Chapter Ninety Five
Author's note: Same as last chapter. 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 saw Amber's smile and it hit him again what an odd alliance Jolinar and Amber were.
Maybe they just felt like outsiders and banded together...maybe it was a woman thing.
At that thought, Daniel dropped it.
He wasn't even going to try to decipher that possibility.
He felt Jolinar's pleasure.
He'd told her to take her time and she was.
She figured meat was meat, but wanted to know what Tau'ri sweets were like.
The maple had smelled off to her so he, laughing, had suggested the butter pecan syrup.
She wasn't much for Tau'ri fruit, so far, but he wasn't ruling out all fruits since there were so many types.
He was sure they'd find something, but Jolinar definitely had a sweet tooth that would knock even Sam off chocolate for at least a day or so.
He was hoping she'd wash it down with coffee, but didn't hold his breath since she thought coffee was vile and made it clear she'd rather lick Jack's feet than ever taste it again.
She'd certainly drunk enough water after taking control.
He smirked at her automatic distaste, knowing it was probably better for her to experience pancakes without the taste of coffee in her mouth, but it was still funny.
Jolinar allowed Cassandra to put jam on the toast she'd accepted from Amber.
Cassandra assured her it was sweet and Amber's smile encouraged her to try it, even though the fruit juice Daniel had had earlier had been awful.
Jolinar sipped water, washing some of the stickiness out of her mouth.
The syrup was a bit messy, but it was wonderful.
Jolinar took a bit of the toast, closing her eyes briefly so she could enjoy the strange tastes.
*I thought butter was universal. Abydos had it.*
*I have never had it before. I like it.*
*We'll have to get you some grapes to try. Maybe you should try some more of Janet's juices without the addition of cheese and coffee?*
*Yeah, that's the fruit the jam on the toast is made of. We have tons of fruits.*
Daniel started educating Jolinar on the variety of fruits that were available, enjoying her wonder.
Apparently the Tau'ri had a few things other worlds were lacking.
Jolinar corrected him, pointing out she was a soldier and while Rosha had foods she would eat, Jolinar had never particularly cared enough to sample, but since she literally had nothing she could do at the moment, she wanted to explore a bit.
Daniel could certainly identify with that.
Jack looked around, making sure everyone was finished.
"Okay, bathroom stop for anyone who might need to go. Also, we need a list of items to pick up from the store. Cassie, please tell me you remembered the movies."
"I remembered the movies."
Jack grinned at the way Cassie rolled her eyes at him.
"We'll drop those off when we get your photos. Daniel, when..."
"That gives us...about 30 minutes. After we leave there, I want to be on the road so make sure your bathroom trip is a good one."
**You know you're just getting in more trouble with Janet.**
**Not my fault the woman's allergic to holding it.**
**Oh, that was just so smooth. What a catch you are.**
Jack didn't bother to answer, choosing instead to gift her with a few memories of his honeymoon with Sara.
Her face went blank as she slipped into the memory and Jack realized he'd really found a way to shut her up.
Janet had motioned him out of his chair, making it clear Cassie was to go with her to the bathroom.
Jack started to go after her, but she just raised an eyebrow and his feet froze.
He was right.
She was building it up in her mind.
Jack sighed, waiting for Amber to surface.
It wasn't that big a memory.
Daniel took over as soon as Jolinar was finished, immediately drinking the now cold coffee and gratefully accepting the refill the waitress handed him.
*Are we certain he has done something wrong?*
Daniel studied Hagar's face a moment, noting the Goa'uld's preoccupation with Jack and Amber.
*I don't know what all he's done, but if he had anything to do with Jack and Amber, I want him to fix it and then be punished.*
*If he is Tok'ra...*
*Has he said he's Tok'ra? Sam didn't say that. Jack and Amber were talking like he was, but I think as soon as we get to Florida...wherever we're going in Florida, we'll be setting up a small interview.*
*Interrogation, you mean.*
Amber's spluttering to life interrupted Daniel's reply.
She'd been a statue and Daniel had just figured she was blanking like normal.
Obviously a little more was going on.
He didn't know what she said to Jack, but his sudden laugh caught the attention of all the customers in the room and Daniel stared, seeing the blush on Amber's cheeks before she managed to blank again.
