I Don't SEE You
AN: *raspberry to this chapter* You don't have to like it because I
don't either. But I want to write everything that comes after,
even if this one is hardly my best work. *grumbles* So I'm posting.
Under duress but posting.
************* Trick-Or-Treat: Chapter Eighteen ****************
Sam swallowed back relieved tears as Janet groaned softly and opened
her eyes, blinking, obviously confused and muddled from the
painkillers. Her skin was pale and bruised from the attack- there
were vivid handprints on her bare arms- and her neck was swathed in
layers of thick gauze. But she was okay.
She'd be okay.
Sam smiled tightly and got the glass of water the nurses had left
by Janet's bedside. She titled the edge of the cup so that lukewarm
water wetted her friend's dry lips. Janet swallowed convulsively and
groaned as the pain obviously hit her.
"Don't try to talk right now, okay Janet? Sergeant Mailer attacked
and injured you. You're going to be fine though, good as new in a
couple of weeks, okay?"
Comprehension, and remembrance, was slow in coming but Sam could see
when understanding dawned in Dr. Frasier's eyes. "Ca... Ca..." she
started to whisper hoarsely, despite the pain, when Sam hushed her.
"Don't worry. Cassie is staying with General Hammond's
granddaughters. I'd take her in myself but I'm going to be on base
and I don't want her home alone that much. I was going to send
someone to pick her up and come visit you as soon as you woke up so
I'll go and arrange that right now."
Janet's eyes started to drift shut slowly, though Sam could see that
her stubborn friend was fighting it tooth and nail. "Go to sleep
Janet, go to sleep and get better." Dr. Janet Frasier's eyes closed
finally and she slept.
"Okay, Carter, hit me with all your lovely, detailed intelligence
before our meeting."
Sam looked like shit, though, unfortunately, she looked a good deal
better than Dr. Frasier. It shook Jack more than he'd care to admit,
to see Frasier laid up like that. He was used, to a degree, to
seeing his team and friends get the crap beaten out of them on a
daily basis. It was part of going through the ring and fighting the
good fight. But damn if it wasn't frightening to have their doctor
almost killed in the comfort of their very own base.
Jack's mind shifted to Alexander Harris and some unbelievable
security footage before easing away. He could think about THAT side
of Xander soon, at the meeting. Right now, right now he had to be
concentrating on the past, if only because that past seemed to be
directly responsible for the complicated man that was gradually being
revealed to them.
Xander had nailed Mailer with a clipboard, wham, right through the
heart. A clipboard! Focus Jack...
Sam caught his attention again by dropping a pile of folders into
his lap. She checked her watch and sighed before running a hand
through uncombed hair. Jack hadn't been kidding about her looking
like shit, though he probably didn't look like a hundred dollar suit
himself. Aww, hell, not like he had anyone to impress.
"We have time to go over these. I found some... interesting things."
She tapped the first folder in the stack and he obediently flipped it
open. "This is Dr. Walsh. She was a civilian consultant for the
Army. Her specialty was psychology and biology. She was
Jack frowned. "Sam Carter and Daniel Jackson kind of brilliant, or
just the run-of-the-mill genius?"
Sam gave him a tired grin. "It doesn't get quite that detailed..."
"Was?" he asked, interrupting her as the rest of her comments hit
him. Of course, 'was'...
"Yes, sir." His 2IC pointed to a date at the bottom of the summary
page. "She died six years ago."
He sighed. "Let me guess, right about the time the Initiative was
disbanded?" Right about the time Xander got involved in some really
serious, deep shit? Carter nodded and Jack set that folder aside.
"All right, moving on then. Were there any people who were just
civilians? Like Xander?" Where there was one, maybe there were
"Yes, sir, and that's where it gets interesting. The rest of the
files, if you take out the military personnel and civilian
consultants like Dr. Walsh," she reached over and took away the next
five or so folders, most of which were titled with other impressive
sounding titles, "you're left with five civilians who were connected
to the Initiative: Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Daniel Osbourne,
Alexander Harris, and Rupert Giles."
She waited to go on until he opened the first file, Buffy Summers.
"All of them, except for Rupert Giles, were students at Sunnydale
High. Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, and Xander were all the same
age. Daniel Osbourne was a year older and Rupert Giles was the
librarian at Sunnydale High for three years."
"So are we talking the three-musketeers and friends?" Friends who
repelled symbiotes just as well as Xander did, perhaps?
Carter shrugged. "We can't know for sure, sir, but the evidence
definitely points that they all knew each other at least peripherally
even before the Initiative. Now Ms. Summers has the most colorful
Jack scanned the highlights as a steel gray brow rose slowly.
"Colorful might be a bit of an understatement... She has a hell of
a lot of suspected crimes on here that she never had to go to court
for." Murder? At seventeen? "Although she certainly ended up in
the hospital less often than Xander."
Carter's lips twisted into a wry smile. "She'd be the only one. Ms.
Rosenberg spent more time in the hospital than Xander did during high
Jack obliged by turning to that folder. He whistled. "Bright little
bulb, isn't she? I haven't seen this many A's since I watched Sesame
He looked up. "Aww, come on Carter, you know, when they have the
letter of the day? 'A is for Apple' and crap."
The wry smile became a grin. "Let me guess, sir, your favorite was
the Cookie Monster?"
Jack chuckled. "Damn straight. You can't go wrong with chocolate
chip. Okay, tell me about Mr. Osbourne."
