Fork of Doom
AN: This is a very busy chapter. Lot's happens. Or starts to
happen. *wicked grin* Hope ya'll enjoy it. Oh and updates,
I'll try to be my usual speedy self but I'm having some technical
difficulties so my internet connection might be spotty for a bit.
Just FYI. Also, I played with Barrett a bit in here, okay, Jack
played with Barrett's mind a bit- I'm well aware he's somewhat
out of character in the scene.
Disclaimer: If I only had a Xander, or a Jack, or... well, I don't
Reviews rock my socks.
**************** Trick Or Treat: Chapter Fifteen *****************
Jack watched with undisguised curiosity from the sidelines as Xander
and Teal'c donned light boxing gear. Hopefully Teal'c would go easier
on Xander than the first time he and the big guy had sparred a bit.
He knew Teal'c would have loved to go for staff weapons or hand to
hand but Xander, for all of his puppy like behavior, had been
amazingly vague when asked about his capabilities.
Jack would have been more suspicious if the kid hadn't been so
damn glad to get out of the room. Made him feel kinda guilty for
keeping the kid, who happened to be twenty-five but still, a kid,
Reminded him why he didn't have a dog.
Xander bounced next to Teal'c talking a mile a minute, and not at
all perturbed that Teal'c, or Murray as he was fondly known, did
nothing more but raise a brow in response. It was amazing how much
young Alexander could say without really talking about anything at
"Are you ready, Xander Harris?" Teal'c asked evenly after they suited
Xander, looked utterly ridiculous in head gear, partly because of his
eye patch and partly because his too long hair kept flipping into his
eyes, shrugged and gave Teal'c an enthusiastic thumbs up. Teal'c
took that as a sign to attack.
Jack blinked, surprised, as Teal'c rushed and Xander neatly
sidestepped the Jaffa's punch before spinning back to go on offense.
Teal'c seemed slightly startled too, or as startled as Teal'c got,
as he moved to counter defensively. Teal'c, granted, was probably
handicapped because of the distraction Junior 'disquiet' was most
likely providing, and most likely holding back some because Xander
wasn't a Special Ops trained agent or a Jaffa in training, but Xander
was holding his own.
Jack watched critically and was pleased. Despite his reduced depth
perception, Xander was moving beautifully. He compensated well for
his blind side. Teal'c got in a few good shots but the kid was no
slouch himself. He fought close too, closer than Teal'c usually did,
closer than Jack would have even dared with the battle trained Jaffa,
though it made sense considering Teal'c superior reach.
The fight itself was quick paced, with neither man bothering to wait
the other out. It wasn't a battle to the death, and both were
clearly enjoying themselves. Teal'c lips were actually tilted up
at the corners and Xander was grinning like a fool. Xander could
take a hit too. Whenever Teal'c clipped him good it'd take him a
breath to regain his equilibrium and fly back in, not at all
concerned that by ten minutes in he had a split lip, and Jack was
sure, at least bruised ribs.
Teal'c himself chose to end the fight after a solid twenty minutes
or so. He ducked out of Xander's range before calling a stop. The
kid immediately backed off, apparently content to end their match as
a draw, something which showed more maturity than the majority of
new recruits. Boxing matches between the youngsters usually required
at least two neutral parties to separate them when time was up.
Jack waited until Xander was safely deposited at the showers inside
the locker room, which Jack had made sure was empty, to mosey on up
to Teal'c. "So... was Junior still all," he held up his fingers and
wiggled them in an approximation of a distressed symbiote. "or was
it a one time deal?"
"My symbiote continued to be disturbed by physical contact with
Jack waited a beat. "Sweet, Carter will be thrilled."
Teal'c paused before levelly adding, "Perhaps Anise will come and
assist Major Carter in her tests."
Jack scowled. "Now that was just cruel."
His cell phone rang and, with a slight frown, he reached down to
get it from his pant's pockets. Very, very few people knew the
number and the vast majority of those people were currently on base
with him, SUPPOSEDLY staying out of trouble. "Hello?"
"We need to meet."
Jack pushed his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose with one
indolent finger as he lounged at the assigned outdoor café in
downtown Colorado Springs. The NID really had a thing for cafes.
Maybe next time he could suggest a nice bar- he usually needed a
drink after these ridiculous clandestine meetings.
Jack spotted the agent from a mile away, okay, actually, two blocks
but that wasn't bad considering the lunchtime traffic. Agent Malcom
Barrett was well dressed without being flashy, clean cut without
being either handsome or ugly enough to notice, and pretty much a
man who exuded confident blandness.
One of these days someone should really tell the morons that they
drew MORE attention to themselves by being nondescript.
