Being 'The Clone'

By Sam I Am – PG-13 (can't honestly be any more than that)

Warnings: Sam/Jack (that's a warning for anyone who don't like that)

Category: Sam/Jack Romance, Angst, friendship and a little bit of SG-1 Humour thrown in for good measure. (If there's anything I missed out someone tell me!)

Spoilers: Bits and Bobs from Seasons 1-8!

Time frame: Beginning of Season 8.

Archive: SJD, Yes!

Summary: Through the eyes of Colonel O'Neill, life from a complicated perspective...

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime / Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. No copyright infringement is intended. No money is being made. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. Not to be archived without permission. All snippets of lyrics have the singer and the song title! None of it is mine, but I'm just a very musical person and the lyrics always fit! No copyright intended! If you want to archive my story TELL ME, or, to borrow a phrase from our beloved Colonel, I am SO gonna kick your ass!

Author's Notes: This is going to be a novel, but I'll put it on piece by piece, while I finish off the gaps. Thanks for all your support, as per usual!

Dedications: To Hannah, my Best Pal/Editor, suffering the joys of High School with me. Year 11 ARGH! Love ya, Honey! And to all Sam/Jack shippers out there and those of you who hate Season 9!

What it's like... Being 'The Clone'!

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Part One

I'm just a Teenage Dirtbag, Baby.

Yeah I'm just a Teenage Dirtbag, Baby.

Listen to Iron Maiden, Baby, with me.

Teenage Dirtbag Wheatus

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Jack was losing his mind!

It was official. Jack O'Neill was going crazy and there was nothing he could do to stop it. God, he couldn't even think about solar flares, bad German accents, a flower power mini-bus, "a galaxy far far away", interesting clothing and 1969 anymore with out feeling insane. That had been a good time, one of thousands of good times he'd had... with his friends...

He wandered down the street towards his house and could here the incessant giggling of his fan club behind him, wishing yet again that they would just disappear. In fact, he wished every night, he even prayed, that when he woke the next morning he'd be back in the SGC in his quarters or on a mission, ready and willing to kick some Goa'uld ass...

But that never happened. Instead, he woke every morning to that ridiculous alarm clock Helen and Eddy had bought him. (I mean, Pikachu. Were they kidding him!) He'd get up, have a shower, get dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, brush his teeth, traipse downstairs, be force fed breakfast by Helen, get his books together and walk out of the door.

Even Mineral Surveys would be better than this!

The giggling got louder as he felt a tap on his shoulder. He sighed irritated, turning to see Faye Harper, Hope Elms and Leanne McManus all stood there, unsurprisingly giggling.

"What?" He grumbled irritably. These 3 girls and others like them had been head over heels about him since he had touched his dearly beloved truck for the last time and had had to watch the 'Real' Jack drive away in it leaving him stood there outside his first school. The Air Force had set him up, but they had then left him to his own devices which was most probably the stupidest thing they could have done! There'd been at least 3 girls from every school he'd attended since following him round and this school was no exception!

Hope spoke as she pulled on her best eyelash fluttering look, "We were wondering if you wanted to go out with one of us."

Jack felt himself sigh. This had to be the 100th time they'd asked and he seemed to come up with an excuse every time. They didn't seem to realize he REALLY didn't want to go out with any of them. They didn't understand that he was... a 50 year old trapped in a 16 year old body. Even going out with them... was just wrong on SO many levels!

Not to mention he'd already been married and divorced once...

'In my other life,' Jack thought to himself gloomily as the girls stood, STILL giggling as they waited for an answer.

"Sorry, but no."

He began to walk away when he felt his shoulder being tapped again, the laughter completely missing and the silence worrying.

He turned back to the 3 teenage girls as Faye spoke, pulling a curled lock of dark blonde hair from her eyes, "Jack, what's wrong with you? Are you Gay or something?"

Jack snorted at the comment. If only they knew what was wrong with him...

"No, I'm not. I just don't think any of you are attractive."

Slap!

He should've seen that coming.

He hurriedly turned and walked back down the road as his ex-fan club walked the other way, bitching to each other about him already. Jack hoped that Cassie wasn't this bitchy at the tender age of 16. Jack sighed to himself as he thought of the adopted teen. Nah, she'd never turn out like that. She had brains for a start.

