TITLE: Long time, no see.
AUTHOR: Mara Jade
RATING: PG.-13 to be on the safe side
CATEGORY: Humour/ Episode related/ A wee bit of angsty stuff; blink and you'll miss it.
SUMMARY: At a High School reunion he can't avoid, Jack suffers the fall-out of appearing on the news with Kinsey.
SPOILERS: Smoke and Mirrors, various other small mentions up to the beginning of Season 7
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Well, this is an interesting mixture of POV and stream of consciousness. I've never really written anything in this style before, but I did it without realising it to start with. It was inspired by the latest chapter of Flatkatsi's amazing General Jack series and her observation that there aren't many Jack Reunion fics out there so much, much Kudos to her. Hope it lived up to what you were expecting.
Thanks again to Binksbabe for beta'ing this and stopping me from giving you all a fic that didn't really have an ending. THANK YOU!!!
DISCLAIMER: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of ShowTime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and back story are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
"O'Neill," the comment, barked sleepily into the phone, came out sounding much harsher than he'd intended. However, in true Jack O'Neill style, he didn't care. If it were anyone who mattered they'd know him well enough to know that he was not a morning person.
"Jack, Jack O'Neill?"
"It's Kevin Foster – from high school."
"Kev?" he repeated in disbelief. Why the hell was a friend from high school phoning him?
He heard laughter done the phone. "Not expecting a call from someone you haven't seen in nearly thirty years?"
"Well, it wasn't exactly at the top of my list of things to expect."
Kev chuckled. "Do you know how hard you are to track down? You could at least pretend to be pleased to hear from me," he joked.
Jack sighed and shifted in his bed, sitting up. "Sorry," he mumbled. "You woke me up."
"…It's two in the afternoon."
"Right. I've been out of the country. Different time-zones and all that." Well, he'd been saving the planet… Well, he'd been saving Jonas's planet and a whole bunch of other planets by extension.
"Something like that." Okay, so risking his life for an ungrateful alien planet wasn't quite a holiday…
"So Jack, what are you doing on Friday?"
"I dunno…hang on a minute and I'll check." He switched the phone to his other ear and padded through to the kitchen, dressed only in an Academy T-shirt and boxers. No doubt if he'd been awake, he would have made the connection right away. "On Friday…I'm on downtime; teambuilding. Why'd you ask?" That's right, today was Sunday and he'd been asleep since…wow, eight o'clock the night before.
"Oh, so not something you can wangle your way out of?" Did Kev sound a little crestfallen?
"Depends…how important is what you have planned?" Is it saving-the-world important? 'Cause that's the least it's going to take to get Hammond to let the team off this one.
"School Reunion. Jess practically ordered me to hunt you down and make you come after you missed the last two." Not missed per se…more: deliberately didn't go. Or was in Iraq with a broken leg and a fractured skull at the time. Or it might have been in an Iraqi prison…he tried not to remember.
"Now Jess Foster."
"You married Stet?"
Kev chuckled. He seemed to do that a lot. "Married and had four kids with her."
"They're a little late, but thanks. So do you think that you'd be able to make it?"
"I'll have to talk to my boss, but we've just got back our fourth member after a year out, and he lost his memory so…" Code for Danny ascended, descended, and keeps calling me everything but my real name.
"There's just the four of you? Why not bring them along?" Damn, and just when he thought he'd got out of it.
"Thanks, I'll talk to them about it."
"Talk to who about what, Jeff?" Damn, why did he have to return Daniel's spare key?
"Jack," he corrected absently before realising that Daniel was smirking at him. "Hey! You did that on purpose!"
"O'Neill. You appear to be only half dressed." Thank you Teal'c, oh master of the obvious.
"Is that them?" Kev's voice resonated from the phone he still held, reminding him he was there.
"Guys, he's on the phone!" Carter exclaimed, motioning for them to hush.
"Yeah, that's them, in all their pain-in-the-ass glory!" The last bit was said more for their benefit than Kev's.