Jack watched with a resigned sigh as Barrett the Bozo had a nice
chat with the head waitress before coming Jack's way. The man
smiled with false brightness as he oozed into the empty café chair
and nodded in his direction. "Colonel Jack O'Neill, pleasure to
Jack was not in the mood to play nice, not with a lackey. "Pleasure
will be all yours, I'm sure." It was probably petty that he took
satisfaction in the ensuing brittleness on Barrett's features, but
Jack had never claimed to be mature and well adjusted.
Petty suited him just fine.
"So, what is this meeting about?" Barrett stared at him, face
unrevealing, and Jack glared. "Oh come on, do we HAVE to do the
whole cloak and dagger shtick? I'm hungry and there's this great
burger joint down the street I wanted to hit before heading back to
base." Daniel had actually given him a lunch order: mushroom
cheeseburger with no lettuce and extra tomatoes- mayonnaise, no
Daniel was SO weird.
Barrett shifted, clearly uncomfortable by Jack's directness and
irreverent disregard for 'how this works' but finally seemed ready
to play when he leaned closer. "Certain information has come to my
attention in regard to a... leak of potentially dangerous
information. You were the recipient of said leak."
Jack glowered. "Fat lot of good it did me. If you guys get any more
cryptic you're going to have to attach decoders from your mouths to
your own brains." Barrett flushed and ducked his head, quite unhappy
by Colonel Jack O'Neill's bullshit tolerance. Or lack thereof. "Why
are you assholes so gung-ho about Xander?"
Agent Barrett seemed scandalized. "Colonel O'Neill," he snapped
He grinned lazily; he was starting to enjoy himself. "Butt-holes?"
Barrett slammed his fists down on the table, surprising them both.
So much for calm and collected, but then, Jack tended to have that
kind of reaction on people. He held one finger up to his lips as
the other gestured to the neighboring tables. "Shh... people are
Agent Malcolm Barrett started to growl in frustration but restrained
himself, barely. "Colonel O'Neill I am ordering you to cease and
desist any and all information gathering in regards to Alexander
Harris. He is off-limits!"
Ahh, now they were getting somewhere. "Why?"
Barrett's eyes bugged out. "Why?" he spluttered. "Why?
Because... because I said so!"
Jack lowered his eyelids to contented slits. His lips quirked ever
so slightly. "Why?"
"Colonel Jack O'Neill, do I have to remind you that I work for one
of the most powerful organizations in the world? We don't need to
explain our reasoning to you..."
"Wrong Sparky, you do, because I work for Earth's first line of
defense against the rest of the Universe. I alone am responsible
for saving this world more times than you probably care to think
about and if Xander Harris ends up being as instrumental to the SGC
as we think he will, then nothing and NO ONE will stop me from
digging. Is that PERFECTLY clear?"
Barrett's features were locked into a quiet, consuming visage of
anger. "Crystal," he responded tightly.
Jack opened one eye fully. "Is that all?"
The other man stood slowly, obviously working to regain some of his
equilibrium. "You have no idea what you're dealing with," he said
softly, firmly, and the words were a warning.
Jack closed his eye again. He looked like he was sleeping. "No,
no I don't, but I will soon."
Agent Barrett cursed fluently in Russian, Jack recognized some of
the words from Daniel's vast repertoire, and stomped off.
Jack waved away the waiter who came and hovered and waited for the
five agreed upon minutes until ex-Colonel Harry Maybourne sauntered
into view from the shadows of a nearby alleyway. Harry, slouched
and rumpled, was barely noticed by the growing lunch throng as he
slipped onto the patio and into Agent Barrett's abandoned seat.
"Howdy Jack, I hear the chicken Alfred is good here."
He grinned and opened his eyes. "I have a 9mm pointed at you," Jack
said pleasantly. "And I've had the Alfredo, its crap. Put both
hands where I can see them." Harry god damned Maybourne obeyed
cheerfully. The bastard looked good, or as good as he ever did,
significantly better than a treasonous convict should at any rate.
"Why did you set up this meeting and before you even begin, so help
me, if you start spouting cryptic the NID is going to be minus one
"Now Jack, is that anyway to be talking to someone who is only
trying to help an old friend out?"
"When I see an old friend I'll let you know."
Harry wagged a finger at him. Jack had to resist the urge to lean
across the table and break it. "Temper, temper. Speaking of temper,
you really shouldn't have provoked Barrett. That was like kicking
a nest of angry hornets."
"You knew Barrett?"
The other man shrugged. "Vaguely. He had the reputation for being
a good and uptight little soldier. Always did what he was told,
very meticulous. He never would have worked out in any of my more
colorful operations- too by the book."
"What a relief," Jack replied dryly.
