|Life and Times at Cheyenne High
Author: AWildeRomantic PM
The ultimate high school!SG-1 adventure. Sam's two years at Cheyenne High School turn out to be far more than she'd expected as she tries to free herself and friends from the grip of the infamous gang known as the System Lords. SamJack among others.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Parody - S. Carter & J. O'Neill - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,602 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 23 - Updated: 03-02-08 - Published: 02-28-08 - id: 4102266
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 2: A Friend of Mine
"Watch how the moon sits in the sky on a dark night…"
- Linkin Park
The next week passed and Sam continued to settle into her new life. It got easier and easier as time went by, as she made more friends and found her own little niche in the sturdy social structure of Cheyenne High. Of course, it helped that one of the first people she'd met was Janet Fraiser, who, despite her size, could throw quite a bit of weight around when she wanted something done.
A week or so after Sam arrived everyone was eagerly discussing the homecoming game and dance which were on Saturday. Sam spent a few minutes wistfully wishing to go to the dance, but that quickly passed. She was new and still didn't have a 'significant other' as Daniel had put it, so other than a vague desire to do something that would probably end up annoying her father, she didn't feel much obligation to go. She and Daniel would go to the game, however, though only to see Janet cheer.
"It's always so much fun," Janet was saying to Sam over lunch on Tuesday. Daniel was off doing something for one of his teachers and so the two girls were left on their own for their lunch hour. "Really, you're going to love it. The game's really hype and then the parade and…" She grinned. "You should really come to the dance too."
"I'm not exactly a dance type of person, really…" Sam shrugged. It was a bit of a lie, but she didn't want Janet to keep pestering her about it. "It's not my thing. Besides, I'd look pretty dumb going by myself."
Janet waved one hand dismissively. "So we'll find you a date! Ok, so if you could go out with any guy in the school…"
"Come on, you must think someone here is cute!" Janet moaned desperately, staring at Sam with a trademark, wide eyed, pleading expression.
Sam had been digging through her bag and looked up at Janet with a glare. "Cute, sure. But dateable? Definitely not."
"Well, cute then, cute's a start!" Janet's eyes widened even more, if that was possible. "This cute person has a name, doesn't he?"
Sam could feel her cheeks burning a little. She felt a little stupid and conformist admitting it, even just to herself. Admitting it would mean lowering herself to the rank of every other drooling, boy crazy girl in the school and she wasn't quite ready to do that just yet. Especially because her first impression of Jack O'Neill so far had been that he was a pompous jerk, no matter how entrancing his eyes were. No. She definitely couldn't tell anyone, not even Janet. "It doesn't matter. He's a senior, so I definitely wouldn't date him."
Janet pouted. "Poo. You're not going to tell me?"
With a resigned sigh, Janet crumpled up her napkin and tossed it onto her tray, still shooting disappointed glances at Sam. "But you're coming to the game? With Daniel, right? Because I don't know if I can trust my guy alone." She giggled.
"Yeah yeah," Sam said, rolling her eyes. "I'm coming to the game."
Saturday morning turned out to be comfortable enough, but there was still that now ever present autumnal chill in the air. Sam and Daniel packed onto the bleachers out behind the school with the rest of their classmates to watch the game, as their own fearless Warriors battled it out against the Cougars from a rival school.
"Didn't Cassie want to come?" Sam shouted, leaning over towards Daniel to be heard above the noise of the fans.
Daniel shrugged. "Janet said she doesn't really like football games. Doesn't surprise me. She's so shy."
It was true. It had taken Cassie a good week or so before she actually started talking to Sam. But once she did it was apparent how much she'd taken to her sister's new friend, and now had begun trailing around after Sam like a shadow whenever she could. Sam thought it was cute, and Janet seemed relieved that it was Sam and not herself that Cassie was clinging to.
