TITLE: Interference Well Met
AUTHOR: Eleri McCleod
CONTACT INFO: elerimc (at symbol) gmail . com; http:/ elerimc . livejournal . com (remove spaces)
STATUS: complete, posted one part per week
CATEGORY: drama, romance
SPOILERS: BtVS none; SG-1 season 5
SEASON: BtVS post-Chosen; SG-1 season 5
SERIES/SEQUEL INFO: Part 4 of "Worth Fighting For" series; sequel to "And It Begins"
CONTENT LEVEL: T, 16+, FR16, take your pick
CONTENT WARNINGS: non-explicit sexual situations and sexuality
SUMMARY: An unexpected attack from within threatens to destroy SG-1 as Faith and Jack struggle with the secrets of their professional lives.
DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. I'm just borrowing them for a little while and will return them unharmed. No copyright infringement is intended.
ARCHIVE: TtH, Jackfic, FF, LJ, any others please ask
AUTHOR'S NOTES: After two years of starts and stops, it's finally here. Thank you to everyone who's sent encouragement and more than a few pleas to keep this series going. Huge thanks also go to every single person who voted for Jack and Faith at the TtH awards this past year. You made our year. (vbg) Special thanks go to Lynette, my always superb beta. She's only been waiting forever to read the finished version and never once slapped me upside the head to get it done. Any remaining mistakes are purely mine as I tend to fiddle up until the last possible moment. (g) As always, any and all feedback is appreciated.
Interference Well Met
If she didn't think the damn thing would up and die on her, Faith Lehane would have given the old car a kick just to relieve a tiny bit of the tension digging merciless claws into her.
Instead, she opened the door with an exaggerated sense of calm and slid into the driver's seat. So much for her hopes of a good, sweaty patrol to clear her head and body. It had failed miserably. She'd known there was next to no activity in Colorado Springs before she'd even left the house, that there was no reason to go hunting, but she'd held out hope anyway. Jack had been gone for almost two weeks, their longest separation since their first date, and she hated it. She hated the growing tension and worry, hated the mandatory communication blackout, hated the uncertainty that crept up on her in the middle of the night when he wasn't lying next to her.
And he'd told her it might be as long as three weeks trapped in the Mountain without comms.
Hence the futile patrol.
Starting the engine with a little more energy than required, Faith reconciled herself to the fact the evening hadn't been a total loss. She now knew every thistle and thorn bush in the greater Colorado Springs area, attested by the new rips in her jeans and the lovely scratches on her arms. And the fact it got damn cold after the sun went down this high up in the mountains. If Jack's exercises kept him away too much longer she'd have to venture out of town just to find a good slaying. The vampires couldn't be that far away from Colorado Springs. She could probably find one or two an hour or so away. If she was lucky.
The drive back to the house was a quiet one. She left the radio off, too restless to listen to the inane chatter of a middle of the night talkshow host and knowing the incessant banging of drums would only make her feel worse. At least the traffic was nonexistent at two-thirty in the morning. She doubted she'd even be able to handle other drivers at the moment. Tomorrow she was hitting the gym early and staying until she bled out the twitchiness, or whatever the hell it was, making her so irritable. She'd learned long ago letting that feeling bottle up for too long was a recipe for badness.
But thoughts of gyms and patrols flew out of her mind the moment she made the turn onto Jack's street. There sitting in the drive was his gigantic truck, the one she loved to give him hell over. He'd claim it was for all of his gear, but she was pretty positive it was all about his inner child. And it provided an excellent excuse for him to help her get into it. Not that she minded the help at all.
She barely had her junk heap turned off before she was stepping out of the door. Not bothering to lock it because no thief in his right mind would take the thing, Faith was up the drive and through the front door before silence filled the street again. Her eyes immediately went toward the bedroom down the hall, but the small glow of lamp light coming from the living room got her attention. The heavy door clicked shut behind her and she threw the lock automatically. "Jack?"
He sat perfectly still on the couch, the dim light casting heavy shadows over his face, hands placed just so over his thighs. For a long moment, she froze, unsure of his uncharacteristic posture. Then the bleak look on his face sank in a split second before he looked up to meet her gaze. It was gone so fast she could have pretended she hadn't seen it, but the knife to her heart wouldn't let her. His eyes... They'd been empty, lost, as if life itself had ceased to have meaning. "Jack, what's wrong?" She didn't remember moving, just arriving to kneel and take his hands in hers. "Are you okay?"