Kev laughed. Again. "Why don't you ask them now, see if they're up for it before you ask your boss." Crap, there goes excuse number two.
"Alright, just a minute." He put the receiver against his shoulder, blocking out as much of their conversation as was polite…it'd be a bit suspicious if he had to block it out completely. "Hey, campers, it's my school reunion on Friday, and we're all invited, but it'll mean taking a day out of our 'teambuilding'." Please say no, please say no, please say no.
"I would be honoured to attend a gathering of your friends, O'Neill." Crap…still, if he was outvoted by Danny and Carter…
"Sounds fun, Jack," Daniel said, looking up from his examination of a photo and no doubt trying to remember if he was supposed to recognise it. Why? WHY? Did they want to see him suffer? Don't answer that…
Carter…Carter was somewhere between a pitiful look and an evil smirk. "Well if Daniel, Murray, and you want to, then that's okay with me." He really needed to talk to Jake about her…sometimes he was sure she was evil. Glaring at Daniel's back, he lifted the phone to his ear again.
"Looks like the team's up for it, and Hammond never could resist Daniel's puppy dog look so…we'll be there." He injected as much cheer into it as he could without sounding like a sixteen-year-old cheerleader.
"Great! I think that all of the Hotels around here are booked up for some concert or something, but you can come and stay with Jess and I, we've got plenty of room."
"You sure, there's four of us?"
"Sure, no problem. You got an email address I can send all the info to? It's easier than dictating it all over the phone."
"Sure, j-dot-oneill, no apostrophe, at-cmc-dot-gov-dot-com,"
"Cool, I'll send this right away. Looks like it'll be the old gang back together again." Well, maybe there was something worthwhile coming out of this.
"Take care, buddy." With Daniel, Teal'c, and Carter in tow? Was he kidding?
"You too." He hung up and threw the phone on the side, glaring at his team. Daniel was, of course, oblivious. Teal'c and Carter…they were just evil.
"O'Neill, you are still in your undergarments," See? Evil.
"Hi, welcome to class of '69's thirty-year reunion." Oh god, she had to have been one of the cheerleader groupies. "What's your name?" Why was she looking at him weird?
"Oh, that's right, Jess said you'd be bringing three guests…" She looked at them expectantly, waiting for their names. "Sam Carter, Murray Teal'c." what? It's what the fake ID he'd been given for going out of the base said. Well, after they'd realised he'd need one after the whole Martin debacle. "And Daniel Jackson." Oh for crying out loud…she was using a fancy swirly calligraphy writing as well. At least she's not making eyes at Da-whoops, spoke too soon.
"Please, go on in. Have a nice evening." Do you think it hurts to smile like that for so long?
He led them into the all-too-familiar gym, scanning the room and immediately locating the most important feature…the bar. If he was going to do this then he'd damn well have a beer in hand…and another and another…Wonder if being ascended affected Danny's alcohol tolerance? He'd just have to test that.
Ah, portable bar-thing. He looked at his team and raised his eyebrows.
"Orange." Spoil sport.
"I also will have an orange juice." Okay, so he'd expected nothing less from the Jaffa, who was their ride to Kev's later. The big guy was wearing an interesting Trilby to cover his symbol. Well, it had said a dress-code of 'smart-casual', and it was a least a million times better than the cowboy hat or the monstrosity with the dangly corks…
"Beer, please, Sir," at least Carter had some taste.
"Cut the 'sirs,' will you, Carter?" If he could make it through this without having to explain that he couldn't explain what he did for a living, he'd be a happy man. He didn't really expect to manage it, but why give up without trying.
Carter rolled her eyes. "Fine, Jack if you cut the 'Carter's." Damn, busted.
"Fine, Sam." He cut himself off as the bartender finished serving one short bald guy he didn't recognise. "Two Buds, two Orange Juices." He glanced at the person who moved to the bar next to him, inwardly sighing as the guy's gaze shifted to the nametag on his chest. Wait, why was that guy familiar…nametag said…
"You're looking good, Jack!" He left the fact that he hadn't recognised him out of it. Kev was still tall, mostly dark-haired, and cheery. He had considerably less grey hair than Jack – he blamed Daniel – but he also had the look of someone who had been muscly and fit for most of their lives, but had gone to pot recently…too much beer, not enough exercise.