"Mr. Osbourne has one of the least colorful records. He spent his
share of time in the hospital, and if his test scores are any
indication, was equally as bright as Ms. Rosenberg. His grades
Ah, a slacker. "I approve."
Carter rolled her eyes fondly before continuing. "Mr. Rupert Giles
was originally from England and became an American citizen two years
ago. Before Sunnydale High he worked as a curator and archivist in
several prominent European museums."
Curioser and curioser... "Before coming to a little Californian town
to be a librarian?" Jack met his 2IC's understanding gaze. "Seems a
little fishy, doesn't it?" If by fishy, you meant Jaws.
"Oh wait, it gets better. All of these people, save Mr. Osbourne,
are now residents of Cleveland, Ohio. We know that Xander helps to
run a Home for emancipated girls, but what we didn't know was that
Mr. Giles is the main patron of that establishment. His name is on
the deed for the property, not Xander's. Ms. Rosenberg also runs a
school, a private institution with remarkably little information
concerning it, except for the fact that Mr. Giles is also the main
financial backer for that institution."
"Popular guy," Jack murmured.
"Considering the fact that he also apparently shares a home with
Ms. Summers, I'd concur."
He made a face. "Creepy guy."
"What about Mr. Osbourne?"
She sighed in frustration and Jack tried not to be TOO amused. Sam
was really funny when something stumped her and this whole Initiative
mess was stumping her more than even the most complicated alien
gizmos they had brought back over the years. Leave it to the U.S.
government to be that complex.
"Mr. Osbourne seems to be something of a gypsy. He's never owned
property and rarely leases so it's more difficult to pinpoint his
current location. He appears on the map in dozens of places,
sometimes in different countries, sometimes not. There's definitely
no set pattern."
"So it'd probably be safe to assume that he isn't as closely connected
as the others are."
Carter shrugged. "It seems like a sound theory based on the
Cool, he'd developed a theory. A sound one even. "All righty then,
that leaves us..."
He scowled at his 2IC. "I don't see you coming up with any
theories, sound or otherwise, that lead to a course of action."
She smiled primly at him. "I believe on waiting until we collect
all the available evidence before forming any plans of action. I
mean, Xander didn't just push a clipboard through Mailer's heart
because it was instinct. He knew what he was doing, which means he
knew what was wrong with Mailer."
Jack snorted. "We all know what was wrong with Mailer- he was DEAD,
even before he went all poof." Very zap gun, minus the zap gun.
Carter stared pointedly at him and he growled. "Fine, we need to
play twenty questions with the kid, and if that doesn't work maybe we
need to think about playing twenty questions with the kid's friends!"
"Does the General need to give you the secrecy lecture again, sir?"
He grinned toothily. "Do I need to give you the respect lecture
"Do I need to give you both the timeliness lecture because you're
ten minutes late for our meeting with Hammond."
They both jumped and looked at Daniel who stood leaning against the
doorway, eyebrows raised in mocking question. Carter flushed as
Jack quipped, "Oh yeah, Daniel giving US lectures about being late.
Talk about the end of the world."
"Well," snapped his favorite archaeologist, "if you two would hurry
up maybe we could forestall the lecture and thus, the end of the
Jack stood and winced as his knees protested before handing the
folders to Carter. "Be the easiest world save ever."
"Shut up, Jack." They followed Daniel down the hallway, Carter
chuckling, and Jack grinning like a loon. He LOVED baiting Daniel.
Daniel frowned and chewed absently on his lower lip as they watched
the security footage from the attack in the infirmary. Watched as
Xander Harris burst into the room and scan it with an evaluating
precision that even Jack had to approve of before snapping the
clipboard in half, spinning Mailer around, and plunging it into the
Sergeant's heart as he caught Janet in an explosion of what looked
His teammate's voices raised, arguing over possible explanations or
courses of action. General Hammond's voice joined in occasionally,
stern and clearly unhappy. Having one of your men show up dead but
still very much animated before trying to kill the base's favorite
doctor would probably be fairly stressful, even for the Commander of
"He saved her, sir! I agree that there's a lot more going on than we
know but damnit, the Doc would be dead without the kid and you know
"I concur, General Hammond. We are most fortunate that Xander
Harris took action when he did."
Daniel cocked his head to the side as the footage looped again.
Intent blue eyes narrowed as his lips pursed. He watched more
closely, his attention snagged by one nearly inconsequential
"I'm not arguing with that people but you all have admitted that
you have no idea what we're dealing with. That makes Mr. Harris a
potential threat, no matter how you look at it."
Daniel was vaguely aware of Jack rising angrily to shout at the
General. "What about the fact that we'd have TWO members of the
SGC to bury without the help of our potential threat? Xander didn't
HAVE to do ANYTHING and calling in the NID is a mistake!"
"Colonel, I am aware of your aversion to the NID concerning their
tactics. I even share some of your concerns but the fact remains
Daniel stood himself, ignoring the looks of surprise his quiet
movement garnered, before drifting over to the screen where the
security footage looped again.
"Daniel?" Sam asked softly.
He studied it for several more moments just to be sure before cutting
quietly into the debate. "Guys, has anyone noticed that Sergeant
Mailer doesn't have a reflection in the glass?" The footage showed
Xander diving for Mailer as the Marine slowly killed Janet, but in
the reflection on the glass wall by Mailer's hospital bed there were
only two figures, and neither of them were the soldier in question.
"Curioser and curioser..." Jack whispered in the ensuing silence.