"She might be cute to you," Janet had told Sam a few days ago. "But as my little sister she can be soo effing annoying sometimes…"
Sam wasn't really following the game. She'd never been a sports person and found the whole concept slightly pointless. Besides, she'd only come to see Janet, anyway. Daniel didn't seem very interested in the game either. He kept his eyes glued on where Janet was with the other cheerleaders and when Sam happened to glance over Janet shot Daniel a dazzling smile that left him more than a little red in the face.
She did pay a little attention to the game, watching the two teams and cheering whenever the Warriors scored. The largest kid on the team was a junior named Teal'c. Sam had seen him around school, it was hard not to, to tell the truth. He was a good half a foot taller than most of the other students and twice as wide, though it was all obviously rock hard muscle. The boy had his own fan club of swooning girls, though it wasn't quite as all encompassing as O'Neill, and Sam had heard rumors that Teal'c was involved with the System Lords.
Despite herself, Sam felt her eyes following O'Neill as he moved about the field. Then she'd catch herself doing it and mentally kick herself in the ass, and look away or lean over to say something to Daniel.
Finally the game ended and they stood up with everyone else, letting themselves be pushed out of the bleachers and back towards the building. They spotted Janet hurrying over a few minutes later, still in her cheer leading uniform.
Daniel immediately threw his arms around her, hugging her close and picking her up off the ground as he spun her around, then set her down and kissed her. "You were great, as usual."
"Of course." Janet grinned cheekily, kissing him back. She walked over and linked her arm through Sam's, leaning against her taller friend as the three of them headed towards the parking lot. "Told you it would be fun."
"Sure." Sam grinned, looking over the top of Janet's head at Daniel, who rolled his eyes and shrugged in a 'what can you do' sort of way.
What happened next happened so suddenly that Sam wasn't quite sure what was going on. One minute people were laughing and talking and shouting so loudly that at first no one really paid much attention to the loud bang that echoed off the surrounding buildings. They all assumed it was a car backfiring or someone shooting off some fireworks…and then all of the sudden people were screaming and running in a great wave away from the building in a dizzying panic.
"What the hell?!" Janet cried. Her arm tightened around Sam's, her other hand shooting out to grab Daniel's in an attempt to prevent them from getting separated. "What's going on…?!" They were all being pushed back in the direction of the parking lot, luckily.
"Hey!" Daniel reached out and grabbed the arm of a boy that Sam recognized from their English class. "What happened?"
The boy looked at Daniel, wide eyed and frighted. "Some guy's been shot! One of the kids on our team…they were going back into the locker room and some System Lord guys came up and they had a gun…I saw it from the bleachers…"
Fear rushed into Sam's stomach. She could already hear police sirens growing louder in the distance and leaned forward towards the boy. "Who was it?!"
The boy's eyes were darting nervously from side to side as though he was afraid the System Lords might pop out at any second and open fire on the crowd. "N-number 34, I think."
"Kowalski…!" Janet breathed. She tugged her hands away from Sam and Daniel, covering her mouth and looking shocked. "Oh God…"
Numbly they continued back to the parking lot. The police had pulled up by then and from what Sam caught of what they were saying, they'd managed to grab the kids who'd had the gun. Janet grabbed a hold of Sam and Daniel once again, all but dragging them along behind her to her car. Once inside with the doors closed all the noises from outside - the frightened shouts and screaming and sirens - seemed to finally die away.
"We'll go back to my place," Janet said, shaking. Neither Sam nor Daniel had any objection to that and merely exchanged a blank look as Janet pulled away.
Janet's house was a small, run down single family home a few miles from school. Sam was a little surprised by it; she'd never been to Janet's house before and it certainly wasn't what she imagined. Everyone at school always assumed that Janet's family was well off, she always wore the latest fashions and never seemed short on money. But thinking back Sam now remembered Daniel saying something about the two jobs she had to keep up appearances…
Cassie was sitting on the couch when they trooped in. She grinned when she saw them and leapt up, rushing over to wrap her arms around Sam the way a little girl might hug a teddy bear. Sam managed a weak smile and, pleased, Cassie returned to the couch.