"You too." Okay, so he'd admit that he was glad to see the guy again. It had been way too long. "Thanks," he said to the bartender as the last of the drinks were placed in front of him. He handed them out, introducing the people as he did, "Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson, Murray Teal'c. Guys, this is Kev Foster, my old best friend. Where's Stet?"
"She's…" Kev scanned the room, eventually spotting her. "Over there. C'mon; I'm under orders to make sure you come and say hello."
"Jess, Honey, you remember Jack O'Neill?"
"Jackie?!" Damn…she had to remember that particular nickname, didn't she?
"Stet, looking go-" His comments were strangled off as Jess threw her arms around him. Hello, someone's been at the booze already.
"And here we have Carl, Fred, Sally, Paula, and Jeff." Hey, it really was the old gang back together again. Why were they all staring as if he'd grown an extra head?
"What?" he asked in frustration.
"You look so…" Paula began.
"Different." He didn't remember Jeff being quite this blunt before…
"It's the hair," Fred commented.
"What? It's not that grey." At least he didn't have several spare tires, hey, Fred?
"No, no, it's just…short."
"I do not believe O'Neill's hair is that short." Teal'c commented, feeling the need to come to his friend's rescue.
"Well, yeah, but he used to have shoulder-length blonde hair that most of the slu- cheerleaders would've killed for." Oh yeah, he remembered that…they went about the time he joined the Air Force. Was that-did Carter just snort?
"Something funny, Sam?"
"Just trying to imagine you with hair. Shoulder length, blonde hair." Knew he shouldn't have come. Knew it, knew it, knew it, knew it.
"Are you kidding? He was the sexiest guy in school," Sally commented, grinning at him. Wait, Carter wasn't laughing at that…was she smirking?…and nodding? Nope, he was imagining it. Trick of the light.
"Here's an idea; let's talk about someone else!"
"Nah; we already went through the stories about everyone else the last two reunions."
"And there are just so many about Jack the rebel-without-a-cause-that-still-managed-to-get-straight-A's-at-the-same-time-as-almost-getting-expelled-every-week."
"Straight A's?" Now Daniel was looking at him weird. And he could have sworn he'd heard the name 'Kinsey' muttered at least three times in the last five minutes.
He put on his best who-me? look. "Why is that so hard to believe?"
"I know I may not remember a lot of things but…" Good, if Danny didn't believe him then his dumb-colonel act was still watertight. Ish.
"That's right, Kev said one of Jack's friends had lost his memory…?" Way to go Daniel, draw the attention away from the guy with normal things to talk about, and to the guy with the distinctly weak cover story. And they wanted to know how. Of course.
"I, uh, I was in an accident."
"Oh, I'm sorry." Damn, he'd told Kev he'd been away for a year. Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn.
"Yeah, he was in a plane crash…we all thought he was dead, but we eventually found him with a nomadic tribe in Mongolia after a year." Thank you Carter, I knew there was a reason you had a PhD. Aside from saving the planet. Or the Galaxy. Or Thor's Galaxy.
"Wow. So what is it that you do? Jack never told us." Okay, so that wasn't so good. Inevitable though.
Jack grinned. Might as well make a bit of an impact then. "Colonel Jack O'Neill, USAF."
"I knew it! I knew I recognised you from somewhere!" Hello? Who are you and why do you recognise me? Why do I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach?
Jack turned slowly to face an obese man with huge sweat patches and food down his front. "Excuse me?"
"You're the guy that that killed Senator Kinsey!" Oh, he should have known that would come back and bite him in the ass at some point.
"I'm pretty sure I didn't…I'd remember if I had." Was there someone, somewhere with a little doll of him, sticking pins in its head and making everything possibly imaginable go wrong?
