All copyrighted material used without permission.WARNING:
This story mentions rape. This chapter mentions it in passing [“this means she was raped”]. Is the story about rape? No.
A typical M.O. for me is: something bad happens early on and the rest of the fic is about making nice and being comforted and feeling better. Other bad things may happen but they won’t be the same degree of bad as the first thing. And yes, I realize that I tend to write darker fics. Must have the dark to excuse the mush!... really, I will get to the mush. I keep trying, anyway.
Oh, one more warning: I wrote this for people who know both shows [buffy and stargate] and the characters in both.
Wha? Spoilers? Oops. Uhm, generic [read: pre-ascension] sg:1 and... buffy through season 5 but with, like, an alternate next year or two.
Jack sighed as he sank into one of the recliners in his living room.
No matter how often, or badly, he was teased about watching sweaty men beat each other up for fun, Jack knew he was as close to heaven as he was ever gonna get.
Life was good.Uh-oh
, Jack thought. I didn’t just–
“Hey Jack,” Daniel yelled, interrupting his CO’s superstitious thoughts, “phone’s ringing.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “Ya sure about that, Danny?” he asked as he kicked the extendable footrest back into the base of his recliner. So much for resting up the knees,
Jack thought. He put down his beer and asked, “Gonna toss it here?”
Daniel blinked as his mind once again took all input literally. “Toss..?” he started to ask.
Carter rolled her eyes. “Men,” she muttered, as she picked the cordless phone up off its base. “It picked up, sir,” she added and tossed the headset to Jack.
“Couldn’t say ‘hello,’ could you, Carter?”Jack replied in that dry, sarcastic tone of his. Turning back to the phone in his hands, Jack raised it to his head and said, “Yo.”
There was some static on the other end. Just as Jack was starting to say a rather impatient “Hell-o?” and hang up a timid voice broke through the static.
Jack’s team, who hadn’t been paying much attention to him, all noticed as he snapped to attention and strode into the kitchen. Teal’c raised an eyebrow in question.
“Nah,” Carter said. “He’ll tell us when he’s done.”
Daniel and Teal’c looked at her, then looked at each other, and sprang up from their seats at the same time.
“Oh, real mature, Daniel,” Carter sneered. “Teach Teal’c how to be an obnoxious Earth teenager, why don’t you.”
Teal’c again raised an eyebrow before stating, “I believe the phrase is ‘concerned friend,’ Major Carter.”
Eyes narrowed in thought Carter watched her two friends spying on Jack. “When you put it that way...” she said, joining them.
Jack, of course, knew exactly where his friends were. If the girl on the phone hadn’t turned on all his latent fathering instincts he would rip into them for trying to spy on him. However, Jack was worried.
“Say that again,” he ordered.
“It’s Dawn Summers, Uncle Jack. I’m at the Colorado Springs Greyhound station. You’re the only person in this state that I know. Can you pick me up?”
Jack nodded and jotted something down on a pad of paper. “Are you going to tell me why you’re here? Or what’s going on?” he asked.
“Can you pick me up first, Uncle Jack?” hedged Dawn. “I don’t... I don’t remember taking a bus to Colorado Springs. I don’t remember being in a bus station. A few minutes ago an employee woke me up and said I couldn’t loiter here any longer. Can you pick me up?”
“Calm down,” Jack instructed. “You sound panicky. Why don’t you go to the bathroom, wash your face, freshen up. I’ll be there in about thirty minutes, okay Dawnie?”
On the other end Dawn took a deep breath. “Okay Uncle Jack. But can you hurry? I feel a little sick. I want to leave....” she responded, the pitch of her voice rising as she continued to talk.
Jack grabbed his keys and hat and put on his sunglasses as he spoke. “Okay, Dawnie, I need you to calm down. I’m leaving the house the second we hang up, okay? Everything’s gonna be alright. You gonna be okay til I get there?”
He heard Dawn gulp a couple of times. Then she said, “Yeah, I’m fine Uncle Jack. But thank you. Thank you for coming for me.”
“Anytime, Dawn. Anytime. I’m hanging up now. See you soon.” Jack pushed the button turning the phone off and turned to the doorway his friends were watching him from.
“Someone needs a ride from the Greyhound station,” he said by way of explanation. “You guys coming?”
