comprehension dawned on Daniel to what the woman, Karen on the card, had said. “So that’s what she…”

Stopping himself short, Daniel realised how embarrassing that was.

Jack however, with his bat like hearing and spidey senses, knew not to let the opportunity pass him by.

“That’s what she what?”

“Never mind.”

Daniel tried to feign interest in what Sam was doing with his new suit, but couldn’t manage it and ended up catching Jack’s teasing stare.

“Oh, alright.” Daniel huffed, “Karen said something about commission and I thought… I don’t know what I thought, but now I get it - that she talking about me.”

Jack snorted.

“Not a word.” Daniel pointed his finger at Jack first, then Sam.

“Would never dare Danny-boy.”

“Promise.” Sam said, doing a lousy job of crossing her heart.

“Karen?”

“The name on the card she gave me.” Daniel handed it over, feeling like he needed to prove its validity. “She likes hockey, you’d like her.”

Daniel saw Jack raise his eyebrow at that comment.

“She still at that chair store?” Jack inspected the card again, as if it could tell him whether she was good enough to flirt with Daniel, “Executive? Think you had anything to do with that?”

The pair of them burst out laughing and Daniel knew he had to leave before the teasing evolved into what would become a long standing joke – just like the plaid.

“So what’d you buy?” Jack cleared his throat and changed the subject.

“I don’t know.” Daniel moved over to his desk and collected a few books. “I have to make copies. Have a look, you and Sam can decide what you want me to wear to the lunch thing.”

“That chair broke you know.” Jack muttered to know one in particular.

“Aren’t you glad you got the extra warranty?”

“Yes Carter,” he sighed while tipping out one of Daniel’s many bags, “a thousand times yes.”

“How about this?” Sam held up a shirt, looking at Daniel.

“I don’t care what I wear, ask Jack.”

Feeling as though he many have escaped on this one, Daniel chuckled at Jack’s forlorn look, but as he walked out he could hear more laughing behind him and then Jack’s voice. “Maybe Karen has some suggestions?”

Daniel just kept on walking.

The End.

 

 

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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.