Chapter 15: Conversations
Chapter 15 Conversations SG-1
“Major, Teal’c, and Dr. Jackson, can I see you for a few minutes,” said General Hammond.
Carter eyed the General for a few minutes, then turned towards the kids. “A guard will escort you to your rooms; I will be there shortly.”
Jack’s eyes narrowed. Why wasn’t his name called? “Sir,” he said. “If this meeting is about me, don’t you think I should be included?”
General Hammond looked at his Second in Command and nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, you are right, Colonel,” he said with a sweeping gesture.
Jack nodded and walked back to the same chair he had occupied before.
Hammond cleared his throat. “I want to know how you being immortal will affect the SGC,” he began.
“It never did before,” Jack interrupts.
“Colonel, you have to understand our position. This facility prides itself on secrets. I understand secrets; we understand secrets,” he said, stressing on the word ‘we’.
Everyone nodded in agreement.
“But we are not just about secrets, but trust,” he said with a frown. “When I send a group through the Stargate, they have to depend on each other. And everything boils down to one basic fact and that fact is trust.”
“Of course you can trust me,” Jack said with an outrage. “I am the same person I was several hours ago. General, you have read my file. Nothing I have done was faked. I may have lied about my age, but I am the same person who ate Chinese food with Danny two days ago, and I also am the same person who played table tennis with Carter and chess with Teal’c. You all know me,” Jack said earnestly. “You trusted that Jack. Nothing changed, except you know more about me today than you knew yesterday.”
“No, not really. That Colonel we knew, but this one is a stranger.”
“How can you say that,” he cried. He closed his eyes on the point of pain. “How can I redeem myself?” he asked bleakly. This was his family. If they were taken away from him, he didn’t know what he was going to do. Since Charlie died, he had no one. Then the SGC became the family he had lost. Right now, he’s glad that Bella has come back into his life, but they still had things to work out.
“Are there more secret that you are not telling us,” Hammond asked sharply.
“General Hammond, I don’t know what I could do to rectify the situation and build back up your faith in me. But I do promise you this: I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability,” Jack said, his voice thick and unsteady. He scraped back his chair, got up, and walked towards the door.
“Jack, what is a Slayer?” asked Daniel, stopping him in his tracks.
“What?” Jack stiffened.
“What is a Slayer,” he said again. “The young boy Xander said and I quote ‘Even I knew not to get between an enraged Slayer and her target’.
He turned slowly around and with a shrug, he lied, “I don’t know what you mean,” he said. “Weren’t they a band in the eighties?” he asked avoiding Daniel gaze.
Daniel eyes narrowed speculatively.
“Dr. Jackson?” said Hammond. “What’s this about a Slayer?”
“It’s nothing sir. I heard this term mentioned several times before, and just wondered if Jack knows about it,” he said, making a mental note to check it out.
“How about it, Colonel,” asked Hammond.
“Do you know what Dr. Jackson is talking about?”
“No sir,” he said, taking care to make eye contact with the General. He hated lying, but it wasn’t his secret to tell. He knew that Danny was tenacious, and if he wanted to find out what a slayer was, he could go to any computer and find the information. And if not, he would delegate it to Carter. No one at the base is a wiz at computer stuff like Carter. Sometimes he thought she ate and breathed computers. But that doesn’t alter the fact that they don’t need to know about slayers. He shuddered to think if the N.I.D or any military faction ever found out about them.
“Sir,” he said to General Hammond. “If you are finished with me, I wanted to see if my guests are comfortable.”
Hammond inclined his head. “You are dismissed, but I want to see you at 0400 to discuss what information you all find out about the Goa’uld.”
“Yes sir,” he said with an inward sigh of relief as he walked through the door.
“Jack knows more than he’s telling,” Daniel said, his eyes narrowing on Jack’s back.
“Probably,” admitted the General with a shrug. “But what can I do? Order him not to tell me lies. If you cannot lie to your commanding officer, who can you lie to?”