His eyes filled with life as he wrapped his fingers tightly around hers. His face smoothed out, the bleak cast vanishing. "I'm fine. Now."
And suddenly it clicked. He'd told her the story once, the dark safety of their room creating a cocoon where only they existed. Years ago, before they'd met the first time, Jack had returned to an empty house after an extended assignment, his first wife, Sara, gone without a word. The unintended parallel disturbed her more than she wanted to admit. "I couldn't sleep," she said, forcing a smile to her lips. "I went for a drive, then a walk. I didn't think you'd be home so early or I'd have left a note."
"I missed you." He tugged her closer and she went willingly. His arms held her close, his face nestled into her neck where he breathed deep. "You have no idea how much I missed you."
"Oh, I think I have a pretty good clue." She felt him relax one heart beat at a time, his body loosening into her embrace. "I'm so glad you're home." And next time I'll leave a note, she added silently. You're not getting rid of me that easily, Jack O'Neill.
He pressed a lingering kiss to her neck and leaned back slightly. "I was about to chuck it all and just leave, but they finally called it." She didn't ask who he was referring to. There was no need. "If they'd kept me away one more day though..." His lips were warm on hers, comforting and easing the restlessness she'd been harboring the last week.
"I'm not about to argue over an early return." She cupped her hands around his neck, thumbs tracing along his jaw. "I was starting to give serious thought to breaking in and rescuing you myself. I don't like being cut off from you." With his presence seeping into her very bones, she realized exactly how true her words were. And it didn't frighten her in the least. A year ago, if anyone had dared to imply she would need someone as much as she needed Jack she would have beaten them into a bloody mess. Even five months ago she would have laughed at the concept. But that had been before Whistler and the Powers had thrown her into the future for a glimpse of what could be. She'd never been so happy to be wrong in her life.
"I have to tell you I'm not a fan of it either. But exercises don't normally run quite this long. Thank God." He kissed her again, lingering a little longer. Her body responded with a flare of heat and she gave into the wave of sensation with a contentedness she'd never believed could be real. "So what's this you were saying about not sleeping? Anything I could do to help you with that?"
She watched his eyes darken, felt warmth pool low in her body. "I've heard deep muscle massages are supposed to work wonders for insomnia. But you have to get really deep for it be effective."
"Really deep, huh?" His hands skimmed up her sides, leaving tingling trails behind. He cupped one breast, fingers working the magic she'd come to expect from his touch. "Exactly how deep we talking?" His other hand was busy working on her jeans, nimble fingers slipping inside to slide into her waiting heat. "This deep?"
She loved the way his voice dropped when they were together, the way it caressed her skin as if it were flesh. Dragging in a breath, she nipped biting little kisses along his jaw to his ear. His hands stroked easily, confidently over her and she shuddered lightly. "Oh, I'm afraid we're going to have to get a lot deeper. I've been sleeping horribly without you."
"Let me see what I can do about that, since it is my fault."
Faith knew she had a witty retort stored up somewhere, but it vanished under a wave of heady sensation and she gave up thinking at all. There would be time for that later.
"What, Daniel? You're going to burst a blood vessel." The other man had been sitting in Jack's office for a good ten minutes without getting down to his actual purpose. While Jack didn't mind the chance to chat with his friend, it wasn't a very good time for it. He was three days behind on a stack of reports and General George Hammond wasn't in the mood to wait another three. But it wasn't really Jack's fault SG-4 had decided they needed an emergency evac. Or that Teal'c needed help testing out their entire inventory of staff weapons. Really, it wasn't. "Spit it out already. I do have deadlines." Daniel glanced up briefly, meeting Jack's gaze for a short second before skittering away. His hands crushed yet another crease into the folder sitting on his lap while Jack tapped his pen against a finger. His friend was bound to remember the English language sometime. Although he did wonder every now and then how Daniel could keep it all straight with twenty-six of them floating around in his brain.
"There's, uh," Daniel started, voice uncharacteristically unsure as he stuttered to a halt. "I mean, we found… Crap." The muttered word was practically buried behind hands covering his face.
Eyebrows raising unconsciously, Jack felt a tingle of apprehension flood him. It was never good when Daniel couldn't find the words he needed. "Just say it. It's not going to get any better the longer you take, whatever it is." For once his friend took him at his word.
