Chapter 2



“Excuse me; do you know where I can find Doctor McKay?”


“I believe he’s in the physics lab, Sir,” the young airman answered.


“Thanks,” Daniel nodded before turning away.


He walked determinedly in the direction of the lab, hoping to find McKay there.  Daniel had never been so sure of something in his life … well, almost.  He was definitely not happy with the way Sam was being treated.  She’d become a friend of his in a short time, and it hurt to see her upset like this.  He was going to tell McKay once and for all to leave her alone, that she was working on this project as well and deserved nothing but respect.  If McKay didn’t like it, he would inform Hammond about the man’s actions.  Daniel hoped this would strike fear into McKay’s heart and would get him to change his behavior. 


Deep down inside, Daniel hoped he wasn’t doing the wrong thing.  He’d been bullied quite a lot as a child, and McKay certainly seemed like the bullying type.  He attacked with words, but would he go so far as to rough Daniel up physically?  Daniel snorted to himself.  If he did, he’d just tell Hammond about that as well, and it would spell even more trouble for McKay.


He then decided that he was doing this all for Sam.  He wanted nothing more than for her to be happy.  Whatever happened, as long as it would prompt McKay to treat Sam better, it was well worth it. 


At last, Daniel reached the door to the lab.  He wiped his sweaty palms on his khakis, took a deep breath and steeled himself before entering.


“Doctor McKay?” he said timidly as he was about to enter the room.  He stopped himself and winced.  He sounded weak.  He had to come off as determined, as strong-willed, not as a weak puppy.


“Doctor McKay?” he tried again in a stronger, bolder tone of voice.


Rodney McKay poked his head out from behind a large device that seemed unfamiliar to Daniel.


“Doctor Johnson, is it?” he asked.


Jackson,” Daniel corrected him, folding his arms across his chest.


“Yeah, whatever,” McKay rolled his eyes. 


Daniel fixed him with a glare.


“So, did you come in here with a purpose, or are you just going to stand there and stare at me?  I have a lot to do here, you know.”


“No.  Really?” Daniel shot back, a bit surprised at how sarcastic he sounded.  This wasn’t like him.


McKay furrowed his brow in confusion, momentarily taken aback by the sarcastic edge to Daniel’s voice.


“No, I’m just playing tiddlywinks in here,” McKay recovered, his voice oozing with sarcasm.


Daniel’s eyes shot daggers at him.


“So … what do you want?” McKay asked, his tone softening a bit.


“I wanted to talk to you about Doctor Carter,” Daniel replied, his tone revealing that he wasn’t going to let McKay get off easily.


“Ah, Samantha Carter,” Rodney said, a dreamlike quality to his voice, a faraway look in his eyes and a silly grin on his face.


Daniel briefly rolled his eyes.


“What about her?” Rodney asked eagerly.


“Why are you acting like such a creep towards her?” Daniel blurted out.


“I-I beg your pardon?’ McKay sputtered. 


“I said, why are you acting like such a creep towards her?” Daniel repeated forcefully.


“Wha … what are you talking about?” Rodney scoffed incredulously.


“The way you talk to her, the way you act …”


“The way I talk to her?? What did I say?”


“Does ‘sexy librarian’ mean anything to you?” Daniel countered calmly, raising his eyebrows.


“Oh, come on!” McKay protested, still thinking this was a joke.  “Lighten up.”


“’Lighten up’??” Daniel repeated incredulously.  “She hasn’t been making light of it!”


“You nerds need a sense of humor,” Rodney chuckled as he opened up a bag of Bugles and began munching on them.  He offered the bag to Daniel, who looked down at it, then glared back up at McKay.  Rodney slowly drew his arm back.


 “What about the way you’ve been touching her?” Daniel continued.


“The way I’ve been touching her??  You’re kidding me,” he said innocently, although the blush in his face told another story.


“The innocent act isn’t gonna work with me, buster,” Daniel said, his voice taking on an eerily quite tone.


“Oooh, I’m trembling! Quiver, quiver!” McKay mocked.


Daniel fixed him with a hard glare.


“Listen to me,” he continued, the threatening tone in his voice betraying his passive, geeky physical appearance.  “Both Doctor Carter and I are working on this project.  We’re not going anywhere.  She is a human being and she deserves to be treated with respect, a concept which seems to be foreign to you.”


