Chapter Ninety Four
Author's note: Guess what I did. I made the BunnyMobile illustration backwards. I am American so there's not even the foreigner excuse I can blame it on. Just pretend you're looking in a mirror when you look at the illustration...a special mirror where text stays correct even in the flipflopped image. :)
* * * * * *
Daniel motioned to Janet to turn, that the IHOP was coming up on the left.
*What type of food does this...restaurant offer?*
Daniel smiled, trying to show Jolinar memories he had of eating there.
*You'll just have to try it for yourself.*
*I do not believe that would be wise. I do not have the necessary control to keep your eyes from glowing or to speak as you.*
Daniel frowned, knowing that would be an obstacle on a daily basis.
Janet pulled into the parking lot, laughing at the look on Jack's face as Cassie licked her fingers and swiped his nose in retaliation.
They'd been bickering over things from her trip to Hawaii the entire ride.
"Ugh! Cassie, that's sick!"
"Mom does it to me all the time. I know it's gross. I hate it when she does it to me, too."
Janet's hand froze over the ignition key, unaware of Daniel's sharp observation.
*I heard, Janet. Don't cry. Whatever you do, don't cry.*
Janet was speechless.
She knew it shouldn't be that big a deal, but she couldn't help the tug on her heart.
Daniel smiled to himself, enjoying Janet's reaction to Cassie's casual statement.
The bickering in the back seat continued as Janet looked at the 24 hour IHOP making sure it wasn't too packed.
Daniel met Janet's eyes, smiling outwardly as she pretended they weren't watery with emotion and gave him what would otherwise be a politely, professional smile.
His smile almost un-did her.
*Oh let me not cry until I'm in the bathroom.*
*Umm...Janet. Put me in charge and you can cry all you like.*
Daniel watched, curious at the shock on Janet's face before seeing her eyes flash.
"Uh uh! Nix on the Carter!"
Daniel winced at the echo in Sam's voice, realizing they were in a public place, hoping anyone watching would just think her flashing eyes were the glare off the windshield or something.
"Carter! You can't just pop out like that. Not until you can do that thing Martouf does where they change without the flashy eyes and until you can mimic human-speak like a normal goold."
"Sir, I don't have the control necessary to do either of those."
Jack's calmly raised eyebrows showed he had no idea just how hard his pronouncement had cut into her.
*Janet, we're going to the bathroom anyway...so I don't cry.*
*Sam, he didn't...*
*I'm a prisoner...uh uh freak or something. I mean, I know what I am, but I can't live a real life. I thought I could, through you, and I know it's important we keep us a secret, but I have no life now...nothing.*
*You have the SGC.*
*Do I? As what? Part-time scientist and background noise when you're doctoring?*
Sam sighed as Janet took back over to shut Jack up.
*I'll kick him later for you.*
Sam was still sniffling, realizing for the first time what Teal'c must feel like.
An alien among friends.
It hadn't really sunk in before...that she was to be hidden, classified, and unreal.
Those facts didn't matter as much as the fact that she'd always been at the SGC because she'd chosen to be there, not because she had to be.
She'd worked hard to get there.
Now she couldn't leave, ever...
Sam tried to stifle the resentment she felt, knowing no one was to blame.
Circumstances had nailed her hide and she couldn't even defend herself.
Janet glared at Jack, figuring she had a pretty good idea what her best friend was going through.
To a point.
She knew she could walk around in public, un-worried about scaring some innocent civilian.
Oh he was going to get it for being so insensitive about it.
Daniel knew that look.
It was the look Janet had given Jack the night he'd rigged the poker game.
Right before she verbally tore a strip off him.
Daniel couldn't decide whether he wanted to be there to see it or be far away from Janet when it happened.
Jolinar had already seen that memory and had stored it in her own mind to see whenever she wished.
She was storing most of his memories of guard hitting Jack, too.
She promised him he wouldn't have to watch them, too, but sometimes she'd find a really humiliating memory of Jack and she'd play it a few times before he'd have to remind her to store it where he didn't have to re-live it.
Daniel sighed, realizing a happy, if Jack-whipping, Jolinar was easier to live with than trying to pacify her at all.
"Are these real?"
"Hey! Give 'em back!"
"Cassandra, give those back. They're not toys."
"They're handcuffs...pink handcuffs. If they're not toys, then whose are they?"
"Jack's. He likes pink, Cassie. Now give them back."
Daniel snorted at the glare Jack sent Janet for her addition to his conversation with Cassie.
Pre-fight posturing already in motion.
"I'm hungry. Let's eat."
* * * * * *
As he was pushed into a benchseat inside the restaurant, Hagar stewed, trying to remain outwardly stoic as he was carefully guarded by Teal'c, sitting beside him.
The small doctor took a chair from a nearby table and after placing it at the end of their booth's table, sat down while sighing at yet another insult the child said to the Colonel.
He'd watched her duck into the Ladies' restroom while they got seated.