"Bobby Jones." That's it…he was the obligatory fat bully. Not that all bullies were fat. There was just a general predilection for the short ones, or the fat ones, to feel the need to put others down to make themselves feel better.
"Kinsey is not dead. Nor did O'Neill attempt to assassinate him." Even the cocky bully cowered in fear of Teal'c. Sweet.
"No, that's right; it was all part of a secret operation to take out some rogue government agents." Carl, why did you have to remember? What did I ever do to you?
He caught Sam's gaze as murmurs sprung up around them, all of them apparently remembering now. This was not good. This lead to questions…definitely not good.
"I thought that it was a Colonel Jonathon O'Neill…"
"Uh…Sal…Jack is a shortening of Jonathon."
"Oh. It is?"
"Hey! Standing right here!" He grabbed a passing tray of drinks, downing two in quick succession.
"So is Kinsey really as nice as he seems on TV?"
Kinsey? Nice? Senator Robert 'I'm going to betray an evil organisation who kidnap people, threaten others, steal from our allies and then try to have me killed, conveniently pinning it on an innocent man and making him suffer' Kinsey? "No. The Senator is an Ass." Ha! That shut them up. "Now, if you don't mind, I am going to go outside, where I don't have to think about that slimy, double-crossing snake."
The people who had once known him so well stared in shock as he turned on his heel and left. Shaking her head at Daniel and Teal'c, Sam followed him. A best friend who couldn't remember his name half the time was not something he needed right now, and Daniel needed Teal'c to chaperone him. She drained her beer and grabbed two glasses of the cheap wine that was floating around on trays on her way.
"What's with him?" one ditzy blonde, who looked as if she'd had one too many encounters with a plastic surgeon asked.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "You do not know what has happened to him since you last saw him. You cannot imagine the things that he's suffered to keep you and your fellow countrymen safe. You owe him much." He turned, and pulled Daniel off towards a more secluded area of the gym, ignoring the stunned looks that he received. They would tell him that he was born in another country.
He didn't look up as Carter joined him, sitting down on his left and leaning against the cold wall with him.
He shouldn't have done that, shouldn't have lost his rag like that. It's just that Kinsey was synonymous with the NID – to him, at least – which reminded him of all the crap that the SGC and SG-1 in particular had suffered at their hands.
Couple that with the memory of being imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, having his name slandered in the papers, and various more interesting aspects of his personal life shared with the press. Well, put simply, his self-control and caring went 'poof'. Just like that…one second they were there, then they were gone.
Carter still hadn't said anything, knowing that his way of dealing with it involved no one other than him. When she first knew him, she would have tried to get him to talk about it. Hell, even a couple of years ago she would have at least made some comforting comment which, despite being touching, were far outweighed by the sheer annoyance of the platitudes.
God, he was grateful for the comfort of a friendly presence, though. Daniel wasn't helping in that matter. Mr-I-can't-remember-your-name-half-the-time-and-my-mind's-so-scrambled-that-I-hit-on-Carter. Kind of. In a roundabout, 'just checking' kind of a way.
He suddenly realised that she was holding two glasses of wine. "One of those for me?" She nodded and handed him one. He'd talk if and when he was ready to. He downed the drink and started fiddling with the glass. It was times like this that he wondered why he ever bothered to save the world. "Y'know, Carter, I sometimes wonder why we ever bother to save the world. It's not even as if they're nice, and they don't appreciate it…"
Carter shrugged. "And then there's the people like Daniel, General Hammond, Janet, Cass…would you rather the entire world hero-worshipped you? Like Felger does?" Okay, so maybe it wasn't such a bad thing. He may be a tactile person, but only with people he knew. Who weren't creepy, obsessive, Nancy-boy nerds. Daniel wasn't creepy. Or that obsessive. Or a Nancy-boy, not recently anyway. He was just a nerd. Without a memory. Should he be worried that he has these little arguments inside his head? Nah. Carter talks to her plants, and she's not crazy. Until she starts trying to think up plans to save – insert name of planet -.
Carter shifted a little. How long had they sat there? He guessed that he probably owed it to his real friends to go back in there and make with the friendly. He wouldn't apologise though. Not in a million years.
