(See chapter one for spoilers/disclaimer info. A big thank you to Jason Barnett for his honesty in helping me to organize some wayward plot bunnies! Author note at end of chapter)
The sounds of cheering, drums, and whistles could be heard in the far off distance. A cloudless sky was brightened by a half moon that was beginning its descent towards the Pike’s Peak Summit. There was only another hour or two before the streetlamps and starlight would have to fight with the shadows alone. Jack allowed the cool pine scented air to wash over him as he silently contemplated the day.
Not too long after Joyce said yes, the doctor had politely asked Jack and the girls to leave, so his patient could rest. Joyce convinced the girls to continue on with their plans for the evening. Reluctantly, Dawn and Cassie headed off to the football game and Jack went home. He called Carter to make sure her dad wasn’t stuck on the base waiting for her, and then arranged to talk with Jacob while the teenagers were out of the house. Carter, grudgingly, gave up her father for the evening.
Jacob sighed from his place on the porch steps of Jack’s house, “A general’s work is never ending. Look at me, you guys pulled me off my deathbed to send me back to work,” he chuckled.
Jack smirked and nodded, “Eh, you weren’t ready for retirement anyway. So, what did bring you to Earth, Jacob?” He asked, hoping to keep himself distracted, “I mean, it probably wasn’t just to come meet your future son-in-law, or the other thing you mentioned…at least I hope not.” Almost two years later and Jack still had trouble talking about what he’d been put through.
“I’m still having trouble adjusting to the idea that Sam’s an adult,” Jacob Carter laughed then sobered. “Well, first off was what I had started to tell you this afternoon, we got some information out of Osiris before we extracted the symbiot from Sarah Gardener.”
“Oh?” O’Neill perked up a bit. “And you’re going to share this intel with us?” The look on his face showed utter disbelief when Jacob nodded.
“It seems that when he was banished by Set, Isis wasn’t the only one banished with him.”
“No, no, no, you are SO not going to say what I think you are,” Jack warned.
“Uh, yeah, probably,” Jacob muttered. “There was another Goa’uld supposedly buried in the tomb with him.”
“So, we might have another pickled snake running around on Earth,” Jack groaned heavily. He threw up his hands in defeat, “I’ll set it up, so you can tell Danny-boy all about it tomorrow.”
“You don’t want the details now?” Jacob inquired; surprised that Jack would actually delegate responsibility.
Standing up, Jack began to pace, “Listen, Jacob, I just found out my fiancé might be pretty sick, and I doubt I would understand even half of what you said to me. So, unless you want me to stare blankly at you for a couple hours while you tell me things I’d just have you repeat to Daniel anyway, go for it.”
“It’s pretty bad with you’re girl then?” The Tok’ra host guessed, noticing the strain in Jack’s voice.
Deflated, Jack sunk back onto the porch stairs, his hands clasped in his lap. He shrugged, “They aren’t sure yet, but she had a tumor a while back that left her in a coma for about a month before it went and cleared up.”
“Tumors don’t just ‘clear up,’ Jack…”
“I know,” he snapped, “The doc said he wanted to wait for some test results and review Joyce’s records before he jumped to anything.”
“Ah,” Jacob nodded, “Translation: not good, but we don’t know how to tell you yet.”
Jacob let out a heavy breath, “Well, if it comes down to it…”
Cutting him off with a menacing glare Jack interrupted, “Don’t say it!”
O’Neill was back on his feet pacing, wagging his finger at the former General, making an unintelligible sound of protest, “Na! I don’t want to hear you even suggest it!” he warned.
Jacob waited for Jack to calm down a bit before saying quietly, “Consider at least giving her the option to live, Jack. I would have for my wife.”
“I’ll call Daniel tomorrow, and have him get a hold of you,” O’Neill fumed, fists clenched tightly, barely controlling his impulse to not shoot Jacob Carter. “Goodbye, Jacob,” He stormed into the house, slamming the door, leaving the Tok’ra sitting on the steps outside.
* * *
(From the Diary of Dawn Summers)
… The game was a total blast, even if I was worried about mom all night. Cassie and I went out afterwards to one of the parties. I don’t think Jack even noticed how late it was when we got home. He was in a really bad mood and cleaning up a broken glass. I’ve seen him being all grumpy before, but this was different, kinda scary. I asked him about it, he just said something about work, and yelled at Cassie and I to go to bed. I mean, he’s never yelled at us like that. I think he’s just really worried about mom. She lived the last time this happened, so she’s going to be okay this time too, I hope.
When I called and talked to Anya earlier, she said something about Willow casting a spell and Buffy being alive. A part of me wants to jump up and say ‘yah, Buffy’s back’ but it’s just too weird. Mom gets all better when Buffy’s gone, now she’s sick again that Buffy’s back. I didn’t know what to do and just kinda froze.
Don’t get me wrong, I miss Buffy being around, but things always happened because of her. She saved me, but I wouldn’t even have been there if it weren’t for the stupid monks making me her sister. Plus, I know mom might want to go back there if she knew, so I so can’t tell her about this. I like everything here, it’s okay here. No ubber evily deamons or anything. Plus she told Jack she’d marry him!
Cassie and I were talking at the party, we decided to do something as a surprise for mom and Jack. Cassie says she’s gonna call Jack’s boss General Hammond to help us with the official paperwork stuff. It’ll mean that we’ll be a real family if it works. Buffy can’t screw this up. I won’t let her…
(A/N: Ok, I’m going to be stepping back from this story for a little bit. There are a few reasons for this.
1. The wayward plot bunnies were multiplying and it’ll take me some time to get them straightened then written out, with some possible revision on previous chapters. – Once again thank you Jason for letting me bounce the ideas off of you and tearing them apart for me. Now I just need to put them back together.
2. I’m a bit out of sorts since I found out some friends of mine got called up from the reserves and will be leaving soon.
3. My hubby and I are getting ready to fly about 3000 miles to go to my sister-in-law’s wedding… if anyone can end the world before I have to deal with my in-law’s I would be forever in your debt LOL! Just kidding… mostly.
However, I hope that once this stuff all settles down I’ll have the entire story fully written out, revised, and be able to post it without making you all have to read a piece at a time. Thank you for reading, and I apologize for doing this to everyone. ~Kay)