Dawn hung the receiver back on the payphone and closed her eyes.Uncle Jack said to freshen up. Can’t hurt,
she thought. Dawn opened her eyes and made her way to the washroom. She paid special care to ignoring the mirrors. Potty first, then see what’s up.
When she turned around to flush Dawn noticed blood in the toilet. I have my period?
she thought. Explains why I kinda hurt. Good thing I’m not a heavy bleeder–no pads.
Dawn was jerked from her thoughts by the sight that met her in the mirror. A cut above her right eye was glistening with still-wet blood and had a trail of dry blood all down the side of her face and neck where it soaked into her shirt. The cut was swollen and bruised but it was not the only bruise on her face. Her right cheek, right between her eye and her nose, was a dark purple color. So was the left side of her jaw, up by her ear.
Now that she knew she was hurt, Dawn noticed that she could see her bruised cheek through her right eye. She also noticed that it hurt to open her mouth very far. Curious as to why the cut above her eye didn’t hurt, Dawn poked it and hissed. Now it hurt. A lot. And it was bleeding again–still?–much to her dismay. Gotta wash the blood away,
she thought. It was a lesson her sister taught her before Dawn was even allowed to patrol: smell as little like a snack as possible at all times.Oh, gross! The soap here’s the powdery kind you need to get wet... I don’t even like washing my hands with this!
Dawn headed for a paper towel dispenser as she grumbled to herself about how the station could at least have the decency to give her good soap. She was not particularly surprised to learn the bathroom was out of towels. Figures. This is so one of those days
Fifteen minutes later Dawn emerged from the bathroom a bit damp but much less bloody looking. Bet I still smell like a vamp’s happy meal though,
she thought. Dawn took stock of the main room of the station. There was a counter with employees across from her and the door to the washroom. One exit was to her left and, upon slight investigation, Dawn found that there was also a street exit behind and to the left of her previous location. The way the seats were set up left no really good vantage points for keeping an eye on all three points of interest so, feeling as if she was going to fall asleep on her feet, Dawn swayed and staggered her way to a nearby seat and collapsed into it. She fell asleep before she could even wonder how long it would be until Uncle Jack came, or if he would recognize her after all these years.
Twenty minutes after hanging up with Dawn, Jack pulled into the parking lot across the street from the Greyhound station. He turned his car off and unbuckled his seatbelt to turn around and glare at his friends.
“You didn’t need to come,” he said. “I’m just getting Dawn and taking her back to my place.”
“Dawn?” Daniel asked. “Is she a lady friend?”
Carter smacked him in the shoulder. “Who talks like that?” Then she looked at Jack and took in the pained look on his face. “Is she a lady friend, sir?” she asked.
Jack opened his mouth to respond when Teal’c broke in with, “You have been acting as if this is most urgent, O’Neill. Should we not leave the vehicle and get your lady friend?”
“For a man who does not
blush you’re turning awful red, Jack,” Daniel put in. “So what, this an old fling?”
Choosing for once to be the mature one, Jack got out of the vehicle and jogged off towards the Greyhound station. Dawn had seemed really upset. Or at least confused. Even though it had been almost a decade since Jack last heard from her his parenting instincts were in overdrive.
Back in the parking lot Carter turned to Daniel with a concerned look on her face. “Maybe something’s wrong?” she guessed.
“Well duh,” the linguist replied. “Jack never lets anyone interrupt our pre-mission gatherings. Forced relaxation and all that. This Dawn must be someone important.”
Teal’c added, “O’Neill did not brief us on the trip and that is most unlike him. Perhaps we should make sure all is well.”
Carter and Daniel looked at Teal’c and then at one another and got out of the car at the same time. The three of them jogged over to the station and opened the door... and almost walked right into Jack.
“Sir,” Carter asked, “why are you just standing here?”
Utterly ignoring both Carter’s question and the fact that his team had followed him, Jack nodded to himself. He then walked briskly to the corner of the waiting area where a child was sleeping on a chair. Jack squatted down [against protest from his knees, which hated bending more than ninety degrees] and rubbed the child’s arm.
“Dawn?” he asked in a quiet voice. “Uncle Jack’s here, sweetie. Wake up.”
