A decidedly fluffy little Easter tale. Sam/Jack established. Really, really established. And super duper fluffy. And did I mention the fluff? Baby chicks pale in comparison.

Basket Cases

He was late.

Of course, it was a holiday weekend, when most of the country was gathered either in church or with family. Glinda herself had needed to find a replacement for her customary duties at Celebration Chapel. She had greeted at the main entrance for seven years, now. Before that, she'd been the records clerk. She'd enjoyed that service opportunity for a while—until it had grown too emulative of her position at the Pentagon. There was nothing like real life to change one's view of service opportunities.

Luckily, Lydia Crandall had been willing to take her post this morning. Glinda knew that she would be required to offer to repay the favor—Lydia was notorious for her long memory and quid pro quo take on friendship—but in the end, asking had been the right thing to do, even though she would miss the Celebration Children's Annual Egg Roll.

This meeting was just that important. They had been summoned to the White House. President Hayes' secretary had made the phone call herself.

Something important was up, and Glinda fairly flushed with pride that her General was being involved.

Of course, the fact that her phone had rung that morning was a bit of a concern. If the General had been required, why hadn't President Hayes's secretary called O'Neill herself? And how had the President's office gotten her cell phone number, when the contact information on her personnel card only had her home phone number listed? Glinda knew that the President had broad powers and resources, but it had been startling that she, Glinda Baldrich, had merited that level of investigation.

Whatever had been the course of events, Glinda had sprung to action with a fervor that belied her sixty six years.

Sixty seven years now, she corrected herself internally. She'd had a birthday recently. She smiled when she thought of that day. Her first order of business on that morning had been traipsing down to the personnel offices and withdrawing her retirement paperwork.

She hadn't been able to leave General O'Neill, after all. He needed her.

Glinda pushed back the sleeve on her Dupioni silk jacket to glance at her watch, smoothing the wonderfully textured fabric back down with a tiny smile. It was a soft rose color—the light reddish color drew out the multitudinous, yet tasteful roses in her organza skirt. She would never have purchased the outfit for herself, but couldn't bring herself to return it once it had arrived at her door the other day. The card had offered gracious birthday greetings, along with the sincerest hope of many more years of friendship. Both of the O'Neills had signed it, although Glinda suspected that Colonel Carter had made the actual purchase.

And she'd put it on to find that not only did it fit perfectly—due to Colonel Carter's innate ability to calculate surface area, Glinda was certain—but it also gave her a youthful glow. Glinda wasn't above admitting it—Bruce Gillinsby would never have boarded the plane to Sun City if he'd seen her wearing this ensemble.

Glinda looked down at the tasteful fabric rose on the lapel, the gold rimmed ivory-colored buttons, the simple pleated pockets. Simply lovely.

And not pink.

It was rose.

Rose was not pink in the same way that apricot was not peach, or azure not periwinkle. Any quilter would know that.

Returning herself to the task at hand, Glinda leaned forward and tapped the driver on the shoulder.

"Sergeant Kearns."

"Yes, ma'am?"

"You said he did what?"

The young motor pool driver grinned and removed his sunglasses. Catching her gaze in the rear-view mirror, he raised a brow with a cocky playfulness that Glinda found rather endearing, even though she shouldn't. "I knocked on the door and called his name, and he shouted at me to—and I quote—' hang on to my hormones'."

"Your hormones."

"Yes, ma'am. Beg your pardon, ma'am."

Glinda waved off the apology. She worked at the Pentagon. In her thirty-eight years, she'd heard worse—much worse. Even so, she screwed her lips together in an expression that threatened her new Rose Passion lipstick. "What on Earth does that mean?"

The young officer's grin widened. "Couldn't tell you, ma'am."

"Hmm." Glinda sighed noncommittally, then reached for the button in the door that lowered the window.

The elegant brownstone was nearly indistinguishable from its neighbors. The only difference lay in the street numbers emblazoned in gold numbers on marble plaques near each individual front door. Glinda hadn't been entirely certain what to expect on her first visit to General O'Neill's residence. Not that this was a visit—she was merely accompanying the General to the White House where she would take notes, she assumed, and act as amanuensis. Perhaps she would get his coffee. Regardless, she hadn't anticipated the General to have chosen this particular structure for his home.

Although what she had expected, she couldn't say. Something more rugged, perhaps. More defensible. Certainly not this lovely abode nestled snugly between two others that looked just like it. Again, she reasoned, the final choice must have been made by the Colonel.

Such a lovely young woman—and made even more so by the impending arrival of her baby.

Glinda found herself smiling smugly. What luck she'd had in this assignment from the Secretarial Pool. Even though she still had to remind the General that he was indeed The General from time to time, she couldn't imagine not retiring for anyone else.

Although, at the moment, she found his tardiness somewhat annoying. One would think that a direct summons from the President of the United States would warrant behavior more circumspect, but then, one never expected General Jack O'Neill to behave like normal people. After all, when she'd finally gotten O'Neill to answer his phone this morning, he'd admitted that he'd ignored the President's secretary when she'd called, telling Glinda that he'd had more important things to do.

More important than the President?

Glinda sighed again. "Sergeant Kearns."

This time, the young officer turned his head to look at her. "Yes, ma'am?"

"Perhaps we should knock again."

His eyes widened in alarm. "Uh—ma'am, meaning no disrespect, but I don't think that would be a wise course of action."

"Why ever not?" Glinda cast him one of her best piercing looks, but Sergeant Kearns seemed gloriously unaffected by it. Perhaps it was her new suit. It was hard to appear commanding when one looked so—well—pretty.

And the sweet look that the young man gave her over his shoulder backed up that notion. "No offense, ma'am, but I think that the General will be out when he's ready to be out. I don't think that nagging him will make one lick of difference."