Finally his house came into view, the proverbial suburban building seeming to suddenly appear along the street full of them. It was painted white, 2 storeys high with the window frames across the glass in cross shapes and flower boxes beneath the windows filled with pansies and tulips.

Jack fished in his back pocket for his keys. With a jangle, his house key finally came out of his pocket, the 'Gone Fishing' key ring having got jammed in his jean pocket yet again! He stepped up to the front door, fitting his key into the lock with a soft sigh.

As Jack stepped into the hall of 'his' house, he hung up his jacket and glanced at himself in the mirror hung in the neat and tidy hallway.

"Still scrawny, still weak, still a kid... Oh look! Another zit!" Jack grumbled quietly as he ruffled his hair, "Thanks a bunch, Loki! You ruined my life!"

"Jack? Sweetheart, is that you?"

"Yeah Mom," Jack had realized after the first week of living with his latest foster parents, Helen and Eddy Cartwright, that if he didn't call them 'Mom' and 'Dad' Helen would cry and lock herself in the bathroom while Eddy would reprimand him for not thinking of Helen's feelings.

He was surprised they hadn't sent him away yet. The other four sets of foster parents he'd had had kicked him out almost immediately, usually because of his cheek and sarcasm, his extremely bad temper, the fact he used to sneak beer from the fridge and drink it in his room... in fact, there were thousands of reasons he'd been kicked out by four sets of foster parents!

He wandered into the kitchen as the only light in his dull and depressing life bounded up to him. He crouched down and ruffled Percy's fringe the Old English Sheep dog barking loudly. He grinned, "Hey there, Percy! Wanna go for a walk later? Yeah, me too!"

The dog barked again and began to lick his face. Jack just laughed. Percy was the only friend he had these days, having had to leave the friends he loved because he was nothing more than... a copy. A fake. A clone.

Helen spoke to him seriously and Jack knew immediately he was in trouble for something, "Jack. I need to talk to you."

'Well, there goes foster family no. 5! Wonder where in hell they'll ship me to next?'

Jack's thought made him realize what had happened to him, probably why all those foster parents had kicked him out. He'd become bitter, sour and annoying! For a man almost 50 it wasn't uncommon, but for a 16 year old...

He sighed. It was all Loki's fault. Now he lived in Georgia, literally hundreds of miles from the people he loved back in Colorado. Since leaving the place he loved, he'd lived with foster families in Kentucky, Delaware and Texas all before coming here.

Helen pinned his arm to her side as she marched him upstairs. He suddenly had a bad feeling especially when they stopped at his room. Oh dear! Helen fished out a key from her pocket and Jack realized he'd left it home this morning! Damn! And he'd also forgotten to hide it! Double Damn!

She turned the key in the lock and they stepped inside. Jack, unlike most teenagers, having spent time as a soldier, an adult and a father, kept his room almost immaculate. That was probably one thing his foster parents must have liked about him!

She sat him down on his bed and then stuck her head beneath it pulling out the large cardboard box from underneath. Jack knew then what was happening. She'd found his stuff. Great! Just bloody great! Fantastic! This was gonna get interesting...

"When I found the key I decided to give your room a once over with a Hoover and I found something interesting..." The woman stared at him with her 'understanding mother' look as she murmured gently, "What is this, Jack?"

He looked up at the woman debating what to say to her. For someone in her late thirties, Helen was not that bad looking. She had a light tan, strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes, the size of saucers when she cried or implored him to treat her as his mother.

Thing was his real mother was living in a little cottage in Minnesota and he was never going to see her again. He doubted he'd even get an invite to her funeral, as he was just 'The Clone'. Technically, she wasn't even his mother! Loki was!

Eww! And there is absolutely NO family resemblance!

Helen opened the box with a sigh as she pulled a few things out, laying each piece of Jack's life before his eyes.

If there was one thing he was grateful for about all of this, it was his 'Real' Self. The 'Real' him had given him almost everything he had, picture and keep safe wise, except for, of course, the things that meant the most to both of them, but Jack couldn't really blame him for that. Being the 'Real' one he was entitled to all that stuff and there was no way Jack could've taken any of it as much as he wished he could.