Janet reappeared with Cassie eventually trailing behind.
"We're ready, sir."
Daniel paused, watching Jack's face as it reacted, immediately stoning it as well as Amber ever had.
Janet stopped, a hand pinching her nose for a moment.
"I'm sorry, Jack. That just caught us both off guard, okay?"
Jack looked around, knowing he didn't want to have this conversation here, in front of quite a few curious onlookers.
"Come on. Daniel, you're paying. Meet us outside when you're finished."
Janet cringed a bit before squaring her shoulders and following Jack.
Sam was cringing, too, but mostly because of her embarrassment.
She couldn't believe how she'd lost it before.
Janet watched Sam carefully, trying to divide her attention between walking, showing a professional facade, and making sure Sam wasn't going to fall apart again.
Not that she blamed her...
Jack paused outside the door before taking her hand and pulling her the opposite direction from the Voyager.
*He still can't look at it, can he?*
Janet smiled a bit in relief at the amusement in Sam's voice.
Amusement was good...distraction was better.
Jack had apparently found the spot he was looking for and Janet waited for him to say something.
Jack sighed, pulling her into a tight hug.
"I'm sorry. I didn't think about your...feelings. Or Sam's feelings. I didn't mean to upset her."
Janet leaned her head on his chest, listening to Sam.
*So he's apologizing for the fact he didn't think about my feelings.*
*Because I'm being rather emotional lately.*
Janet tensed, realizing the line of thought her counterpart was heading down.
*Sam, I'm sure he doesn't think less of you.*
*No, he just thinks it's typical now because I'm a woman...sort of.*
*You are a woman.*
*No, I'm the leftover mental essence of a woman inside another woman.*
Janet's head was starting to hurt.
*I'm an Air Force Captain...was, anyway. I'm not supposed to be this teary-eyed about anything. I bet he wouldn't be apologizing for hurting Teal'c's feelings right now. You know why? Because Teal'c wouldn't be all emotional about this. He would've accepted the Colonel's reminder for what it was. A reminder. He wouldn't've freaked out like I...*
*Sam! I sincerely doubt Jack would be able to go through this without having a serious crisis. Think about it...not only would he not be in control, something he needs, he would be wondering whether he was a man on a basic level since he was now in a woman. To tell you the truth, while I hate that it happened to anyone, I'm very glad I'm sharing my body with you and not him or some other person...especially Jolinar. What if you had gone into Daniel and Jolinar had stayed behind? I don't even want to think about what Daniel's going through with that hot-headed, arrogant, annoying...*
Sam was laughing so hard it was silent.
She'd started when trying to picture the Colonel inside Janet and then Janet's ire with Jolinar was the toppler.
*Okay! I give. Stop.*
Janet paused to see Sam's exhaustion.
*I wish you'd gotten more sleep last night.*
*Me too. I kept expecting the Colonel to put me on that pathetic floor bed he made and take the couch.*
Janet smiled against Jack's chest.
*Well, go to sleep now and I'll talk to the Colonel.*
*Might as well. Not as if I can talk to him. We're in...public.*
*Go to sleep, Sam. You'll feel better when you wake up.*
Jack pulled back a bit, feeling Janet relax.
"Yeah, Sam's going to sleep. We should've thought first, but Cassie had just called me "Mom" for the first time and I was shocked and we..."
Jack went still.
"I didn't even think about it, but she did, didn't she?"
Janet smiled up at him.
Jack grinned at her.
"Then it's understandable what happened."
Janet saw him about to qualify it and laid her fingers across his lips.
"We know. Sam's just realized that she is truly unable to live her life like before. I'm going to her place when we get back and we'll re-decorate my house together so..."
"Shhh...My respect for Carter's gone up even further since this happened and I didn't think it could. To be able to deal with this without falling apart...I don't know if I could. She's got nothing to be ashamed of. I'm proud of her."
Janet smiled again.
"I know that, but the next time she's in charge, you need to tell her that. She could really use the encouragement right now."
She traced Jack's smile with her fingertips, her eyes twinkling as he gently kissed each one.
