AN: A new chapter for all those patiently or not so patiently waiting.
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************** Trick-Or-Treat: Chapter Four *****************
"Well?" Jack demanded as he straddled a chair in the infirmary deep
within Cheyenne Mountain. Carter was perched on an empty bed while
Teal'c stood at attention and Daniel leaned loosely against a filing
cabinet. Why the hell was there a filing cabinet in patient quarters
anyway? Did Frasier run out of office space or something?
Dr. Janet Frasier snorted at his imperious tone and clipped her pen
to Alexander Lavelle Harris's chart smartly. "Well Colonel, aside
from some minor abrasions on the back of his throat and some assorted
bruises from his fall on the cement, there's nothing physically wrong
with him. Exhaustion, and Major Carter's administered sedatives, are
the only things keeping him out. He should wake up shortly.
"He's also wholly human. Earth human as well. No abnormalities as
far as I could ascertain, either genetically or from extraneous
"Which would be?" Jack drawled pointedly.
Frasier shrugged. "The human body often absorbs nutrients and
minerals through the consumptions of food or liquids. These
nutrients and minerals usually leave some traces in the bloodstream.
Most of the humans we've encountered from other worlds who are
genetically identical to contain these traces when their worlds hold
different elements than ours. Mr. Harris appears to be exactly he
looks like- a perfectly normal Earthen human."
"With one eye," Jack muttered.
Janet's full mouth tightened in response. "Yes... that injury is
not new. Its probably several years old at least. There's also..."
she hesitated briefly before finishing, "there's other scars too."
"What kind of scars?" Jack's voice was deadly in its controlled
calm, and too loud for the overbearing silence of the room.
Frasier looked uncomfortable. "Its, its hard to say for sure. A
lot of them have old scar tissue but some are new too. Most look
like knife cuts of some sort, a few are definitely burns, but some-
I couldn't even venture a guess."
"I want to see."
She hesitated again, even before the face of his implacable will,
before nodded briefly and leading SG-1 over a room. Jack kicked the
filing cabinet on his way out, just for good measure. His team
entered the new room and moved towards the last hospital bed in it.
They thronged it and watched, grim-faced, as the good doctor pulled
open the privacy curtain surrounding the bed before checking her
chart for reference.
Jack stared at Xander as Janet reviewed her notes, noticed how dark
the boy, the young man, looked against the stark hospital sheets,
especially dressed in the too damned familiar hospital gown. He
hated those things. Draft as hell.
Xander's eye-patch seemed even more out of place, more somber, more
frightening, without the pirate costume. What could it be like to
be twenty-five and have already suffered such a major injury? Men
Xander's age were supposed to be fearless and absolutely certain of
their own immortality. Something told Jack that Xander was very
aware of his mortality, just as something told Jack that he didn't
really want to see what else the young man before him had gone
Knew that he couldn't NOT see.
So he watched as Janet showed SG-1 scar after scar with gentle hands
that moved and briefly flashed scarred skin for them all to see, an
acknowledgement of Xander Harris's past suffering. Some did look
like knife wounds, some burns, scars very similar to those Jack
himself bore from years spent in service to his country. Other
scars, other scars were made from things Jack didn't even want to
begin to contemplate.
The scars more than anything made him feel guilty for allowing this
boy to be virtually kidnapped and drugged away just because Mr.
Harris had the gall to escape from humanity's greatest enemy. The
scars made Jack fervently glad that his team had taken Xander away
from whatever kind of life resulted in such pain because many of the
damned scars WERE new, pink and jagged against tanned skin.
Did those fiercely protective girls share more than a costume with
their counselor? Did they sport similar scars as well? Even that
remote suspicion was absolutely chilling.
"That's... that's all of them," Janet concluded lamely.
Daniel, who was pale and tight-lipped, spoke for them all when he
said stiffly, "Thank you, Janet, that was quite... enough."
Carter swallowed reflexively and absently checked her watch. Jack
watched as her mouth tightened. "Sir, don't we have a briefing with
Jack glanced at his own watch and shrugged, not in the mood the care
just then. "Yeah, about five minutes ago." He paused, made the
mental effort to rouse himself, and continued with forced enthusiasm,
"Come on kids- let's go face the very grumpy music. Doc, take good
care of our patient."
Frasier managed a small smile. "I'll treat him like one of you."
"Oh good, a familiar situation for you then."
Janet snorted inelegantly as SG-1 filed out but the fond smile never
wavered from his face.
Xander woke up in a hospital. He didn't even have to open his eyes
to recognize the smell of quality antiseptic, instead of the cheap
stuff Andrew always bought in bulk. And of course there was the
feel of his hospital gown. He ALWAYS knew when he was in one of
those- they scratched, itched, and covered practically NOTHING.
A blushing Dawn still giggled every time she swung by and told new
Scoobies THAT particular Xander related hospital story.
