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The question that has been bothering Jack is how does Daniel keep his apartment so clean? This story is one possible answer.

Daniel rinsed out his coffee cup and had put it in the drainer to dry when there was a sharp, recognizable knock on his door. He looked at the clock. 11:15. Jack was supposed to be up at his lake by now. Why was he...'Don't even start to ask why!' he told himself, 'It's Jack!'

Daniel opened the door and barely got out of the colonel's way as he came barging in.

"Daniel. I know you said that you were going to stay home and clean this weekend, but I was thinking..." Jack stopped and looked around the apartment. "Daniel. This place is spotless! Did I just miss seeing your maid leave?"

"Jack, I don't have a maid."

"Sweep everything under the rug?"

"No."

"How do you do it? It's Saturday morning. There is no way you could have cleaned your entire apartment in just," Jack checked his watch, "three or four hours. Come to think of it, your apartment is always clean."

"Jack, do you really want to know?"

"Yes, Daniel. I really want to know."

"Dust covers."

"Dust covers? You mean like in the movies? Old houses that nobody's been in for years and all the furniture's covered in old sheets? That's your secret?"

"Yes. I cover everything in sheets before we go on a mission. It saves me a lot of work when it comes to cleaning."

"You don't do any cleaning?"

"Well, just before you got here, I was cleaning up in the kitchen," Daniel admitted.

"What, rinsing out your coffee cup?"

"Jack, weren't you going fishing this weekend?"

"Yeah, well, there's a big storm over Minnesota and..."

"And you didn't get the report finished for General Hammond."

"It's finished! I just want to polish it up a little. So...I'll see you later?"

"Um, Jack. Has this been bothering you for awhile?"

"What?"

"My apartment being clean. You thought you could come by unannounced and catch a maid in the act of cleaning?" Daniel asked.

"Well, yeah," Jack replied sheepishly.

"I'm sorry it's not what you thought it was."

"Maybe it's like believing in Santa Claus when you're a kid. You stay up Christmas Eve to catch him in the act of leaving out your presents and then you find out it's your dad in a suit. Hey! There's a hockey game tomorrow. What do you say we get Teal'c and Carter and all go together."

"Okay. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea!" Daniel replied.

"I'll call you later."

After Jack had left, Daniel went through his bedroom and into the bathroom.

"I still don't understand why you didn't want me to tell Jack about this."

The figure scrubbing the bathtub straightened and looked at Daniel.

"O'Neill would not comprehend my need to understand this ritual of yours."

"Teal'c, like I told you before, it's not a ritual. I don't need you clean my apartment."

"Yet you must perform this task upon your return from each mission."

"Yes. Everything gets dusty and so I have to clean when I get back."

"You have mentioned that it relaxes you as well."

"Well, it does give me time to think about things or even *not* think. The point is Teal'c, you don't have to do this."

"I must complete this."

"Okay. I'll be in the den if you need me. Oh, Jack wants all of us to go to a hockey game tomorrow."

"I will be ready."

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