"I will. I've just thought of you as Cassie's mom for so long that it didn't even occur to me when she called you that. Daniel's been calling you that whenever he talks to her, too. I didn't notice."
Janet laughed lightly.
"That actually makes everything okay as far as I'm concerned."
Jack's eyebrow lifted.
"If you didn't even notice because it was commonplace to you, then that means it probably wasn't a one time thing. Cassie is actually thinking of me that way and that means more to me than a slip of the tongue."
Jack shook his head, his smile widening.
"Woman, you think too much."
Janet opened her mouth to retort, but then shut it.
He was right.
She did think too much.
* * * * * *
George sat down in his chair, glad to be in his office, surrounded by the familiar.
He'd checked into the infirmary, hoping Nurse Morhs would be awake, but she'd fallen into an odd coma and they were constantly making sure her pregnancy wasn't threatened by it.
George was sickened at the sight of her.
There were a few ways she could've become pregnant with Jack's baby, if it was indeed Jack's, and all of them would consign her to the most unpleasant planet they'd found so far if he got even circumstantial confirmation that Jack had been violated.
After her child was born and given to its father, of course.
A small MIA designation on her record would make that possible.
The Tok'ra had arrived on PNQ-2U4, helping SG-3 settle a scuffle between a rather old, decrepit Goa'uld and an equally old, senile Tok'ra they checked on from time to time.
They'd confirmed that Jacob and Martouf were involved in some pressing matters, but would be returning as soon as they could.
George smiled as he re-read that report.
Jacob hadn't been with them, but he really wanted his friend back.
They'd kept contact throughout Sam's teenage years and George smothered a grin at the gawky tomboy she'd been.
He hadn't seen her often, meeting Jacob out of his home rather than inside it most of the time, due to missions they were on together or simply down time that corresponded.
Sam had outsmarted her brother and his friends at every chance, without even trying most of the time.
Oh...the stories Jacob would have of her latest experiment that went awry, or latest achievement.
Jacob's stories had usually come at a time everyone needed to hear something good and she'd become a mental daughter to most of the men they hung with...everyone vicariously enjoying her accomplishments, relishing her victories whether in school or in a tussle with her sibling.
Incredible the woman she'd become, alternately out-thinking everyone except perhaps Dr. Jackson, and showing a military upbringing that accentuated her strength and cunning...traits that Jack O'Neill was the best CO to form and shape.
George hadn't regretted putting her under O'Neill's wing for a moment, although he sometimes had to pull himself short to make sure he wasn't babying her or smothering her...she was a fine officer and she deserved to know she'd earned every privilege she had.
If she had thought for a second that her status in the SGC was due to his being her father's friend, a concern Jack had cautiously broached with him when he'd first found out she was the daughter of a two-star buddy, she'd probably respectfully tan his hide with his own belt and then explain how a rip in space/time caused her to do it.
Well...he'd deserve it if he ever let his personal pride for her get in the way of his professional judgement.
George checked his watch.
SG-13 would be back within the hour.
Now that was a team that would be getting a very much deserved stand down...they had to be bored out of their mind by now.
* * * * * *
Daniel just watched Jack lead Janet out the door, glancing around for a second before continuing until they were beside a truck a few cars away from the Voyager.
Amber's sympathetic look annoyed him and he tried to contain his ire.
Was this how Jack was getting back at him?
The waitress handed Daniel the bill, accepting his credit card and promising to be right back.
Daniel choked a bit at the amount on the bill, allowing Jolinar access to a few choice beatings Jack's sarcasm had earned him from various guards.
Her gratitude was instant and he felt a little guilty to be feeding Jolinar's habit...he thought they were both a bit over the top with each other.
Teal'c stood, waiting for Hagar to precede him out of the room.
Cassie stood by Amber, trying to quietly get Amber to tell her what had happened while she was gone.
The waitress handed him his credit card and as soon as he'd signed his name, Teal'c led them out and to the Voyager.
Jack waved to let them know he saw them, but that he wasn't joining them yet.
Daniel waved back and took the driver's seat.
Janet and Jack could fight over who sat in the back.
Teal'c motioned Cassie and Amber in, giving Hagar a distinct push, encouraging him to get into the small benchseat.
Daniel glanced back, watching the emotions play and disappear on Hagar's face as he crawled in.