He looked over at the others. “You are all dismissed,” he said. As the group got up to leave, Hammond said, “Excuse me, Major, but before you go, there is something I want you to check on. Our guests,” he said with a grimace, “I want you to find out all you can on each of them. No matter how small it is.”
“Yes sir!” she said, with a bright grin.
Willow and Xander
As they walked through the conference room door with their escorts, Willow grabbed Xander and pushed him to one side.
Buffy and Oz stopped waiting for them to catch up.
“Go ahead guys, Xander and I need to talk for a few minutes,” she said as her grip on him tightens.
Oz nodded and continued his walk down the corridor with his bodyguard trailing him, while Buffy hesitated. “Is everything okay?” she asked.
“Fine,” Willow said with a shy smile.
Buffy eyed them for a moment, with a puzzled frown. She shrugged. “Okay,” she said and continued her walk.
“Hey Wills, you’re hurting me,” Xander whined with a wince.
“I will do more than hurt you,” she snapped quietly, keeping her voice low.
Xander’s mouth dropped open. This couldn’t be his best bud Willow talking. “What’s going on,” he asked.
“I want to ask you the same thing,” she said, her eyes a green flame.
“I haven’t done anything,” he denied, wrenching his hand out of her grip. “Ouch,” he said, rubbing the marks on his arms. “What’s your deal?”
“You call making snide remarks to Buffy all day long, nothing,” she hissed.
“What do you mean?” he asked, avoiding her gaze.
“You know what I mean. Those little remarks have to stop. You have to think before you act sometimes. You are not a little kid anymore. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. I love you, Xander,” she said softly. “You cannot keep going down this path you are on. I am telling you for your own good. You know we don’t own Buffy. She was person before we met, and she will be her own person after we are long gone.”
“I know,” he said looking abashed. “I don’t know what got into me. I don’t mean to say those things.”
“Then why do you?” she asked with a stricken look.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Feelings I didn’t know just erupted inside me. She was the first person besides you that treated me with some respect. I guess I’m jealous that she was showing attention to someone else. Then to find out she has been keeping secrets from us. And you know some secrets can be deadly. Case in point - Angelus.”
Willow sighed. “Yes, Angelus was a sore point in our history together, but you have to let that go. No one likes to have their mistakes pushed in their face daily. I know some secrets are deadly. But Buffy knows what she did, and you cannot keep harping on her mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, Xander. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be human. You have to forgive Buffy. I did. As I said before and will continue saying because you and I are family, I love you Xand, but if you continue like this, you won’t have any friends left,” she said quietly, leaving him to ponder on those words.
SamanthaCarter and JanetFraser
After the meeting with SG-1, Janet’s mind was awhirl. She doesn’t know who she should be mad at. Jack O’Neill, Sam, or herself. She knew how Sam felt about him. But what about her? She thought they were friends. If his wife hadn’t visited the SGC, would they have known that Jack had a secret life? She didn’t think so. But who is she to cast any stone, she thought. She has her own secrets too. She knocked briskly on Carter’s office door.
“Come in,” said a muffled voice.
She pushed opened the door slowly not knowing what to expect. What she saw was Samantha’s fingers flying across the keyboard, which wasn’t unusual but unexpected. Part of her had expected Sam to be working because she was a workaholic. But the picture Sam portrayed was of serene grace and enthusiasm, not the sad mien she was expecting. “What are you doing?” she asked as she stepped into the room. “I thought you were going to run a diagnostic on the gate?”
“In a few minutes,” Sam said frowning. “I had to get some info for the General.”
“What kind of information?” Janet asked as she walked up to the computer and saw the name across the screen: “Buffy Summers.”
“Is that wise?” she asked in a shocked tone.
Sam shrugged. “We have to know the people we are dealing with,” she said dryly. “They might be terrorists for all we know.”
Janet eyed her thoughtfully. “Do you really think so?” she asked.
Sam froze for a second, her fingers slamming hard on the keyboards. “No,” she admits.
“Are you okay, Sam?” Janet asked with a puzzled frown.
