Fandom: Supernatural/Stargate Xover!
Title: Corner of Your Eye
Characters: Jack O'Neill, Dean Winchester
Category: Action/Adventure as of now
Spoilers: Pilot for SPN, up to Season 9 for SG-1
Summary: Jack O'Neill is not very good at being retired. Dean Winchester is not very good at staying out of trouble. And there's something lurking in these here woods….
Word Count: 1475 for this part
Disclaimer: As soon as I own them, you'll know. Oh yes, yes, the day is coming.
Author's Note: JACKNDEAN! This has every potential for becoming a whole universe of crossover stories, because these two are so perfect it makes me teary with joy. Timelines have been fudged a bit to make this work, with the idea that Jack tried to retire again when the Goa'uld were defeated and SG-1 disbanded, and John left Dean a few months before Dean went to find Sam, maybe going after the death in April instead of October. But you know, both of those totally could have happened, so it's not exactly AU. :shifty eyes:
Corner of Your Eye
One of the great things about being retired, Jack thought as he sat down in his rocker on the cabin's porch with a newspaper and a steaming cup of joe, was that all the news he read was about good ol' planet Earth. No more mission briefings, no more reports piling up in his overflowing inbox, no more frantic announcements of alien invasion just before the hammer came down. Just plane crashes and political scandals, human interest features and muggings, movie reviews, advice columns, and shrill, vitriolic, ham-fisted letters to the editor. Jack loved the smell of newspaper in the morning.
He slurped his coffee and propped his crossed ankles on the railing, listening to the call of a whooping crane somewhere over the water, smelling the brisk chill of spring in Minnesota. Yep, he sure did love being retired. He was relaxed as all get out. Not itching to be doing something important, not at all. Let the kids save the universe. All was well. Carter was doing her thing in Area 51, Teal'c was helping build an infrastructure for his newly freed people, and Daniel had the leisure time to translate alien squiggles to his geeky little heart's content. Yep. Retirement. It was awesome.
Jack's eye fell on a news story buried below the fold on the second page. "Police rule third mysterious death in woods an accident." As he read, his feet slowly removed themselves from the railing and lowered to the floor, until he was sitting forward in the chair, soles planted flat on the wooden planking, as if his body was prepared to jump up and run at any second.
The victim was a young guy in his twenties, active, apparently fit. He'd been out hiking. His body had been found by Russ Tamlin, an old-timer Jack chatted with sometimes when he went to the two-street town nearby to buy bait and other supplies. There wasn't a mark on the kid, nothing to explain what had happened, only a face contorted in what appeared to be abject horror or fear. Heart failure, the coroner had ruled. But there at the very end of the short article, no doubt kept by a local reporter desperate to pad out the space, was an insistent quote from Russ. "I know I saw something move in those woods. There was something invisible back there. That kid didn't die by accident. He was murdered."
Jack looked up from the newspaper, narrowing his eyes at the woods surrounding his pond. This had happened not far from the cabin. And Jack knew enough about cover-ups to catch a whiff of bullshit in this story. "Heart failure," right. That's what they always said when they couldn't come up with anything else, or weren't allowed to share the real story because the friendly men in black had come along and taken all the evidence away.
Third death… Not good. Jack hopped briskly to his feet and went back inside, leaving the coffee mug steaming forgotten on the railing. He had a stack of older newspapers near the back door, kept meaning to take them out and not doing it. With a little digging, he had the other two stories, too, buried five pages and three pages deep, respectively. Well, at least it was gradually coming toward the front. Not fast enough though.
The other two victims were also young, apparently healthy. A thirty-five-year-old librarian out for a picnic with her nieces, found dead after she wandered away for a few minutes to pick some flowers. A kid in his mid-teens found dead after taking a dare to spend the night in an abandoned logger's cabin. Faces frozen in what some said looked like terror. Deaths ruled to be caused by heart failure or other defects, pure and simple.
Yeah, sure, you betcha.