Dawn just kind of moaned and turned her head, making Jack laugh a little. He touched her forehead she’s kinda cool...
and ran his fingers through her long brown hair. “Dawn!” he gasped at seeing her face. “What happened, Dawnie?” Now more than just a little concerned for her, Jack continued to run his fingers through Dawn’s hair. The hair by her face had dried toilet paper in it, and some of the toilet paper was a washed-out red color. She mush have used toilet paper to wash blood off her face
. Jack put one hand on each side of Dawn’s face. “Dawnie, if you don’t wake up right now I’m taking you to the emergency room.” Aha! That did it,
Jack thought with only a small measure of happiness.
Dawn opened her eyes and said, “I’m awake, Uncle Jack. Just enjoying you touching me.” Then Dawn frowned. Before Jack could ask her what was wrong she said, “Do I sound slurrish to you?”
Jack nodded. “You sound like a little girl who just woke up.”
“Uncle Jack, I’m sixteen. Still a girl. Not little.”
Jack let himself laugh at the irritated tone Dawn used. She sounded like someone who felt unnecessarily babied. “C’mon, we need to get you to my house. You don’t look very good.”
Dawn sighed. “I think I hit my head really hard, Uncle Jack. I cannot remember what day it is or what I was doing before I woke up here.” Dawn blinked and then asked, “Can you help me stand up? I feel kinda shaky.”
With minimal help from Jack Dawn got herself standing but she swayed a bit and held fast to Jack’s arm. Maybe I should take her to the hospital anyway,
Jack thought. Let Carter look at her, see what she says.
“You okay there?” he asked. Dawn nodded so Jack asked if she had anything with her, any bags or clothes or anything.
“No,” was all she said, with a shake of her head for emphasis. Although Jack noticed how the movement made Dawn put her hand to her head even as she got a shade or two paler he said nothing.
They started walking–slowly–towards Jack’s friends. Just before they were in ear shot, Carter said, “I don’t think that’s a kid. I think she’s a teenager.”
Daniel nodded and added, “What the hell is going on? She looks a bit beat up.”
Teal’c was about to add a comment of his own–a curious “indeed”–when the girl in question spoke.
“My name’s Dawn and I’m sixteen. Who are you?” Dawn asked, staring at Teal’c. He’s not human
, she thought. Oh, this is so not of the good
“This is my team,”Jack said from next to her. “Let’s keep moving, shall we? Carter’s the blond, Daniel’s the geek, and the big guy is Murray.”
“Murray. Yeah,” Dawn replied, making it obvious she knew something was wrong with him. “Not from around here, are ya?”
To the surprise of his team, Teal’c replied, “My name is Teal’c.”
Dawn nodded and offered him the hand not hanging onto Jack for balance. “I’m Dawn Summers.” Dawn blinked. For some reason she felt compelled to tell Murray...er, Teal’c, that she was the Key and not human. Jack didn’t know; she wasn’t about to change that! Why the feeling?
Teal’c grabbed the offered hand and raised an eyebrow–while Dawn let out a little shriek–at the energy he felt where their hands touched. “You are not from around here either, Dawn Summers,” he rumbled at her.
Jack broke the look–silent conversation, really–with Carter and Daniel to say, “You’re right, T. She’s from California.”
“Sunnydale,” Dawn added in a soft voice. She looked at Jack. “Uncle Jack? I need to sit down,” and as she was saying it her knees buckled. By this time they were right outside Jack’s car anyway. Jack scooped her up much like he had when she was only six and placed her in the passenger seat, buckled her in, and closed the door.
“Explain what that was all about,” Jack growled at Teal’c.
Trying to calm the irate older man, Daniel offered, “It’s just his name, Jack. And if Dawn’s your niece anyway,–“
Jack cut him off. “Do you understand what ‘top secret’ means?!” he hollered at both his friends. Jack visibly shook himself and looked at Carter.
“Sam,” he asked, making her start, “I want you to look Dawn over when we get back to my place. She has a head wound and missing memory–including how she got here–but seemed frightened at the idea of going to the emergency room.”
“Are you sure that’s in her best interest, sir?” Carter asked.
“No, I’m not.” Jack sighed and it seemed to add ten years to his age.
Carter, Daniel and Teal’c exchanged quick glances. This was not how their commander acted when someone was hurt.