“Of course I’m okay,” she said with a surprised air. “Why shouldn’t I be?” she said, turning around in her chair to look at Janet.
Janet eyed her in concern and said one word. “Jack.”
Sam shrugged. “There’s nothing between the Colonel and me,” she said.
“But you wished there might be,” she said.
“Maybe,” she said, her hands trembling. “There was an attraction between us, but regs you know.”
“I know,” Janet said. “I am so sorry,” she said gathering the other woman in her arms.
Sam stiffened, then relaxed and took a deep breath.
XanderHarris and JackO’Neill
Xander stood stiffly, his mind going over the words Willow had said to him. Was Willow right? He wondered. From the first day he saw Buffy Summers, he knew he was in love. He tried all kinds of ways for her to notice him not as a friend but as a potential boyfriend. Maybe he resented the fact that she chooses everyone but him, and that’s why he made the wrong choice sometimes. But the last few days, it had dawned on him that Buffy Summers would never be his. And he cannot wait for someone else to bring him happiness; he had to attain it himself. He frowned. What is he going to do with his life? He remembered the last time when he was at his happiest. It was a few years ago when Ethan Rayne had be-spelled the Halloween costumes. During that time, he had felt free, strong, and most of all, important. Not like the useless part of the team. The Zeppo.
“Hey,” Jack said, almost tripping on the young man as he walked around the corridor.
“Hey,” said Xander.
“Are you okay?” Jack asked slowing after noting the almost lackadaisical answer.
“I’m fine,” Xander said with a shrug, his hands in the pocket of his brown baggy pants.
“That’s good to know,” Jack said as he continued his walking.
“Mr. O’Neill,” Xander called.
Jack stopped and turned around to gaze at the young man. Xander was shuffling his feet, as if he wanted to say something but didn’t know how to say it. “It’s actually Colonel,” he said. “Mr. O’Neill was my dad and he has been dead for centuries,” he said with a grin.
“Um,” said Xander blushing. “Colonel O’Neill.”
“You can call me Jack,” he said, surveying him kindly. Something about him reminded him of himself eons ago. “And you are Xander, right?”
“Right,” he said, pleased that Jack knows his name. “Short for Alexander, but my friends called me Xander.”
“Okay, Xander it is. What can I do for you?” he asked.
Xander wrinkled his nose. “Do you like the military,” he asked quietly.
“It has its moments,” Jack said. “Why?” he questioned. Xander looked as if the answer mattered.
Xander avoided Jack’s gaze. “I was just wondering, what it would take for me to join.”
“You want to join the military,” he said surprised.
“Yes,” Xander said, swallowing dryly.
“Did you ask your friends?” Jack asked with a frown. “What did Bella say?”
“No, I didn’t ask them,” he said clearing his throat. “But I’m interested in the military. Something happened to me several months ago that got me thinking about it. And I think this is the way to go. It’s my choice, and they will understand, I think,” Xander said with a shrug.
“Mmm,” Jack murmured, eying him thoughtfully. “Are you sure?” he asked.
“You have to be serious,” Jack continued. “This cannot be a fly-by-night thing. You have to be very serious.”
“I’m serious,” Xander admitted earnestly.
Jack sighed. “Okay, which branch of the military are you thinking of entering?”
“Good choice,” Jack said with a grin. “Colorado has a great Air Force Program, or if you don’t want to stay here, there are plenty of bases allover the U.S. I know some people, and I can smooth the way a little. But it’s gonna take hard work and discipline.”
“I can do that,” Xander said with a nod. “I’m not afraid of hard work.”
“Good, because it’s going to take a lot of hard work if you want to be an officer. Right?”
“Right,” Xander said seriously.
“How old are you,” Jack asked looking at the shaggy brown hair and long limbs.
“Eighteen,” he said.
Jack nodded. “When you graduate and with some good references, you might have a shot. How are your grades?”
“So-so,” Xander said with a grimace.
“We’d have to get those grades up. But with a good study habit and a good recommendation, you would be set. Come on,” he said, guiding Xander down the corridor. “Let me tell you what to expect if you join the Air Force.”
