TITLE: Death warmed up
AUTHOR: Mara Jade
SUMMARY: "I guess I just expected you to look like Death warmed up…" You have no idea how close you are to the truth, do you?
SPOILERS: General. Fragile Balance, Heroes, Lost City, a few for season 8.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Part 2 of what I've now decided to turn into a trilogy based on my Jack reunion fic 'Long time, no see'. Thanks to the overwhelming, stunning response from people, and a bit of prodding from Flatkatsi to do a sequel I got an idea for the third one (naturally) and then worked this one out. Hopefully I'll be able to do the third next week, after my exams.
Many thanks to Naliza for beta'ing this for me, and for putting up with my being a pain in the Mik'ta over the formatting! :D
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.
"Hel-lo Kevin Foster speaking." The voice on the end of the phone was relaxed and cheerful, the exact opposite of how Jack was feeling at that time, the drawn out 'hello' belying his good mood.
"Hey, Kev, its Jack."
"Jack, buddy, how're you doing?"
"Oh, you know…" Just got all the knowledge of the ancients downloaded into my head again and I'm going to die soon because we can't get hold of the Asguard… "What about you?"
"Good, great in fact…Jess is pregnant again." She could still do that at nearly fifty? There was hope for him yet…or then again maybe not…
"Wow, congratulations…that's wonderful!" It's alright for some.
"Yeah, thanks…listen, Jess and I were talking and we wanted to ask you to be Godfather to the baby…after getting to know you again these last few months we thought that there was no one else we'd rather ask." Oh crap! Why'd they have to ask him now?
He closed his eyes as if in pain and leaned his head back against the sofa. After a few silent moments Kev's worried voice echoed from the receiver, "Listen, Jack if you don't want to I'll under-"
"No, no, it's nothing like that…I'm honoured it's just…" Crap this was hard.
Since reaffirming their friendship after the school reunion Jack had felt duty-bound to at least let Kev have a little advance warning about his impending death. He'd already spoken to his ex-wife Sarah and his brother. He'd come so close to dying on so many times that he knew that there were some things that he would regret not doing, especially if he was able to do it. Also, because of the nature of the download he had to do it before his language centres started getting scrambled. See…he was already using terms like 'language centres' and that was inside his head!
Where was he…oh yeah, the hard bit. "It wouldn't really be fair on the kid."
"Are you kidding? All the kids love you!"
Yeah, but that won't be any good when the only language I can speak is an ancient Latin derivative – no pun intended – shortly before I die! Call me a cynic but I don't think a Godfather would be any good if he was six feet under. And probably green-grey-black and oozing by the time the kid was big enough to even show through a spandex suit. Not that Jess would ever wear a spandex suit. I hope. "That's not exactly what I meant, Kev."
If only it could be, "No, actually that's why I was phoning in the first place."
Oy, this was hard. Okay, Jack old man just do it. "I'm dying." There we go, see that wasn't so hard.
Okay, so maybe not all that easy. "Dying. Meeting my maker, biting the bullet, checking out of the hotel of life-"
"Jack!" What, you don't like my analogies? "How? Why? When?"
Oy! Please, one question at a time. Let's start with the first one shall we?
"I, uh, I came into contact with something on a mission a day or two ago and we can't get hold of the only people who can help me."
"What was it? Surely there's a doctor who can help…"
"It's kind of…classified and the people who know how to cure it have disappeared off the face of the Earth." Well, they've disappeared out of several different galaxies anyway.
Jack rubbed a weary hand over his face and bit back on a sigh. "I just, y'know, thought I should let you know."
Is Kev's voice cracking? It's no biggie; I've died before…
"Do you know?"
"Yeah…'bout a week." That's what happened last time, anyway.
"A week?!?!" Uh Kev, squeaky is not a good sound for you.
"A couple days before everything starts going cru- wrong and I'm confined to base." Freudian slip. My brain is not scrambled yet.
"Oh God, Jack, I-"
"Don't." Seriously, I've had enough of the pitying looks from personnel at the SGC.
Hearing a car pull up outside he glanced out of the window and saw that it was Carter, about to get our of her car. "Listen, I gotta go; Carter just pulled up."
"Uh, okay." I don't do emotional, you know that Kev.
"I'll miss you buddy."
I'll be dead; I won't be able to miss anyone. "Yeah, you too."
The doorbell rang and he wandered over to open it, dropping the phone in its cradle on his way.
Jack blinked as they passed the turning that would have taken him to his home, shooting a look at the impassive Teal'c.
"T, buddy, the turning for my house is back there."