Harry, the asshole, chuckled and leaned back in his chair to stretch,
not at all concerned that he was still being held at gunpoint.
Villains today had no respect... "I do enjoy our talks Jack."
"Glad one of us do."
The ex-Colonel smirked. "All right, that was more pleasantries
than even I could handle. What is the deal with you and the Harris
kid? I'm trying to help you out but if you don't pull your head
out of your ass you're going to miss a golden opportunity for
Jack waved the gun a bit under the table, just enough so that it
drew Maybourne's eyes. "You're getting cryptic Harry and you know
how I feel about that."
"Look Jack, I've already told you more than I should. I've given
you some big flashing hints and dropped some names. Even you're not
usually this dim. FIGURE IT OUT. I can't tell you what the hell
is going on, what WENT on, because I don't have that kind of
immunity. I'm not the President's favorite lapdog..."
"Oh come on, your team saves the world and he gives you a cookie."
Jack's flinty stare hardened. "Maybourne."
"Fine, but let me just say this, who from this world do you hate
more than me?"
Jack rubbed a hand across his chin and thought. "Is this a trick
Harry leaned forward again, an enigmatic smile lightening his
features. "Who on this planet do we both hate more than each
Colonel Jack O'Neill's eyes lit up like Christmas lights.
"Kinsey..." he breathed.
"Talk to the kid, Jack, figure it out, and you'll, we'll, get to
watch Kinsey crash and burn."
Jack slowly pocketed his gun as he stared at Mayboune
speculatively. "You know Harry, that might just make these
conversations with you worth it, almost."
Maybourne chuckled grimly. "Likewise Jack, likewise."
It was long past time Jack and Xander had a little chat.
"So, know anyone who goes by the name of Agent Riley Finn?"
Xander struggled to keep his features impassive and silently cursed
himself for never playing poker with Spike. Although, he really did
like kittens and Spike poker had always kinda creeped him out...
"Why," he forced himself to ask brightly as he found himself sitting a
cross from Colonel Jack O'Neill in his lovely and bare home away
from Sunnyhell's basement, "you tired of your name and looking for
a new one? I think you look like a Gerald if you want my honest
Xander's ramblings trailed off under O'Neill's oppressive gaze.
Oh goody, Mr. Authority was finally coming out to play. And he had
been afraid O'Neill was all good-natured smart-ass remarks and
fluffy protective moments. Silly him.
He was trying very hard not to freak out. He had been expecting some
similar form of interrogation the moment he had woken up, but as the
days passed he had started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, he would
finally, FINALLY luck out. That maybe his lovely semi-captors
wouldn't have been able to access his files. According to Wills
they were buried deeper than Giles's sense of fun.
It didn't help that it was O'Neill and not Murray or Major Carter
in here with him. Xander was starting to feel pretty comfortable
around the big guy, especially after yesterday's little boxing
match- split lip and bruises aside- though boxing was hardly his
strong suit. It had felt good to be fighting again. He had never
really realized how much he enjoyed teaching the girls until he had
And Major Carter was nice enough. At least she wasn't as brooding
and threatening as the main military honcho. Xander was glad it
wasn't Daniel Jackson though. That dude was smart in a Willow kind
of way and no one was better at picking up on his lies than Willow.
Of course, her being his best friend from kindergarten might have
had SOMETHING to do with that but, still...
"I want to know if you know Agent Riley Finn."
Xander hedged. And hemmed. And ever threw a little hawed in there
for good measure, just in case that worked. It didn't. Jack
O'Neill's steely stare never wavered from him.
"Define know?" Xander finally asked... err, squeaked.
The good Colonel shifted slightly closer to him. Xander knew
perfectly well that the older man was trying to intimidate him.
Unfortunately, it was working. "I want to know how you are connected
to Riley Finn."
Xander held out for another minute before deflating in his chair.
He looked at Jack sullenly. "What, is that a trick question or
something? If you know Riley then you have access to the
Initiative Files and this is all moot anyway..."
God damned paranoid government with its databases and files.
Jack's eyes gleamed as he smiled, pleasantly. Xander wondered if
now was a good time to be afraid. He also decided that he was going
to start calling Colonel O'Neill Jack. People seemed less scary
when you used their first names. Vampires always laughed at Buffy's
right before she staked them after all...
"The Initiative?" Jack asked, blandly, voice conversational.
Blinked once more.
And surged out of his seat, cursing the entire while as he retreated
from the ever so calm and rational Colonel. The calm and rational
Colonel O'Neill who was on his feet in an instant, and whom had
Xander pinned against a wall a second later, with one perfectly
calm and RATIONAL hand wrapped tightly around Xander's throat.