Janet and Jack
After talking to Xander for twenty minutes, Jack walked hesitatingly to the infirmary door. This was not something he wanted to do, but he and Janet had been friends for several years. He owes her an explanation. He paused briefly making sure that she was alone. After what had transpired earlier, he knew he had to talk to her. They were good friends. And for her to find out things that he should have told her along time ago, she must be pissed.
“Hey Doc,” Jack said sheepishly, pushing the door opened. Janet was seated in front of a computer, typing furiously. Jack walked up to her to peer across her shoulder.
“Hey,” she said, looking up briefly from her computer screen.
“Busy, I see,” he said, eying her thoughtfully.
“Yes,” she said abruptly.
He sighed. I guess she’s madder than I thought. “I’m sorry you had to find out those things about me. I should have told you.”
“I’m sorry too,” she said as she continued typing.
“You’re mad,” he said grimly as he wandered around the room, pausing once in awhile to touch objects here or there.
“No,” she said ignoring him.
He watched her wistfully. “Yes, you are,” he said. “If I was in your position, I would be angry.”
“Maybe,” she said. “But I’m not angry, I’m disappointed. I thought we were friends long enough to tell each other things. For instance, like you were ten thousand years old and you have a wife.”
Jack winced. “I cannot apologize enough. I spend so much time hiding my identity that it never occurred to me to tell you. Yes, we have been friends for thirty years, but some secrets were hard to let go,” he admits.
“You knew all my secrets,” said Janet her voice wooden. She turned away from the computer. “I wish you’d had the guts to tell me yours,” she said, shaking her dark curls. “But you were thinking of yourself, and because of that, you not only hurt me and your friends, you also hurt Sam.”
“Carter?” Jack questioned with a frown, stopping in mid motion. “What has she got to do with us?”
“Not us,” Janet cried in disbelief. “You,” she said.
“Me,” Jack said taken aback.
“Don’t be stupid, Jack,” Janet said rolling her eyes in exasperation. “She has a crush on you.”
“But nothing ever happened between us,” he said.
“So what,” she snorted. “If it wasn’t for regulations, I know for a fact something might have happened between you two. But you didn’t have the decency to let anyone of us know that you were married.”
“Look,” Jack said, “Carter wasn’t pining for me. She’s had several relationships since we met, and so have I.”
Janet closed her eyes and shook her head. “If you say so,” she said. She wasn’t getting it across to him. He wanted to believe what he wanted. She saw something between them, and if they weren’t willing to admit that they care about each other more than as a friend. “Did you tell the General about me,” she asked quietly.
“No,” he said. “It’s your secret to tell.”
“Good,” she said with a dismissive nod and turned back to her computer.
“Carter wasn’t pining for me,” he said to himself. He looked at Janet for a few minutes and then walked to the door closing it quietly behind him.
Buffy, Willow and Joyce Summers
Buffy walked into the plain room that would be home for the next few days, unless she could convince the General to let her and her friends leave. She sighed. It probably would be easier to convince him that the sky was green.
“What’s going on?” she asked Willow, who entered the room behind her. “I thought you and Major Carter had some work to do,” she said.
“She doesn’t like you,” said Willow going over to an empty bed to sit on it.
Buffy shrugged. “It’s her business,” she said mildly. “I’m not worried about her. What’s up between you and Xander?”
“Why do you think something was up,” she questioned archly.
“You’re not going to tell me, huh,” she said curiously.
“Nope,” Willow said with a grin.
“Okay,” Buffy said. “Keep your secrets.” She walked to the phone and muttered a few incantations under her breath. She dialed a familiar number and said, “Hi,” to the voice on the other end. “I got caught up here, and I don’t think we’ll be back soon.” She listened for a few minutes and nodded several times. “I love you, Joycie,” she said. “Of course I’m coming back,” she said to the inquiry. “But not right now. I have some things I need to take care of,” she admits.
“How’s Faith and Angel handling the hellmouth?” she asked.