His eyes fell on the individual packs of photos, discarded items and videos that now lay on the soft cream carpet in front of him.

Helen spoke again as she murmured, "Who are these people?"

She had spread out 5 different photos before him, showing she'd obviously looked through everything and planned her interrogation quite carefully. The first was of him in a photo with his team members from Iraq. The fact that, including himself, only four had made it back was enough to make him stop looking at the photo. The second was of him and Sara sat in his garden, with a seven year old boy sat in his arms. His son. A lump rose in his throat as he looked away from the picture of Charlie to the next photo.

This was an official photo of himself as an Air Force Colonel, dressed in his dress blues, looking every inch the respectable soldier. Of course, now he was a scrawny teen that couldn't look like a soldier if he tried!

The fourth was a picture of SG-1. He felt a bittersweet smile tug at his lips. They were all stood in the infirmary laughing as they recounted their escapade into the past with the Doc and General Hammond. All of them were geared up in their Sixties get up. The images of his friends made him feel like breaking something in anger and frustration at what he'd lost.

The next picture caught his attention. Carter. Just Carter. No one else was in that photo. The 'Real' him had naturally got copies of every photo he had of her and had given them to him. They were the same person, well sorta, and they felt the same way about a certain golden haired, blue eyed Major.

He'd taken the picture only two weeks before the unfortunate run in with Loki (damn his skinny, white ass to Netu!) It had been on a routine mission and some how he and Carter had ended up sharing a tent. No big deal really. They shared tents all the time. The fact that Jack, for some unknown reason, had a camera in his bag was just fate. He crawled into the tent after Teal'c had relieved him from his watch. When he'd got inside his heart had almost stopped.

Carter had been lying on her side in her sleeping bag, her jacket used as a pillow. Her hand was flung beside her head, her delicate fingers curled around her palm, her eyelids closed in sleep, strands of golden fringe flicked over her face and her lips parted slightly as she breathed gently.

Almost without thinking Jack had taken a photograph. He knew it was probably a seriously 'dirty old man' kinda thing to do, but... she'd just looked so beautiful and... No use trying to explain himself! He'd never need to! He'd never see any of them again, especially not Sam. Jack sighed slightly as he continued to look at that particular photo. It was now one of his most treasured possessions, as most of Charlie's things and his many keep sakes were still miles away with the 'Real' him.

Helen fixed him with her wounded look as if saying 'If you loved me you'd tell me everything.' God! It was just embarrassing! A woman almost a decade younger than himself trying to act as though she was his Mother!

He spoke, trying to be as brief as possible, "They're people I know."

Helen looked at him as if trying to see if he was lying before she pointed at the picture of himself in dress blues, "Who is this man?"

'Think fast...'

"My Dad."

Helen's eyes widened as she looked at the picture of Sara, Charlie and himself in the garden. She pointed to the 7 year old boy sat on his knee, "Is that you?"

"Yeah. When I was 7."

Helen nodded softly her eyes fixed on Sara, "Is that your Mom?"

Jack had a bad thought all of a sudden, 'if I say Sara's my Mom, how do I explain all the pictures of Carter?' If the truth was known Jack had a few pictures of himself with Sara, his parents, friends from the Gulf, but he literally had almost a hundred pictures of Carter. Albeit, not always alone, but most of the time she was with him or alone.

"No. That's Sara. She's my Aunt."

Jack felt he'd dodged a bullet there, well at least for the moment. Helen gave him a slightly disbelieving look, but looked at the next two pictures, 'SG-1 goes Retro' and Jack and his buddies.

"And these people?"

Jack stared at the photos, "Well, they're the guys my Dad knew when he fought in the Gulf. And that's my Dad's team from when I last saw him. They were all going to a fancy dress party."

Helen's wide hazel eyes caught his gaze as she said sympathetically, "I found lots of pictures of them, especially this woman." She pointed at Sam in her rose tinted shades, grinning back a laugh with her cheeky pearly whites.

That's when his foster mother pointed to the picture of Sam sleeping and murmured, "I assume she's your real mother?"