It would have been a much more threatening position if Xander
hadn't managed to grab his dinner fork, from err, lunch, on the
way to their little impromptu wrestling match.
Said fork was resting with explicit force against Jack O'Neill's
"So," Xander wheezed, "who wants to go first in this little shin dig?"
Jack grinned, baring his teeth. "After you, Mr. Harris."
"Oh no, Colonel, "whoops, "after..." Jack squeezed harder and
Xander faintly wondered if his eyes were bugging out as far as they
felt like they were. "Hey!" he protested weakly, "Fork, against
your neck. Can't a guy get some respect?"
"It's a fork."
Xander tried to breathe. "It's a very sharp fork." Jack tightened
his grip a little more. "Bad idea! Bad... black dots..."
Xander slid slowly to the floor as Jack O'Neill released him,
fork dangling from limp fingers. Until the Colonel kneeled in
front of him, that is. Xander sprung up and used his leverage to
topple the older man onto his back before following through and
flipping him onto his stomach, arms pinned back as one knee dug
into the small of Jack's back. "I don't like being threatened,"
Xander said tartly into the ensuing silence as he swallowed with
some amount of difficulty. What was with his neck and these people?
First the snake, then the psychotic Colonel...
"Xander, they're going to have security down here in under a minute."
Oh great, just great, and he had disarmed a Colonel. That was going
to bode well for his continuing survival.
"Yeah, I know," he groused. "Promise you won't hit me too hard?"
"What are you..." Xander dug his knee in a little harder and Jack
cursed. "Hey! That's my back..."
"Fine," Jack growled, "I won't hit you TOO hard."
Shouts and pounding feet filled the corridor. Xander wrinkled his
nose in disgust. "Fine!" And with that he let go and threw
himself down on the ground. Colonel O'Neill was up and on him like
the Flash right as security burst the door in, guns blazing, only to
find that their beloved Colonel had their troublesome guest quite
under control again.
Ferretti lowered his P-90 and reached down to pick up Xander's
weapon with a smirk. "A fork, Jack, really?"
"Shut-up, Ferretti," O'Neill snarled as he hauled Xander to his
feet. Xander glared at the Colonel mutinously. "Not as stupid as
you act, are you?" Jack asked with falsetto sweetness as he caught
the bindings tossed his way and began to make short work of Xander's
"Look who's talking, Fly Boy."
Jack shook his head as he stared at Xander Harris with a mixture of
exasperation and respect. Respect because a one-eyed carpenter
had gotten the best of a combat trained, Special Ops soldier AND
was smart enough to not get himself shot doing it, and exasperation
because, well, a one-eyed carpenter had gotten the best of HIM and
had been smart enough not to get shot doing it.
It would have saved Jack a hell of a lot of embarrassment.
Ferretti was waving the fork in the air and grinning like a madman,
the smug bastard.
Although, Jack really hadn't thought that the kid had had it in him.
Jack had seen him sparring with Teal'c and while Xander knew how to
move his body he hadn't been especially good, but give the kid a fork
and some motivation and he could really hold his own. Okay, okay,
kinda kick Jack's ass- but that was no small thing in and of itself.
He was old but not THAT old. Unfortunately, Ferretti, damn him,
knew that too.
Everytime Jack had almost decided he was figuring their guest out,
the kid went one up and surprised him. No wonder Maybourne had been
so damn smug. What in the HELL did everyone know but him?
"Where we going?" Xander asked, his voice transformed into something
lazy and relaxed. The kid did better mood shifts than Carter during
that time of the month...
"We," Jack snapped in answer, "are going to go have a little chat."
"I dunno, Jack, our last chat didn't work out so swell."
Swell? And Jack was the old one? Well, not old, more... aged.
Wait, Jack? He was Jack now? "Oh it was going fine until we threw
some action in. We're going to make sure this little talk goes nice
and easy and detailed."
Xander tensed beneath his hands but his voice was still unconcerned
when he asked, "You got chainsaws?"
Jack frowned, puzzled by the comment, and answered, "I don't think
His temporary prisoner relaxed slightly. "Oh, good cause chainsaws,
they make a mess, lots of blood and screaming. My lips are sealed
now, by the way."
Ferretti and Jack both stared at the younger man with dawning looks
of horror. The leader of SG-2 whispered the question Jack wasn't
quite ready to ask. "Jesus, is he serious?"
Jack turned the unresisting Xander around so that Jack could see
his blank face. He was reigning in his fury as tightly as he dared
but his voice was biting, despite his efforts to gentle it. What in
the HELL had the kid been involved in? "Xander have you seen... I
mean chainsaws... people?"
Xander Harris's bleak gaze made Jack's blood run cold.