He heaved a sigh and pushed himself to his feet, ignoring the crack of his knees. He turned back to Carter and held a hand out to her. She grabbed it and he pulled her up, smoothly pulling her into a hug. She immediately tensed. "Thanks," he murmured and she relaxed.
This was the purely platonic kind of hug. The kind that he shared with Daniel. Occasionally. And he would share with Teal'c, if Teal'c wasn't so…stoic.
She stepped back and gave him a smile before they turned to walk back to the hall. Then she grimaced and hobbled a little. He grabbed her arm, thinking she was going to topple over. The wine wasn't that potent was it? It tasted like paint stripper… "You okay?"
She gave him a wry grin. "My ass has gone numb."
He would not make a comment about rubbing some life back into it. He wouldn't, no matter how tempting it was. "Want me to rub some life back into it?" Damn. He had no will power. Okay so he missed the easy flirting they'd shared before the Za'tarc thing; he was only human. Hell, he was only a man and Carter was definitely a woman. Could they really blame him? Yes…and court-marshal him. How come Danny and Teal'c never had this problem?
She rolled her eyes and laughed. That made him grin. Definitely not what the people who turned to look when he entered the hall had been expecting.
"Howdy folks!" He gave a little wave and the people self-consciously turned back to their conversations, watching him out of the corner of their eyes. They would so never make it in covert ops…Jonas had been subtler when he watched things with that wide-eyed look and huge-ass creepy grin.
Now where were…"T, Daniel, drink?"…Beer…mmm…beer. Sweet Nectar of Life. Homer Simpson had it right. They'd refreshed their drinks in his absence. Had he really been out there that long?
"I'll get them," Carter offered, disappearing into the crowd. Teal'c raised an eyebrow at him, to which he nodded minutely. He was okay. Morbid five minutes over. The though of rubbing Carter's…Bad! Bad thoughts. Not to be had.
When Carter returned a few minutes later, beers in hand, the 'old crowd' had just converged on him. Again.
"So, Jack, you married?" Great, small talk of the kind that made him grumpy. Why couldn't they ask him about fishing? He could talk about that for hours.
"Divorced." Why did she keep looking at Carter? Just as long as they don't ask about-
"Any kids?" Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. He could lie, say no, which was true really. But Charlie deserved more.
"A son. He died." Well, they'd stopped asking questions…now if the sympathetic looks would stop.
"What happened?" Oh, no, more questions. At least they hadn't tried to say they were sorry.
"He accidentally shot himself." Admitting that it was with his gun was asking just a leeetle too much of him. Cough and change subject. "So, what about you lot? Kev said you had kids?" See…works everytime. And he was actually interested. They were old friends after all…considering that Kev and Stet had been at each others throats half the time, it was quite a turn around.
That went down well. Until they started talking about jobs. "So what is it that you do for the Air Force?"
In that case, he might as well have a little fun with this. "Ah, well if I told you that then I'd have to kill you." Heh. "Seriously though, I explore other planets and fight an inter-galactic war to save the planet." Heh. And they thought he was joking.
"Yeah, Jack, and Wormhole X-treme's real."
If he looked at any member of his team right now, he'd never be able to keep a straight face.
"Okay, so we work in Deep Space Radar Telemetry."
"Oh, in that NORAD place in Colorado?" Right, Kev had been the one to track him down, so he knew where he lived.
"That's the one."
"Really?" Stet frowned. "Okay, who are you and what have you done with adrenaline-junkie-Jack?"
"Actually, we get to fly to other countries and check out sites and equipment, too." Way to go Carter. That accounts for Danny's 'accident' too.
"See Daniel here is, among other things, a linguist. How many languages do you speak?" That's it…all focus on the dweeb, not me.
"I believe that, at last count, you spoke 23 languages, many of them dead." Ah, yes, Teal'c of the almost-photographic memory. Uh, Fred, buddy, you might want to lift your chin off the floor…and Sally…you're drooling.