A short, nondescript woman who must be their mother came out of the door that led into the kitchen. She looked like she might have once had some of Janet's beauty, but it had all become hidden under a layer of fatigue.
"Janet…? What's wrong?" She glanced at the three juniors, noticing the worried expressions on their faces.
"A kid on the team just got shot…" Janet said weakly, wandering over to the television and switching it to the news, then turning it off again once she saw they didn't have anything. "System Lords."
"Dear lord what is this world coming to…" Mrs. Fraiser said, shaking her head before returning to the kitchen.
Sam frowned slightly at the television. "You'd think they have something about it."
"They might later…a little thing…" Janet murmured. "But people get shot and killed by the SL all the time…it's not that rare…"
"Dad's not home yet," Cassie said from where she sat on the corner of the couch. "He's gonna freak when he hears about this."
"Yeah," Janet nodded dully, then started towards the stairs, motioning for Daniel and Sam to come with her. "Come on, lets go up to my room."
Janet got a call from one of the other girls on the squad a little later. After hanging up the phone she collapsed onto the bed next to Daniel, burying her face in his shoulder. Looking worried, Sam moved to sit on Janet's other side, reaching out and touching her back.
"Janet…?" she said tentatively.
Janet sniffed loudly, sitting up. "Kowalski didn't make it…he was gone before they even got him to the hospital…"
Daniel's arm tightened around her shoulders and he leaned over, kissing the top of her head comfortingly.
Sam leaned back against the wall, a frown crossing her face. She didn't like Kowalski. She doubted that, given the chance, she probably couldn't ever like him. He didn't seem to have any redeeming qualities. And yet…she felt a sick, choking feeling when she thought about it. He hadn't deserved that. No one would deserve that.
"I…I should probably go home," Sam said quietly, standing up and grabbing her jacket from where she'd set it. "If my dad finds out what happened and I'm not home…"
Janet nodded, wiping the back of her hand across her eyes. "I'll drive you."
"You sure? I can always take the bus…"
"No, Sam, really. It'll be fine." Janet stood up and Daniel followed suit.
Jacob was beside himself with worry when he got home later. His immediate reaction was to pull Sam into a bone cracking hug, demanding to know over and over again if she was all right.
"Dad, I'm fine!" Sam cried, finally pulling away from him. "Seriously! I'm just a little…shaken up about it. I didn't even see it happen or anything, I was on the other side of the building."
She followed her father into the dining room. Sighing heavily Jacob walked over to the sideboard to pour himself a drink. "I know, Sam, I was just so worried about you. I heard on the news what happened and I rushed home as fast as I could…" He took a long sip of brandy and shook his head slowly. "I don't like this. I'm going to put in a request to transfer somewhere safer."
"Dad!" Despite what had happened Sam found the idea of moving again repulsive. "I just started making friends here, we can't…"
"Sammy! If you ever got hurt or killed I would never forgive myself," Jacob said, setting his now empty glass down with a thud. He was glaring at her in his special fierce, parental, I'm-sorry-but-I'm-doing-this-because-I-love-you glare.
Sam glared right back. "Give it another chance. It's not like this is something that happens every day or anything."
Jacob stared at her for a minute, lips pursed and brow furrowed. "We'll see. I'm still going to check with my CO and see if there are openings anywhere else, but…I guess this isn't a definite one way or the other. But if anything happens to convince me otherwise, we're moving, transfer or not. And next year I'm going to at least try and get you into a better school."
"My brother called me on Saturday," Sam said Monday morning as she sat with Daniel and Janet in their usual spot on the bench under the trees. "He heard about what happened and wanted to know if I was ok."
Janet shot her a sideways look. "You make it sound like that's weird."
"He doesn't usually talk to me." Sam said, shrugging. "After our mom died he kinda cut himself off…I mean…we both blamed Dad for it but I guess Mark just never forgave him." Sam looked down, feeling her throat start closing up the way it usually did when she talked about her mother. It had happened years ago and yet she still found it an almost unbearably painful subject.