Sure, he'd been frozen in some kind of weird ice-like suspension chamber for a few weeks but he'd been cleared for duty, given a clean bill of health, a pat on the head and been told he could go home. Then, of course, he'd been debriefed, promoted, and given command of the SGC. It didn't all happen quite that quickly, but he hadn't been home during all that time and the only reason he wasn't driving himself was for the fact that his truck had been left at home before he went off and got turned into a Popsicle. But the point was that his brain had been unscrambled, and he knew which way was home. This wasn't it.
"I am aware of that O'Neill."
And…?"well then you might want to think about turning around and going back?!"
"I do not."
Come on, Teal'c, this is really not the time to be playing 'see-if-Jack-O'Neill-can-figure-out-the-cryptic-alien-in-time-to-get-a-full-eight-hours-sleep-before-signing-a-mountain-of-paperwork-to-get-the-SGC-back-on-track-tomorrow'. "You might not want to turn back, but I do!"
"I do not believe so, O'Neill."
See this? I'm narrowing my eyes at you. I'm practically growling at you because I'm so pissed off…grrr…see…grrrr!!! "Teal'c take…me…home…now!"
"I will not."
You will not??? Tell me, oh wise and all knowing being of higher power than the one-star-General-and-leader-of-the-base-i.e.-the-man-who-signs-your-pay-check-i.e.-ME!!!, "Why not?"
"I have been instructed to take you elsewhere prior to my returning you home if you later wish to do so."
"What? By whom?"
"Daniel Jackson and Lieutenant Colonel Carter."
Danny and Carter? What are they up to? I don't trust them… "I don't suppose they 'instructed' you to tell me where, or why?"
"No. I was, in fact, expressly forbidden from telling you such information."
"Oy," I'm gonna kill them, y'know. Danny first, and then Carter. Slowly. On second thoughts the big guy probably wouldn't let me. Maybe I'll make them scrub the gate-room with a cotton bud. After a bunch of hinkey aliens self-destruct in there. Or I could…oh, wait we're here…at Daniel's house…where there are streamers and balloons and stuff.
"Teeeeeal'c…" Maybe if I say his name slowly enough the party will be over and I can go home…. "What's going on here?"
Oh, of course, it's the well-known party of the raising one eyebrow before flouncing out of the car and into Danny's house. It would have been easier if you'd just said 'you'll see'.
And who knew Teal'c could flounce?!
Guess I'll just follow you in there then, huh?
Jack walked in after Teal'c, scowling at the door as he pushed it open, stopping and blinking at the sight that met him.
Lots of people.
Lots and lots and lots of people.
And a banner…one that declared 'Welcome back, Jack' in giant letters.
Oh, wait they all just yelled 'surprise!' I swear I'll react any minute now…just as soon as my face reconnects with my brain.
Okay, mouth shut; it's a start.
He'd been suspicious, but he'd expected just SG1. Possibly Cassie. Not the thirty-odd people that were here.
"You know, you can say something, Jack."
Thank you Daniel, I'll remember that for future reference. "This is all for me?!" I didn't think I knew this many people this well…
"No Jack, we just put your name on the banner because we thought it looked cool."
Don't you roll your eyes at me Danny.
"We just thought we'd let you know how glad we all are that you're okay."
Now I'm pretty sure the grin on my face is pretty goofy looking, but I don't care.
"And…" Okay, Carter's grin has gotta be goofier… "We got cake!"
"Cake?" Cake is good…we like cake.
"Yup. It's a 'shindig'."
Heh, that's clever Carter, very clever, but then I'd expect nothing less from you.
"It's a pretty big shindig."
Sam shrugged. "Lots of people are glad you're okay."
"Uncle Jack!" Jack was suddenly hit by two small figures with dark-blonde and brown hair and his grin – if possible – widened as he knelt down to embrace them.
"Hey! Bambino's! Long time, no see, huh?!" If they were here then that probably meant that-
"Tess, Kayla, why don't you move over and let the rest of us say hello."
"George! You old son-of-a-gun, how's Washington treating you?"
"Not so bad…stress levels have gone right down. After dealing with you and SG1 this is a cake walk." Hey, I resent that…even if it is true…we weren't that bad. And it wasn't our fault that every other mission ended in us getting caught, shot at, injured, or narrowly avoiding some kind of disaster.
"Jack O'Neill, you ever scare me like that again and I will personally make sure that you are dismembered and your body parts spread to the Four Corners of the planet."
Yup, that was why no one ever picked on Jess more than once at school. "Jess!?"
He turned around and found himself enveloped in the deceptively strong arms of Jess Stetton, a slight bulge detectable in her abdomen. "You look…great?"
Why so surprised? "Why do you sound so surprised?"