'What's the point in denying it,' Jack thought, as he murmured, "Yeah. That's my Mom."

He hesitated a glance at his foster mother, looking up from the picture to find her Bambi eyes brimming with tears. 'Oh for crying out loud! What have I done now? Please, don't say she's offended that I actually have a Mother!'

She spoke through her tears, in her whiny voice she only used when she cried, "Why didn't you tell us? We thought your parents abandoned you when you were a baby. That you never knew them. That's what the adoption people said."

Jack sighed, trying to hide the fact he didn't have a cover story. He had to think a viable one up... fast! He looked up at the woman as he spoke sadly, "My folk's died just over a year ago," Helen let out a whimper, of sympathy pain, he guessed, "The reason that the adoption people told you I was abandoned was because of who my parents were. It's also the reason none of their friends could adopt me. They were all in the Air Force, working on something extremely classified. They died whilst on a mission," he sniffed trying to sound as if his parents had actually died, "My Mom was trapped behind a force shield..."

Helen looked at him shocked, "Force shield? I didn't know they existed."

"Only in the top secret military," Jack mumbled before looking back at the picture of Sam trying to remember her face when she'd been trapped behind that force shield that had almost taken her from him. He had to look like he'd lost his parents and he was sure thinking about that horrible moment when his time had just halted and he'd felt like the whole world was crashing down on him, it might just look like he'd lost his parents...

The fact he had the body, and therefore hormones, of a teenager helped as he felt tears in his eyes, "She was trapped. There was no way she was going to get out and they'd planted a bomb that was going to explode. Another force field stopped everyone from leaving anyway, but Dad didn't know and he still went back. My Dad stayed with her, he tried to get her out..."

Helen gasped tearfully bringing him into her arms, trying to be the best supportive foster mother she could. She obviously now assumed his parents had been blown up, both of them, at the same time, along with all the possible people who could've fostered him. Jack had to stifle a smile as Helen began to sob violently, hugging him so tight he could barely breathe, "Oh my poor little guy! Oh Sweetheart! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I had no idea! It's OK, Baby. I'm here."

She stayed there hugging him close for the best part of half an hour until Eddy came home. She let go of him her eyes, red with tears, as she sniffled and murmured, "If you want to talk me and your Dad are right downstairs. If you want anything we're here for you. OK, Darling?"

Jack pretended to look tearful and forlorn, although really he was overjoyed she'd decided to stop strangling him, "OK, Mom."

As he said the word 'mom', the woman let out another whimper of sympathy pain as she left the bedroom. He heard her footsteps and sobs receding down the stairs and felt himself let out a small chuckle.

'Poor Helen! She's most definitely the most emotional woman I've ever met!' He thought as he stood walking to his door and locked it.

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You're beautiful. You're beautiful. You're beautiful, it's true.

I saw you face in a crowded place,

And I don't know what to do,

'Cause I'll never be with you.

You're beautiful. You're beautiful. You're beautiful, it's true.

There must be an angel with a smile on her face,

When she thought up that I should be with you.

But it's time to face the truth,

I will never be with you.

You're Beautiful James Blunt

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When Helen had left, Jack had sat back down on the floor and gently put everything back in the box quickly glancing over the rest of his pictures, lingering on the ones of him and the rest of SG-1 and the ones of Sam. Then on a sudden impulse he pulled everything out of the box again and put it all back in, looking at the pictures longingly.

He sighed as he glanced at another one of his favourite pictures of Sam. She'd been hurriedly called into the SGC when SG-11 had brought back a device and it had started counting down. She hadn't exactly been dressed properly, as it had been June and she'd been on downtime. She'd been in a pale blue flowing skirt and white vest top, still wearing sandals and shades as she'd ran past straight into her lab.

Carter had set to work on the 'bomb' immediately before letting out a loud laugh. Jack had been stood there watching her as the base had been evacuated and he'd decided to stay with her, preferring to die with her than live without her, although he'd never given a reason for staying behind with her. She couldn't stop laughing as he asked her what was funny.

She'd replied that it had all been a false alarm and the device, which she'd spent over three hours trying to disarm, was no more than a really sophisticated egg timer! Or a stopclock! Something that times... stuff.

