Title: Five kids Jack didn't like

Author: Rebecca Johnson [.com]

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Rating: G

Spoilers: Fragile Balance

Summary: title tells it all

Author's Note: Aw, come on, we all know Jack really loves all the kids

Disclaimer: I admit it freely: I own nothing.

1. Jack had gone one-on-one with a heck of a lot of Goa'ulds in his time at the SGC. There were those he had taken out with ease, those he had struggled with, and those who, despite the fact that the thought of wiping them from the face of universe filled him with glee, he had developed a grudging respect for – for their determined insanity if for nothing else. But the Goa'uld standing over him now, holding him in a constant state of pain, lifting him up and down with the force of his ribbon device, scared him more than he would have cared to admit.

The host was young, no older than ten at the most, but the flashing evil in his eyes was centuries old. His small soft body, topped with a mop of unruly light brown hair, was achingly familiar and it made him slightly sick to feel such hatred for the boy who was using his torture device with all the joy of a long beloved toy; like his son's yo-yo that he kept in his desk.

2. Jack glared down his enemy across the battlefield, meeting a second pair of narrowed eyes. His gaze was relentless, but for the first time he started to think that he had finally met his match. His young opponent flicked her eyes quickly to her left, then to her right – judging who she could enlist as warriors on her side and who she could count on to rush to the aid of her enemy. He saw the very moment of decision in her eyes as she focused her weapon directly on him, and he just knew that, this time, there would be no escape. Her look was resolute as she lifted her hand and pointed directly at him, howling out her war cry loudly for all to hear.

"Jack's hiding his brussel sprouts in his napkin!"

Both Sam and Janet turned from their own meals at Cassie's outburst and Jack knew all was lost.

Damn that little traitor!

3. He was hardly a kid, but he was more of a kid than Jack would have liked to see. He was short and weedy, and, my god, had his hair always looked like that? Sticking up behind the ears? The Asgard just didn't seem to know when to keep their bulbous heads out of things; Thor's alright, he's a 'bud', but the others… Why on earth they'd want to make a Mini-Me was beyond Jack. Despite the fact that he was considered the Asgard's No. 1 human, it still made no sense to him.

He found having the fun-size me around downright … unnerving. And Carter thinking he (they?) was cute was just … well he thought it was kinda great, but also just plain weird. While he knew for a fact that the kid-Jack could never get a Carter, mini or otherwise – 'heck, grown up me doesn't even stand much of a chance' – the sight of the two of them together had shocked and surprised him. When Jack had picked him up from the base to take him to his new life, he saw him and Carter saying goodbye and, though he knew it was ridiculous, he felt the sudden desire to deck himself. He had gotten his nose broken twice the year he turned sixteen, so he figured that it would just be restoring a bit of balance to his newly formed fifteen-year-old self.

He had turned the corner into Carter's lab to see her hugging him, tightly and completely, as though he were someone she cared deeply for, as opposed to the 'medical experiment gone wrong' that he was. There were tears in her eyes as she said her goodbyes and, though he knew that he would be the one who got to stick around, who would be there tomorrow and the next day and the next, right at that moment he was jealous of the kid. He was jealous that his departure had allowed him that moment of closeness. He hated that he saw it, hated that the kid was the one who got to experience it and, despite any psychological implications, he hated him.

4. This was just wrong. So, so wrong. With every step SG-1 took, short and slow enough to stay respectfully behind their 'guide', he felt the amusement of both Sam and Daniel grow greatly. Why could they never be his side? Okay, that wasn't fair, sometimes Carter was on his side, but it was all too clear, as she failed to contain the occasional giggle, that it was not to be the case this time. No, she was finding his unease just as hilarious as Daniel.

They had arrived here on PX-something-or-other and had been taken directly to the council building, at which point they were assigned an official representative – a guide and diplomat all in one. Problem was, their pint-size rep, all of thirteen years, was damn annoying. He had no sense of humour (which Jack found just damn freaky for a kid) and seemed to have no problems correcting Jack both loudly and publicly. And if he gave him that look of pure adolescent condescension one more time, he'd – well, no, there was nothing he could do, he'd been told to play nice. Problem was, this kid didn't seem to know the meaning of play.

5. It had been a long time indeed since Jack had found himself holding a baby, and, even then, Charlie's birth had come while he was away and it had taken several weeks until he could return home from duty. This baby was only hours old – 'new' as Daniel had put it.

The soft pink bundle in the crook of his arm gave off the smallest of sighs as her tiny fist escaped her blanket. He just could not believe how tiny she was – no, forget that, he could hardly believe she was here at all. To him, her very existence was bordering miraculous.

Tucking her back into her warm coverings, arranging her blankets up around her, secure and safe, he looked over at the blonde woman lying in the hospital bed. He would never have thought it possible, but today she looked even more beautiful than usual, as though the pure delight of the day had taken up residence in her very skin. This glowing beauty was made all the pronounced as she opened her eyes and, taking in the sight before her, allowed an exhausted but joyful smile to grace her face.

"So what do you think 'Dad', do you like her?"

Oh, there was no way Jack would ever like the baby in his arms; the child he and Sam had brought into this world. No way at all. To him, for her, the word 'like' had no meaning in their new world. As the wave of undiluted loved flowed out of him and over his new family, Jack knew that even love itself was too small a word.