"What do you really know about Faith?"
"What?" He knew he'd heard Daniel correctly, but the question escaped before he could stop it. "What the hell does that mean?"
Daniel winced, the normal bright blue of his eyes hidden as he kept them trained on the folder Jack was sure he'd long ago forgotten. "You have to admit it looks a little odd. She's young, beautiful, appeared out of nowhere. Did I mention really young?"
Jack was too stunned to interrupt the river of words streaming from Daniel's mouth. But underneath the shock was a core of hurt, a seething mass of hurt that threatened to choke him. No, he decided abruptly. He wasn't stunned. He was offended, outraged. Deeply and truly offended for quite possibly the first time in his life. Struggling to keep his face neutral, he tried not to hear, tried to close his ears yet each word drilled into him like hot lead.
"We all know how much the NID would love to get their hooks into us, especially with the whole Arlen mess. And then Faith just happens to show up? Then there's her record." He paused to take a deep breath, still avoiding Jack's gaze. "We, uh, we were concerned, you know. And she's got a record, something the NID could use on her. Jack, she was in prison for quite a while."
"Stop." It wasn't loud, wasn't even particularly sharp, but the single word halted Daniel, leaving him with his mouth hanging open. Rage was threatening to overwhelm the hurt, to suck him down into a spiral there would be no return from. The unwavering courage of Faith's rooftop confession almost four months ago had never been highlighted more. She had bared her soul to him without a pause, trusting only in their short time together and the strength of her feelings for him. Daniel and his accusations were doing their damnedest to make a mockery of everything they'd shared, everything they already were to each other. Clenching his hands tight on his thighs, Jack kept perfectly still. It was the only way to keep from exploding. His voice was barely above a whisper, grating painfully as he forced himself not to shout. "Faith is not a spy for the NID. Do you think I'm stupid? Do you think all it takes is a pretty face to make me forget everything I've fought for most of my life?" Daniel seemed to shrink into himself with every carefully enunciated word. Standing slowly, Jack leaned over his desk, hands pressed into the chilled metal. "Yes, Faith is younger than me. Not that it's any of your business, but we've discussed the issue. At length. And let me tell you she's only younger in the chronological sense. She's seen more in her life than you can have nightmares about."
Daniel rose as well, the forgotten folder crinkling loudly in the silence between them. His face was screwed up into a frown, a hint of confusion hiding in the depths of his eyes, as if he couldn't fathom Jack's reaction. "Look, I'm sorry, but we were worried about you. That's all."
"Worried about me?" he repeated, derision dripping from every word. The hurt and anger leaked past the barrier he'd put up, clamoring for a target. "If you were so worried about me you'd have talked to me. Before you went off on some wild goose chase that not only invaded my personal life, but violated who the hell knows how many privacy laws. Yeah, I can see the concern from where I stand."
"Jack, she was tried as an adult due to the nature of the crimes. It's all a matter of public record." If Daniel meant to pacify him with a reasonable tone and flawless argument, he failed.
Moving quickly around the small desk and toward the door, he shoved his hands into his pockets. They couldn't reach out and do violence trapped there. "Semantics, Daniel. That's all you're talking. At least I know where we stand now." Before the other man could stop him, Jack had the door open and was two steps into the corridor. Abruptly he turned back into his office, staring across the distance at the friend who'd just cut him deeper than any enemy ever had. "FYI, I already knew about her record and her time in prison. Faith told me herself, even showed me the trial records so I wouldn't think she was hiding anything." From the look on his face, Daniel still wasn't grasping exactly what he'd just done. And Jack was fairly certain it had been all Daniel, not the 'they' he professed. Carter would never presume to stick her nose where it wasn't appropriate and Teal'c would have approached him straight out. Hell, Teal'c would have gone straight to Faith and handled it one on one. Jack continued before Daniel could dig himself in any deeper, though there was little room left to go. "Like I said, I'm not stupid. I have a few contacts of my own, ways to get information if I wanted or needed. So thanks for all the concern, friend," he managed to make it an ugly word without forethought, "but it was unnecessary. The next time you want to throw stones at someone, think about all the extra chances people gave you when you'd made a mistake. At least I know where we stand now."
He left the door standing wide open as he walked away from his own office, his so-called friend staring after him.