"…So a linguist, an Air Force Colonel…" They looked at Teal'c.
Uh… "I am a specialist in many of the more remote cultures, and an expert woodsman. I am familiar with many of the places that we visit. I was born in one such tribe." 'Kay, so T's the tour guide, and he just explained why he's so weird. Sweet.
Now they're looking at Carter.
"And you're here with Jack?" Carl, you are an ass.
"Actually, I'm a Major in the Air Force and a Theoretical Astrophysicist, as well as being Colonel O'Neill's 2IC. There are very strict anti-frat regs." Wow…Carter was giving him a full-blown glare. One of the ones that made Cadets quiver…and not because of hormones. The 'I could kick your ass three ways from Sunday and back again but you're beneath me' glare. Carl, you might just as well have opened your mouth and shoved your foot in there. Did he-he did; he just squeaked. Even Daniel doesn't squeak when faced with people killing him. Mind you, he never stays dead…
He couldn't help but laugh. "And that, my friends, is why you should never crack a blonde joke within several kilometres of Carter."
Carter smiled sweetly. "Not if you want kids, anyway." Cheeky SOB…or would that be DOB?
"Hey, didn't you challenge Jack to an arm wrestle the first time you met him?" Great Daniel, now you chose to remember stuff.
Hah! Carter's blushing. Serves her right.
"I never thought I'd see the day that Jack O'Neill would stay in the same room as people he dubbed 'Geeks', let alone have two of them on a team with him, in the Air Force."
"Yeah, well, Carter can fly a plane, build a bomb and fire a P-90 better than most people, so she doesn't count as a geek."
"I'm touched, sir."
She's known me way too long. She's picking up on my sarcasm now. "And Daniel's Geekiness is outweighed by Murray's overwhelming coolness."
"Why do you put up with a jerk like that?" Thanks, Stet, just the vote of confidence I needed.
Sam shrugged. "I was ordered to, he's had worse superiors, and he doesn't remember."
Carter, have you been snaked? "Gee, thanks. Glad to see you think so much of me."
"Always a pleasure, sir."
"You know what, I'm telling 'Dad' just how bad his influence has been."
"I thought your dad had died?"
"What? Oh, no, General Jacob Carter, Retired. He stays with one of the foreign groups as a liaison." Wow, he hadn't realised how good he'd got at reciting bits of his cover story.
"…And you call him Dad?"
"Only to annoy him."
"Of course. This is Jack O'Neill we're talking about."
"Hey! I can be diplomatic…"
What? He could. He organised a treaty between the Rebel Jaffa and the Tok'ra…give him a little credit here. Well, if you were going to be like that, then he'd just have to tell the story about that skirt. Now who's laughing, eh Kev? Let me see…not you. Hah. Cross-dresser. Okay, so it was only the once, and we had been at a keg party before it got crashed by the police. You like that one? What about any one of the million other stories I know? You should have been glad I couldn't make the last two…
By the end of the night, Jack had come to the conclusion that maybe this hadn't been such a bad idea. Even Daniel had remembered his name consistently. Mind you, he wasn't sure when Daniel was just doing it to annoy him, and when he really couldn't remember. Carter had even managed to not call him sir all night. She may not have called him 'Jack,' but it was better than nothing. And Teal'c…well, Teal'c had an admirer. Or two…or three…okay so there was a whole bunch of them, all trying to hang off of his muscles. The guy's at least twice my age! But he's soooo unimpressed. He's getting that look he gets when you try to steal his ice cream. Oooh, Teal'c's raising an eyebrow at me. Is that a 'really?' eyebrow, or a 'you're in my way; move before I squash you like an insubstantial bug' eyebrow?
"O'Neill, it is time to leave."
Oh, it's an 'I'm going to spoil your fun, but it is necessary' eyebrow. Teal'c was the designated driver tonight, to save them having to take a cab back to Kev's house. "Already?"