"I guess I just expected you to look like Death warmed up…"
You have no idea how close you are to the truth, do you?
Kev was seconds behind her, engaging him in a very masculine, alpha-male type hug, also informing him the he was looking surprisingly good .
"Where are Sean and Lottie?"
"Off playing with some of the other kids somewhere."
Ah, right. Can't say I'm surprised…kids have short attentions spans. Ooh, balloons!
"I think they're playing with Tess and Kayla out back."
"Ah, right. Uh, George these are my old school friends Kev and Jess; guys this is my ex-CO Major General George Hammond."
"Wow, you managed to put up with Jack for what…?"
"7 years, without going insane?!"
"Oh, there have been moments…"
Thank god you'll never know what happened during that time-loop thing… "And on that note, I'll be off to find myself a beer."
Jess and Kev both adopted a concerned look, "Should you be drinking; it's only been a few days since you recovered?"
Actually, the Asguard miracle-cure means that I'm back to perfect health, with the exception of the usual slight knee-complaint. "Oh it's one of those things that once you're cured, you're cured."
"He's got one of the best doctors available." Hammond assured them with a smile.
It would have been the best, until some Jaffa had to go and use Janet for target practise. "Hey, Jack, phone!" What?! I haven't even had a single beer yet, who could possibly want to phone him? In fact, whom would possible even know to find him at Daniel's? "Oh, hello Mr. President. No, no I'm fine thank you Sir."
Fighting an urge to laugh at the looks on Jess and Kev's faces Hammond surreptitiously steered them away to allow Jack a little more freedom of speech. As they wandered away they could have sworn that they heard Jack say 'well then tell Generals Ryan and Vidrine that I send my thanks…' a second later they were out of earshot and facing a young boy.
"Oh my God, he looks just like Jack when he was at school!"
"Me? Oh I'm…Jack's…cousin…s…son…"
Jack tuned out the comments as he took the secure mobile that he'd been handed through to the guest bedroom – one of the only rooms not currently filled with people. With the exception of the bathroom and well…talking to anyone while in the bathroom was just a little too weird, let alone the fact that it was the President. "Hello Sir." Why the hell was the President calling him? At Daniel's house?
"Hello there, Jack; you don't mind if I call you Jack?"
"Uh, no Sir." Not that it would make all that much difference. He could call him monkey butt if he really liked…he was the President of the United States of America for cryin' out loud.
"Listen, Jack, I just wanted to personally thank you for what you did for the people of America. You really are an unnamed hero." For the people of America? Yeah, because the rest of the world doesn't matter. Sure, the 'Good 'ol US' was his home, but he'd do it for the rest of the world too. Even the Russians.
"No more so than the rest of the SGC, Sir." Did he do this every time Carter saved the planet? Or Daniel? Or…pretty much anyone else? No…because they weren't as high profile rescues. Wait, this guy's only just been elected. Doh.
"Don't be so modest." Who said he was being modest?
"I've got to go now; official business and all. Congratulations on your promotion."
"Thank you, Sir. And tell the Joint Chiefs I send my love." He could hear the President chuckling as he put the phone down and Jack shook his head, slightly bewildered.
That was strange…the President phoned just to say thank you and congratulations? Ah well…where's the booze?
He walked back into the living room to find it mostly deserted. Wandering through it and straight out the back he managed to get through the crowd relatively quickly by just smiling and nodding his thanks to the few well-wishers left.
When he reached the garden he spotted Jess and Kev and walked over to them, easily dodging the hyperactive, running children at the same time.
It was only to find out there were talking to mini-me, who had gained several inches and a bunch of muscle.
"Hi Uncle Jack."
Uncle? Right so I'm your uncle. That's believable.
"Uncle? I thought you were his cousin's son?"
"Oh, I am…it's just easier to call him 'Uncle Jack' than 'Dad's cousin Jack'. 'Specially since we're both Jonathon O'Neills."
Of course it is.
"Y'know Jack, he reminds me of you sometimes."
Well, Jess, that's because he is me. "Really?"
"Yeah…I think it's the general attitude," Kev added.
"I spent a lot of time around him when I was younger." C'mon mini-me you say that as if it's self-explanatory.
"Oh, right." Guess it is self-explanatory then.
"You poor thing."
Ha ha, Kev."Hey!!" You can stop laughing too, copy boy; that means he's insulting you too…ha! So much for the young one being quick.
The wailing of a young girl split the attention of the group as Kev and Jess ran off to see to Lottie with a quick 'catch you later' as they went.
Jack and his clone stood opposite each other for a moment, looking everywhere but at each other.
"Well…this is uncomfortable…"
"Why are you here anyway?"
