Chapter 4 – The Truth Shall Set You Free?
Chapter 4 – The Truth Shall Set You Free?SG-1’s Hotel
"So..." O’Neill said from his seated position at the foot of one of the beds.
"So," repeated Jack from one of the two chairs in the room. Looking closely at O’Neill with a frown, Jack asked, "Have I always looked that old?"
"Excuse me?!" O’Neill said.
Turning to Daniel, who was seated on the other bed, Jack continued, "Did I really look that old?"
"Hey!" O’Neill bellowed indignantly as Teal’c and Sam unsuccessfully attempted to hide their amusement.
Daniel smiled, simply stating, "It’s been a long day."
"I guess so. You know, you’re actually starting to show some age too. You may even need to shave soon," Jack smirked at Daniel.
"Don’t go there, Jack," Daniel warned. "Besides, you’re in no position to talk."
"Right," Jack said ruefully, as he rubbed his own adolescent face.
"So, what was that back there?" O’Neill asked. It was disturbing to see the infamous O’Neill/Jackson interaction, when he wasn’t an active participant. He was right; being around his clone was just weird.
"What?" Jack asked.
"Back at the club, with those girls. What was that?"
"They’re a little overprotective," Jack explained.
"Ya think?" replied O’Neill.
"They’re my team. My pack, actually."
"You’re pack?" Daniel inquired.
"I’ve told you about them."
"You’ve never called them you’re pack before."
"It’s ... nothing. Silly, really. We’ve, somewhere along the way, gotten the nickname of the Wild Pack."
"You and a bunch of teenage girls are known as the ‘Wild Pack’? Is that like the Wild Bunch?" Sam teased him from across the small table at which she and Jack were seated.
"The one who confronted us seemed most formidable, O’Neill," Teal’c said to Jack.
"‘Jack,’ Teal’c. ‘Jackson,’ if you insist. I haven’t been O’Neill for awhile now."
Teal’c bowed his head slightly in acknowledgment.
"She was subtle, too," O’Neill added.
"Did she threaten to rip anything off then beat you with it?" Jack asked.
Wide-eyed, O’Neill admitted, "No."
"Then she was subtle."
"That’s an interesting group of friends you’ve got there."
"You’re not wrong," Jack smiled.
"So, uh, I guess I overreacted," Daniel admitted sheepishly.
"No, you were right. I should’ve called. I should’ve known you’d worry. I’m sorry. I appreciate you coming to check up on me."
"That’s okay. So, what happened to your phone?"
"It fell," Jack said. He kept to himself the fact that it fell when he was tossed ten feet into a wall by a Muskusk demon; it was in his pocket at the time and naturally he’d landed right on top of it. Not that it mattered much since the thick slime the demon oozed had penetrated through Jack’s clothing and there was no way he’d’ve been able to get it out of the phone anyway. He was still removing layers of the stuff from his skin nearly a week later. He considered himself lucky though, since it hadn’t tried to kiss him like it had with Xander. If Willow hadn’t conjured a protective barrier, Xander would’ve probably died from suffocation, the slime was that thick.
"Exactly how many girlfriends do you have?" O’Neill asked, bringing Jack out of his musings.
"What?" Jack asked.
"Girlfriends – how many’ve you got? Is it all of them or just the two?"
Shaking his head, Jack repeated with a frown, "What?"
O’Neill looked at him expectantly with a slight smirk.
"I told you they’re friends."
"You kissed and hugged that one girl in the club," Jack countered.
"Okay, I kissed her on the forehead and I hug people all the time. I’m a tactile person, I’m always touching people. And, suddenly I’m thinking that came out wrong. Anyway, we’re just friends."
"So you’re just dating the blonde then."
"I don’t recall you ever mentioning her before," Daniel stated.
"Who? What?" Jack was beginning to feel like a parrot.
"You’re girlfriend," Sam clarified.
"I don’t have a girlfriend, Carter."
"She said she was you’re girlfriend."
"At the club?" Jack asked.
"The event of which they speak occurred at your institution of learning," offered Teal’c.
"You went to the school?" Jack asked cautiously.
"How did you think we found you?" questioned O’Neill.
"Anyway, you’re girlfriend introduced herself right before participating in a WWE Smackdown. Are all the girls in your school so … aggressive?"
"Wait, so who’s my girlfriend?"
"Melissa, uh, Harding, I think she said," informed Daniel.
"Melissa?! God, talk about delusional," Jack said with a shake of his head. Curiosity overcame him. "Who was she fighting?"
"Blonde or brunette?"
"Jane was brunette," Daniel answered. SG-1 was looking at Jack oddly.
Jack had a considering look on his face, before asking, "Who won?"
"Neither, another brunette, maybe a teacher, broke them up. So this seems perfectly normal to you: two teenage girls involved in an all-out brawl?" O’Neill asked incredulously.
"Well, I wouldn’t exactly say normal, just not all together surprising. Jane’s nice but she’s got some anger management issues and Melissa is …"
"A hell-bitch?" intoned Teal’c.
Jack burst out laughing. "That’s actually one of the nicer ways I’ve heard her described." After a moment of quiet laughter, he continued, "You went to the school. What did you think?"
O’Neill shrugged, "Well other than the Battle Royale, and the way it was resolved, it seemed like a school … with a lot of girls."
Jack hitched his eyebrows in silent inquiry.
"They were pulled apart and flipped onto their backs," Carter explained.
"That had to be Faith. I do not
envy them." He chuckled again. "She’s the Self Defense teacher," he grinned. SG-1’s expressions took on looks of understanding. "So, what’s new at the SGC? How’re Hammond, Frasier, Ferretti?"