"Well then, I guess I should say g'bye." And he did. A quick yell and a wave, and he was gone. It might have been fun, but he also knew when he'd had enough of the fun. It wasn't like the Simpsons and fishing. He could do those forever. Having to explain what he'd done before he'd been teamed with Sam, Danny, and Teal'c as well as his supposed mission for Kinsey as 'classified' was starting to get annoying. So were the admiring looks and false interest from the rest of the hall. There was nothing interesting about 'classified;' it meant he wasn't supposed to have done it, or it was so god-damned awful the government didn't want to take credit for it.
According to Teal'c, Kev and Stet had already gone ahead; they'd had to get back for the babysitter. That meant he'd get to meet their kids tomorrow morning. For now, though, he had to find the car, and then 169 Kilburn Ave.
"Lead on MacDuff!" he exclaimed, charging ahead.
"Uh, Jack… the car's this way." Right. He knew that.
"Just testing your memory, Danny." Heh, nice save, huh?
"The other this way, Jack." Dammit. And now Carter was giggling. Third time lucky.
Jack awoke to a blinding headache the next morning, staggering out to the dining room where the others were gathered around a large oak table.
"Morning, Jack." They were looking way too cheerful. Even Carter, despite being a little rough around the edges, looked better than she should have. Mind you, they didn't stay up drinking whiskey until 3 AM.
"Not so loud." The little men in his head apparently didn't like loud noises.
"Here." Sam gave him a sympathetic smile and some Aspirin, waiting for Teal'c to get the glass of water.
"Thanks." Carter, you are a Godsend. "Where are Kev and St-Jess?" Must remember her real name.
"They've taken their two kids down to the park for awhile."
"When did they leave?" How can they be up and active so early?!
"About an hour ago. Unlike someone, they had the foresight to drink a couple pints of water before they went to sleep," Daniel told him smugly.
That and Kev had always managed to get away without much of a hangover. Lucky. "When will they be back?"
"Half hour, an hour tops."
Carter, stop giving me sympathetic looks. I don't need your pity…okay, so I don't need your pity until the next time I get subjected to Daniel and his rocks. When he remembers them.
"O'Neill, I suggest you go and take a shower. Return when you have made yourself presentable."
I'm not presentable at the moment? "You know what, I think I might just do that." Daniel, I may have my back turned and be walking away, but I just know you're smirking. "I can see that Daniel; stop it!"
Daniel shot a surprised look at Sam and Teal'c before they returned to their conversation for the twenty minutes before Jack reappeared. They all looked up as he entered.
"What?" Did he have red hair or something?…Maybe there was something about that Henna shampoo that wasn't quite right. Henna was just a herb wasn't it? It smelled nice anyways.
"We were just starting to wonder if you'd fallen down the plug hole or something, Sir."
I see you haven't lost that amazing sense of humour of yours then, Carter. "I was trying to lose the alcohol through osmosis." What?! Hey, I can use words like osmosis in context, thank-you-very-much, Spacemonkey.
"You are looking much better, O'Neill."
"I think 'alive' is the word you're looking for. He looks actually alive for a change."
"Coming from the man who dies every second Wednesday."
"Hey! I think you were killed more times by Ba'al after Kan…an…bought you that computer game…Hello Kev!"
Bought me…ah, that would be Kev standing behind me then. For a linguist, you'd think he'd be able to come up with better covers.
Not that he was suspicious or anything. "We were just talking about the computer game one of the guys in the South African station bought Jack, well us, a few years ago."
"Riii-iight." Psst. Daniel, I don't think he believes us! "Anyway, the kids are out back. I was going to do a barbecue for lunch, if you want to join us?"
Food? Are you kidding? Looks like the kids – my kids- want to, though. The bright grins and rumbling stomachs were a bit of a give-away. "Sure, sounds great."
"Sweet, you just head on out back when you feel human again." Teal'c, you dare raise an eyebrow at that and I-dammit. Now he's gonna be sure there's something weird going on. I mean all of us resisting – and failing to prevent – the urge to smile at that.
Kev departed with one last strange look and a smile.
"T, you've been working on that sense of humour thing again, haven't you?"