"Well…after Janet…and then you went all ancient on us. Well, Daniel decided that it wasn't fair to just ignore me. I would have been happy to stay at home with my playstation but…Daniel made me come."
"Ah." That doesn't make this any less uncomfortable.
"Yeah. I think he felt guilty that no one told me about Janet at the time. And that I got pretty much ignored unless there was a dire emergency."
"He didn't want you to feel like you were second best." That's our Danny boy.
Long minutes of uncomfortable silence followed.
"Want a beer?"
The tension was broken as the two Jacks sped off in the general direction of the fridge, and the beer.
They made it as far as the door before they were headed off by Daniel who not-so-surreptitiously indicated Mini-Jack and then the beer, silently asking if the younger version should have one.
"Oh for cryin' out loud, Daniel, just give me the beer. I'm not a kid!" Sure you're not…that's why you're throwing a temper-tantrum.
Jack nodded and resisted the urge to smirk as Daniel relinquished the second beer.
Oh, come on! You'd think that with a certified genius and two versions of the same man who just happen to be best friends with the aforementioned geek they'd have been able to find something to talk about. Although the fact that one of the two people he stood with was a teen-aged clone of himself was kinda weird. "This is kinda weird."
"Oh yeah!" Should've known mini-me would agree…
"Wanna go opposite ends of the garden?"
Do you think that Daniel minds that we both just turned and walked away in opposite directions like that? Wonder where Teal'c is?
Cassie's here? Don't remember seeing her earlier…for all of the 15 minutes I've been here. "Hey Cass, how you doing?"
Cassie shrugged, "okay, I guess." Hey, you didn't need to poke me! "No thanks to you!"
Okay, Carter's been teaching you how to glare, hasn't she? "What? What'd I do?"
"You had to go and nearly die on me is what you did." Ah, that explains it. "Mom would've killed you for doing something that stupid."
No, Cass, please don't cry…I don't deal with people crying well… "C'mere," Jack pulled her into a hug, carefully manoeuvring his beer in order not to spill it on her, planting a soft kiss on the top of her head.
Wait a minute, why does your hair smell like Old Spice? I'm the only person I know who…MINI ME!?! "Ca-ass…"
Why does she have that 'I know you're gonna tell me off for something' look? "What have you been doing with my Cl-Jack Junior?" Right, can't talk about anything classified…civilians running around and all that. Okay, we have the patented teenager-relief look and then…confusion. Why is she relieved? What did she think I was going to say?
"What do you mean?"
"You're not…doing anything with him are you? 'Cause he's me and that would be-"
"How can you even think that?" Well you smell like me- him – whatever. "He's old! And…you…and…ew!!!" Okay, you can stop squealing now, Cass, you're drawing attention. Carter-shaped attention.
"What's going on?" Oh, great, now Carter's gonna think I'm insane too.
"Uncle Jack just accused me of doing….stuff…with Jack. The other Jack." If you make up your mind whether you're going to laugh, or look disgusted then maybe you won't look like you're in pain. Like me, I'm settling on scowling with a side of glaring.
I know that!! "I know that! Why do you think I was prepared to go kick his ass for it?!" And I would've. Right before Teal'c, Daniel and Carter did. I hope.
"Oh. How did you come to that conclusion anyway?"
Damn, knew you'd ask that. "Well, she smells like me. My soap…his soap…" Man, that sounds so stupid.
"So, maybe she just bought the same stuff."
Sure, Carter, then explain to me why she's looking so guilty then. "And why, pray tell, would Cassie be buying Old Spice?" See…not so insane now, am I? I'm taking your silent, confused expression as a yes.
"Hey! Standing right here! Look, I can explain!"
Good. Explain. "Well then explain…?"
"You know I've been fostered by my friend Katie's aunt, cause we decided that none of you would be able to look after me, and its only a few weeks 'till I graduate, right?"
Yeah, she's an Air Force wife, and a friend of Janet's…was a friend of Janet's. "Right."
"Well I kinda haven't been spending all that much time there. I've been at Jack's."
"Doing what?" Damn, didn't mean to sound quite so much like I was suspicious. Then again, maybe it's because I am!
"Nothing!!! God! Its like…he's you, but younger. He's my best friend, and he's actually been there all the time. I go to school with him now, and he's like my best friend. He knows how I feel and he doesn't just…give me sympathetic looks all the time." Okay…now don't I just feel like an ass. "I've stayed at his a few nights, especially after you…y'know, and used his shampoo…"
"What was that, I didn't quite hear you?!" Damn you…you've inherited Janet's mean streak!
"I said sorry." Oh, at least she's smiling!
