|Title: A Fair to Remember
Category: Humor, Team, Challenge response
Season: Anytime though I’d lean towards season three
Content Warning: Spew alert
Summary: SG1 spends a day at the fair.
Authors Note: Response to theGenGate's Warm Fuzzy of the Week challenge (Teal’c wants to go to the fair and must include something unusual on a stick and team bonding.) Thanks be to Carrie for the great beta work she always generously provides. Any remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone. Feedback would be most delightful and always responded to. As always, this is a team piece.
~~ * ~~
“Do we really have to do this?” Jack complained once again. Daniel gave the same answer he had the previous four times the older man had all but whined the question during the short drive.
“Yes, Jack we do. We promised Teal’c. Besides, at this point if we don’t show Sam will kill us.”
“Oh, please. Carter’s been in overdrive about this all week. I think she’s the one who gave Teal’c the idea in the first place.”
Daniel thought about it and decided Jack was probably right. Teal’c had made a point of familiarizing himself with all aspects of life on Earth when he first joined SG1, but had never before expressed a desire to attend the annual Colorado State Fair. This year he seemed intent on attending and no one, including Jack, had the heart to say no. Truthfully speaking, Teal’c asked for very little from his team when it came to showing him their home world so if he wanted to go, they would go. Which of course didn’t mean their fearless leader wouldn’t grumble about it from beginning to end.
Daniel pointed out the entry to the on-grounds parking. It was more expensive but he figured it was worth the money to not have to listen to Jack bitch about having to walk too far. Besides, they were supposed to meet Sam and Teal’c in less than fifteen minutes and the rendezvous point was a good ten-minute walk into the fair grounds. Luckily, they found a parking spot right away and he figured if they hurried, they’d make it just in time. Jack was still mumbling under his breath as they got out of the car and headed into the crowd.
It had been years before his time with the Stargate program since Daniel had been to anything like a state fair and he was surprised to find he was actually a bit excited by the prospect. The crowds of people from every walk of life milling around together and the tangy smells of food you rarely had occasion to eat filled his senses and reminded Daniel of the markets near some of his more exotic digs. Once the sun set and the bright, carnival style lights took over the night sky, the heady atmosphere enveloped you completely. Even the most jaded of souls couldn’t help but became part of the surreal picture the surroundings created. Daniel looked over to his team leader and wondered if that last thought would prove correct.
Most days, Daniel could nearly read Jack’s mind. But there were times like these when he really didn’t know his friend at all. As a father, Jack must have been to stuff like this before. Would it bring back good memories full of happiness and warmth or touch painful, empty places filled only with bitterness and loss? As was so usual with them, Jack seemed to sense where his thoughts had drifted to and gave him a slight, reassuring smile.
“We’d better hurry. I don’t want to be the one to stand between a Jaffa and his first cotton candy experience. I’ll never hear the end of it.”
Daniel nodded his agreement, relieved Jack was apparently okay with this, despite his showy protests. It didn’t take long before they could see the Jaffa's familiar knit cap covered head standing out amidst the crowd. He suspected the odd looks the large man was getting from the passersby could be attributed more to his mountainous size, stern look and beautiful companion than to Teal’c’s attire. Today's choice consisted of a red sweatshirt and tan and teal plaid pants in addition to the orange cap. Taking a second look at the colorful ensemble, Daniel decided he could be wrong about that.
“Daniel Jackson, O’Neill, I am pleased you were able to join us. Major Carter and I have also just recently arrived.”
Sam seemed to have to force herself to stop looking longingly long enough to say 'hi' to her two teammates, quickly returning her attention to the pulsating lights of the midway. Daniel also noted his CO was looking towards the midway, but with a completely different type of look. Leery, would be Daniel’s best description of the set to Jack’s face as he eyed the variety of brightly lit, mechanical arms and metal hands holding a multitude of squealing people as they were spun around and swung through the air.
“I believe Major Carter was correct, this is indeed a unique event that demonstrates an intriguing glimpse into the life of the Tau’ri.”
Daniel saw Jack’s eyes narrow as he looked towards the blonde major.
