Chapter 20

Stark leaned back in his chair and watched Cassie just like everyone else at the table, although his mind probably went a slightly different direction. Great, he thought. Here comes another one. Another Jack. Another idiot. And this one couldn't even manage to keep his hair, his grey hair, from sticking out in all directions.

"Miss me?" Jack O'Neill asked, kissing Cassie on her cheek.

She rolled her eyes at him before dragging him over to the counter. "Vincent, this is my Uncle Jack. He loves dessert, particularly pie."

Vincent's eyes lit up in excitement. Not only was he about to make another customer happy, but the chances of more entertainment from the table in the corner just rose several fold. "I've got apple, pecan and cherry pie."

Cassie snorted when she saw Jack frown in deep concentration. "Better bring one of each. And coffee."

"Black, two sugar," Jack added, holding up three fingers out of Cassie's field of view.

Vincent smiled, though inwardly he was laughing out loud as, unbeknownst to Jack, Cassie was holding up just one finger. "Pie and coffee will be right up."

Cassie pulled Jack over to their table, grinning like she'd just won the lottery. She brought another chair, putting it on the table Stark had moved towards them earlier. Plopping down unceremoniously, she pointed to the empty space next to Sam and grinned. He was General O'Neill, he would find a way to get to the empty space.

Jack raised his eyebrows at her but she didn't say anything else. His hands buried in the pockets of his combat-style trousers, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet, he smiled at everyone at the table in general but Sam in particular. "Hi, I'm Jack."

"And here are your pies and your coffee," Vincent said cheerfully, holding out a plate with three generous slices on them.

Jack took a sniff and sighed in pleasure. "Hi, my name is Jack," he repeated. "And I'm addicted to pie."

"Hallelujah!" Cassie said. Both she and Sam broke out laughing. Jack raised his eyebrows at Sam and she stopped almost immediately, though she was still smiling enough to light up the room. "Hi," she said.

"In case you haven't noticed," Cassie said, casually having a small piece of Jack's cherry pie, "Sam likes Jack."

"No, really?" Zoe asked.

"Yeah," Zane said with his smirk firmly in place, "I'd never have guessed."

Jo patted his cheek and laughed at his protests. "That's why we're telling you."

Stark snorted. "So Sam likes Jack. Which one?"

Sam winked at her boyfriend before putting her arm around her cousin. "Why, both of course!" Then she patted the empty seat next to her and smirked at Jack. "Are you coming? Or are you waiting for Cassie to finish your pies?"

His eyes popped wide open when he noticed the suspiciously non-triangle shaped pie slices. "Hey!"

"What?" Cassie asked, giving him her most charming smile. "I'm just making sure they haven't gone off in the last couple of minutes."

Jack poked out his tongue at his honorary niece before taking the plate and, after a short look around, took Cassie's former place by climbing in the same way she'd climbed out earlier. Once seated, he had only eyes for Sam. He first gave her a thorough once over before he locked eyes with her - and didn't move.

After a minute or so Zoe leaned closer to Cassie, not caring that she entered Stark's personal space in doing so, and stage-whispered, "What are they doing?"

Cassie took one look at Sam and Jack and grinned. "Talking."

"Their lips aren't moving," Zoe pointed out quiet reasonably. By now the other Jack, Jo, Zane and Allison were leaning in closer to Cassie as well while Stark just rolled his eyes at them. Of course, that didn't mean he wasn't listening too.

"I know. It's one of their things." Cassie shrugged her shoulders. "See the way the corners of their mouths are moving slightly upwards and that tiny twinkle in Sam's eyes? Means they're neither telling dirty jokes nor is it foreplay. Looks like boring 'how was your day?' stuff to me."

"Exactly," Jack said without losing eye-contact with Sam, "We'll save the good stuff for when we're alone with you."

"Eww! Uncle Ja-ack!"

"Yes, Cassandra?" He grinned at her then tucked into the first piece of pie. "Hmm. Pecan."

Sam chuckled at their antics before officially introducing Jack to everyone at the table, somehow forgetting to mention both his surname and his job title. A fact Stark picked up on almost immediately. "So, Jack,"

"Yes?" Both Jacks said in unison.

Stark glared at them while everyone else chuckled. "I wasn't talking to you, Carter."

"Ouch!" Once again both Jacks answered at the same time. "That hurt," the sheriff added, prompting Sam to pat his head a couple of times.

Allison, though enjoying the show, took up Nathan's line of questioning. "I think what Nathan wanted to know is what you are doing for a living?"

Jack O'Neill gave her a boyish grin. "Do you want to know what I'm doing for a living too?"

She smiled, shaking her head in exasperation. "Fine. So, Jack, what kind of job do you have?"

"I push lots of paper around my desk. I even answer the phone sometimes," Jack said, his voice completely serious.

"He also likes to annoy people," Cassie added.

