Disclaimer: I don’t own Highlander or Stargate or any of the characters of Highlander or Stargate, and I’m not making any money out of them, I’m just doing this for the love of the shows and the love of Richie. All rights and ownership belong to the clever people who actually own them, I’m just trying them on for size and I promise to return them good as new.
Warning: There’s the odd bit of swearing, but I try to keep it to a minimum.6. Living La vida
“There’s no easy way to tell you this, Daniel. Jack is dead.” Daniel dropped into the chair, stunned.
“How?” He looked at the blonde colonel with compassion, he didn’t think he’d have had her strength if their roles had been reversed. But this was something he’d have to get used to now. Eventually, Sam, Cameron, even Teal’c would fall to the ravages of time or battle. He pushed the unbidden thought from his mind and focussed on what Sam was saying.
“It was a fact finding tour of the Middle East. Some artefacts had turned up that were related to the Gate and they were there to assess the viability of starting a dig.” Daniel nodded as he vaguely remembered reading the dossier on the artefacts. “Their convoy was attacked by a rebel militia. None survived.” Daniel nodded absently, thinking of the irony of being killed in a desk job when he had risked himself so many times off-world. Jack would have found it amusing. He was jerked from his thoughts by the Buzz of another Immortal. Sam gave him a questioning look that turned to understanding as he reached for his sword. Pulling her pistol, she nodded to him and he went to the door as the bell was rung. Then there was a familiar knock.
“Danny-boy?” Daniel stared at the door, then at Sam. Nah, couldn’t be. It must just be Richie and Daniel’s overactive imagination was providing what he wanted to hear. But Sam was staring at the door too. Cautiously he opened the door and there he was, large as life and definitely breathing.
“Sir!” It was Sam who reacted first, lowering her pistol, but not putting it back in its holster. “Daniel, is he?” Daniel nodded, dumbfounded.
“But it’s news to me.” He stood aside to let Jack enter the apartment. “You’d better come in before someone sees you.”
“I’m taking it Carter knows about our…long life-lines?” Daniel nodded “Oh well, I suppose it would have been noticed sooner or later.”
“She’s a Watcher. My Watcher.” Jack appraised Sam after this new information. “Huh, go figure.” He flopped down onto the couch and stared at his two friends. “Well are you gonna offer me a beer or what?” The still slightly stunned Daniel went to the refrigerator and got three beers. He handed one each to Jack and Sam and sank into a chair with the third. He leaned forward to ask Jack a question but was interrupted before it left his lips. “Before you ask what you’re gonna ask, Danny, just ask yourself, would you have told them?”
“I have.” Jack started at this.
“Aw, hell Daniel, why’d you do that?”
“Well, I needed to tell Richie about the SGC so he could be my teacher, and Adam suggested that I should trust my friends.”
“Adam? Adam Pierson?” Daniel nodded, “Dammit Daniel, never listen to anything he has to say.”
“Well, I figured that someone with his life experience would know a thing or two.” Daniel said darkly.
“Possibly, but he would never bother to share it with the rest of us. He’s self-serving, always has been, always will be.”
“Ah, your acquaintance with Adam is how you were aware of the Watchers’ existence. Just how long have you known Dr. Pierson sir?” Sam felt she needed to intervene before something was said that someone regretted. Jack had a mental debate with himself and decided to tell the truth.
“A little over two millennia.” Daniel and Sam took a sharp intake of breath and looked at each other.
“So you know he’s really Methos.” Jack nodded “Just how old are you?” In for a penny, in for a pound, thought Jack.
“Three thousand and fifty, give or take a decade.”
“Bit like carbon dating heh?” Daniel grinned
“Wait a minute,” Sam said, “You’re Angus McNeill aren’t you? My god, the Watchers thought you were dead. We lost track of you about ten years ago after your adopted son…o my god, Charlie. All this time, and I didn’t recognise you, didn’t put two and two together. Unbelievable!”
“At ease, Carter.” Jack shot her one of his trademark grins. “I slipped off the radar with good reasons. Reasons you are both familiar with. It was coincidence I met Daniel, but fortune smiled by bringing us together. I was all ready to become his teacher when the time came, but the guy had died so many times without his Immortality being triggered that I figured it never would. But then a couple of months back I read about a strange light show in Colorado Springs. Knowing it had nothing to do with the SGC, and I figured I would have been informed if Danny was dead, I guessed he’d joined the Game. It was my intention to come straight away, but duty called and I was sent overseas. In a way it’s worked out for the best, I can abandon the Jack O’Neill persona now and concentrate on Danny’s training.”
“As I said, I already have a teacher Jack.” As if on cue, the two Immortals tensed and turned toward the door as they felt the presence of another, and Richie walked through the door. Daniel had invited him to stay in the apartment when he was in town, and had given him a key.
“Whoa, this looks serious.” Richie said, appraising the situation. He was aware that the stranger was Immortal, but was a little confused to find his student and his Watcher having a beer with him. Daniel stood up to make the introductions.
“Richie Ryan, meet Jack O’Neill, sorry Angus McNeill.” Richie leaned forward, offering his hand.
“It’s a pleasure, Daniel has told me a lot about you. I’m guessing he didn’t know everything though, right?”
