Chapter Sixty Nine
* * * * * *
*I'm glad Daniel's driving.*
*Never known anyone to...*
Janet's tone warned Sam the joking was distracting her and she wasn't going to continue tolerating it.
*If he doesn't show up in another thirty seconds, I'm driving.*
*I'd rather you didn't. You're still...umm...off a bit.*
*No teasing...well maybe a little, but seriously...the Colonel should be registered as a narcotic.*
Janet grinned as Sam put her duffel bag in the trunk, next to the cooler Gen. Hammond had had put together for the drive.
*I'll see to it as soon as I'm back on duty...first thing Monday morning.*
*I can't wait.*
*Neither can I.*
"Daniel is driving this vehicle."
Sam turned toward Jolinar, her eyebrow raised.
"That's right...Daniel is driving. I would, but I'm still learning Janet's body...she takes over whenever it's time to do anything requiring complete coordination, so driving's out. You've never driven a car, Jolinar."
"My host will be available in a moment."
*Oh now that's convenient. A Tok'ra answering machine.*
Sam's grin turned into a smirk as Jolinar waited for her to move away from the driver's side and allow Jolinar to enter the car.
"Uh uh. I'm not letting you inside until Daniel's where I can see him."
Jolinar glared at her for a moment and then dipped her head.
Daniel's eyes flashed white as his head rose...signaling Jolinar was still in control.
"He is being elusive. I will try again."
Jolinar dipped her head again.
This time, Daniel's body stood still and in the chill air his breath visibly slowed.
*Stand-by mode. That's so fascinating. I wonder if we...*
*I don't think so. I thought about it and we're very different from them.*
Daniel's body jerked once and then his normal, soothing voice laced a sigh as he lifted his head and looked around.
"You didn't have to insult Jolinar, Sam."
Daniel laid his hand on Sam's hip and gently pushed until she not quite gracefully moved aside and he opened the door.
Sliding into the seat, he set about starting it, oblivious to the concern in Sam's expression.
*I guess we'll have to get it out of him later.*
*Hmm? Yeah, we will.*
Sam chuckled at Janet's distraction.
*Why don't you just conjure up four or five Colonel clones to attend you while I'm in charge?*
Janet sat up, her eyes widening.
*I could do that, couldn't I?*
*Oh yeah...it's your mind and I certainly won't tell anyone.*
Janet laughed and started remembering the Colonel's different stages of appearance so each clone would be uniquely...special.
Sam slid into the passenger seat, smiling at Daniel's curious look.
Her foot hit something and she automatically reached down to pick up Cassie's bookbag.
*Why didn't she take this with her?*
*She was going to, but at the last minute decided not to and I just haven't gotten around to taking it out of the car.*
Sam's smile was understanding as she tossed the bookbag into the back seat.
*I missed her, too.*
Janet smiled up into the air for her, then went back to her mental pictures of the Colonel.
Sam grinned and motioned to Daniel she was ready.
Daniel eased the car out and got them on their way, past the guard checks, heading to Denver International Airport.
Sam sighed and gave up.
She'd tried repeatedly to start a conversation and was sick of the monosyllabic replies...when he replied at all.
*Oh, now that one's cute*
Janet sighed, completely blissful on the tropical island setting she'd dreamed up.
Three barely clothed Jack O'Neills attended her with drinks, massages, and anything else she could imagine.
A fourth Jack O'Neill repeated dutifully, reverently, that the infirmary was not a bad place and that he was grateful to get every shot she gave him.
The fifth Jack O'Neill was there simply as eye candy.
He stood in front of her, in tight cut off jeans as a cascade of liquid washed over him out of the personal waterfall Janet had set up.
This was simply the best way to ride in a car as far as Janet was concerned.
Sam grinned as the infirmary-loving Jack caressed Janet's hand, occasionally kissing it as he talked about how grateful he was that the infirmary staff continually put him back together and Sam laughed out loud as he swore never to yell at Janet or the staff ever again.
Daniel's brow furrowed.
Sam just chuckled.
"Yeah, but I can't tell you."
Daniel just nodded and went back to driving.
Sam sighed, her mood darkening a bit.
Unless Sam said it was personal, Daniel usually wouldn't let her off like that.
Something had to be really wrong.
"Is it Jolinar?"
"Whatever it is that's bothering you."
"No...I'm just not ready to talk it out yet."
"Oh. Okay. Sorry."
Sam looked around in surprise as Daniel pulled over tot he side of the road.
He turned off the car and leaned backwards in obvious frustration.
"I just...I want to talk about it, but I can't get the first word out. Jolinar's volunteered to tell you, but the two of you just end up being rude to each other and I don't want to deal with that right now."
"No, Sam, it's not your fault. I just need some time, okay?"
"Yeah, sure. No prob."
He waited a second longer before turning the ignition and then getting them on their way.
"Will we get there in time?"
"Yeah, we should have an hour on arrival to get to Cassie's plane. I just hope it's not late."
Cassie stood on top of her hardcover suitcase in baggage claim, waving at them as they approached.
Janet took over, grinning at her daughter.
Cassie was so excited she didn't even notice the switch.
"Off the suitcase. Daniel, can you..."
Daniel grinned when little arms wrapped themselves around his neck as he stepped up to the suitcase.
Daniel extricated himself from Cassandra's tight, wriggly hug, and picked up her suitcase.
Cassie carried her overnight bag and they started the adventure of getting through all the anxious people around them to the parking lot.
"...and then the dog dragged the dead animal all over Nana Tanua's house making all the old women scream..."
Daniel was grinning widely, Cassie's non-stop tales of her month spent with her best friend's family in Hawaii pushing away the doldrums he'd been feeling since Corvores...Amber.
Cassie snuggled closer to him in the backseat while Janet drove.
Jolinar wasn't paying attention to him, choosing to listen to Cassandra.
She was fascinated in spite of herself, even though annoyance with the child remained.
*Our young are much more serious, ready to fight upon blending. Rosha's tribe taught their children to sing and dance in rituals, but I do not recall a child with as much energy as this one. She was not quite as vocal when we last met.*
*That's just Cassie, besides, she hadn't just spent a month getting a tan that Janet's just dying for.*
Daniel supplied numerous memories and articles on the popularity of tanning for Jolinar before she could ask.
Sure she would be occupied for awhile, he picked up the bag of film Cassie had brought back.
There were at least thirteen rolls of film she'd shot and he figured they could drop it all off at the PhotoShop near the video store.
Then, they could pick up the film on the way to get Jack and C...Amber tomorrow.
That would give Cassie a new way to talk about it and maybe Jack wouldn't feel quite as left out.
Who was he kidding?
He'd be upset if he didn't get to spend time with Cass, so how could Jack, her surrogate father, be handling it.
The thought of Jack, Janet, and Cassie as a family unit made Daniel grin so hard Cassie actually stopped chattering.
"What's so funny?"
Daniel saw Janet glance back.
"I was just thinking how great it was that Jack and Janet are together now."
Janet winced at Cassie's squeal of delight.
"Where is Jack?"
Janet glared at Daniel every time she checked her mirrors.
"He's in the infirmary, honey."
Daniel chuckled at the grown up resignation in her voice.
"Are Sam and Teal'c in the infirmary, too?"
No one spoke for a moment.
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