"And create a mess or two," Sam piped up though she blushed almost immediately. Still, she held out her hand to him and just like that they were lost in a silent conversation again.

Zane nudged Cassie. "They talking again?"

"Yep," Cassie answered, letting the p pop nicely. "Still no sex, though."

Zane chuckled. "And what exactly are they saying?"

"Sorry," Cassie shrugged her shoulder, "I'm not exactly fluent in Sam-and-Jack speak. But Sam might ask him to hand over the mess he created in his office recently."

That got everyone's attention. "Seriously?" Jo asked and Cassie nodded. Then she nodded towards the two lovebirds just as Jack was pulling something from his pocket. However, with his hand closed, all they could do was guess at what he was holding.

"Come on," Sam said, eyes twinkling with amusement. "Hand it over and I'll let you get back to your pies."

With much huffing and grumbling Jack finally opened his hand and let the content drop into her open one.

"A yo-yo?" Stark asked with raised eyebrows. "You work with yo-yos?"

Sam snorted. "More like messing them up." To underline her point, she held up the yo-yo for everyone to see. The string attached was a mess of knots and loops that the knots had created. "I still haven't figured out how he does it."

Cassie raised a single eyebrow and said, "It's his version of flirting." There was more than one snort at that comment. "What? It's true. I have it on good authority that even Sam thinks so."

Now it was Jack's turn to raise his eyebrows. Sam blushed slightly and even though she tried to hide that fact by hiding her face behind her tea mug as she took a sip, she wasn't fooling anyone. Even Stark smiled a little at the picture she gave.

"Now that my secrets are out," Jack said, "What are you doing all day? Apart from eating these great pies?"

"I've got that!" Jack Carter almost shouted. At the other Jack's questioning look he said, "They can be a bit wordy sometimes. Anyway," He pointed at each of them. "Zoe, my sweet and innocent daughter who won't even think about dating until she's well into her thirties."

"Keep dreaming."

Ignoring Zoe's comment, the older Jack nodded in understanding. "Cassie's the same."

"I thought so. Anyway, Jo, my very capable deputy. Zane, chief troublemaker."

"Thanks," they said in unison before high-fiving each other.

Jack's voice became a tad softer when he continued. "Dr Allison Blake, doctor and, well, she's a bit of paper pusher too, I guess."

"I'm afraid he's right," Allison said, a smile playing along her lips.

The softness replaced by mirth, Jack finished off his version of the introductions, "And Nathan Stark, desk jockey and keeper of all of Eureka's egos. Though how they fit in next to his is still a mystery to me."

"It's Dr Nathan Stark." He took a sip of his coffee before adding casually, "And Sheriff Carter is just jealous."

"Of what? Your ego?" Jack Carter waved his hand dismissively. "I'm afraid my head isn't big enough for it. You know, too much brain, not enough empty space."

Nathan sighed theatrically while the rest of the table laughed loudly. He had to admit that he'd kind of asked for that one. "Well done, Carter. Now we all know how funny you are."

"Naw, they knew that already. Right?"

Zoe nodded, patting her dad's arm. "Sure, dad."

Jack O'Neill watched in amusement. He leaned over to Sam and stage-whispered, "That's a pretty good show you've got here."

"I know," she returned just as quietly - or loudly - as him. "I'm just missing the popcorn sometimes."

He raised his eyebrows for a second then he whistled. Loudly. Vincent rushed over and Jack smiled at him. "Love the pies. Any chance you have some good ol' popcorn lying around? The evening show here is pretty funny but misses that last ... umpf."

"Popcorn, huh?" Vincent asked.

Sam and Jack nodded simultaneously.

"Sugared."

"Salted."

Vincent shook his head and chuckled. "I'll bring both."

Allison stood up once Vincent had vanished back into the kitchen. "As much fun as this is I'll have to go."

"Aw. Come on, Allison. We're just warming up here!" Jack Carter said, the expression on his face halfway there to pleading.

"Sorry, Carter. I have to get Kevin from his friend's place and then do some more work."

Nathan stood up and offered his arm. "Want me to come with you? Compare notes for tomorrow?"

"That's lame," O'Neill said. "Even Danny-boy comes up with better lines. While having amnesia."

Sam and Cassie snorted. "Sorry, but Daniel doesn't need lines. He's picking up women just by walking past them."

Jack opened his mouth then closed it again. They had a point after all. "It was still a lame pick-up line."

"Actually," Allison said, the corners of her mouth twitching upwards. "We do have work to do. We have some ... important paper pushers come by tomorrow."

"Ah," O'Neill said. "Have fun, then. Guess it's more popcorn for me, then."

"Keep dreaming," Cassie said, taking the bowl of salted popcorn from Vincent. "Or work on acquiring a taste for sweet popcorn so you can share with Sam."

"Hey!"

"You just had three slices of pie. You're going to make yourself sick by adding popcorn to the mix." Sam giggled at the shock on his face. Then she leaned in for a not too innocent kiss. "Feel better?"

