Inverted Symmetry
by Emily M.

He's wondering, not for the first time, when his life became some big cosmic joke. Somewhere along the line the universe decided to knock him down and just keep on kicking. And just when he thinks he can't take any more, it throws him for a loop and laughs it's ass off.

These are all macabre thoughts and he's never been the type to throw himself pity parties, but he's tired and confused and he's got, God help him, PMS. He's earned a little sulking time.

Good ol' Doc Fraiser pokes and prods. Blood sample, MRI, EKG, reflex test, another blood sample, ad nauseam. He thinks she's just making up for last time when she was so busy keeping Daniel alive she didn't have a chance to turn him and Teal'c into her personal little science experiment. He looks over at Carter who's taking it pretty well, all things considered. She's rubbing her (his?) shoulder and he feels an irrational surge of guilt for foisting his crappy, old man body on her.

"You need Ben Gay for that," he says. "There's some in my locker."


"Don't wrinkle your nose, Carter. When you hit forty, you'll learn to worship it."

"Yes, Sir."

He marvels at her ability to roll respect, amusement, and exasperation all into the word 'sir.'


Janet finally runs out of tests. He wanders. He doesn't know what to do with himself. A shower would be nice, but he's not sure how Carter would react to that. He's not even sure where he's supposed to take it. The men's shower room or the women's?

He finds himself in Daniel's office, watching as Daniel types away at the computer. "Hey."

Daniel looks up. "Hey, um...Jack."

"The universe hates me."


"I have PMS."

Daniel, to his credit, doesn't react to that. Much. He just raises his eyebrows and looks at Jack kind of sideways. It's an expression Jack's gotten used to in the last six hours.

"The machine won't be here for another twelve hours. They have to be real careful about moving it."

Daniel nods. "At least we have a way to reverse the process. If it works."

"Oh, it'll work. Machello owes us big time." He gets visions of Daniel sobbing in a white padded cell, of Teal'c on his death bed. Oh yeah, big time.

And of course Daniel says, "Machello wasn't a bad guy, you know. A little misguided maybe."

He shakes his head. "He was a pain in the ass. Even after he died."

"He was doing what he thought was right."

"Like when he tried to kill you?"

"Yeah, well...maybe he didn't have a right to steal my body, but... He was in a lot of pain, Jack. I wasn't even in his body that long and I..." He trails off and Jack realizes he's hit on one of those memories Daniel doesn't like to relive. That's okay, he's got a few himself.

"Yeah." It's a meaningless thing, something to fill the silence.

"So, how are you?"

He rolls his eyes. "I have breasts Daniel, how do you think I am?"

"Right." Daniel looks like he's about to say something profound so it's kind of a surprise when he comes out with, "So have you? Looked, I mean."

"Have I what?!" He knows exactly what he means, but it's a little hard to wrap his mind around it. He always knew Daniel had a randy, juvenile side to him, he just never expected it to be this close to the surface. "No, I have not looked. Why? Do you want to look?"

"No! I wouldn't do that to Sam."

"And I would?"

"It was just a question." Daniel says and Jack rolls his eyes.

And dammit now he wants to look. Just like that time they were looping. They were perfectly happy to spend the time in mind numbing boredom until Daniel so casually informed them that there were no consequences to their actions. He wonders if maybe he can blame all the dumb things he does on Daniel from now on. No, that probably won't work, he was doing dumb things long before he met Daniel.

He sighs. "Think Carter would care if I looked?"

Daniel coughs. "Turn around. You can, um, you can ask her yourself."


The machine comes. It works. And life goes back to normal.


He's sitting in the commissary alone. People keep giving him odd looks as they pass by. He'd like to say that weird stuff happens at this base all the time, this wasn't any different, but there's no one around to listen and he doesn't believe it himself.

There's Daniel, face buried in a book, making his way toward Jack through sonar or something. He doesn't even look up from his book as he sits down in front of Jack.

"After you and Machello swapped back," he says and Daniel finally looks at him, "Did you have any of his memories left over?"

"No..." Daniel frowns. "Why, do you have Sam's memories?"

"Not exactly. I keep getting weird ideas. Thoughts that aren't mine." He shakes his head. "It's going away."

"I wish we could have found out what that chamber was for. If you'd let me go back..."

"The same thing could have happened to you. Or something worse. This happened the second we set foot in that damn room."

Daniel makes a dismissive gesture and Jack drops the issue.

"Is Sam still mad at us?" he asks.

"No. Anyway, I get the feeling she had her own less than professional conversation with Janet," Daniel says.

He nods and they lapse into silence. Daniel reads his book and drinks coffee.

Jack eats blue jello and thinks about wormholes.


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