She felt the lump in her throat shrink a little when Janet pulled her into a hug. "We're all ok," Janet said quietly. "I'm just happy about that."
A somber air had settled like a shroud over the school, or maybe it was just in Sam's imagination. She couldn't quite tell. Someone had set up a little makeshift memorial out by the football field and people were leaving letters and flowers and teddy bears…everyone seemed to be talking quieter too and the mood wasn't helped by the presence of a few more security guards.
The full impact of it all didn't really hit Sam until she walked into Math and saw O'Neill sitting in the front row, chin resting on his folded arms, a glum expression on his face. The other boys he usually hung out with were at their regular spots in the back, talking amongst themselves. Cautiously, Sam sat in the desk next to O'Neill.
He glanced over and caught her watching him. "What?" he snapped.
"I…" Sam bit her lip, not sure what to say. "I'm sorry about Kowalski."
O'Neill snorted, sitting back in his chair and folding his arms over his chest. "What would you know about it?""
"My mom died a couple years ago." It came out sounding so matter-of-fact that Sam surprised herself. Maybe it was because she'd already been talking to Janet and Daniel about it, or maybe she was just overcompensating to keep her emotions in check.
"Sucks," O'Neill muttered, shooting her a fleeting look of pity. "My little brother Charlie died too. Got hit by a stray bullet."
Sam's eyes widened. She had no idea what to say to something like that; apparently there was a lot more to Jack O'Neill than met the eye.
"Don't bother to say something," he grumbled, hunching his shoulders and looking down at his desk. "You live your whole life I this fucking city and you can't avoid loosing people to them. Not that someone like you would be able to understand that."
They lapsed into silence. Hammond took roll as usual and put the warm-up on the board. Sam was just finishing the last problem when O'Neill spoke again, quietly.
"He was in with them."
"Huh?" Sam looked at him, a little surprised. His last remark had left her with the feeling that he'd rather not talk to her and yet here he was.
"Kowalski was in with the System Lords," Jack was resting his chin in one hand. "It wasn't an accident that he got shot."
Sam gaped at him. "Did you tell the police?"
"Yeah, but they'd guessed it already. He wasn't a member or nothing…just dealt with them. Drugs or whatever." Sam didn't miss the backwards glance that Jack shot at the boys sitting in the back of the room and it slowly dawned on her as to why he probably wasn't sitting with them.
"Them too?" She said in barely more than a whisper.
"More people than you'd think," Jack said, not looking at her. "But shit, my friend was fucking killed by them cus he rubbed someone the wrong way. I'm not going to have anything to do with them, not that I ever really wanted to..."
"I don't get why anyone would be involved with them."
"Pfft, Geek, you're so proving my point," Jack said, laughing bitterly. "Ok, seriously, where're you from?"
"A lot of places, I guess…I mean Dad's in the Air Force, so…"
"There you go. You don't know what it's like to live like this because you probably always get the best of whatever. You're probably like those army brats and are used to having guards at the gate. You don't know what it's like to live where there are System Lords whatever way you turn. Sometimes you can't help but get involved in them. Sometimes 'cuz of your family, sometimes you just don't have any other choice. It's easy for you to say stuff like that because you couldn't possibly understand."
Sam sighed, about to reply but Hammond drew their attention back up to the front of the room. She knew that tomorrow O'Neill would probably go back to his usual spot and never speak to her again, and that this brief conversation was the only one she'd have with him, and yet he surprised her again when the bell rang at the end of class and they all stood up to head out. As he shoved his books into his backpack, Jack turned to her and flashed a weak smile her way, saying "See you tomorrow, Geek," before leaving the classroom.
Sam stared after him for a moment before remembering that she did have another class to hurry off to, which she did with a slight smile on her face. She didn't like him, of course, she wouldn't be reduced to just another girl pining after him, but still, the fact that he'd talked to her certainly wasn't a bad thing...