“Thank you for your time, Mister President.” Daniel said with a smile as he shook the President’s hand.
The President shook the younger mans hand with a smile on his own face. “No, thank you, Doctor Jackson. It was a real pleasure to finally meet you. Both of you. George speaks very highly of your team.” He glanced to the blonde woman and held out his hand. “Colonel Carter.”
“Mister President.” Sam smiled and shook the offered hand. She had to admit that she liked this President. He was better than the other one by far.
“Now, since the meeting has adjourned.” The President smiled and motioned towards one of his aides. “Martin, please send him in.”
“Yes, Mister President.” Martin Lang exited the oval office with a barely contained smile.
Daniel and Sam shared a confused look before focusing on the President.
The door to the oval office opened and in stepped General Barlow.
The President shook the highest ranking Air Force General’s hand then motioned towards the rooms other two occupants. “I believe we all know each other?”
Sam felt herself straighten and she gave a brisk nod. “Yes, sir. It’s a pleasure to see you again, General.”
General Robert Barlow gave the Colonel a small smile. “Same to you, Colonel.” His grey eyes moved from Sam and landed on Daniel. “Doctor Jackson.”
“General.” Daniel felt very confused. He did’’t know the General very well. They had met once or twice very briefly over the years.
“I bet you’re wondering why I’m here.” General Barlow said as his smile slid from his face. “Well, I’m here to do something that should have been done years ago.” He removed a small box from his coat pocket and snapped it open. “I believe this belongs to you.” He offered the box to Daniel.
Daniel took the small box and blinked. “Sir?” He didn’t understand why the General was handing him a box with two small gold oak clusters inside.
General Barlow’s smile returned, full force. “It gives me great honor and pleasure to present Doctor Daniel Jackson of SG-1 with the rank of Major and all the duties and responsibilities that comes with it. Congratulations, Major Jackson.”
“I...” Daniel was at a loss. It was indeed a great honor. An honor that he would have never accepted when he first joined SG-1 but now...Now he really was a soldier. “I don’t know what to say except, thank you.” Awkwardly, he continued to look at the rank insignia unsure of what to do now.
Martin, the President’s aide, reentered the room. This time he was carrying a garment bag. He handed the bag to Daniel and disappeared once again to attend to his other duties.
“Why don’t you go try it on, son?” General Barlow motioned to the bag and box with his chin. “Go on.”
Daniel nodded, still in shock, and exited the oval office in search of a restroom. Once he found one, he quickly changed out of his suit and into the uniform that was housed in the garment bag. He took a moment to fix the insignia onto his shoulders then took a good hard look at himself in the mirror. The uniform fit him perfectly and he vaguely thought about how comfortable it felt. Blue eyes drifted down and landed on the ribbons and medals that adorned the uniform. He was highly decorated, he noted with a sense of pride. Bringing his eyes back up to his face, in the mirror, he took a step back and took it all in. Yes, he definitely looked military, especially with his short hair. He no longer looked like a geeky archaeologist who’s only use was to translate alien languages and writings. Taking deep breath, he stepped out of the bathroom and headed back to the oval office, garment bag, which now held his suit, draped over his arm. “Well, am I Air Force material?” He asked once he was inside the office again.
“Holy Hannah.” Sam breathed when she caught sight of Daniel in his new uniform. She licked her lips and stepped up to him, straightening his oak clusters. “You look great, Daniel.” Then she hugged him.
“Thanks.” Daniel smiled and hugged her back. “Did you know about this?” He whispered into her ear just before releasing her and stepping back.
Sam shook her head. “I knew Jack was up to something but I wasn’t sure what.” She looked back to the President and General. “Why now?”
General Barlow looked to the President for permission then back to the Colonel. “Why not now, Colonel? Daniel Jackson has served with the Air Force since the moment he joined Stargate Commands front line unit. Him being a civilian was easier in the beginning but now...” He waved his hand in the air. “But now he deserves the honor of wearing his countries colors. Does it really make a difference? Him being a Air Force major rather than a civilian consultant?”
