Jack scowled, and tapped his finger against the side of the tank. Had it moved? Maybe it was asleep -- The corpse was dislodged from the weeds tethering it in place after a particularly hard thud on the glass and drifted upward, taking his hopes with it.
Belly-up, it floated, dead beyond all hope of resuscitation, although even in his guilty panic Jack didn't quite contemplate mouth-to-mouth.
Sam walked in, her gaze travelling between tank and mourner.
"Yes, Carter. Again. All dead. Why does he do this to me? Why leave me in charge of the damn things?"
"He trusts you?"
"No, he doesn't!" O'Neill rolled his eyes. "Thought you were the smart one. I catch 'em, Carter; I eat them. I don't coddle them and spend hours watching them swim around and around and around..."
"I pissed him off again, didn't I?"
An unholy light shone in Jack's eyes as he reached for the phone book and started flipping pages. Fish weren't under 'F'. How crazy was that? "And this time, I'm going to be the one laughing. Where's that place he gets them from? The one with the stuffed shark's head in the window?"
"Sir, I'm not sure he - I mean, Daniel likes those fish. He wouldn't sacrifice them just to make you feel inadequate and guilty."
Jack gave her an incredulous stare. "How long have you known him? It's exactly what he'd do!"
Carter shook her head firmly and he pouted and caved. "Still going to let him come back from P4Y-378 to a tankful of living, flapping, swimming their hearts out fish. Fish that haven't pined and died. Fish that have partied and made little fishies for Granddad Daniel to cootchy-coo over."
"Yes, sir," Carter said dutifully in the voice she kept for his more whimsically charming moments.
Daniel was delayed on P4Y-378 by the discovery of an inner chamber to the tomb, the walls scrawled over, dense with information.
The fin-count hit a record high.
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