Something was definitely going on. Jack sat at his dining table with the three newspapers spread out in front of him, resting his chin on his hands as he stared at them sightlessly. Eight years ago, they had thought Earth was cut off from the galaxy. Now they knew better. And it wasn't just the Stargate. People were coming here in ships, too. Now the universe was aware of this little blue planet's existence, it seemed like everyone wanted a piece. Jack couldn't fathom what somebody would want with three youngsters in the Minnesota woods, but c'mon. Invisible attacker. Death by heart failure. Sounded like a cloaking device and a zat to him.
Decision made, Jack stood up and grabbed his baseball cap from the wall, jamming it firmly down on his head. Time to buy some bait.
Dad had been gone for a week, off hunting something. Dean wasn't worrying about it though. Sure, Dad thought the thing was dangerous, yet somehow was convinced that he doesn't need Dean along to watch his back. And he hadn't answered his phone in a few days. But Dean wasn't worried. It was his dad.
He probably just thought Dean needed to get in a few more solo hunts, figure out how to do it on his own. Very much John Winchester's MO. Just like when they were kids and he left Dean and Sam somewhere in the woods, let them find their own way back to the road. Sink or swim, that's how it was. It was all just another military dry-run. So Dean should only be worrying about himself, and proving that he could do this.
He'd finished up with that voodoo thing, and Dad still wasn't answering his calls. So that probably meant he was supposed to find another hunt on his own, prove that he could do it. Then Dean would call him, after several days of silence, just announce casually over the phone that he'd banished a ghost in Oklahoma, or cleaned out a haunted house in Massachusetts, or destroyed a cursed object in Oregon. Sure, that was what he would do.
Dean hated this part, though. The research. He sat in an annoyingly neon internet café somewhere in Memphis, flexing his fingers over the keyboard, trying to ignore the kid playing World of Warcraft on his right and the goth girl writing depressing poetry to his left. (It was a toss-up which more irritating: the hissed "YESSSS" and fist-pumps or the gloomy muttering of potential rhymes.)
Like an old ache long left to scab over and never healed, he missed his bitchy little brother. It was always so easy to con him into doing all this boring shit. Dumb kid actually seemed to enjoy it. He was pretty good, too.
But that didn't mean Dean couldn't do it, even better and faster. He'd taught the brat practically everything he knew, after all, including how to tie his shoes. Dean still had the mojo.
He was Dean Winchester, and he would not be defeated by a hunk of silicon and glass.
All right, let's try "mysterious death."
Dean typed the query into the news database and sat back, blinking at the results that scrolled down the screen. 1-20 of 23,486.
"Awesome," he muttered. "This'll be a piece of cake."
He skimmed down the list of two-sentence summaries, counting on his gut to pick up something of interest. Clicked forward a page or two, skimmed those lists. Drummed his fingers on the desk. Clicked forward again. Hummed a few bars of Black Sabbath. Blinked. Sat up straight. Clicked back. One location was coming up more than once, and recently.
Some place in Minnesota. Three deaths, in the last couple of months, looked like an escalating pattern. Young people, active and fit, out doing innocuous activities in the woods. Faces contorted in death, cases ruled heart failure. Dean permitted a snort of amusement that. Couldn't they come up with a better cop-out? He'd heard that one, like, twenty times. In the past six months.
And this little gem from some guy named Russ. "I know I saw something move in those woods. There was something invisible back there."
Poor guy. You could tell by the tone of the article that no one believed him. No one in Podunktown, Minnesota, anyway.
Invisible attacker. Faces frozen in fear. "Heart failure." Sounded like an angry spirit to him, probably just a straight salt-and-burn. Easy peasy. He'd take care of it, call his dad and let him know, and hopefully that would be the end of this stupid training exercise.
Dean logged out and stood, forcefully, letting his chair bump into the fist-pumping kid. An outraged "Hey, watch it!" floated up behind him as he walked briskly away, already reaching for the keys in his pocket. Time to hit the road for Minnesota. Dean couldn't remember traveling there before. He hoped that the weather would be nice. And that the waitresses along the way would be hot.
Next Chapter: Who is that I see walking in these woods? Why, it's Little Red Riding...Dean. JACKNDEAN!