“No, I guess it doesn’t.” Sam tilted her head to the side, thinking. “Everyone at the SGC accepted him long ago. I don’t think anyone thinks of him as just a civilian consultant. He can handle a weapon better than most.”
Daniel felt a blush creep up his neck and cheeks and fought to contain it. “It’s an honor all the same, General, Mister President.”
“Why don’t you two take the rest of the day to celebrate?” The President suggested. “You’ll be leaving for Area 51 in the morning, correct?”
Sam nodded returning to business mode. “Yes, Area 51 is expecting us tomorrow morning. They have a piece of technology that SG-12 brought back that they need us to take a look at.”
The President nodded then picked up a disk from his desk and handed it to the newly commissioned Daniel. “Think you two can deliver this for me?”
“Of course, Mister President.” Daniel took the disk and tucked it into an inside pocket of his uniform jacket. “Anything else?”
“No, that’ll be all.” The President moved around his desk and sat down signaling an end to their meeting.
“Go have fun, that’s an order.” General Barlow said with a smile as he exited the oval office behind the two Air Force officers. Instead of following them out, he turned at the end of the hall and headed in the opposite direction. He had other business to conduct while he was at the White House.
Once outside, Sam steered Daniel away from the White House and towards their hotel, not bothering to wait for their ride. The hotel wasn’t far from Pennsylvania Avenue and it was a nice day. “You look good in the uniform, Daniel.” Sam said once they were walking down the sidewalk in front of the White House.
Daniel smiled. “I think I’m still in shock. I never expected this.”
“Why not? You deserve it, Daniel. I never felt right getting ribbons and metals for something the team did, together. Now that won’t be a problem!” Sam smiled, widely, as she descended a pair of stairs.
Rolling his eyes, Daniel followed his friend. “Cam isn’t going to let me live this down, is he?” He asked once they were on the flat and heading for the street; their hotel was just on the other side of it.
Sam smirked. “Probably not.” She answered then stopped as they approached a group of vendors selling Washington D.C. stuff to the tourists. She took a moment to browse several of the stands, trying to find something to bring home to Kelsey. After picking out a tasteful tee-shirt, she paid for it and joined Daniel on the sidewalk. The first she noticed was the bag he was holding. “Get something for Aldea?”
Daniel nodded. “And Vala. Neither of them would let me live it down if I didn’t bring them home something.”
“Sounds like Vala.” Sam mumbled then turned her head up to the blue sky, letting the sunshine wash over her. “I’d forgotten how beautiful D.C. is in the spring. I guess I’’m used to Colorado and it’s erratic weather.”
“It is beautiful.” Daniel admitted as he looked around at all the flower beds. Glancing to the right, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Narrowing his eyes, he surveyed the street trying to figure out what had made him uneasy. “Someone’s watching us.” He whispered without turning his head.
Sam blinked and followed Daniel’s line of sight. Her hand went for her concealed gun. “Are you sure?” She whispered, mentally calculating how long it would take to clear the area.
Daniel nodded. “Positive.” It took years but his senses were as sharp as Jack’s when it came to danger and such. “Third tree down, behind the vendor selling models of the Washington Monument.” He was already moving down the street.
Following, Sam split from Daniel as they neared the vendor and pulled out her cellphone. She moved around the front while Daniel moved around the tree. Keeping low, she motioned for the vendor to get down as she rounded his cart.
“Agent Harrison, what a surprise.” Daniel hissed as he grabbed the man and pinned him against the tree he had been using to shield his body from view.
“Daniel?” Sam stepped up beside her teammate, closing her cellphone, and eyed the man in the suit. “This is Agent Harrison?” She raised an eyebrow. “So care to tell us why you’re following us?”
Agent Harrison was shocked to have been discovered and words seemed to fail him. “As I told your wife, Doctor Jackson, I’ll be your shadow if I have to until you agree to see your parents. I owe them.” He stressed. Just then he took notice of what his target was wearing. “I didn’t know you were Air Force.”