“I knew it,” he muttered and threw a feral smile in Sam’s direction which promised revenge for this particular act of Jaffa mind influencing.
“Sir?” She replied innocently, big eyes belying nothing.
Daniel had to give her credit; Sam could play the ingénue like nobody’s business. Too bad he knew there was no way Jack was going to let her get away with it in this particular case. He decided it was time to jump in and try to save his friend.
“So Teal’c, there are only two reasons to come to the fair, to eat or to ride. What would you like to do first?”
Sam and Jack were having a stare down over the food or flight impasse. Daniel held his breath, not wanted to set anything in motion with something as inconsequential as oxygen. Luckily, his large friend stepped in and broke the tie.
“I believe I would prefer to begin with a meal. I was unable to dine before leaving the mountain this evening.”
Daniel believed the only reason Jack’s smirk wasn’t met with some major Sam wrath was her desire to see the Jaffa have the best evening they could give him. Sam backed down without conceding defeat by turning all her attention to Teal’c.
“Okay Teal’c, what are you in the mood for?” she asked.
The Jaffa looked around at the various food stands that surrounded, a slightly quizzical expression on his face. Daniel’s suspicion about the ‘why’ of the look was confirmed a moment later.
“I am unfamiliar with the phrase, ‘on a stick.’ What type of food product is this?”
“T. ‘On a stick’ is not a food, it’s what you do to the food. See you take your plain old everyday food and stick it on a stick.”
Daniel could see that Teal’c was not impressed with Jack’s explanation.
“For what purpose?”
Jack’s look screamed he would never understand how someone could not understand why food on a stick needed any explanation.
“Because it makes it…better.” A simple raise of the eyebrow said it all and Jack tried again.
“You know, better. You don’t need any utensils, you can walk and eat at the same time, keeps your hands clean…”
“Makes it three times as expensive,” Daniel interjected, earning him a sharp glare from the older man who otherwise pretended he hadn’t spoken.
“It’s just better. Trust me, Teal’c. If you really want to experience the fair, you have to eat off a stick.”
Still looking unconvinced, Teal’c followed Jack into the crowd, in search of the perfect concoction on a stick.
~~ * ~~
Sam had never seen one person eat so much food in her life. He’d had two Pronto Pups, a caramel apple, a beef kabob, a turkey leg, two funnel cakes, a frozen chocolate covered banana, a small pepperoni pizza, a pretzel, deep fried cheese curds and, worst of all, alligator. Most of them, of course, had come on a stick. Currently, he was working his way through, not one, but two cotton candy cones. How the colonel managed to stay so trim was beyond her. Even Teal’c looked taken aback by the amount of food their team leader had been able to consume in such a short period of time. Daniel had stopped asking what the officer was thinking eating all that junk around the time of the first funnel cake.
The rest of them had been ready to head for the rides since the Pronto Pup stand, but the colonel just kept finding something else to eat. Sam was beginning to suspect it wasn’t appetite that was delaying the man, but rather a stall tactic. He seemed to spot some new stick treat he had to have every time the rest of them agreed it was time to make their way to the midway for a few thrill rides. If she didn’t know the man was a seasoned Air Force veteran who traveled across the galaxy on a daily basis, she’d think he was afraid to go on a few little carnival rides. She figured Daniel was on to this as well as he had been very quietly leading them towards the midway for the last ten minutes, conspicuously not alerting their CO to the fact they were nearing their target. In fact, here they were now. They had just stepped under the brightly lit arch that led to the first row of spinning metal and screaming people.
Apparently realizing where they were, the colonel made a sudden lunge backwards. “Oh look, frozen yogurt on stick. Teal’c has got to give that a try.”
“That’s it, Jack.” With that, Daniel grabbed one of the colonel’s arms while Teal’c took up on the other side. They physically turned the man around and began marching him forcibly up the midway.
“Quiet Jack, you’re going to explode if you eat one more thing. We’re saving you from yourself.”
“Daniel, that’s a load of…”
“O’Neill, I have now had ample experience with food products on a stick. The time has come to understand the appeal of a ‘ride’.”
