In the Doghouse

“I can’t believe you growled at him.”
Daniel takes a few heavy paces away from me and slams his back against the side of the sturdy pen-like enclosure. We were shoved in here after I apparently challenged the chief of this little clan we ran into on PB… whatever the hell the name of this place is. The natives appear primitive—they’re running around in loin cloths and carrying homemade spears—but they were sophisticated enough to recognize our attire was useful. We were stripped of all but our tee shirts, pants and boots before we were imprisoned. They even took Daniel’s glasses.
The cage is kinda small for the two of us; those few steps Daniel took were as far as he could go. It’s built of local trees, scrawny but tough as hell. I’ve been trying to pry some of them apart, but I’m not convinced that even my Air Force issue ASEK survival knife would make a dent.
I pound an impotent fist against our prison and whirl to face my lover. Daniel holds himself rigidly stiff, those bulky arms of his wrapped across his middle, as effective as a concrete wall between us. That is one barrier I dare not cross, though I’ve got to try and punch a hole in it.
“He was sniffing you, Daniel,” I defend vehemently. He’s gotta know what that did to me.
Or maybe not.
“Were you not with me in that cavern?” he demands. Dropping his arms, he lurches in my direction. “That was you I heard muttering, ‘Fercryingout loud, Daniel, it’s just a bunch of stick figures doin’ it doggie style,’ behind my back while I was trying to interpret the drawings, wasn’t it?” His arms are flapping all around him, and I’m thinking if we could find a way to concentrate that energy, we could probably bust out of here. “Remember, I told you how fascinating those pictographs were because they depicted human characters engaged in various types of canine behavior, like the sniffing? How they seemed to indicate that, if there were people here, their society could be based on the same system utilized by most dog packs—including the likelihood of an alpha male?”
“He doesn’t look like a dog to me,” I grumble, shooting a glare at the tall, muscular, damn-near-naked blonde kid who’d been poking his nose into parts of my archaeologist where only my nose was allowed.
“I didn’t say they were dogs, Jack. Just that their social order appears to have the same hierarchical structure as members of the canine family on Earth. He’s like their pack leader. If my theory is correct, his sniffing me was just part of their greeting ritual.”
“And my growl was just a warning… back off. I think he got my message.”
Daniel inhales like he’s about to respond then snaps his mouth shut with such force that my teeth ache in sympathy. The muscles in his jaw tense and the luscious curves of that exquisite mouth flatten out, denigrating to nothing more than an angry slash. I can’t see much of his lively blue eyes anymore, either; he’s squinting so hard at me his long lashes are quivering from the exertion.
“What?” I snap at his show of disapproval. “Was I supposed to just stand there and let Old Yeller piss all over my territory and not say anything about it?”
I didn’t think it was possible, but Daniel stiffens further. “Excuse me?”
“You know what I mean,” I say, waving off any significance he might have attached to the remark with a quick toss of my hand. “His eyes rolled back in his head when he got a whiff of your aftershave. And the way he panted all over your neck? My cousin’s Saint Bernard didn’t breathe that heavily in the August heat.”
Daniel’s eyes roll, too, though in exasperation, not ecstasy. With a huff, he retreats to his corner of the pen and sets his muscular barricade back in place. Sweat slides down his cheek, and he yanks his tee shirt from his waistband—flashing a tempting bit of tummy in the process—and towels his face with the hem.
I look away because, under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem right to ogle him. “Any idea why they put you in here, too?” I ask over my shoulder. “I mean, you’d think he would have taken the opportunity to spend a little quality time with you.”
“Maybe because I was foolish enough to defend you,” he replies mockingly. Clearly, he’s rethinking that move. “In his eyes, that makes me every bit as defiant as you were.”
“Well, I’d rather have you in here with me than out there with Rover, anyway” I mutter, tipping my head towards our jailer.
He’s perched on a big rock, his ‘pack’ lounging in the grass at his feet. I’m reminded of the boxer I had as a kid. He liked to sit on his doghouse and look down at the world, too. My boxer never needed a big pointed stick or a group of similarly armed followers to make him top dog, though.
“So, what do you think he’ll do to avenge my audacity? Smack me over the nose with a rolled up newspaper?”
Daniel snorts. “He’s the alpha male. He won’t accept anything less than full submission.”
I snort back. “Yeah, that’ll happen.” I’d accept human sacrifice with better grace. “We’re due to check in at…” I lift my arm, smirk ill-humoredly at the spot where my watch would normally reside, and let it fall to my side, “… soon. When Carter and Teal’c don’t hear from us, they’ll come looking.”
“I’d like to try to get us out of this without bloodshed. Ours or theirs.”
“I can get with that program,” I readily agree. “They’ve got to open the door sometime; we can make a move then.” Waiting a beat, I turn and add, “Got a rubber ball on you? Maybe we can get them to chase it.”
Storm clouds gather in Daniel’s eyes, their shadows eclipsing the normally brilliant blue.
“Enough with the dog jokes,” he warns. “This is a valid culture, and the fact that you don’t understand it or agree with their expectations doesn’t change that.”
“What exactly does he expect?” I inquire. “Should I roll over and play dead?”
Daniel shoots me a look that, if it were a physical blow, might make that quip a reality. Okay, maybe laying off the jokes is a good idea.
“A little humility might help,” he rebukes. “All he wants from you is respect and he’s going to demand it. To do otherwise would show weakness and leave him open to challenge from dogs within his own pack.”