"Hmm."

Cassie, who had moved seats and was sitting next to Zoe again, nudged her friend. "Aren't they just sweet?"

Zoe offered the bowl of popcorn to Jo and nodded. "Good thing the popcorn is salted or the cavities would be queuing up, ready to move in."

They spent another hour at Café Diem, their corner of the cafe filled with giggles and outright laughter. It was Sam becoming a little bit quieter that had them call it a night. Jack, her Jack, noticed it first and after some evading on her side she finally admitted that she was long overdue another dose of pain meds. That made all of them realise that she was still injured and needed the rest. It took a few more minutes to finish off their drinks but then everyone was on their way.

Zane went with Jo after convincing her to take him home with her while Jack went with, well, Jack. Once back at the house, and after some more SARAH appreciation on Jack's side, Cassie offered her share of the guest bed to Jack, already making plans for a pyjama party with Zoe. Although, once Sam and Jack made their way up to the room, she couldn't help but call after them, reminding them of the monitoring patch on Sam's neck and how they would all know if they were up to some naughty stuff when Allison was starting to call SARAH to enquire about Sam's health.

Amidst the giggles of Cassie and Zoe and a rather disturbed looking Sheriff, Sam and Jack finally reached their room - and some much needed alone time. Jack needed more time to make sure Sam was really going to be okay and Sam, well, she didn't exactly mind sharing her bed with him either. Even if her injuries - but not the monitoring device - were preventing them from doing anything more than careful cuddling.

oxoxoxoxo

Vincent whistled. "Looking good, Sam. Had a good night, huh?"

The smile on Sam's face grew even further. Next to her, Cassie was rolling her eyes good naturedly. "I've slept like a baby."

He chuckled, nodding towards the window. "And where's your Jack? I saw the sheriff drop you off but there was nobody else in the car."

"Yeah," Allison said from behind them. "I'm kinda wondering myself. And good morning. Vincent is right. You are looking much better."

Sam turned around and grinned at her. "Good morning to you too. And thanks. What can I say? SARAH's mattress in combination with a Jack-shaped pillow does wonders for your health."

Allison chuckled and gratefully accepted the coffee Vincent put in front of her. She lightly tapped the monitoring patch on Sam's neck and said, "The readings certainly look good. We can probably remove it soon."

"Yes!"

"So," Allison said after she stopped giggling at her enthusiastic reaction. "What is your Jack doing?"

"Swearing. Grumbling. Glaring."

"Cassie," Sam said, her voice may have sounded rebuking but her eyes were twinkling with amusement. "He's still at Carter's place. He has to go over some paperwork. So he'll be glaring at the files, swear at whoever used too many words to describe everything and grumble at the unfairness of it all."

"See?" Cassie smirked, accepting her Vincepresso and lifting it in a toast. "Told ya so."

"Well," Allison looked at her watch and sighed. She lifted her briefcase for them to see and said, "I'll better get over these files once more before my meeting. Have a nice day and rest. Just because the readings look good doesn't mean you can start to run around, overexerting yourself again, okay?"

"I'll make sure of it," Cassie said, smiling sweetly at Allison and ignoring Sam's protests.

oxoxoxoxo

An hour later Sam was engrossed in the paperback she was reading. Cassie had decided Sam was spending too much time in front of her laptop and had insisted they left it with SARAH. And to prevent her from stealing Cassie's laptop, Cassie had brought a book for herself as well. And while Sam was quickly going through the pages, Cassie was more into watching the people around her.

Therefore she didn't miss the door opening - and some military brass entering. She also didn't miss Allison taking a deep breath before quickly getting up and greeting the General.

Cassie glanced at Sam, pondered for a moment, then decided it'd be a shame if Sam would miss it. And in turn, if Cassie would miss Sam's reactions and also if there were nobody to giggle with about the whole situation later on.

"Sam," she whispered, nudging Sam to get her attention. "Look."

It took a couple of seconds but once she had Sam's attention, she just pointed towards Allison and the General next to her, then leaned back, ready to watch the show.

"Oh boy," Sam whispered. "That's General Mansfield."

Cassie raised an amused eyebrow. "Duh! Uncle Jack said he'd be meeting with him. And I believe Allison mentioned him yesterday too."

"But I thought they'd be meeting at Global Dynamics!" Sam shuffled around a bit, trying to hide from Mansfield but, at the same time, keep an eye on him. "We've met before and I don't want him to see me!"

"And there's Uncle Jack. He looks quite good in his uniform, doesn't he?" Cassie asked, then giggled when Sam glared at her and whispered for her to be quiet.

oxoxoxoxo

A/N: Thanks for your reviews! What a great beginning to a new year. Glad you like another Jack in Eureka and I hope it's halfway clear from the situation which one is speaking... Next chapter should be up in a week or so.