“Let me look her over real quick here, sir,” Carter suggested. “If we need to go to the hospital we won’t waste time getting to your house that way, okay?”
Jack didn’t answer. He opened the car door again and unbuckled Dawn’s belt. He put a finger under Dawn’s chin and lifted her face to meet his own. “Dawnie,” he started, “Major Carter, Samantha, is going to take a look at you. To see if you need to go to the hospital. Now–“ he was cut off as a clearly exhausted Dawn started to protest. “Now, I know you don’t want to but you’re obviously hurt worse than you remember. Tell me the truth, Dawnie.” Jack looked the teenager directly in the eye and asked, “Do you remember how any
of these head injuries happened?”
Dawn shook her head and sniffled. “I’m scared, Uncle Jack,” she whispered. “I–“
“Dawnie?” Jack asked in concern. She had stopped talking mid-thought and, although Jack didn’t really know how she normally looked, her color wasn’t very good.
“You–you–but–“ Dawn stuttered. He lied?! Oh goddess,
she thought, how much danger did I just...
“You retired! I remember!” she finally spit out.
Realization dawned on Jack’s face. “I did retire, Dawnie, I did. But I went back. See Danny here? The geek? Something bad happened. To him. He was... it’s a secret. But his wife was kidnaped. I was called in to bring him back and to look for her. Dawnie,” Jack paused and reached for the girl. She looked like she wanted to believe he was safe but never could, not anymore. “Dawnie, I swear. I swear... by Ch-Charlie’s catcher’s mitt,” Dawn’s eyes widened. She remembered Charlie and knew exactly how serious this meant Jack was being. She couldn’t help it; Dawn loved Jack the way she thought most little girls loved their daddies, and the way she loved Giles. She wanted so badly for Jack to be telling the truth and for him to be okay and safe and a good guy. Lower lip firmly between her teeth, Dawn nodded at Jack to continue.
“Me and my team,” Dawn’s heart fluttered when Jack didn’t look over at his team as he said this, “are not now, and have never been, part of the Initiative. We would never do that. Never, Dawnie.”
Dawn started crying but she had one question left. “And Teal’c? He’s a de–“
“He’s not an HST, Dawnie, I promise.” Jack hadn’t seen Dawn in almost a decade [maybe less if she was at Charlie’s funeral...] so he was taken by surprise by the feelings of hurt and grief he felt. The look on her face when she thought he was part of that failed operation in her town... it tore at Jack’s heart. Sure, part of it was because he fancied himself and the entire SGC to be the good guys. The biggest part, though, was fearing that he lost her trust. Her faith in him. Dawn was so obviously alone and hurt and confused but just like old times she called him for help. Jack couldn’t bear to let her down.
“Not a... er, HST?”
“No. And I swear we can talk about this later. I’m so sorry I scared you...” Jack trailed off.
Dawn shook her head. “I’m ashamed of myself for doubting you. It’s just, you know, my trust in the military is non-existent after what they did to my sister, and my town.”
Jack nodded and kissed the top of her head. “We’ll talk more in a few hours, ‘kay? In the mean time, stand up and let Carter get a look at you, okay?” Jack finally broke eye-contact with Dawn and waved Carter over. “Should I give you some privacy?” he asked.
Carter smiled and said, “That sounds like a good idea, sir,” but at the same time Dawn lunged at him and begged, “Don’t leave me alone with her!”
Jack and Carter looked at each other over Dawn’s head and nodded.
“I won’t go anywhere,” Jack promised.
Carter didn’t do much of an exam. She checked Dawn’s pulse, felt her skin temperature, checked to see if she was still bleeding or if she had a concussion. Carter looked up and met Jack’s eyes. “I really think she should see a doctor within a day or two but you know how to take care of bumps, bruises and concussions, sir. Dawn should be fine in your care. She really needs to lay down though. And you,” Carter turned her attentions back to Dawn, “...Dawn? Is something wrong?”
The younger woman had both arms wrapped tightly around her lower abdomen and was making a face as if she was in a great deal of pain.
When Dawn didn’t respond, Carter put a hand on her shoulder. “Did you forget to tell us something? Something that hurts?” she asked.
Dawn slowly raised her head to look at the Major. “Just cramps,” she said. “I’ve never had cramps so bad.”