Though theoretically it was good for the girls to know that there
could be humor, even with all the pain and destiny. Or at least
that was the excuse Dawn always gave for telling it.
Stupid non-existent back ties. And the damned gowns were drafty as
hell to boot. Not that Xander had ever been to Hell, unlike Buffy
and some of the girls, but well, he had heard enough 'when I was
fighting Ubervamps in the Hellmouth' stories to get the picture.
Demons, unspeakable evil, bad ventilation- check.
Now the question du jour was, which hospital was he in? Santa Ruiz
was Xander's personal favorite. The doctors were clueless about the
whole Mouth of Hell in their backyard, the nurses were hot and didn't
ask difficult questions, and Xander's insurance covered him in full.
Although Saint Paul's had blue jello. With whipped cream. Yummy!
Nothing healed a life-threatening wound better than blue jello.
Unfortunately, before he could open his eyes, he remembered the
bizarre series of events that were currently responsible for his
current convalescence. Remembered very clearly the bizarre snake,
Willow's splendidly thorough protection spell and its subsequent
backfiring, a WHOLE lot of pain, and, oh yeah- the military.
Scratch the blue jello. Xander was going to be lucky to walk out of
wherever the hell he was undissected.
"Welcome back, SG-1."
"Thank you, General Hammond."
"Colonel O'Neill," the General warned through a slight grin as Jack
threw himself in his usually briefing room chair as the rest of his
team followed suit. The General's smile faded as the meeting turned
to address more serious matters. "I've read your preliminary
reports. While Katar's death is unfortunate..."
"If only because taking him apart would have kept the NID entertained
for months," Daniel quipped.
"As I was saying, Dr. Jackson," the archaeologist flushed at the
pointed rebuke, "while I would have preferred for Katar to be brought
back alive, the most important thing is that we don not have a rogue
Goa'uld out terrorizing the general population. Which brings us
neatly to our young patient, Mr. Harris, am I correct?"
"Alexander Lavelle Harris," Teal'c stated gravely.
Jack slouched deeper in his chair. "He goes by Xander."
Hammond ignored them both, predictably enough, and turned to Carter.
"Major Carter, have you complete the background check I requested?"
Sam nodded and rifled though a thickening file folder she had
snatched from her office on the way to the briefing before she
extracted a suspiciously slim report and several accompanying copies.
She passed them around the table and began to narrate a short
summary- starting with Xander's childhood- as Jack scanned the
The terrifying ordinary information.
On the surface Xander could be the poster child for middle-class
America, right down to his mediocre grades. Though, not that Jack
LIKED to read Carter's thoroughly detailed and boring reports, the
information itself, despite his ordinariness, seemed rather sparse.
The thickest part of the report consisted of medical records.
Some were dated from when Xander had been a child, all the usually
maladies liked a broken arm when he was six, a sprained ankle when
he was ten. The visits to the emergency room got more and more
frequent beginning in high school, and the injuries more bizarre.
Half the medical records didn't even bother to list the cause of
injury. Some didn't even describe the exact nature of the wound.
What the hell kind of place has Xander grown up in?
Jack's head jerked up at Daniel's musing words. "What's up, Danny
Carter turned to look at her commanding officer, brown crinkled in
thoughtful concentration. "Sunnydale, why do I know that name? Its
familiar..." Sam frowned. "Its familiar but why would... sir, sirs,
Jack locked his hands together and rested them on the edge of the
briefing room table as his twiddled his thumbs. "Care to be a little
more descriptive, Carter?"
She jumped up excitedly and began to pace the briefing room.
"Sunnydale was that town that disappeared what, four years ago?
Apparently the entire city rested over a previously undiscovered and
inactive fault line. There was this massive earthquake and the city
literally disappeared and became a crater."
"How could I have not heard about this?" Daniel demanded, looking
both affronted and intrigued by his lack of knowledge.
"Well considering you were living it up on Abydos at the time," Jack
drawled, amused despite himself at Daniel's ignorance.
"Exactly!" Carter continued, animatedly, "It also explains why none
of us really recognized the name; we were all just gearing up for
SG-1's first mission and Teal'c was still uhh..." she faltered
"I was still in the service of Apophis," Teal'c concluded smoothly.
"This is all very interesting," Hammond interjected brusquely, "but
none of this explains why Mr. Harris is apparently immune a Goa'uld's
attempt to secure him as host. I want answers people! Now, what's
the medical status on our patient?"
There was a knock at the conference room door and a pause before
Doctor Frasier poked her head in. "I just thought you all would
like to know that Mr. Harris is awake."
Jack surged to his feet, momentarily surprising himself by a rush of
anticipation. He hadn't had so much non-apocalyptic related
excitement in years. About four years to be exact...
He made a mocking little bow towards his commander, who stared at
him with familiar bemused blandness. "With your permission, General,
we're off to get you some answers."
"By all means Colonel O'Neill," Hammond replied expansively, amused,
"by all means."