Sam tried to hide her smile as the captive man looked to her for assistance, disappointment setting in when he obviously saw he’d be getting no support from her. The colonel fell silent and soon enough they had loaded up on tickets and were looking for the perfect first ride. Sam had always had a taste for the spinning types and spotted her ride of choice. She looked over to find Daniel looking at her with a matching gleam in his eye. Since their first meeting on Abydos, Sam knew she’d found a like mind in her friend.
Sharing a quick smile, they said in unison, “Tilt-a-Whirl.”
Not giving enough time for their CO to launch a protest, Daniel and Teal’c had Jack in one of the glossy, half apple shaped cars before word one had made it past his lips. Sam took the spot next to the colonel, with Teal’c and Daniel seating themselves in the car next to them. Her seatmate sat rigid and silent, the picture of someone off to an execution. Sam could hear Daniel explaining the concept of the ride to Teal’c.
“See Teal’c, the floor of the car is loosely riveted to the floor of the ride allowing it to move in a circle freely. The wheels on the edge of the car ride on the track you see there. Once the ride gets moving, the whole bottom plate starts to move both in a circle and up and down, making all the cars bolted to it spin around on their track. If you can feel which way the momentum is going to take you, you can lean to one side or the other and make the car spin faster.”
Truly, Daniel had to be the one person who could be spitting out such cold, boring technical specs and still sound like a little boy telling Santa what he wants for Christmas.
“For what purpose would you endeavor to spin faster?”
Though, she couldn’t actually see her teammates, she could clearly picture the somewhat baffled expression of the younger man as he searched that vast library of a mind to explain why spinning until you felt ill was something you would strive for. Luckily, the screech of metal on metal and the slow first arc of the initial spin began, signaling Teal’c would just have to figure it out on his own. She also noticed her seat companion was now clutching the lap bar to the point where all of his knuckles had gone completely white. Looking at the blanched, stone like face that held a set of blank eyes made her think maybe ‘spinny’ hadn’t been their best choice.
“Colonel? Are you going to be okay?”
After a moment’s hesitation, lips moved but Sam wasn’t sure she believed what they said.
“Oh yeah, sure. Carter. Fine. Just fine.”
After that, there was no more time for conversation and Sam quickly got caught up in, ‘lean to the left. No wait, to the right, yes the right. That’s it, catch the wave and SPIN!’ Whoo, stomach lurching as inertia caused it to end up in the back of her throat. Now this was a ride! The few brief glimpses she caught of Daniel and Teal’c as they whipped by showed they had caught a few waves themselves, leaving Daniel with a big smile and Teal’c looking like he always did, though she believed he appeared to be leaning slightly to the left on that last pass. As far as she could tell, the colonel hadn’t moved since the ride started. Sam could feel the ride begin to slow but not before they hit the crest just right and took one last wild whirl, strong enough to force her head back to rest against the vibrating metal of the back of the car.
All too briefly for her taste, the ride slowed and came to a shrieking metal stop. She tried to push the lap bar up to find it held in a death grip by her silent seatmate.
“Ah, sir?” She tried gently but got no response. “Sir, the ride’s over. We can get off now. Colonel? Teal’c! Daniel!”
The two men had made their way over, Teal’c displaying what was for him, a big smile. “Major Carter, I believe your and Daniel Jackson’s ride of choice was very pleasing. I desire to repeat this activity before the evening comes to an end.”
“I’m glad you liked it, Teal’c, but we’re going to need to get the colonel off this ride first.”
“Oh.” Daniel appeared to finally notice the incapacitated man at her side. Between the three of them, they were able to pry the man’s hands loose and navigate him off the ride and back onto solid ground. Finding a bench nearby, they managed to get him seated with Daniel taking a seat next to him.
“Jack?” He prompted with concern. “Jack, are you going to be okay? You look a little green.”
The first sign of life was the colonel turning towards Daniel to answer him. “Oh yeah, fine. I’m fine.” And with that, he leaned over and emptied the considerable contents of his stomach on the ground at Daniel’s feet. Sam was pretty sure she had a disgusted look that matched Daniel’s as she tried to look away. Teal’c as usual seemed unperturbed by the event.
“That’s great, Jack. Just. Great.”
