Jack was on one side of the room, arms crossed, as Janet drew blood and his team quietly low-balled theories. Joyce was on the other, staring at him and being gently prodded by the General about aliens.
“General Hammond, stop,” she finally said, looking up at him. “Omit the truth if you have to but please stop actively lying to me. My husband is fifteen
. I’m not blind and I’m not stupid. This is not a normal situation.” She took a deep breath and stood. “My husband fights aliens. I’m not hysterical, I’m not in denial. Frankly, I’m not even surprised that we’re not alone in this universe. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make tea.” She got almost to the kitchen before she remembered. She turned and said, “Although, he’d better be back to normal by next week. We have Parent-Teacher night and I’m not doing that alone.”
She heard Jack mutter, “Shit
,” and smiled. Everything was going to be okay.
Puttering around the kitchen, alone, gave her time to think. The fact that her husband’s vocation and her daughter’s destiny ran parallel to one another was deeply unsettling. Jack had been her safe harbor. She took a deep breath and poured her tea. She had always known that something was odd about Jack’s job. Nothing had really changed; she just knew the absolute truth, now.
Joyce smiled, calming. If she focused on the funny parts, she had to admit this was probably the best way she could have found out.
She wandered back into the living room as Carter yelped, “Sir!”
Joyce cleared her throat, eyebrows raised, and General Hammond said, uncomfortable, “Colonel O’Neill was relaying what he did yesterday before waking up in this state.”
Ah, sex. The universal horrifier.
“Don’t worry, Major Carter, he didn’t look like that when we went to bed,” Joyce said, taking a sip of tea to cover her smile. Really, blonds with skin that fair should avoid blushing at all costs. Carter looked like she was about to combust.
General Hammond cleared his throat, looking quite red himself as he said, “I suggest we move these proceedings to the Mountain.”
“Oh, I agree,” Joyce nodded to everybody’s shock. “Jack has important work to do. Of course, I’ll expect him home for dinner.”
General Hammond shifted, uncomfortable. “Ms. O’Neill-”
“General, obviously I know. And my kids aren’t stupid, so they
know. So until you find a way to fix this, Jack is expected home by supper every night,” Joyce said and her tone brooked no argument.
“I’m not actually
fifteen,” Jack said, pouting petulantly and that honestly wasn’t helping his case.
“Ms. O’Neill, I’m merely concerned that whatever has caused this change may effect you or the children,” General Hammond said and Joyce pursed her lips. “If whatever it is isn’t communicable and won’t put you or the children in harm’s way, then of course I’ll send him home to you.”
“Of course,” Joyce said, damning the man for his logic. Then she raised an eyebrow. “Dawn asked me to remind you that it’s been three whole months
since you last visited. She expects you and your granddaughters next weekend barring sickness, natural disaster, or end of the world.”
The General hid his smile behind his hand, coughing into it. “I’m glad to see that she has all of her bases covered. Depending on whether we have this situation resolved, I’ll be glad to bring the girls around.”
“Good,” Joyce said, nodding, ready to dismiss them.
“Joyce!” Giles called before popping into the family room, which was filled with mostly familiar military personnel. She could tell when he spotted Jack. “Ah, who’s this?”
“Jack,” Joyce said with a small grin. “Xander’s convinced it’s aliens.”
“Mrs. O’Neill!” General Hammond snapped.
“It’s. Not. Aliens,” Jack said, enunciating very clearly to get his point across.
“Dear Lord,” Giles said, whipping off his glasses for a swift clean. “First alternate dimensions, then the Council, and now aliens. What else could this week hold in store?”
Joyce winced as Jack’s eyes narrowed and he asked, “Alternate what?”
“Oh, you haven’t-?” Giles said and coughed when she shook her head. “Yes, I suppose that’s wise. Memories are fragile things, especially when dealing with transmogrification.”
?” Jack asked as Carter said, “Alternate dimensions aren’t real.”
“Of course not,” Giles said dryly. “And the Earth is flat and made of Bleu cheese.” He took a deep breath and said gently, “Just because you don’t know it to be so doesn’t mean that it isn’t so, Major Carter.” He looked at Joyce and said, “I’d best be going before I say something unfortunate. I just stopped by to tell you that I’ve called in some old friends and they say they’ll be happy to help test the children’s aptitude.”
He raised his eyebrows and she knew that aptitude really meant magical ability.
She nodded and said, “Goodbye, Giles.”
He was out the door before Jack could finish asking, “Wait, what
“You need to go to work, remember?” Joyce said and disappeared back into the kitchen.
Oh, she’d pay for it later but she’d already said she wasn’t talking about anything she might have to explain twice. Author’s Note:
Sorry about the long wait between updates. I’ve had to work the last two weekends. Also, my fic production is probably about to fall through the floor because my bosses have, after three years of my working there and doing exactly that, decided that writing isn’t allowed while I’m on the clock. And considering that those hours are the most productive for me…yeah, I’m probably about to hit a rough patch, writing wise. January illness and Real Life have collided to create a land of suck. Author's Note:
I, uh, realized as I was proofreading these chapters that I seem to have been picking on Major Carter. I actually like
Sam, though, so please be nice in comments.