Daniel rolled his eyes at the man. “I’m not, I just like to play dress up when I leave Colorado.” He said, sarcastically. “It’s a recent development, Agent. And following us could get you in a lot of trouble. Trouble that not even the FBI could get you out of.”
“Are you going to let me go?” Agent Harrison asked as his eyes darted to Daniel’s hands that were holding him to the tree. The bark pressing into his back was rather uncomfortably.
Sam nodded to the Daniel then crossed her arms over her chest. They easily fell into team mode, it was apart of them just like breathing or watching hockey; something they cursed Jack for on a daily basis.
“Fine.” Daniel released the man but didn’t move out of his personal space. “You should save yourself a lot of trouble and just stop now. I won’t see them, Agent Stein. Not now or ever.”
Agent Harrison focused on the woman and smiled; she was very pretty. “I don’t believe we’ve been introduced. I’m Agent Rory Harrison, FBI.” He held out his hand.
“Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, United States Air Force.” Sam shook his hand, briefly, before giving him a look of pure distaste. “Do you know that by following us you are in clear violation of the United States treason act? Agent Stein, do you know what happens to people charged with treason in this country?”
Swallowing, Agent Harrison brought himself up to his full height to try and gain some leverage. “Of course I know what happens. But I highly doubt that following you will result in my being charged with this counties highest crime.”
Daniel raised an eyebrow. “You don’t think so?” He smirked as two black SUV’s suddenly appeared and men in black suits exited the vehicles. “Still don’t think so, Agent?”
Sam chuckled and motioned for two of the men to take the man. “I think the President should have a talk with him. Oh, and maybe General Hammond? Make sure they throughly explain the treason act too, I don’t think he’s read the revised version.” She watched with satisfaction as they carted the, now, shaking Agent off and placed him in the backseat of one of the SUV’s. And as fast as they appeared, they were gone. “I have a feeling he’ll be back.” She mumbled to Daniel as she watched the SUV’s drive away.
“I have a feeling you’re right.” Daniel mumbled back then sighed. “I don’t know what else to do, Sam. I thought for sure he’d leave me alone once I told him no but...” He just shook his head. “I’m getting too old for this.”
“If you’re getting too old then I must be over the hill.” Sam joked as she looped her arm through his and lead him down the sidewalk, across the street, and into their hotel. “Maybe we should pay them a visit when we leave here?” She suggested as they stepped into the elevator.
Daniel blinked. “Oh yes, Sam, that would go over real well.” He cleared his throat as he watched the numbers climb as the elevator did. “Hello, my name is Daniel Jackson and I’m the son you abandoned all those years ago. Would you please leave me alone because you’re interfering with my highly classified, top secret, job? If you don’t, I maybe forced to have you arrested.” He paused and glanced over at his companion. “Yes, I can see that meeting going over real well.”
Sam rolled her eyes as the elevator stopped and they both stepped off and headed to their adjoining rooms. “You’ve been spending too much time with Jack.” She grumbled. “I didn’t mean visit them as yourself. They haven’t seen you in years except on TV, right?”
“That’’s what the good Agent said. Why?” Daniel leaned against the wall between the two room doors.
“Well, then you can go as anyone you want and since they don’t know me...” Sam grinned. “If I remember correctly, you once pulled off a pretty good likeness of a German in 1969. You certainly had Catherine fooled.”
Daniel was slowly warming up to the idea. “You mean do a little recon then decide how to proceed?” At first his new skills as a soldier had bothered him but now they didn’t even phase him.
Sam nodded. “Bingo, we have a winner. Ding, Ding, Ding!” She threw her arms in the air then unlocked her door with her room key. “Sleep on it, Daniel, it’s been a long day. Later we’ll catch a late supper then spend our last night in D.C. celebrating your promotion.”
“Alright. So I’ll see you at eight?” Daniel asked as he unlocked his own door.
“Eight sounds fine. It’’ll give me a chance to catch a nap and shower.” She disappeared into her room and shut the door.