Everyone had moved back into the base and Jack had run back to his quarters and found his camera hidden in the dark recesses of one of his drawers. He'd run back to her lab and had taken a shot of her quickly, running away and darting into the lift. She'd come running after him, trying to find out who'd gotten a picture of her so she could shoot them, but the doors had closed before she saw him. The Paparazzi would've been proud!

The picture showed Sam sat as her desk, smiling slightly as she wrote up her findings of the device sat completely dismantled before her. Her legs were crossed her sandals lying beneath the desk, her surprisingly dainty feet completely bare along with a good deal of calf! Her clothes showed her body at its most beautiful. She looked casual and natural, sat in her lab, which Jack was convinced was her favourite place in the whole world, doing what she loved.

Jack sighed, feeling sadness and loss welling up inside him. He missed her. He missed her a lot more than he could ever admit, especially seen as body wise she was about 25 years older than he was! He just hoped that she was happy. He hoped she was sat in her lab playing with her doohickeys and dismantling new technology to her heart's content. He hoped she was still out in the universe kicking Goa'uld ass. The fact she was made him already feel 100 safe. Carter could handle anything.

God, he loved her...

The thought made Jack shiver and hurriedly place the photo back in the box, close it and slide it under his bed. He had to stop loving her, else he was never going to get through the rest of his life without her.

Another thing no one would be able to understand. He loved Samantha Carter, the beautiful woman who had lightened up his dark life for the first time 8 years ago and had always been there for him since then. She'd been in his heart since then and had been by his side the entire time... well up until Loki showed up and 'created' this... this teenage body. Because of him Jack didn't have her anymore. Well, he did, but it wasn't him who had her. It was the other Jack, the real one. The 50 year old, grey-haired, battle-scarred, worn Jack O'Neill who was too honourable to do a damn thing about how he felt!

There were a lot of things Jack found were great about this life he was leading. Mostly he looked young instead of old, even if he was a scrawny teen. He had dark hair and a lot less scars than his older self. Not to mention, he no longer had aches and pains in his lower back and his darn knee.

But there was one thing that made him envy his older self with pure and utter hatred. He got to keep them. He got to keep her. He got to live his life as he always had. He got to visit their parents, he got to go fishing at their cabin, he got to save their world, he got to annoy Daniel, he got to spar with Teal'c, he got to tease the Doc about her needles, he got to drive Hammond to the brink of insanity, he got to save the Asguard every few months, he got to slag off the Tok'ra, he got to meet new races... and he had the chance still. He had the chance to live his life with Samantha Carter if he ever wised up enough to take it.

Jack had to face the truth. In twenty four years time, he would be 40 years old and Samantha Carter would be 65, probably living with her husband in a little house with a white picket fence, being visited every weekend by their grandchildren. Happy and content.

God, he'd imagined that too many times...!

Since Antarctica, Samantha Carter had been the only woman on his mind and in his heart. He'd often dreamed that maybe one day he'd retire and ask her out. He dreamt that they'd get married, have kids, grow old, have grandkids... all the time having her by his side.

Every time he'd been near death over the years, which had been quite a lot, he'd always gone into a 'What if?' train of thought. He'd wondered what would've happened if his life had been different. He had dreamt that he'd grow to a ripe old age and die in his sleep beside the woman he loved.

Not now, of course. Thanks to whoever decided he should be given this mental torture, she'd most likely be dead long before he was... and he hated it.

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Won't you believe it, It's just my luck, No recess
Won't you believe it, It's just my luck, No recess
You're in high school again
You're nothing again!

School Nirvana condensed

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As much as Jack would've loved to skive, he had a History test and he didn't want to miss it. Helen had been willing to let him take the rest of the week off, due to her new revelation about his life, but Jack had insisted. He wanted to go to school.

Jack snorted to himself as he walked towards Grant High School. He wanted to go to school. He had a chance to live his life over. He didn't want to join the Air Force this time, he'd already experienced enough war and fighting, bloodshed, pain and death to last him a lifetime. Instead, he wanted to become whatever tickled his fancy when the time came... which of course meant getting good grades in everything.