Rodney’s eyes narrowed.


“Look, Four Eyes, why don’t you just get lost? I’ll treat her however I want to.  I just happen to have a thing for sexy librarians.”


Daniel visibly bristled at McKay’s comment.  “She’s not a librarian, damn it, she’s an astrophysicist!”


“… Who proofreads other people’s work, I know, I’ve read her résumé,” McKay finished in an annoyed tone. 


“And don’t you call me ‘Four Eyes,’” Daniel added through clenched teeth, the insult really getting to him.


“Why not? Have you looked in the mirror lately?” McKay smirked.


Daniel felt his patience ebbing away and he started to make his way up to McKay.  His right hand curled up into a fist, as if he was going to hit the other man.  In the end, he just stared Rodney down angrily, then turned on his heel and began to stalk out of the lab.


Suddenly, thoughts of Sam made him stop in his tracks.  What was he doing?  He certainly hadn’t accomplished his goal of making McKay understand that he needed to treat Sam better.  He had come there to defend her, not to argue with McKay and stalk off angrily.  He turned back around and reentered, aware that he had some unfinished business.


McKay watched Daniel as he marched right back up to him.


“Okay.  I realize I’m not getting anywhere with you.  You’re a creep, and you’ll always be a creep.”


Rodney snorted.


“But, if you don’t start treating Sam like a human being, I’m going straight to the General,” Daniel said quietly, but forcefully.


“Oh, sure, you’re really gonna do that,” Rodney scoffed.


Daniel’s eyes penetrated like steel as he stared at McKay. 


“I saw you groping her the other day, when you put your hand on her … derričre,” he finished, blushing ever so slightly before he turned and headed toward the door.


“You really think he’ll believe you, Doctor Jackson?  It’s your word against mine, and I’m afraid my credentials are a notch higher than yours.”


Daniel stopped in his tracks and slowly turned back to McKay.


“My credentials have nothing to do with this,” he said, eyes narrowed.  “If Sam joins me, I think you’ll have a little trouble getting your story to stick.”


Rodney’s smirk turned into a startled frown.  “She…she’d report me?  To Hammond?” he said, nervously.


Daniel’s brow furrowed in confusion.  For a moment, he was a bit surprised by Rodney’s sudden change in demeanor.  Was he beginning to realize that his behavior was a mistake?  He wasn’t about to let him off yet, however, and chose to stick to his guns.


“I can’t speak for her entirely, but I do know that she was pretty upset.  I just saw her in the commissary, and she was literally near tears as she told me about the way you’ve been treating her.”


“Really …” McKay replied, appearing to take some interest.


Daniel nodded.  “What’s more, I would assume that the Air Force has some policy regarding sexual harassment, not just for military members, but for civilians as well.  Am I right?”


Rodney shut his eyes briefly.  “Yeah, yeah, it’s part of the Air Force MEO program,” he groaned.  


Daniel’s brow creased.


“Military Equal Opportunity,” Rodney clarified, looking like he wanted to crawl into a corner and disappear.


“And I would assume that you’d get in quite a bit of trouble if any higher-ups found out about this,” Daniel continued.


McKay sighed miserably and stalked off toward his desk.  He returned and thrust some papers at Daniel.  Daniel quickly looked them over, and realized they detailed the MEO program.  He looked back up at McKay.


“You’d really have the guts to turn me in?” Rodney asked him quietly.


“You’d better believe it,” Daniel nodded.  “Not only are we a team working on this project, but she’s become a friend of mine as well.  I hate to see anyone treating her with anything less than utmost respect.”


McKay looked at him for a moment before his lips twitched into a faint smile.  “You care about her,” he surmised.


“I do,” Daniel nodded, returning the faint smile.


“I … I’m sorry.  It’s just that, whenever I meet a woman who has that … certain special something … I just go crazy … like some animal instinct takes over,” he chuckled sheepishly.


“’Certain special something’?” Daniel repeated, raising his eyebrows.


“Oh, come on, admit it,” Rodney teased, grinning widely.  “She does have that whole ‘sexy librarian’ mystique.”


Daniel looked at him, stone-faced.  “She is attractive,” he admitted.  “But, you should reign in those ‘animal instincts’ of yours for the duration of this project … because they could get you in trouble,” he said, looking pointedly at McKay.