I allow myself a tiny grin at Daniel’s inadvertent slipup, but bringing it to his attention when he’s in this mood would serve no useful purpose.
“And what happens if I give in? Do I forfeit my pack to him?” My pack currently consisting of Daniel.
“I don’t think he’ll try and keep us here. In fact, I doubt he’d trust you to remain submissive.”
“Perceptive little whelp.”
“Don’t forget, he thinks I’ve challenged his leadership as well. We’re both going to have to submit. But I think he’ll let us walk away after that.”
“Will he give us our stuff back?”
“That might be tricky. I’ll try, but we may have to leave it behind.”
“Yeah, alright,” I grudgingly give in. “I’ll follow your lead. Should I call him over here?”
“No, that would be asserting dominance. We’ll have to wait until he comes to us.”
“Wait?” That sounded suspiciously like whining, but I don’t care at this point. Giving in to the guy who practically molested my lover in front of me is going to be hard enough. Letting him decide if and when that happens is adding insult to injury. “How long?”
“Until he comes to us,” Daniel reiterates pointedly.
I groan. I’ll admit it: waiting is not my favorite activity. Fortunately, just about the time I begin to consider calling Spot with a surreptitious whistle, he makes his own way to us.
Stopping just on the other side of our cage, he pushes to his toes and leans forward, as far into my personal space as the barrier allows. He pins me with narrowed, dark eyes, his mouth set in a hard line.
I feel my back stiffen and find myself tilting in his direction. Locking my eyes to his, I match him glare for glare.
He lifts one corner of his mouth in a snarl.
“Jack.”
“Daniel,” I reply automatically, my attention never wavering from Cujo’s challenge.
“This is where you show submission.”
Tossing Daniel a look of protest, I issue a little growl of my own. “Right. How do I do that?”
“Well, for one thing, you should stop staring at him. And, for god’s sake, relax your posture. You look like you’re about to pounce.”
“He started it!”
“Jack,” Daniel spits, exasperated.
“Fine.” I drop my gaze to the kid’s hairless chest. You’d think dog people would to be hairier, pops into my head. Daniel’s soft voice disrupts any further contemplation.
“Now relax your spine and lower your head.”
“Lower?”
“Bow to him, Jack.”
Oh man, this is going to be so much harder than I thought.
“Jack,” Daniel prods. “If you want to get out of here, you’ve got to follow the rules of their society. He’s the alpha. If you take him on and lose, he will probably kill you.”
“You think I’ll lose?”
“I think even if you win, you’ll lose. By their laws, you would be required to take his place as the alpha. To do otherwise could throw their society into chaos, and you know I’d never allow that. Now, do you want to spend the rest of your life here leading them, or would you rather go home with me?”
Gushing out a harried breath, I let my head drop between my shoulders. Rolling it to the side, I see Daniel’s got his head down as well. He glances up at me, a small grin of thanks tugging on his beautiful mouth.
Scooby Doo snorts and, seemingly on their own, my eyes lift to his face. He’s looking down his slender nose at me—I’ve about decided there’s greyhound as well as boxer somewhere in his lineage—and shows his teeth again. Beside me, Daniel drops to his knees.
“What are you doing?” I mutter under my breath.
“He’s expecting full submission. This is the quickest way to give it to him. Now, get on your knees.”
“Daniel, you know my knees are—”
“Jack!”
Whoa. That bark even made Prince shuffle back a half pace. Cursing softly, I fall awkwardly to my knees. “This had better not be leading to me rolling onto my back.”
“If that’s what it takes,” Daniel counters. “But first, try crouching down on all fours. A submissive dog tries to make himself smaller to show he’s no threat.”
“Crouching?” I whimper.
“Jack,” Daniel sighs quietly, the utterance surprisingly gentle considering he’s been less than patient with me to this point. “Please. Just do this and let’s get out of here.”
Well, when he puts it like that.
It takes all the willpower I have, but I take Daniel’s advice. Folding over, I rest on my forearms and stare at the ground. I console my pride with the reminder that this display is not for Alphaboy. Given my choice, I’d turn around and instruct him to kiss my ass as it’s waving in the air at him. No. This is for Daniel.
I hunch there for what seems like an eternity when, finally, I hear the door creak open. Beside me, Daniel shifts and I glance up to find him rising from his knees.
“Jack, you can get up now. But do it slowly and avoid eye contact with him.”
Slowly he says. My earlier protest had as much to do with the delicate condition of my knees as with my objection to showing submission. Slow is about as fast as I can get up.
Standing stiffly, I carefully keep from locking eyes with Alphaboy. I can see him in my peripheral vision, though, and he’s grinning at me like the cat who got the cream—or, in this case, the dog who got the bone.
Daniel mimes and points, gestures mirrored by one of Snoopy’s followers, and my previous assessment of the natives’ intelligence proves out. “I think they took our gear to the Stargate,” Daniel reports. “We should leave now and go directly there.”
I duck my head, the urge to glare at Fido almost more than I can resist, and slip quickly through the opening. Pausing just long enough to make sure Daniel is right behind me, I head for the tree line. Just as the forest swallows us, I raise my arm and flip Muttly a hand gesture that’s probably lost on him but is an unmistakable symbol of disrespect where I come from.
“Jack,” Daniel growls. He wraps his hands around my arm with enough force to elicit a small cry of protest, and tugs me forward. Letting go once we’re moving again, he stomps out in front. The muscles in his broad shoulders are so tense my hands are aching to massage him.
I don’t dare reach out, though. His body is screaming ‘don’t touch.’ I sigh heavily. Damn. I might have gotten myself out of one doghouse, but it looks like I’ll be sleeping in another when we get home.

The End

 

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