Sam couldn’t tell if Daniel’s tone held revulsion, scorn, pity or a combination of all three. Knowing the man as she did, the last seemed the most likely. As if on cue, a maintenance crew happened by, pouring sawdust over the mess and walking nonchalantly away.
She heard one of the workers mutter, “Damn, what the hell did that guy eat?”
Sam stared at the deceptively innocuous looking pile of sawdust and tried to remember if she’d walked through any of those earlier, making her stomach turn in a way no where near as welcome as the ride just had.
“Perhaps you would care to freshen up, O’Neill?”
The ill man just nodded and obediently followed the Jaffa to the public restrooms. Daniel carefully slide further down the bench, obviously making sure his feet kept well clear of the sawdust.
“Well, that was fun. What should we do for an encore?” Sam’s response was cut off by a rolling clap of thunder followed closely by the pitter-patter of raindrops hitting the leaves on the branches just over their heads. Daniel looked at her through water-speckled glasses, a grin of irony on his face. “I asked for that.”
Sam couldn’t help but agree. Just as the rain was really picking up speed, making her worry they were going to get caught in an all out downpour, Teal’c and the colonel appeared beside them, each holding an open umbrella. Teal’c held his out to Sam, then opened a second one, handing it to Daniel. Opening the last one, the Jaffa cocked his head slightly as he looked up at his own, appearing to be in deep thought for a moment before speaking.
“I have procured us portable shelter. On a stick.”
The three human members of SG1 could only look at him, certain his statement was somehow wrong, but not quite sure enough to try to explain why. To break the silence, Sam turned to her attention to the colonel.
“Sir, you look better. How are you feeling?”
“Fine Carter, just fine.”
This time he seemed to really mean it, the green look was gone and she noted with horror that he was eyeing the nearby Pronto Pup stand.
“And since you can’t go on rides in the rain, we’ll just have to find something else to do.”
Sam wondered if the man had somehow gotten a hold of the touchstone temporarily, simply to get out of going on any more rides.
“As much fun as this has been, Jack, I think I’ve had all the fun I can take for one night. Teal’c, anything else you wanted to see before we leave?”
“I have heard tell of an activity where one uses a point tipped missile to rupture a balloon in an effort to receive a prize.”
“We should pass the games on our way to the parking area, Teal’c. We can try any of them you’d like,” she piped up. Maybe if she could get them to that area, they wouldn’t have to see the colonel eat anything. Sam didn’t think she wanted to see that again for a very long time.
“Great idea, Carter. I think we pass the cheese curds booth along the way. Let’s go kids.”
Maybe she could close her eyes.
~~ * ~~
One hour and one grand prize later, they were on their way towards the parking lot. Teal’c seemed oblivious to the stares of the crowd as he passed by carrying his well-earned treasure. The absurdity of a grown, and she might add, unusually large man walking with a four feet tall, candy pink elephant held proudly in his arms was lost on him and she was grateful for that. The guy that worked the balloon booth said no one had ever won the grand prize that he knew of. Even the colonel had seemed impressed. Her CO seemed to have bounced back from his ‘evil ride’ experience and had actually stopped to eat three more times as they made their way out, much to Daniel’s vocal dismay. Sam chose to pretend she didn’t notice.
They had reached the point where the colonel and Daniel would go their own way and she would give Teal’c a ride back to the base, though she wasn’t sure they’d both fit in her car along with ‘Teeny’, as they’d dubbed their new pink friend.
“So Teal’c, what did you think of your first state fair?” Daniel asked just before they split.
Teal’c looked at them for a few moments before answering.
“It was a day to remember, my friends. May we have many more such times together.”
Wow. Sam had to bat back tears at her normally stoic teammate's declaration and she was grateful for everything, even the colonel’s incredible, reappearing stick food. Daniel had a shy smile on his face as he stared at his feet.
Suddenly, the colonel broke the spell. “Do I have to hurl for all of them?”
“Indeed, you do not.”
“We could skip that part, sir.”
“My shoes would prefer if you didn’t.”
“So then, same time tomorrow?” their leader asked hopefully.
All three of them smiled at him in response. It seemed the state fair had not seen the last of SG1.
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