Jack was approaching a large oak tree behind the school pleased that he’d managed to arrive before Silver despite being fifteen minutes late. Tardiness must be linked to a teenage hormone, Jack thought. He never used to run late like this when he was older.
"I knew you’d be late," Silver said from behind him. Jack spun around to see she had a picnic basket in her hands. He took the basket from her as she laid down a blanket.
"I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been here for the past twenty minutes," Jack said.
"I saw you from the cafeteria window and followed you here, Jack."
"Oh." Jack, refusing to acknowledge that he’d been caught out, quickly said, "What’s in the basket?"
Silver smirked at him, obviously aware of Jack’s attempt to distract her. Jack was rather relieved when she simply slapped his hand away, when he went to open the basket to see for himself and said, "You’ll see."
She then proceeded to lay out what would normally be enough food for four adults but considering it was meant to be consumed by a slayer and a teenaged boy, would probably just barely be enough. The two spent the next several minutes filling themselves with boiled eggs, bacon, sausages, muffins, toast, etc. Once they’d fed their hunger, Silver leaned back against the great oak, sipping her coffee as she patiently waited for Jack to tell her whatever he was going to tell her.
Jack took a couple more bites, then decided he couldn’t put it off much longer. He took a sip of coffee followed by a deep breath. He looked directly into Silver’s eyes, opened his mouth and ... took another sip.
"I know. I’m not trying to avoid this. I just don’t know where to begin."
"The beginning’s usually a good place," Silver said reasonably.
"You’d think so but I’m not really sure where the beginning is. Was it two years ago or maybe back in ‘97 or before that. I honestly don’t know."
Silver could see that Jack was being sincere. He wasn’t playing a game or stalling, he was honestly unsure where to begin. "Okay, then. Why don’t we start with last night and we can work our way back to the beginning, wherever it is." Jack nodded his head but remained silent. "You said they were family. Was one of them your dad?"
"Er, I wouldn’t exactly say that, more like a brother I guess. I’m not really sure on the specifics. It’s just too weird to think of him as my father, not that thinking of him as my brother is any less weird but probably closer to the truth, I guess."
Silver looked at him peculiarly. He wasn’t making any sense. How could he not know if the guy was his father or his brother? Was Jack’s life a soap opera before he came to KWS? "Let’s try something simple. You pick one of them and tell me about them, okay?"
Jack thought for a moment, then smiled. "Danny, um, Daniel. He was the one with the glasses. Daniel’s great. He’s the nicest, kindest man you’ll ever meet, the smartest too. He sees the best in people; he sees what you can be and treats you like that’s who you actually are. He makes you want to be that person, ya know? He was there for me at a really dark time in my life. He helped me get passed it. He’s a good friend," Jack concluded.
"What about the big guy," Silver asked, as she did a bodybuilder pose.
Laughing, Jack said, "T’s great. I know he’s physically intimidating - well, he would be if you were just some regular kid. Of course, his size probably didn’t phase you a bit, did it?"
"He’ll get a kick out of that," Jack chuckles. "What’s there to say about him? He doesn’t talk a lot but he can say so much with just a look. He tends to be calm and soft spoken but you really don’t want to piss him off. He’s also got this whole code of honor thing that can be a real pain in the ass at times. There’s no one I’d rather have at my back, except you guys, naturally. In short, we’re brothers.
"That leaves Carter, the blonde. She’s another genius and when I say that I mean literally."
"Kind of but different. They specialize in different fields. She’s all about science and math and Daniel’s about history, people and cultures. Not that that hasn’t stopped him from guessing at scientific theories that completely blew her away. Little shit’s usually right when he does it too. You can imagine her frustration.
"Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. When we first met, Carter was ... focused. She’s loosened up a lot. We’ve been through a lot, all of us. So, like I said, family," Jack finishes, nodding his head.
“Now tell me about your dad/brother.”
"Okay, look, there are some things that I can’t tell you, that I may never be able to tell you. Not because I don’t trust you because I do. And I need you to trust me. I know I’m asking a lot but I’m asking anyway. Trust me. Please," Jack implores.
Silver considers it a moment. “Okay, so tell me what you can.”
Exhaling a deep breath, Jack says, “He and I are … I’ve spent the past two years avoiding thinking about exactly this.” Jack takes another deep breath. “We don’t really get along. We’re too much alike for that. I mean, we’re not hostile or anything. It’s just when we’re together it’s awkward, weird. I like to think he’s a good man. There’ve been times when I wouldn’t have always said that but he’s a better man than he used to be. Of course, so am I, so… A lot of that has to do with the others.” Shaking his head briefly, he confesses, “I hate this emotional, self-analysis crap. What more did you need to know?”
“Nothing. They were there for you. You obviously care very deeply for them. That’s good enough for me.”
“Yeah?” asked a very relieved Jack.
“Well, unless you want me to break out the spotlight and bamboo shoots,” she smiled.
“Leave me out of your kinks,” he joked.
“They all say that, at first,” she grinned, then started packing everything up.
Both were fully aware that Jack hadn’t really revealed any details about his past. But he had let her into his thought processes, he’d shared his feelings, which was something he didn’t even like to think about much less voice. He’d trusted her and she would do the same.
"Oh, Jack," Silver called as he was walking away. Silver walked up to him, slapped something against his chest, and continued passed him without stopping. He looked down at the object he was clutching in his hand. Without turning back or breaking stride, she said, "It’s a watch, the little hand tells you the hour and the big hand, the minutes. I’ll get Adrienne to give you a refresher course." And here, Jack thought she’d let him get away with it.