It wasn't difficult. Jack O'Neill had always been intelligent although he rarely let on. The fact he had the mind and knowledge of an Adult helped the situation. After all he had a couple of degrees under his belt, so acing every lesson in high school was not a problem.

"Hey Jack! Wait up!"

Jack turned to see Julian running down the road towards him. Out of everyone in Grant High School, Jack liked Julian the most and Jack had a pretty good idea why. The boy nearly tripped over and Jack caught him in one hand and his glasses in the other. The boy took his glasses from Jack, grinning, his braces on show, "Whoopsie Daisies! Thanks Jack."

Jack smiled slightly, "You revised for the History test?"

The boy gave a happy laugh, "Of course. My Dad practically locked me in my room and said I couldn't come out until I could give him a 10 minute speech on the Hierarchy system in Ancient Egypt! The fact we're not even doing Egypt this year didn't occur to him."

Jack chuckled and glanced at his only human friend in Georgia. Julian Leonardo Crouch was, let's face it, a geek. His trousers were an inch too short and always showed off his thick grey socks his Grandma bought him every Christmas. His jumper and shirts were always too big and he always had to roll up his sleeves 2¾ times before his hands were visible. He was short and if possible skinnier than Jack. His glasses had literally miles of tape holding the frames together and his braces were multicoloured. His hair was mousey brown and always looked as though it had been trimmed with a basin covering it.

Julian had been the brainiest kid in the year and was, in fact, a year younger than everyone else and had just turned 15. He was the States' Chess Champion and spoke fluent Egyptian, Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Ancient Greek, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian and Latin as his Dad had been an archaeologist abroad until his Mom had had that accident...

He spoke not even looking at Jack, obviously noticing his scrutiny, "What?"

"Nothing. Just thinking."

"Bout what?" Julian's blue eyes glanced over him before he stared in front of him again. Jack had taught his friend to always look where he was going as the boy had a tendency to trip over and hurt himself on a day to day basis.

Jack sighed, "I was just thinking you remind me of someone."

"Really? Who?"

Jack spoke seriously, "My friend, Daniel..."

"One of your friends you can't tell me about because of all that cloak-and-dagger, classified military stuff?"

Jack gave a soft chuckle at the very Daniel-like tone, "Yeah."

They walked through the school gates towards the new-ish school. It was literally a three storey block of concrete with window moving up the staircases and along the sides of the building. Outside were a few portable classrooms dotted around, the grassy picnic area and the Sports Field. It wasn't the most appealing building Jack had ever seen, but it was home.

"Hey Crouch!"

"Julian! Hey we're talking to you, Retard."

"Crouch, did your Mom dress you this morning?"

The cruel laughter of the local school thugs made Jack turn to them furiously. They hadn't noticed him before and all paled slightly when they saw him. Kyle Samson and his group of bullies were afraid of only one person and that person was Jack O'Neill.

Jack strode over his anger giving him strength and he shoved Kyle into the graffiti-covered wall by the bike sheds, where they always hung out, smoking and drinking and doing anything illegal to make them look tough.

Jack growled through clenched teeth, emphasizing every word, "Take. That. Back."

Samson just spoke slightly winded from being shoved into the hard wall; his died black hair sticking to his fat head as he began to sweat slightly, "Sorry Crouch."

Jack held him an inch above the ground, his hand around his thick neck, "His name is Julian and I want you to apologise and mean it!"

Samson looked at Jack fearfully and turned to Julian as he croaked, "I'm sorry, Julian."

"That's better," Jack snarled, dropping him to the floor, "Now get out of here!"

The boys all scampered off to go and have a smoke somewhere else, no doubt. Jack turned back to his friend and began walking into the school in silence again. They stepped inside the school doors and began walking down the high school corridor. Along the walls were the lockers and the place was bustling with activity. The Goths stood in a corner, clothed in black and speaking in low tones to each other. The Cheerleaders were doing their make-up in the mirrors they'd taped to the inside of their locker doors. The Football team, unsurprisingly, were throwing a football to each other and the Jerks making paper aeroplanes which soared over everyone's heads before crash landing, whilst they picked on the younger members of the school. One glare from Jack stopped them before he continued observing his fellow pupils. The Geeks were having their usual animated discussions over who were better: Klingons, Vulcans or Furengi. The Chess team were playing a quick game of portable chess beneath the stairwell. The 'Cool' guys and girls stood making out everywhere you looked while Teachers bustled past, arms full of books or paper, trying to calm some of the chaos.