Again, all that Glinda could say was, "Hmm." And she sat back against the leather seat of the car, determined to be patient.

She polished the face of her watch with a handkerchief from her handbag, then rifled through the papers and notes in her briefcase. Counted pens. Inventoried notepads. Checked each of the files that she had been requested to bring. Checked them again. Surreptitiously ascertained that her Rose Passion lipstick had, indeed, survived her previous smirk. Peeked again at the face of her watch.

Eight minutes gone and still no General.

The wind changed, and a gust of chilled early Spring breeze tugged at her silver curls. Glinda raised a hand to still them, simultaneously reaching to push the button that would close the window. Just as the tinted glass began its slide upwards, the door to the brownstone opened, and General O'Neill appeared on the front step.

Glinda took note of his state of dress and inwardly sighed. Again.

At least his pants were buttoned. His shirt was done up about three quarters of the way, and his tie had been tossed loosely over his shoulder. He had his shoes on, and socks, but the shoes weren't tied, and his jacket hung from one hand.

And his hair. Good heavens to Betsy. His hair looked green.

Truly green. Glinda squinted, then screwed her eyes shut, then opened them wide, but the tinge was still there. Green.

As she watched, O'Neill shrugged into his jacket, then fitted his tie around his neck, shoving it unceremoniously under his collar. He reached back with one hand and shut his front door, then headed for the car.

Sliding over to accommodate him, Glinda watched him near. Still green. And a bit shiny. But just here or there. Glinda wondered if his wife's pregnancy had finally gotten the better of the General and he'd started to use the Grecian Formula. Bruce's friend Lloyd had tried that concoction once, while trying to woo the precocious Bethyl Stout from unit 427. His hair had turned just that hue a green. Only not as—well—sparkly.

And sparkling it was in the late morning sun, eliciting a slight gasp from Glinda, and a snorting kind of guffaw from the young man climbing out from behind the wheel to open the door for the General.

"Hey, Pinky." O'Neill shooed the sergeant back into the car, then opened the door himself. He plopped into the seat with a tired sound, then glanced at Glinda before setting himself to tying his tie. "What's all this about?"

"I don't know for certain, sir." Glinda aimed for decorum, but it was difficult when that hair yearned not for a comb, but for a weedwhacker.

"Where exactly are we going?" His long fingers expertly worked at his tie, and O'Neill smoothed down his collar as the driver fastened his seat belt and prepared to turn the key in the ignition.

"To the White House, sir."

"White House." O'Neill blew out an exasperated breath from between his lips. "I wonder what they're having for lunch."

"I don't believe we've been invited for lunch, sir."

"They gotta have lunch. It's Easter Sunday." He looked appalled. "President Hayes is a good guy. His wife is a sweetheart. They'll have food." And that, apparently, settled that.

The motor roared to life, and O'Neill sat back in the seat, leaning his head back against the headrest. He presented a picture of total relaxation.

A movement just outside the window beckoned Glinda's attention, and she leaned slightly down and forward to see the door to the brownstone open, and Colonel Carter emerge.

She didn't have any clothes on.

Well—she did, but not real clothes. It appeared that she was wearing one of her husband's flannel shirts, haphazardly buttoned, and a pair of shorts—or—My Goodness—boxers! Glinda's eyes flared wide as the Colonel made her way quickly down the walk to the car, holding something in one hand.

Bending, she poked her blond head into the window, thrusting a laden hand through as well.

"You forgot your hat, Jack." She tossed said accoutrement onto her husband's lap. "Can't go to the White House without that." She wiped something that appeared to be chocolate from the corner of her mouth with the pad of her thumb and then brought it to her lips and worried at it briefly before grinning. "Hey, Glinda."

"Colonel." Glinda made a brash attempt at propriety, but found it to be impossible not to return that smile.

Sam's dimples deepened. "You look lovely this morning, by the way."

"Thank you." Fidgeting slightly with the organza of her skirt, she peeked at the General before returning her attention to the Colonel. "The dress is beautiful—and so very much appreciated."

"Well, you look very chic. And thank you for the 'thank you' note." She reached in and tweaked the tie beneath her husband's collar. "Now, you two better be going before Hayes wonders what happened to you." She looked at her husband again—pointedly. "Be good."

"Always." O'Neill leaned forward and caught her chin to pull her closer for a quick kiss. As usual, it lingered.

Glinda tried not to watch. They were the two most demonstrative people she'd ever come into contact with. She'd wondered more than a few times how they had ever survived when their work disallowed any sort of relationship between them. Because that kind of chemistry couldn't be contained forever. It was truly a marvel that they hadn't spontaneously exploded under the pressure. Rolling her eyes slightly, Glinda mused that the O'Neills were making up for lost time.

"Well, anyway." The colonel smiled at her spouse, then paused. "What's this?" She reached in and ran her hand through O'Neill's gray hair, removing something. She stood and studied the substance while the General studied his wife's abdomen through the car window, a funny expression playing on his lips. He jumped when she leaned back in. "I got it. You guys go on."

"What was it?"

"Just go."




Sam bent down over the window again. Her blue eyes twinkling, she cocked an eyebrow. "Easter grass. It was Easter grass."

And the smile that erupted on the man's face proved positively sinful.

"Shut up, Jack." The Colonel rolled her eyes and stood upright again. "Bye! Have fun!" She took a few steps backward and then turned towards the house.

O'Neill threw a look out the window as the car lurched forward, then covered up his strange, satisfied smirk with random business pertaining to his hat.

And the secretary couldn't help one last glimpse behind her, as the car moved away from the curb. The Colonel stood on the walk, watching the car leave. Finally, she turned, and Glinda felt her cheeks redden when she saw why it was that Sam had so easily recognized the substance in her husband's hair.

Because it glinted in green, shiny strands all over her back.