Daniel sighed and entered his own room. “Why me?” He questioned as he looked towards the ceiling. “Is there a reason for this or do you enjoy messing with me?” He grumbled as he raided the mini-bar. After two small, expensive, cans of beer, he was passed out across his bed still in uniform. After all these years, he still couldn't hold his liquor.
Xander looked up at the ceiling. His parents were arguing again. “Can you two please keep it down up there?! Some of us are trying to sleep!” He yelled and pulled the covers over his head. “What’s with them?” He grumbled to himself as he pulled the covers down and stared at the ceiling waiting for the newly fallen silence to be broken by more screaming and yelling. His parents always argued but it seemed worse lately. His Dad was drinking more and his Mother had taken up crying for no apparent reason. Several more minutes of silence passed and his eyes began to close. He was almost asleep when the sound of shattering glass startled him back into the land of consciousness. Groaning, he gathered up his blanket, two pillows, and trudged out of the basement. Angerly, he threw the bedding into the back seat of his car, well Uncle Rory’s car, pulled out of the driveway, and headed down the street towards Buffy’s house. Pulling into the Summer’s driveway, he put the car in park, fought to get his bedding out, and grumblingly made his way up the walkway and onto the porch. Knocking, he waited for someone to answer the door.
Buffy muted the TV and made her way over to the door. Pulling it open, she wasn’t the least bit surprised to see Xander standing on her porch, bedding in tow. “What is it this time?” This wasn’t the first time Xander showed up looking for a place to stay.
“I’m sorry Buff. I was staying at my parents house but the basement isn’t safe when World War Three is going on overhead.” Xander told her and stepped inside when she motioned for him to come in. "I was under constant threat of bombing and invasion."
Shutting the door, Buffy followed her friend into the living room. “They at it again?” She felt back for Xander because for all the year she had known him, his parents had never been this bad.
Xander flopped down on the couch, his blanket and pillow piling on the floor at his feet. “I don’t know what’s gotten into them lately. I had to bail Dad out twice, last week. Twice! Do I look like I’m made out of money? And Mom won’t stop crying. I’m beginning to think that living above the hellmouth for too long has previously unknown side effects.”
Buffy sat down beside him and patted his knee. “Maybe you should talk them into leaving Sunnydale. We know something bad is coming, maybe it’s affecting them in a mythical sort of way?” She suggested since nothing was ever impossible when it came to Sunnydale.
“I tried to get them to leave during the first wave but they wouldn’t listen. They said they had to be here in case he showed up.” Xander rolled his eyes. “Don’t ask me who he is because I have no clue. I asked once and Dad stormed out of the house and Mom started crying. They’ve lost their minds, there can be no other explanation. Maybe I should look into a nice hospital with padded walls for them.”
“He? Have your parents taken up worshiping the Devil?” Buffy asked as she grabbed the remote. “Because I’d say that’s pretty normal compared to some of the things that have been worshiped in this town.” She made a face and turned the channel.
Xander nodded. “Mayor’s turning into giant demon snakes I can handle. But my parents going bonkers is beyond my realm of expertise.”
Buffy chuckled and began to flip through the channels, something she was doing before he arrived. “You never did say why you were staying in your parents basement.”
“I don’t like my new roommates.” Xander made a face. “Rats do not clean up after themselves.”
“Eww!” Buffy looked towards the stairs when she heard movement and put her finger to her lips when she saw Dawn, sleepily, descending the stairs, enter the kitchen, grab a glass of water, and disappear back upstairs. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you’d like.” She tossed the remote onto the coffee table having settled on QVC. “Preeeety.” She mumbled as a sparkly ring was displayed on the screen.
Xander turned his attention to the TV and tilted his head to the side. “Kinda huge ain’t it? Is it a ring or an anchor for the Queen Mary?”
The two of them stayed up watching QVC for hours until they fell asleep leaning against each other. And that’s how Dawn found them the next morning when she came downstairs to go to school. Instead of waking them, she covered them with Xander’s forgotten blanket before hurrying out the door and to her waiting bus.