Her eyes were slightly puffy, but she looked composed so no one said anything.
Hagar knew he should probably make a show of trying to get away, but the strategically placed bruises the Jaffa had already given him were more than enough for him to put up with.
He could handle it and more, basic training had been a breeze, but he wanted to spend as much time around the Colonel and Dr. Corvores as possible to stir things up.
Especially since they were sitting as far away from him as they could while still remaining at the table.
So he said nothing.
*I blanked for a moment. Were we limping?*
*Yes. Twisted our ankle getting out of the vehicle. Nothin' to worry about, though.*
*Are you certain?*
*As long as we're allowed to sleep tonight, I'll be able to repair everything.*
*It's now 0830. We've missed the check-in.*
*Don't worry. They won't harm us.*
*No...he may be rough, maybe even want to hurt us, but he won't kill us or cause us real damage without the Colonel's consent and he won't get it.*
The waitress gave everyone a glass of ice water and took their orders, quickly reappearing with coffee for Daniel and Jack before leaving to help another customer.
Amber sat down next to Teal'c, glad that the seat made it almost impossible to see Hagar.
She was mainly talking out loud to Cassandra and Janet, although Janet was being rather silent.
Daniel and Teal'c chatted about different places in Florida they could go in the short time they had, answering Teal'c's questions whenever he could.
The waitress brought Cassandra's food, re-filling coffee and promising that the others' orders would be ready shortly.
Daniel smiled at her and the waitress winked before giving Jack a new straw.
Janet had taken his to replace hers when it bent, rupturing slightly while she was opening it.
Jack hadn't said a word when he saw how upset she was.
"Stop playing with your food."
Jack caught Amber's raised eyebrow at the design Cassie had made with her eggs and sausage in the middle of her pancakes before she blanked so Janet wouldn't see her reaction.
His grin faded as Amber continued their conversation.
**You need to think of a really creative way to apologize.**
**I'll just say I'm sorry.**
**Just like that? Didn't think so.**
**I wasn't thinking. Sam deserves it straight. She doesn't want flowers or frilly stuff.**
**And Janet? What about her?**
Amber's disbelief filled his mind for a moment before Cassie asking her a question distracted her.
Jack sighed, knowing Janet was mad at him.
He could've been a bit more tactful to Sam, but he hadn't been thinking about it when it happened.
It just popped out the way it popped out.
He was concentrating on Cassie, trying to ignore Hagar, and just figured Carter would know she wasn't supposed to do that.
It was simply a reminder.
Amber had nailed him on it, letting him know exactly how blunt and insensitive it had been.
Daniel smiled at the waitress.
"Yes, thank you. I've decided to order some food, actually."
Daniel ignored Jack's mock gasp.
"I'll have three pancakes and could I have some extra butter?"
"Wheat or buttermilk?"
"Okay and yes, I'll bring some butter."
The waitress returned his smile and left as he turned back to the group.
The group that was staring at him.
Jack cocked his head at the way Daniel pretended no one cared about his abrupt change in eating habits.
He turned to Janet.
"He ate last night, didn't he?"
Janet smiled at Daniel, pointedly ignoring Jack.
Cassie looked up in surprise when Janet didn't answer Jack, wondering what he did this time.
Then she looked at Daniel.
"You only have coffee for breakfast."
Daniel sighed, knowing Cassie wouldn't let it drop.
She'd tried to get him to eat breakfast before and he'd explained that living on Abydos made him allergic to breakfast.
Cassie thought back to when he'd said he was allergic to breakfast.
She hadn't believed him, but thought that maybe he'd believed it so didn't inform him.
Janet taught her about respecting other people's religious beliefs.
"Jolinar wants to try them."
Jack started to speak and Daniel beat him to it.
"She won't speak while she's eating and I'll put my head in the crook of my arm when we change so no one will see anything. No one can tell if we do that."
Jack shook his head but froze at Janet's look.
He realized just how thin the ice was where he was treading.
He sighed, waving his hand.
"Knock yourself out."
Daniel lowered his head, ignoring the looks from other patrons at the less than perfect manners he was displaying.
No one saw the flash, and true to her word, Jolinar didn't say anything, but anyone who knew Daniel could tell a warrior was now sitting in his seat.
The ease with which he moved, no jerky motions with his hands...she was completely at ease and her eyes had marked each exit from the restaurant within the first few seconds.
Jolinar sniffed the air.
The combination of sweet and un-sweet in the air was intriguing.
She didn't move, but examined the food on Cassandra's plate.
Daniel explained what each food was and where it came from, supplying more information as Jolinar asked questions.
Cassandra turned back to Amber.
"Did you have a dog when you were little? Jack said every kid has to have a dog."
Amber grinned at Cassie, enjoying the brief memory with Jonathan.
"Yeah, a few times, but they always either ran off or something."
"Janet won't let me keep him in the house, but he never leaves the yard without me."
Amber smiled at her and Cassie divided her attention between her food, Amber, and her surrogate parents.