With those last words, he nodded and made his way out of the lab.  Rodney stood in the center of the room for a few minutes, speechless, as he seemed to be actually mulling the whole thing over.




One day later …


Sam sat in her guest quarters, hunched over the desk and looking closely at a map of Antarctica.  On it, she had drawn several concentric circles to correspond with data from recent seismic activity in the region.  She had cross-referenced it with the previous attempts to dial the Gate, and thought she was near a breakthrough, as they seemed to match up perfectly.  Perhaps this could help them locate the second Stargate.  Sam smiled to herself.  Daniel was right all along: she was important to this project.  Even better, McKay seemed to be behaving himself ever since late yesterday.  She couldn’t help but wonder if Daniel had something to do with it.


She picked up the map and was about to head out the door when she heard a faint knock.


“Come in,” she called out.


Daniel made his way inside and smiled at her.  She noticed that there was something a bit different about him.  He seemed to have a bit more self-confidence, evident in his posture as he strode across the room.


“Hey,” she smiled. 


Daniel didn’t answer, but merely smiled back.


“Got some good news,” she continued.


Daniel raised his eyebrows in curiosity.


Sam picked up the map and showed it to him.  “I cross-referenced all the previous attempts to dial the Gate, along with some recent seismic activity in Antarctica.  Matches right up.” 


Daniel affected an open-mouthed stare as he looked at the map.  “So, you think that this could be …”


“Our second Stargate,” she said, her tone eager.


“That’s great!  Good work!” he congratulated her as he patted her on the shoulder.


Her face cracked wide open in a huge grin.


“You do realize now that you’re indispensable to this project, don’t you?”


“Yeah,” she said softly, nodding.  “God, I can’t believe how silly I sounded yesterday.”


“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Daniel assured her.  “It was quite understandable, after what you’ve been going through.”


Sam averted her eyes and nodded.


“So, why don’t we go tell the General about this?” he smiled, gesturing toward the map.


Sam smiled back and nodded.  “Okay.”


They were about to make their way out of her quarters when Sam stopped him.




Daniel turned back around and looked at her curiously.


“Did you notice that McKay has been acting …” she trailed off as she searched for the right word,  “… different?”


Daniel furrowed his brow in confusion.  “Different.”


“Yeah, since late yesterday.  Whenever he sees me, he just gives me a quick ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye.’  He actually sounds quite nervous, like he’s trying to be on his best behavior.”


Daniel grinned knowingly.  “Come to think of it, I have noticed a change in his behavior.”


Sam looked at him intently as he pulled a few papers out of the folder he was carrying.


“I think this might have something to do with it,” he said as he handed the papers to her.


Sam’s brow creased as she looked at the papers.  “Air Force Military Equal Opportunity Program?”


Daniel nodded.  “It states that any person in a supervisory position – in this case, McKay – who uses or condones any form of sexual behavior to control or influence the job of a military member or civilian, is engaging in sexual harassment.  McKay actually brought this to my attention.  I informed him that, if he didn’t start treating you with respect, General Hammond would be notified.  I don’t think he was quite happy to hear that.”


Sam looked into Daniel’s eyes, and she could feel tears starting to form in her own.  The fact that this man whom she’d just been recently acquainted with went to all the trouble to defend her like this; it really meant something to her.


“Thank you,” she said simply.


Daniel gave her a warm smile.  “Please, it was nothing,” he said softly before giving her a small hug.


“Oh, no it wasn’t,” she returned, her voice muffled by his shoulder.  He stood back and allowed her to compose herself.


“I mean it, Daniel.  You’ve become a real friend, a real teammate.  I’m proud to be on your team,” she smiled.


“We’ll always be a team, Sam, no matter what happens to us,” he said frankly, a soft smile on his face.


Sam’s smile grew, and she reached over to give him a small kiss on the cheek.  Daniel’s eyes widened, a bit surprised at the sudden gesture.  It caused her to chuckle softly.


“Sorry,” she said sheepishly as she blushed slightly.


“Oh, no reason to apologize,” he shook his head before giving her a quick little smile.  “Now, let’s tell the General about our huge find here.  He’s got to keep us on the project after he sees this,” he said positively, gesturing toward the map.


Sam nodded and smiled at him as they made their way out of the room, and she closed the door behind them.


No matter what happens to us, she repeated to herself as they walked down the corridor toward the General’s office.


~* THE END *~