Category: Drama, Jack Whump, Sam Whump.
Season: Future Fic. 'Acceptable Risk' Universe/Follow Up Story, But Can Stand Alone. Team. Moderate S/J Throughout, Serious SJ toward the end.
Summary: A Stormy Night Becomes Much More For Jack, and Leads To Unexpected Consequences.
Snowflakes swirled in front of the windshield as Jack O'Neill manhandled his big truck down the rural Minnesota road that led to the cabin he now called home.
The snow wasn't bad, and he could see fairly well at the moment, but he knew the worst was yet to come. The weather forecasters were saying that this storm was a big one, and it didn't take a genius to see that the radar agreed.
Jack's home was in for a pounding tonight, and he knew he'd wake to over a foot of new snow.
Because of this fairly certain fact, Jack had gone into town today to pick up supplies. He'd refilled his two extra gas cans with fuel for his emergency generator, picked up several gallon jugs of drinking water, and stocked up on easy-to-prepare food.
He'd also stopped by the hardware store and purchased five hundred pounds of a sand and salt mixture that wouldn't be entirely for personal use.
While Jack's own deck and porch would need some care to keep it slip-free over the winter, he'd also use the grit on his neighbor's homes.
When General Jack O'Neill retired to Minnesota five years ago, he realized right away that something was missing from his new neighborhood. He lived in an area that was sparsely populated but close enough to several larger towns that it wasn't overly rural.
He had access to medical facilities, shopping centers, entertainment, restaurants, and law enforcement. But there were no actual city services that extended their range to his cabin and those of the people closest to him.
Trash was burned or hauled to the city dump, about twenty miles away.
Any recycling had to be taken to town.
Even the post office only delivered to the small general store at the end of the long, winding road into the woods.
These things didn't bother Jack.
In fact, he rather appreciated them. He went into town often enough for hockey practice and games or shopping or other errands that it was no inconvenience to drop off bottles and cans or pick up his mail.
But there was one notable exception to his lack of conveniences that caused him no end of stress his first winter here.
There were no snow removal services.
The folks who lived along the dirt road to Jack's either shoveled and plowed their own way out after every snow or waited for the townsfolk with plows to come along (often days later) to dig them out.
Jack thought it was odd that no one had taken it upon themselves to provide this valuable service in a timely fashion, so he'd asked around about it.
It turned out that old Mister Holloway had plowed everyone out for as long as anyone could remember, and two winters ago he had suddenly passed away. No one had yet filled the void.
Jack fitted his Ford with a plow that afternoon.
He hadn't plowed snow since he was a teenager, but figured he could handle it.
It wasn't as easy as he remembered, but he soon got the hang of it.
The rest of his first winter was spent practicing and learning the best way to navigate tight corners with a large snowplow and figuring out how to get his truck unstuck when it inevitably lost traction on some icy drive.
That spring Jack picked up an old Chevy 2500 with four wheel drive and a huge V8. She had a few dings, but for what Jack had planned, she was perfect.
The green Ford gave up her plow to the new beast, and Jack spent the entire summer tinkering on his new blue demon, which was immediately nicknamed after a Simpsons character.
By winter, Marge was ready to go. She'd been tuned up, fitted with a new, bigger hitch to haul a grader behind her, and a large metal box was mounted in her bed to dispense sand and salt as needed to snowy, icy roads.
Marge was indeed a beast, but she was also a beauty.
She'd served Jack well that winter. She served as the cornerstone of the new business Jack established that year. As word got around about Jack and his truck and his willingness to help people out of a bind, more and more people approached Jack about contracting him for plowing at their homes. Jack soon worked over thirty houses, and became a pro at plowing, grading, sanding, salting, and otherwise getting rid of the white stuff that so easily kinked plans in these parts.
When summer came again, Marge was put into storage in town and the Ford came out again, but the calls from neighbors didn't stop. Jack had earned himself a reputation as a dependable and helpful neighbor, and people called now wanting to know if they could borrow a truck to haul something, or if Jack knew anyone who could pull stumps from a field.
Jack was more than happy to oblige, and soon found himself the president, CEO, and sole employee of O'Neill Enterprises, a company that would tackle any job, from building decks to cutting wood to felling trees by summer but that specialized in snow removal by winter.
Jack made a comfortable living this way, even though his retirement pension covered most of his bills. More importantly, he stayed busy. He met all of his neighbors and enjoyed the friendships and conversations he shared with them immensely. During Marge's second and third winters in service, he often partook of hot chocolate and cider prepared for him by his new friends while he took short breaks from the constant chore of plowing during on ongoing storm.
All in all, he and Marge were living the good life.