"So, have you seen Jack anyway? I promised to come and rescue him from, I quote, 'the weirdness of being around all these people that I recognise but not having them recognise me'."
You pick him over me? I guess a promise is a promise… "Last I saw he was walking that way. Away from me."
"Figures. See you later." Jack gave a half wave with his free hand as she wandered off.
"She's had to grow up so fast," Sam commented, turning back to him with a sad smile.
"She's coped well though." God knows how I would've handled what she's been through.
Time for a change of subject. "So what's this I hear about cake?" Uh-oh. Evil Carter grin…not good.
"That's a surprise."
"Hey! No fair…"
"Ill tell you what you can have, though." Pie? I could do with some pie right now…? "Teal'cs been barbecuing."
"Teal'c can barbecue?"
"So you don't actually know…" They do say that people who eat lots usually make good chefs…I think.
"Well he seemed so excited about it and no-one had the heart to turn him down."
He must've been excited for it to show outwardly… "He wouldn't let anyone else near it, would he?"
At least it's not you, or Daniel doing it. "Can't say I blame you for letting him then."
When the reached the grill, and teal'c in his chef's hat they were soon rewarded with food anf - scarily - a smile.
The food was surprisingly very good. Very, very good. Where'd T learn to cook like that? "Where'd you learn to cook like that, big guy?"
"I observed many programs on 'Carlton Food Network."
Oh. You watch way too much cable. "Well my compliments to the chef."
What? Who's calling me? Oh, its Kev. "Yo!"
"Sam say's you've gotta come in for the cake!"
Ooh, cake. Cake is good. I like cake.
Breaking off his slightly odd chat with Colonel Dixon on whether or not there could be aliens like Kudos and Kang from the Simpsons they headed over to where the knot of people had gathered around a table.
So, cake…why's Carter got that silly grin on her face? "I hear tell of ca-" Oh. That's why. "ke." That's a huge cake. With a cartoon Roswell grey alien on it. We so have to get a picture of this for Thor! "Sweet!"
While most of the people there were SGC personnel and therefore knew all about the Asguard, and the role they had played in his survival there were a few, such as Kev, who didn't. They just put it down to his constant joking about working with aliens.
"Oh, you shouldn't have!"
"Well, if you don't want it we can all-"
Daniel Jackson you dare even consider it and you'll stay dead this time. "Hey! Give me that!" Snatching the knife away from the grinning archaeologist he made a big show of deciding where to cut before deftly slicing it into equal pieces.
Fifteen minutes later and he was once again out in the starlit yard, beer in hand.
"How're you doing?"
Oh you know…an irrational fear of ice cubes, a rational hatred of Antarctica. "Fine, you?"
Of course you are…you're about to have another kid. "Kev, you dawg, I didn't know you had it in you."
Kev snorted, "Neither did I. How'd you feel about being a Godfather then?"
Aw, crap, I forgot about that. "I don't know…I'm honoured and all but…is it really fair on the kid?"
"What do you mean?"
I mean, is it really fair on the kid to get it attached to someone who dies almost as often as Daniel? "Its just…my job is dangerous and…" I'll probably be dead by the time the kid hits the magic number 3.
"We know that." You do? And you're still asking? "We've seen you injured enough times to know that. But we think that it's better to have you there for a little while than not at all." Oh, right…cool. "Plus, Jess figures that it'd give you more reason to visit." …before I do croak.
Problem with grinning this much is that it hurts. "Well then I'd love to." 'Kay, I'm gonna hug you now, but its going to be a very manly hug. See, very butch and…grrr.
When they separated a few short seconds later both of them were still smiling easily.
"So…do you know what sex yet?" Is she that far along?
"It's a boy."
Sweet. "Are you sure? One of our boys thought his kid was gonna be a boy, right up till she was born." Janet's legacy. That kid's got a helluva name to live up to.
"Well, he's got a…thing on the ultrasound."
"That's what Wells said." Heh…the look on your face is priceless. "You do realise that you're gonna have to name it after me if it is a boy…" You think I'm kidding? Okay, so maybe I am…
"You want us to call our son 'Old git'?"
Hey! "Hey! I'm the same age as you!"
"Yeah, but I'm prettier…"
Well you're the one that's married and has two and a half kids. "Can't argue with that."
"I, however, don't look like a girl."
"Only because you cut all of your hair off."
Humph. That was the Airforce, not me.
Smirking at Kev Jack took in the scene with relish. It was good to be alive, and right now, it was good to be him.
So, what do you all think? I don't think it's as goo as the first one, but then they rarely are. Look out for the third, and final one, which I think is going to be fun to write at the very least.