“Not everything, no. Call me Jack, I never did like Angus.” Then he asked Daniel, in Latin, “This is your teacher? How old is he?” Daniel was briefly taken back by Jack’s fluency, but then realised that Jack probably knew the language better than he, in fact probably more languages than that. To test his theory, he answered in Aramaic,
“He’s only thirty-three, but he’s really experienced. Methos and MacLeod trust him.” Jack raised an eyebrow at this, in perfect imitation of Teal’c. Richie got the game, although he didn’t understand all of what had just been said, so he said,
“Djeden em Goa’uld, meruek?” This had the desired effect, as both Jack and Daniel looked somewhat abashed.
“I’m sorry.” Jack said in English. Sam was somewhat relieved to be able to pick up the conversation again, as was Richie, as his Goa’uld wasn’t nearly as fluent as his bluff had implied. “I’m just a little over-protective of the little dweeb. I don’t mean to imply anything. MacLeod and Methos are both experienced and respected among our kind, so I’m sure you’ve done an excellent job.” Richie took the compliment, and sat down.
“Well my job was made easier by the groundwork you had done. And Teal’c and Cam have been a great help, teaching us both Jaffa techniques.” At this Jack rounded on Daniel.
“Just how much have you told him?” he demanded.
“Well it’s not like National Security matters to you now you’re dead.” Sam said, “Sir.”
Swords rang out across the mountain lake as the three Immortals fenced with each other. Jack was impressed with both Richie and his teaching skills. The boy showed far more skill and maturity than was usual for someone only in their second decade of the Game. He was proficient in several styles of fighting, including the Jaffa martial arts that he had only learned recently.
Now that he had washed the grey dye from his hair, it was clear to Daniel that Jack hadn’t aged since the day they’d first met, and he couldn’t believe he’d been fooled so easily.
“People see what they expect to see, Danny-boy.” Jack had told him, “It’s a good point to remember if you want to survive.”
He had brought them out to his cabin, knowing they would not be disturbed. Well, technically it was now Daniel’s cabin, as he had left it to the archaeologist in his will, but he didn’t think Danny would mind letting him hang on to it a while longer.
At the insistence of Sam and Daniel he had revealed his status to Teal’c and Mitchell, against his better judgement, and the six of them had come for two weeks R&R. He had to admit, it was good to not have to conceal his identity from his friends, especially the original members of SG-1. He was an honourable man, and it had sat heavy on him that he had to conceal his nature from those he trusted and who trusted him.
They wound down the mock melee, with the old man just barely winning. Daniel raised his sword in defeat, and sat down on a deckchair next to Sam.
“Enough!” he cried, “You win, it’s my turn to buy the steaks!”
“Excellent.” Jack said, steepling his fingers together. Richie recognised the impression and laughed. Jack looked at him. “You a fan too?” Richie nodded “Okay, here’s an image for you, Mr. Burns as a Goa’uld.” Richie laughed
“Oh my god, yes! Totally!”
“See” Jack said to Daniel, “He gets it.” Daniel and Sam both shook their heads and laughed, and the four of them went inside to change for dinner.
The party of six drew a few stares as they entered the steak house, and for once Jack was more concerned about himself than Teal’c, but he knew he was just being paranoid. They took a secluded booth and he ordered the biggest T-bone on the menu. He was impressed when Richie did the same, and even more so when the young man cleared his plate. He’d never met anyone who could match his appetite before. He felt he could become good friends with this young man, which meant he would have to tread very carefully when he made his request. But that could wait for another time, tonight was about good food, good beer, good friends and an all-night Simpsons marathon on cable. Did life get any better?
The next morning, a few hours before they were all going to leave the cabin, Jack took Richie to one side. “Can I ask you a favour?”
“Sure, if I can.”
“I’d like you to let me take over as Daniel’s tutor.” He held up a hand to stop the half-formed protest, “I respect you as a swordsman and as a teacher, and I think you have done a great job. Please don’t take this request as personal against you. It’s just that I’ve come to feel great affection for him over the years, and I always pictured myself as his mentor.”
“To be honest with you, it’s somewhat of a relief. Don’t get me wrong, I like Daniel a lot, but I am out of my league here. I wasn’t ready to teach someone, even someone as adept as he is. And I’ve been getting homesick.” It had been nearly two months since he had met up with Mac because Daniel was only going off-world for a few days at a time recently, as he preferred to stay on Earth to research some strange device they had found. “Besides, I think he gets frustrated that he can’t discuss his missions with me in any detail.” Jack smiled warmly at Richie and offered his hand. Richie took it and was surprised to find himself pulled into a hug.
“You take care, youngster.” Normally Richie would have bridled at that, but he took it in the affection it was meant. Besides, the guy was more than three thousand years old; to him nearly everyone was a youngster. “And say hello to Methos for me. Plus, if you want a cheap rise out of him, ask him about Salzburg.” Richie looked at him, curious. Jack was wearing one of his patented mischievous grins, so Richie returned one of his own.
“I might just do that.”
A few hours later, the six parted company. Richie said his goodbyes and made Daniel promise to call him or Methos if he needed anything, before he got on his bike and started the journey home. SG-1 climbed into a government issue SUV and headed back towards Cheyenne Mountain on the promise that Daniel would visit regularly to continue training. Jack looked around at his domain, and sighed expansively.
“Ah. Peace at last.” He looked around for a few minutes more before going inside to grab a beer and his fishing tackle.
A/N: Translation – “We can speak in Goa’uld if you want” (This is actually ancient Egyptian, not Goa’uld, but Richie didn’t know the difference).The L World will continue in Part 7: Leaving London