Title: All's Fair

A/N: This was written for the livejournal 36_stratagems ficathon, prompt #30: Make the host and the guest exchange roles. Usurp leadership in a situation where you are normally subordinate. Infiltrate your target. Initially, pretend to be a guest to be accepted, but develop from inside and become the owner later.

Also, a HUGE thank you to the always fabulous mrspollifax not only for her beta work but because she puts up with my whining and complaining *g*

They were cunning, these two infiltrators. They appeared sweet and innocent and were capable of winning you over with a smile, but he knew from experience not to underestimate them.

Jack peeked around the corner and saw nothing but trees, grass, and a dog sound asleep in a patch of sun. It was quiet. But years of training and experience taught him to pick up even the slightest rustle of movement.


Over in the far south bushes he swore something moved. There might have also been a faint giggle. Giggle? These two were ridiculously bad at tactics.

He was so going to take them down.

Jack crouched lower and used a garbage can as cover in order to move into a better position. His finger twitched at the trigger of his weapon. But he waited, watched, calculated, knowing that the perfect moment would present itself, and he was ready to take advantage of it.

After all, he was The Man. He retired as a three-star general in the United States Air Force. The number of planets he'd visited was higher than these two infiltrators could even count.

How had things changed so fast? He and Sam had a nice life together since his retirement. Then it seemed all of a sudden one day the house ceased to be his and Sam's; no, it was now theirs. With their toys everywhere, and their books overrunning the bookshelves, and their little shoes around every corner to stumble over on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. He didn't even have control over the TV remote anymore. And forget about deciding to sleep late on a Saturday morning, or make love to his wife, or anything at all. The surefire way to incite projectile vomit or temper tantrums of doom was to make plans. Any plans at all.

Jack raised his weapon—a yellow and blue plastic thing with Terminator Soaker 3000 written down the side of the barrel—and took aim near those bushes that had moved a few minutes ago.

He was enjoying this campaign of revenge just a little too much, perhaps. But the little one with blonde curls had taken to sleeping in the bed with them every night and she kicked in her sleep. Hard! Not to mention the taller one with brown pigtails seemed to have a knack for knowing the instant that Sam for once was not completely exhausted, they had the kitchen cleaned up for the night, and Jack had Sam almost in the mood, until:

"Mommy, I want another glass of water."

Yep, Jack O'Neill— the once great and feared general, the defender of the Tau'ri, the defeater of System Lords— was now owned by two little girls.

The backyard was silent now. Too still. It didn't make sense, surely he would have noticed them move? He edged along some plants and crouched behind the lilac bush. There was nothing but the dog on the landscape.

It'd be nice if his dog would at least provide backup. Or suddenly develop some sort of superhero nose to sniff out the enemy. But no, the dog snoozed in the yard indifferent to the stealth attack underway. Come to think of it, the dog was mostly unfazed by everything, as if he long ago decided they were all nuts and the best course of action was to stay out of the way of this family as much as possible and find a good spot for a nap instead.

Jack could sympathize.

He crouched low and turned a little, trying to get a look at the patio area. No strange shadows, no unusual sounds; one would almost conclude that the foe had given up and walked away. But not this opponent, oh no, they were after him. It was war.

When the ambush happened it came from behind and hit him square in the middle of his lower back. Jack could count on his right hand the number of times he'd been surprised from behind in the field. It simply didn't happen, and it wasn't acceptable, and darn it, nobody better hear about this one.

Then the second shot came, right into his ear. His ear? For god's sake, the humanity!

(Not to mention the inevitable embarrassment later of Sam catching him shaking his head up and down while he tried to get water out of his ear.)

They ran screaming toward him, but it was no battle cry he'd ever heard. No, this one was mostly high pitched and filled with giggles.

"We got you, Daddy!"

He was so doomed.

They tackled him, water guns forgotten for the moment, and there was much rolling around in the grass and tickles and silliness. Jack almost forgot about the fact that he apparently had lost some of his ability, his timing and honed skills fading in his retirement. Almost forgot. Until he had the little one pinned (but not really) and the older one climbed on his back and said, "Mommy told us exactly what to do." And he almost smiled.

Because Jack never imagined, all those years ago when Captain Samantha Carter first saluted him, that he'd end up teaching her everything he knew, and that one day, it would all come back to haunt him. At least not in this way.

On the whole, he's pretty glad that it did.