"I do not know what you mean, O'Neill."
"Yeahsureyoubetcha!" Evil! The man—Jaffa—symbioteless Jaffa—whatever he is, he's Evil.
The clatter of small footsteps broke into their conversation as two young kids came clattering into the room, skidding to a halt at the sight of the strangers, who had gained one. Jack guessed that the boy was about eight, while the girl was about six. Jess appeared behind them, smiling at them.
"I see sleeping beauty has awoken."
"I'd say the beast, but yeah, the Colonel's awake." Gee, thanks Sam.
Jess smiled. "This is Sean, and this is Lottie. Kids, this is Jack O'Neill. How do you feel?"
"Like there's a Bavarian Oompah band in my head."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "What is a Bavarian Oompah band, O'Neill?" Great, just what I needed.
"It's just a loud, annoying band."
"Nice analogy there, Jack, but then, you always were a master of the English language." Daniel, Sam, why are you laughing?
"Well, I have been told that my mission reports read like an action novel." Or words to that effect, anyway.
"Really, who told you that?"
"I can't remember…it might have been General Ryan, but then again, it might not." All I remember was making a complete Ass of myself.
"The General Ryan?" No, I just said that because I thought it sounded cool.
"You met the General Ryan who's the head of the Air Force?" Heh, looks like Sean's got a point of interest there…
"The very same."
"Wow…" The kid was definitely awe-struck. "So are you a soldier?"
"Kind of." As ever, Jack had softened in the face of kids, his hard-ass-Colonel routine dropping away. "I'll let you in on a secret, though…" He leaned in conspiratorially. "I get to fly really cool planes, too." Sean's eyes widened in awe.
"What 'bout the others?" Lottie asked. Jack raised his eyebrows as the girl climbed onto the Jaffa's lap. They'd obviously already talked to the other three. No doubt they'd been up for hours.
"We work with O'Neill."
"So do you fly airey-planes too?" Lottie's face was a mask of concentration.
"DanielJackson does not," he rumbled at her. "However both myself and MajorCarter do."
Two sets of wide eyes turned to Sam. "Girls can't be soldiers and fly planes," Sean informed them with a frown.
"Wanna bet?" Kid, you're just asking for trouble there.
Sean nodded slowly, taking the word of an adult on it. "Are you a Major, too?"
"Nope, I'm a Colonel." And proud of it.
They continued to chat with both Jess, Kev, and the kids throughout the afternoon with only the occasional apology and classified subject. SG-1 was once again exposed to the softer father-figure of Jack that contrasted to some of his darker personality traits. Kev and Jess were surprised by the difference in a man they had known so many years ago. Gone was the light-hearted happy-go-lucky young man that had left at the end of high school; replaced by an older, more world-weary version that often hid behind biting sarcasm and obviously harboured a deep love for his team mates. The man they knew would never have accepted a 'geek' or a scientist into his honorary family. The man they knew didn't have so many scars.
"You take care, Jack. Try not to get into trouble too often. It was nice meeting the rest of you." Do you have any idea what the chances of my staying out of trouble are? Nil to zero.
"You too, Kev, Jess." He was a man of few words; what did they expect? Heh, they don't quite know what to make of Teal'c bowing like that. At least Daniel remembered how to shake hands…and my name. Always a good thing.
"You stay in touch." Easier said than done, Jess. You never know when we'll have to run off and save the planet. Again.
"I'll try, but it depends when the aliens need our help." That's it; laugh. I doubt you'll ever know just how much you owe us. Thank God. One that isn't a snake-head.
They headed for Jack's truck, Teal'c resolutely taking the wheel and informing Jack that he would not be driving back.
"Fine, whatever." Damn you, Daniel Jackson. At least in the back I don't have to put up with Daniel's never ending questions. Hey Carter, mind if I just fall asleep here? Didn't think so.
With one last wave, they pulled away, and Jack settled down into his seat, pulling his cap over his eyes and drifting off to sleep.
Maybe that wasn't so bad after all.
So, please review and tell me what you think! I think its funny at least…