Joyce perched on his knee, giving him a few moments to catch his breath and running her fingers through his hair. It wasn’t every day a father learned his daughter both saved the world and had already died once. Add to that Jack’s history and, well, Charlie had been dead for years before she’d met Jack, but none of this could be easy for him to hear.
“Jack,” she finally murmured and he looked up at her. “We’ve got things that need doing.”
He groaned. “Can’t we just go home and sleep on it?”
She raised an eyebrow, amused. “Last time we did that, I woke up in bed with a teenager.” He snorted and she petted his cheek. “How about we just do the two most important things tonight and you stay home tomorrow and you can ask all the questions you like?”
He raised an eyebrow right back at her. “Sounds like a plan. What are
the two most important things?”
She took a deep breath and said, “Breaking up Buffy and Angel and bringing Jon home.”
Jack winced at her as he said, “Joyce…,” and she braced herself for a fight. (Another one.)
“Jack, he’s you,” she said, straightening her shoulders when he grimaced at her. “Imagine if this were me.”
He scowled as he said, “Not following.
She patted his cheek because, as set in his ways as he was, he would try, for her. “Imagine that I was the one that had been cloned. Would you try to shut me away from the children? Even if I looked like I was their age?”
His face closed off for a second, then he said with feeling, “Shit
She patted his cheek again as she said, heart lighter, “He’s already been handicapped in this life, Jack. He’s going to have to find a third woman that appreciates the O’Neill charms. Let’s not make it harder than we have to.”
He groaned, finally nuzzling into her shoulder. “It’s just so weird
“Yes, well. Welcome back to our lives, dear. You’ve only been gone a week, but it’s still weird,” Joyce said, unsuccessfully trying to tamp down on her laughter.
“Ha ha,” he said, grimacing as he finally pulled away and she slid off his lap. “So fine, whatever, he comes home with us. Where are we supposed to put
him? Especially since you’re probably going to go argue your sister into submission and bring Meredith home with you.”
“We’d been thinking about renting out the apartment over the garage,” she said, just a little hopeful. “Meredith can share with Willow. She’s the least territorial of the lot, besides Dawn and that’s an age difference that probably shouldn’t be broached.”
Jack scrubbed a hand over his face. “You know how I keep saying I’m going to retire and build us a big house in the woods? If we keep bringing home kids, and don’t tell me you don’t want to bring home this Kendra, then we’re going to need that bigger house.”
“Maybe you should get on that,” she said lightly and he sighed, standing. She squeezed his hand. “Let me do the convincing with Buffy and Angel. I
have a reason besides being overprotective.”
“I still can’t believe she’s been dating a vampire and nobody thought that they should, ya know, tell
me,” he groused, reaching around her to grab the door handle. “I mean, really? That’s going to be her taste in men? Older than her father and sort of evil?” He paused, shaking his head balefully. “It’s sad how many people I know that fit that description.”
She snickered as he pulled open the door. She looked up to see most of the room staring at them.
She raised her eyebrow at them and went to settle on the arm of the couch beside Jenny, Jack standing with his arm wrapped around her shoulder.
“Jon’s going home with us,” she announced and ignored his mew of distress. “He can live in the apartment over the garage.” When he looked like he was going to argue, she wheedled, “I’ll buy you a six pack of beer a month.”
“A month?!” he yelped.
“You might have the same brain as Jack, but you’re in a teenage body. We wouldn’t want to stunt your growth,” she said, tongue firmly in cheek. The children buried snickers in their fists since they knew he’d been borrowing clothes from the slimmer, shorter boys in the house.
“Fine,” he said grudgingly, mostly because Sirius elbowed him in the side and Dawn gave him the Wide Eyes of Doom. It was good to know he was as easily suckered as Jack
“Now,” Joyce said, taking a calming breath. “Jenny needs to tell us why it’s a bad idea for Angel and Buffy to be dating.” Jenny looked at her, startled. “But first, any of the military that came with Jack that want to leave, can. We’re not going to ask any more questions about his work.”
“Mom!” half the kids in the room protested, loudly.
“As long as he keeps coming home to us, we can keep assuming the aliens haven’t gotten him and it’s none of our business,” she carried on, quashing their arguments. She turned to glare at General Hammond and Major Davis. “As soon as he stops coming home, it becomes our business.”
The Major choked, but the General nodded. “Of course, Mrs. O’Neill.” He paused, then said, “SG-1, Dr. Fraiser and Miss Fraiser, Major Davis, you may leave any time you like. I need to speak to Mr. Giles and Ms. O’Neill about the safety of my granddaughters when they visit.”
“Kit and Amanda are really safe!” Dawn blurted, glaring at him. “Kit does magic with us and-”
Sirius reached across Jon and pinched her, hard, ignoring her pained yelp. “You weren’t supposed to tell him that!”
She went from angry to chagrined. “Oops.”
General Hammond scowled. “My grandchildren do magic
“Only Kit,” Willow said, shrinking back into Giles’s legs when the General looked at her. “Amanda has never been inclined.”
“We keep a very close eye on the children, General,” Giles said soothingly, settling a hand on Willow’s shoulder. “I’m bringing in people that are extremely adept at magic to help train them.” He hesitated before stating simply, “Magic isn’t something that can be ignored. Accidents can happen and good people can be lured into the dark if they aren’t trained in control. Kit is proficient in what she’s tried and, more seriously, she’s curious. She was before she started spending time with the O’Neill children. With them, she’s learning caution and control.”
The General relaxed slightly. “I see.”
“And, believe me, just because Amanda can’t do what Kit can doesn’t mean she won’t end up with this life,” Buffy said, folding her arms. “I was normal until I turned 15 and now I’m not. There are no guarantees.”
