Hey guys! Thanks for not giving up on me! The emails I get letting me know people are favouriting The Non-Real O'Neill or adding me to their author or story alerts really mean a great deal to me and help to get Boris – my writing demon within – focussed back on continuing this story. I may occasionally (*cough* or always *cough*) be slow in delivering the next chapter but rest assured I am in no way abandoning any of my writing. Big thanks to Mysfyt and Cath for their ongoing hand-holding and support.
"Why would you be giving a talk about me?" Daniel was perplexed.
"It was just this thing alright!" John waved his arms about in the patented O'Neill fashion. "Forget about it."
Daniel just shrugged and Jack wasn't sure if he would let the kid get away without spilling at some point but for now he seemed to be letting it slide. Jack wasn't sure Daniel would have let him get away with that. Daniel had been carrying some papers and books under his arm and now he held them out to John.
"Here's some work that Mrs Bedelmeier wanted me to drop around to you." Daniel told him. "She asked me to come by the school and pick it up."
"You know she just wanted to see you." John grinned. "It's not like I couldn't have gone in myself."
Daniel blushed. "No, I'm sure it's just because I'm listed as sort of your guardian."
"What'd you get?" Ally wanted to know as she started rifling through the papers and books that were now in John's hands.
"Nothing that exciting." John sighed. "I suppose they want to go easy on us. Oh, sweet! That book I wanted finally came into the library."
Jack grabbed the book. "Solar, Stellar and Galactic Connections between Particle Physics and Astrophysics. What the?"
"Just some light reading..." John snatched the book back. "I'd just finished my book on black hole gravitohydromagnetics too... excellent!"
Jack didn't miss the way Daniel smiled like an indulgent proud parent and he huffed, before being distracted by another book in the pile. It had soldier and military in the title. "Now this is more like it!" His enthusiasm was short lived when he read the rest of the title. The Military and Negotiation: The Role of Soldier-Diplomat. He waved the book in John's face only to be shocked by the words on the back. "Non-violent conflict resolution! GAH!"
"What?" The kid had the gall to look suspiciously innocent.
"I don't even know who you are anymore!" Jack held up his hands, shaking his head.
John raised an eyebrow. "Not everyone can be you, Jack."
"So, Murray..." Ally interrupted their staring match. "If my calculations are correct, I believe last time I saw you it was decided that it was your turn to choose."
"I believe you are correct, Alyson Green." Teal'c bowed in response.
"Choose?" Jack asked.
"What our plans for the afternoon's activities are." John explained.
"I have a desire to play the Game of Life." Teal'c stated.
"I don't even know who you are anymore!" Jack stared at him. Teal'c stared back impassively. Patiently. "Fine! Deal me in."
"That doesn't even make sense." John pointed out with a grin.
"Well, let's not get too obsessive about the particulars." Jack grumbled after him as John went to the cupboard and pulled out the box from amongst quite an impressive collection.
They all settled around the coffee table and things soon denigrated into shouting matches over little pink plastic people and cars and the number of spaces travelled as according to the dots on the dice and whether certain people were cheating. Ally got up to answer a knock at the door that the others hadn't noticed.
Which is how Major Samantha Carter came to witness the disturbing image of her team mates playing the Game of Life.
"Carter!" Both O'Neills leapt to their feet, identical redness beginning to colour their cheeks.
"Is it too late for me to join in?" She asked, grinning.
"It is never too late to join the Game of Life." Teal'c told her completely seriously and everyone else dissolved into giggles.
"Here, Sam. You can have one of my kids." Daniel told her.
"And I shall offer you one of my wives." Teal'c handed her a pink plastic person.
"As for me, I have this sweet ride you can have." Jack handed over a little car.
"And from me, Ca... Sam... the most thoughtful gift of all... a pile o' cash." John grinned and with uncharacteristic shyness handed her half his life savings.
John turned to Ally – expecting her to come up with something as well – but Ally was staring at Carter. Then she turned to look at him and he knew that look in her eyes. She was pissed. Big time.
"Samantha Carter." Ally grated through her teeth. "You know Samantha Carter. The Samantha Carter. The astrophysicist."
"Uh, yeah." John swallowed. He glanced sideways and Carter's cheeks were already turning pink. She looked decidedly uncomfortable – especially with this change in atmosphere being related to her.
Ally's voice was laced with wrath as she spat at him. "You complete bastard..."
"Pix..." John began pleadingly. "I can explain..."
"Too fucking late, O'Neill. Too little, too fucking late." She spun and stalked off into the bedroom and slammed the door behind her.