The glares were getting more pronounced.
Usually Mom waited until she and Jack were alone and they thought Cassie couldn't hear them before she started in on him.
He must've really messed up this time.
The waitress came back, bearing Jack's, Janet's, Teal'c's, and Hagar's order.
She smiled at Jolinar.
"Your order'll be five minutes."
Jolinar smiled, her smile making the waitress do a double take at its difference to the one she'd received earlier, but said nothing.
The waitress passed out the food, asking for anything extra and pointing to the syrups already on the table before asking if anyone wanted warm maple syrup.
Jack raised his hand, figuring if he didn't answer out loud, the waitress wouldn't think so much of Jolinar's silence.
The waitress smiled and pivoted to go get everything, pausing as Janet asked for another knife and, nodding, she was gone.
Jack ignored Amber's mental images of him being impaled with the old knife.
He'd gone through her memories, trying to get a feel for her point of view of his previous conversations with her and he couldn't stop chuckling at her opinions of him.
She'd mostly considered him a disease...one of those diseases that make you puke constantly and push blood and mucous out your ears.
He felt kind of proud, knowing he'd wanted her to be uncomfortable around him during that time and had succeeded much better than she'd let on.
Amber's mental snorts were becoming more and more frequent as his automatic responses to her memories popped into her mind.
She constantly cautioned him against smiling at Janet since that just seemed to get him in more trouble.
Amber hypothesized it was because Janet assumed he was still being insensitive to Sam and Jolinar.
He didn't much care about Jolinar except that she was in Daniel, but as long as she kept quiet, he wouldn't say anything.
Sam was still different since she'd talked and let her eyes flash everyone.
She'd deserved the reprimand.
**That's not going to reconcile you and Janet.**
**Maybe we shouldn't be reconciled over this. She needs to relax and realize that's just how I am. Better for her to learn it now and figure out what to do about it than later.**
Amber raised an eyebrow at him, otherwise stoning it for everyone.
Jack let a small smile show.
**Maybe there was a better way of phrasing it, but Carter should've known better. This is a small thing and shouldn't be so blown out of proportion.**
Amber sighed inwardly, her arguments now hitting his stubbornness like water on a plastic wall.
**Hope you know what you're doing.**
Jack gave her a cocky smile, not fooling her a bit.
Janet saw the smile and her ire went up a thousand notches.
*Maybe we're overreacting.*
*And maybe he's an arrogant oaf. He seems to think a smile will make it okay.*
*I hate this. I know he's right and that I shouldn't have...*
*We, Sam. Actually, I did it since you couldn't have done it. I'm the one that switches us.*
*Fine. Although, considering you were a bit in shock at the time...*
*Fine, we both screwed up. Does that make his reaction okay?*
*You know what gets me? He probably has no clue he did anything wrong. He's probably blaming your glares on PMS or something.*
Janet looked at Jack suspiciously as Sam's comment echoed in her head.
He couldn't be that obtuse, could he?
Jack tended to be pretty observant at times.
Please let this be one of them.
Jack saw Janet's eyes narrow and figured he was in even more trouble.
A quick query to Amber proved she didn't know of anything else he'd done, either, so he began to wonder if there was something else bothering Janet and she was just taking it out on him.
Amber's snort and accompanying comment on his ability to tick off his girlfriend wasn't welcome.
**You know, you're starting to sound like a pig. Might want to look for a different sound effect.**
Amber smiled at him, her eyes twinkling before she blanked again.
Jack saw none of it had escaped Janet's watchful eyes and sighed, figuring she was probably subscribing all sorts of awful characteristics to him.
Probably building the whole thing in her mind to landmark heights so that by the time they talked it out, it wouldn't be a small thing, it would be a huge monster of a fight.
He was not looking forward to it.
Amber listened to Jonathan's conflicting thoughts about Janet, smiling to herself at the incredible absurdity he displayed.
A few things rang true, but so many cliches about women popped through his mind that Amber had to fight to keep from laughing at him.
She sympathized with Sam, very glad she wasn't in her place.
She looked over at Jolinar as the waitress put her meal in front of her.
Jolinar smiled a bit at the waitress, obviously not used to smiling much and as soon as the waitress was gone, cautiously picked up her fork.
Amber wished she knew what Jolinar was thinking.
Who knew what other worlds used for eating utensils?
This could be Jolinar's first time holding a Tau'ri fork.
She couldn't remember Jolinar being in charge while eating at all, so this could even be her first Tau'ri meal altogether.
Amber blanked her face, making sure Jonathan knew she didn't want commentary on her thoughts, but getting some anyway.
She tried to imagine what it would be like, eating pancakes for the first time.
Jolinar poured the Butter Pecan syrup on top, a little and then after taking a bite, a lot.
Jolinar's met Amber's smile as she looked up, chewing.
Jonathan dampened his curiosity and Amber's smile widened as she realized he was wondering what a first Tau'ri meal would be like, too.
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