“Better over prepared than ignorant,” Xander said, shrugging. “Speaking as one of the normal ones. I’d rather know and lose a little sleep than not know and die because of it.”
The General shifted before saying, “I need to think about this.”
He and Major Davis left and Dr. Fraiser stood before Cassie blurted, “I do magic, too.” Dr. Fraiser collapsed back into her chair, staring at her daughter. Cassie shrugged. “If we’re all being honest now, I wanted you to know. I learned from my-my birth mother.” She looked sad for a moment, then said, “I’d really like to have her book of shadows, even if all the spells wouldn’t work here on Earth.”
Joyce coughed, cutting Daniel’s stream of questions off, and everyone looked at her. “I think we’re going to have to do this honesty thing in stages,” she said, glancing at Cassie with sympathy. “There’s so much to be told and so many questions to be answered. But right now, we need to focus on something that’s going to save lives.” She put her hand on Jenny’s shoulder. “Jenny?”
Jenny swallowed hard and said, “My name is-I mean, I started out life as Janna Kalderash of the Clan Kalderash.” She glanced at Angel, who was staring at her, frozen. “There aren’t many of us left. The Scourge of Europe slaughtered most of us for ensouling Angelus.” Buffy gasped. “But the ones that were left, they set up a watch over-over the vampire that would become Angel. In case he lost his soul. I was sent to follow him to Colorado when it seemed like he had finally settled here.”
“You’re a spy
?” Buffy said, betrayal written across her face.
“No! I mean, well, yes, but-,” Jenny stuttered.
Joyce squeezed her shoulder and said quietly, “Tell them about the curse. Tell them why he needs watching.”
“There’s a…clause on Angel’s curse. If he experiences one moment of true happiness, he’ll lose his soul and Angelus will return,” Jenny said quietly. “We watch to make sure the monster doesn’t come back and do to anyone else what he did to our family.” She sighed. “The elders of the family, they’re more focused on the pain it causes him to remember and feel remorse but I just don’t want anyone else getting hurt.”
Angel looked away, pained, as Giles furiously cleaned his glasses and Willow asked, confused, “True happiness? How do we know what his moment of true happiness will be?”
Xander rolled his eyes. “Geez, Willow, I don’t know. He’s a guy. A guy in love.” At several blank looks, he shouted, “Sex!” He stabbed a finger at Angel, “None for you!”
Willow smacked his arm and Buffy said harshly, “God, Xander, is sex really all you think about?”
“No, he’s right,” Angel cut in. If he hadn’t been dead, he’d probably have been blushing.
Giles cleared his throat. “Some things are just ingrained in the male psyche, girls. Consider it one of the universal truths of man.”
“I don’t-I don’t understand,” Buffy said, seeming honestly baffled.
Xander sighed and scrubbed a hand over his head. “For one thing, you have to remember that he’s a vampire with a soul. To be perfectly happy, his soul and his demon have to be in agreement on something which even I admit isn’t likely. But, Buffy, Angel might just enjoy it for you but Angelus is going to get off on deflowering a virgin.”
Angel nodded. “And he’s sort of got Liam’s moral compass. Sex is right up there with torture for him.”
“We should stop talking about my daughter’s nonexistent sex life,” Jack said, glowering at the room in general. “Let’s just get to the point. If you two keep doing whatever you’re doing, which I don’t
approve of, by the way, something horrible could happen. If he stays, are you really going to be able to stay away from him or him you?” He glared at Angel. “He needs to leave and go far, far away.”
Buffy looked heartbroken.
Giles cleared his throat. “Joyce, do you know how much of an aid he was before he left for L.A after the children graduated?”
Everybody looked between them, startled. She shook her head, helpless. “I know that they weren’t together
together her senior year, but something was happening that meant he needed to stay.”
“Ah, yes,” Giles said, kneading his forehead. “Whatever drew us to the conclusion that blowing up the school was the only solution.”
“You blew up a school
?!” Jack yelped, pulling away from her.
“Well, not me
,” she said, shrugging. She waved a hand around the room. “The children and, probably, Giles.”
Jack looked at Giles. “You let them blow up their school?”
“Yes, and I can’t quite imagine why,” Giles said, sounding truly baffled. “After all, that is
my place of employ and I am
here on a work visa, you know.”
“Can I just say that I’m all for that plan, whatever the reason,” Xander cut in, raising his hand and looking around.
“So he has to stay,” Jack said, ignoring Xander’s two cents and looking thoroughly unhappy. He glared at Angel. “You touch my daughter or any of my family and I’ll shoot you and I’m not talkin’ with bullets, buddy.”
Angel swallowed convulsively. “I understand. I-I need to-excuse me.”
He beat a hasty retreat, the back door slamming behind him.
“Joyce?” Jenny said calmly, looking up at her. “Did he kill me?”
Joyce squeezed her shoulder and said, “I think so. I know you died around the time…yes, I think so.”
Jenny covered the hand on her shoulder, bowing her head and covering her face with her other hand. Buffy started to sob into her knees before bolting for the door.Author’s Notes
: Just to cover a few things: 1.)Joyce does have a dishwasher, she was just doing them by hand to ward off the kids. Except it didn’t work. 2.)General Hammond does have granddaughters but they aren’t really important to the plot, so I’ve changed them to Kit and Amanda, from Buffy canon. And, since we never saw Joyce’s sisters in canon, either, I took liberties there, too. Ellis is from Grey’s Anatomy and Abbey is from The West Wing. They might
be important later, but for now, they’re just a bit of world building. 3.)Things are possibly about to get even more confusing, but, I swear, I know what I'm doing. 4.)I really will get to answering reviews soon, but life is being weird at the moment.