He felt Julian's eyes on him as the boy spoke, "You did it again?"

"Did what?"

Julian spoke with something close to awe, "You stuck up for me again." He paused, but continued to watch him hesitantly, "Jack, why do you like me?"

Jack looked at his companion surprised before he shrugged, "You're a good friend and good company whenever I'm in need of some. What is there not to like?"

"Quite a lot by the looks of things," Julian said glancing at his clothes. He sighed, "I'm a Geek, Jack. I mean, I spend my weekends playing Chess, doing my homework and watching old Cowboy films or Original Star Trek re-runs. Dad's useless at buying me clothes and since my Mom... y'know... lost her sight, he's really been trying hard, but he's usually so busy looking after her he doesn't have time to get me better stuff."

Jack glanced at his friend and knew what had first drawn him to him. Julian was alone, in one sense or another, just like Jack. Jack gave him a reassuring pat on the back and a smile, "Tell you what. If you get your Dad to give you some money, we can go into town on the bus and I'll help you get some clothes."

Julian looked surprised and stopped in the middle of the bustling corridor, "Really?"

Jack grinned, "Yep. That's if you want..."

"That would be so great!" Julian grinned back and they began to walk to their lockers again. Jack was happy. In a way, he considered Julian like a son and in some ways like a brother, very similar to how he felt about Daniel. It was amazing how alike the two were.

They stopped by their lockers that by coincidence were right next to each other. Jack was just opening his locker door when an announcement went out on the speakers, "All pupils report to your form bases immediately."

Jack looked at Julian, worriedly, "That ever happened before?"

Julian shook his head staring upwards as if looking at the speakers, with a frown, "No. Something really bad must've happened."

They hurried to their empty classroom to see Mr. Thompson trying to get the television to work hurriedly. Jack smiled and stepped over to the teacher, "Mr. Thompson?"

The man looked up at him, "Ah Jack. Just the guy I need! I have to turn the TV on, but..."

Jack smiled, "It's not plugged in."

Mr. Thompson glanced at the plug hole on the wall and said, "Oh." Jack walked over and pushed the plug in as the TV came to life. Mr. Thompson smiled at him, "Thanks Jack."

Jack just shrugged and sat at his desk Julian sitting next to him as they waited for the rest of their class to arrive. Jack observed his teacher as he flicked onto the news channel. The News reader kept babbling on about a speech from the President. Jack sighed. Guessed they'd be missing their History test then.

Mr. Thompson sat at his desk watching the teenagers streaming in through the classroom door. He was just older than Jack... well, older than Jack had been. He was tall and gangling with gingery-brown hair. He had a long nose and was always smiling. He was quite forgetful and Jack had made it his mission to help the guy as much as possible.

Julian had told him that, before Jack had arrived at the school, things had been a lot different. Mr. Thompson used to be laughed at continually by his class and Kyle and his thugs had made every kid's life a nightmare. Then Jack showed up and no one dared laugh at Mr. Thompson anymore and if the bullies so much as called someone a name when Jack was nearby he'd shut them up and make them apologise. All those years in the military, Black ops and Special ops hadn't been for nothing and they came in real handy in high school!

When everyone was finally in the room, Mr. Thompson turned down the TV and began to speak, "Listen. Now no one is really sure what is going on, but the President is making a really important speech and it's being broadcast all around the world. Now none of us know why, but... It has got to be really important. Something that's going to change history." He spoke seriously his greeny-brown eyes fixing them all, "Please be as quiet as possible."

Something from the TV made Mr. Thompson turn swiftly and turn up the volume…

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Yet more Author's Notes: TO BE CONTINUED...! What do you think? I've already written about 90 of this fic, including the ending which I love, but there's a few gaps that I want to fill in, so its part by part I'm afraid. Please send me some feedback, I'd love it, Sam x

Copyright (C) Sam I Am 2005