Teal'c got settled, turning to make sure Cassandra hadn't conveniently forgotten to get buckled.
Finally, Jack and Janet came over, and Daniel could see a few tear streaks on Janet's face, but otherwise, she looked okay.
Jack looked haggard, but relieved.
Daniel relaxed and started the vehicle as soon as Janet tossed him the keys.
Then, she climbed in the back with Amber and Cassie, while Jack took shotgun.
"Head to the Albertson's and drop the girls off while we go do the movies and pictures."
Daniel smiled as Jolinar lowered her absorption of Jack-bashing memories so he could concentrate on driving.
Jolinar's good mood increased and she stopped absorption of new memories altogether, turning into herself, blocking him out.
He had no doubt she was having a little Jack-bashing marathon and he shuddered a bit, knowing his moral standpoint with her had been seriously undermined.
* * * * * *
Captain Syla Mason, M. D., squinted against the bright sunlight.
All was perfect on P4X-75H2.
Perfectly boring, anyway.
"Here're your sunglasses...anything else you'd like me to get for you?"
Syla slipped them on, glad Nora had managed to get the mud cleaned off of them.
"A pizza would be great, actually."
Capt. Nora Frome grinned at her teammate, taking one last look around.
They were finally finished with this planet.
It had been SG-13's first prolonged mission thanks to SG-1.
Nora reminded herself to thank them properly.
A little boric acid in their water canteens, perhaps.
"Just don't take anymore dives into mud puddles, okay? We're actually trying to avoid committing genocide on those lizards."
"Really? I coulda swore you all were having a ball last night."
Nora snorted...that had been fun.
"Yeah, well, I don't think we can count on the Major sleeping anytime soon. I think he's probably happier to get off this planet than we are."
"Waking up with a muddy lizard wrapped around you for warmth'll do that."
The women shared a laugh at the memory of their commanding officer squealing in the middle of the night.
Harris had nailed the lizard with repeat fire, spraying Gorowitz with lizard innards.
The Major wasn't thrilled.
"Ladies, you ready to go?"
Maj. Terry Gorowitz couldn't wait to get off the planet even though he knew a detailed accounting of last night would be highlighted in the latest report his team would give the General.
At least he'd gotten similarly embarrassing video of them...maybe a Commissary show wouldn't be out of line.
Syla smiled at the Major, visually checking him over for any injuries he might be hiding from her.
Nora nodded, her mouth of liquid, her hand upraised.
As soon as she gulped down the much-needed water, she grinned a "yes, sir." to the Major and he just shook his head at her.
She was a bit impulsive, but had great instincts...always seeming to know things a split second before they happened.
Although that certainly hadn't helped last night.
Terry grimaced, still unable to get the taste of liquid lizard out of his mouth.
Mason assured him it was his imagination, that she'd cleaned his mouth and nose thoroughly, but he had to constantly keep his stomach in check now.
He was the only one to get splattered...well, besides Dr. Jackson...that had been rather funny.
He'd have to find a way to thank him and Capt. Carter for their request for a return trip here.
"Harris, any day you'd like to join us."
First Lt. Greg Harris grinned, slinging his pack over his shoulder.
He'd finished bagging their dirty laundry...most of which would probably be burned...and loaded the last cart.
They'd found another room of technology beyond the rebuilt temple, but subsequent surveys hadn't revealed anything else of note.
SG-8 had already left, leaving SG-13 to clean up camp.
They'd brought with them the latest gossip on the new betting pool.
Mostly just betting on how long it would take Sgt. Strikenge to break the new order the General had given.
No one could figure out what he'd been smoking when he signed that one, but a lot of officers were making decent money on the rapid wagering the Grapevine had initiated.
Frome's response to the order had been typical, if written so that he couldn't technically say she'd broken the rule, but he'd gotten a hold of the paper and was just waiting for a chance to use it.
It was the rumors about SG-1 that they swore were true that was blowing his brain.
Well, if it could happen, it'd happen to them.
Terry motioned Frome forward, waiting for her to dial Earth before entering his code.
They sent the cart through first, following without a backward glance at the planet that had been their home for far too long already.
* * * * * *
To Next Chapter