Jack stepped in and gently took both of Dawn’s upper arms in his hands. “Let’s get you home. Some rest and some Advil will make you feel better, alright?”
“Alright,” Dawn said. She took two steps back towards the car and stopped, her body becoming rigid.
Concerned, Jack walked around the small brunet and looked into her eyes. He had just begun to feel better after thinking something was very wrong. “Dawnie?” he asked.
Although it looked like Dawn was looking right at him, Jack knew that she couldn’t see him. “Uh-oh,” she said. Before anyone could ask what was ‘uh-oh’ Dawn fell into his arms in a dead faint.Gotta trust those instincts, old man,
Jack reprimanded himself. He knew that something was wrong, more than Dawn was letting on. Damn it! “To the ER it is, Dawnie,” he muttered softly while bending to pick her up.
“Sir!” Carter yelled. “Sir, put her down.”
Jack, trusting his second completely, gently lowered the unconscious Dawn to the ground. “What is it?” he barked at Carter. Then he blinked, confused, as Carter bent over and spread Dawn’s legs apart. “What the hell are you doing, Carter?” he asked.
Instead of Carter, who was now a little green, Daniel answered when did he come over here?
“Jack,” he said, “she’s covered in blood.”
“What?” Jack moved from Dawn’s head to her feet where his teammates were standing. Dawn’s jeans were indeed soaked with blood. It seemed to be coming from her crotch and spreading outwards towards her rear end and down her pant legs. They hadn’t noticed before because the hoody Dawn was wearing came down below the fly of her jeans. “Oh, gods, Dawnie,” Jack choked out. It was obvious she’d been terribly mistreated. Jack looked up when he felt Daniel’s hand on his arm.
“Why didn’t she tell you, Jack?” he asked quietly. “She doesn’t seem like the sort who gets embarrassed easily...” Daniel trailed off and took in the look of pain on his friend’s face.
“She, uhm,” Jack started to say. He licked his lips and sighed, trying to blink away the tears he was feeling at the mistreatment of this sweet girl. “She doesn’t know what day it is, Daniel. Dawn doesn’t know how she got to the station, or Colorado, or how she got hurt, or–“ Jack cut himself off and swallowed harshly. “I’ve seen women bleed like this before,” he said, not realizing he had the full attention of his entire team. “Unless she just gave birth and is bleeding out–which I highly doubt–someone raped her with a blade.”
Jack continued to look at nothing. Daniel scooped Dawn up in his arms and climbed into the backseat of the car. Teal’c gently led Jack over to the other side of the car and tucked him in the backseat with Daniel and Dawn. Then he helped arrange Dawn so her head was on Jack’s lap and made sure Daniel had her legs securely. “O’Neill, I am very sorry someone did this to your kin. I shall help you extract revenge when she is well again.”
Jack just grunted and smoothed Dawn’s hair over her pale, sweaty face. “I’ll keep you safe,” he whispered.
Daniel, sitting next to him, felt awed. For Jack to... let go, to allow himself to panic like this, was a true gift. Jack trusted his team enough to take care of not just him, but his family. For a man like Jack that was very significant. Men like him just do not relinquish control. Feeling determined to protect this girl at all costs Daniel reached over and grabbed one of Jack’s hands and squeezed it. Thank you, he said, we’ll take care of you. It will be okay.
Meanwhile, Teal’c climbed into the passenger seat and Carter into the driver’s seat. She started the car and they were off, faster than Carter normally drove. She, like Daniel and Teal’c, was determined to protect Jack’s family.
After about ten minutes Carter swallowed and asked, “Guys? Air Force Academy hospital or Janet on base?”
Pausing just a moment to think [Will Hammond blow a gasket?
] Daniel and Teal’c both said, “Janet.”
Sam Carter nodded and sped on towards the mountain base. She almost hit a tree, however, when Jack spoke up.
“Her clearance might be high enough. Her sister’s was. She died.”
Trying to spare Sam the effort of driving and making sense of that statement at the same time Daniel, first rate linguist, said, “huh?”
“Fix Dawn first. Explain later,” was all Jack would say on the matter.
While his teammates agreed with the sentiment they couldn’t help but wonder why a girl Dawn’s age would have military clearance of any sort.