“Mmm,” Buffy said, curling the phone cord around her finger. “That’s good. Listen,” she said, “I’m wondering if you can do me a favor. It’s about Faith,” Buffy said. “She will need some guidance and direction, and probably some home cooked meals. She also needs a place to stay, and if I never come back, I want you to take care of each other.”
“Of course, I am planning to come back, but this is on the chance something happens to me,” Buffy said soothingly.
After talking for the next half hour, Buffy hung up the phone.
Methos and Jack
After leaving the infirmary, Jack felt lost and confused. Was Janet right? For years, he and Carter had a working relationship, but that changed. Over the next few years, they had avoided talking about those feelings. Everything had come to a head, when the President was visiting the SGC. Because they couldn’t admit that they had feelings for each other, the President almost died. Even though that time they admitted that something was going on, they had continued to lie to themselves.
He sighed. With his head down and his hands in his pocket, he ignored the other people in the corridor. He would always care for Carter, but Isabella would always be his first love. Not even Carter and Sara could compare to her. Maybe that’s why he never fought for his marriage when Sara wanted a divorce or tried to have a relationship with Samantha.
“Hey, watch where you are going,” said Adam, bouncing into Jack as he rounded a corner.
“Sorry man,” Jack said, looking up from his contemplation of his feet. “Methos,” he said with a frown. “I thought you would be with Danny,” he said, his eyebrows arched in question staring at Methos and his two guards.
“I am on my way there right now,” he admits.
“I see that you can’t leave home with out an escort,” Jack said apologetic.
Methos shrugged. “Your General’s idea,” he said. “He thought we could be threat.”
“If only he knew, eh,” Jack said, elbowing Methos in his side.
“If only,” said Methos, staring unseeingly in the past.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you,” Jack said looking at Methos. “How’ve you been?”
“Good, “Methos said shuffling on the balls of his feet. “And you?”
“Same here,” Jack said, avoiding his gaze. What do you say to a man who was your best friend for the latter part of ten thousand years? “So,” he said looking around.
“You’re in the military,” asked Methos.
“Yeah,” Jack said with a nod.
“That’s it,” said Methos in disbelief. “We haven’t seen each other for over fifty years and this is all you can say to me.”
“What do want me to say?” Jack demanded, his gray eyes meeting Methos’ hazel ones.
“You are a bastard, Jack O’Neill,” he said.
“What!” Jack said, his eyes widening in surprise.
Methos’ guards shuffled and eyed him with concern, their hands on their service revolvers.
Both Jack and Methos ignored them.
“When you and Isabella broke up, you didn’t have to break up with me, too,” said Methos. “We were best friends before we met Isabella. Who was the one who used to talk about not letting women come between us?”
“I did, didn’t I,” Jack said with a sigh. “I’m an ass’s ass. The situation with Bella became so overwhelming, I retreated, and the more I retreated, the more I forgot about everything. I stopped participating in the game.”
“No one can truly stop contributing to the game. I know, I tried,” he said.
“I did. I hid mostly on holy ground. I was just tired of the senseless killing.”
“So you joined the military,” Methos said mockingly.
“Yeah,” Jack said on a laugh. “Ironic,” he said, his eyes alight with laughter. “I miss you, you old bastard.”
The guards looked at each other and relaxed. For a minute there, they thought there was going to be a fight.
“I miss you too,” Methos said quietly, going to embrace Jack in a big hug. “We cannot let another fifty years pass us by.”
“I definitely won’t if you won’t,” Jack said. “Danny is probably wondering where you are,” he said. “I’ll walk you to his office. And when you need a rescue, call me. His office is a minefield. Once I sent an aid to ask him something, and he hasn’t been heard from since.”
“You’re kidding, right,” said Methos, eying Jack in disbelief.
Jack shrugged with a grin. “Come on,” he said companionably, his arms around Methos’ shoulder. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” he said affably.
“What do know about Xander Harris?”
“Xander? Why?” he asked.
“He has been asking some questions about the military, and I thought that if he was really interested, I might recommend him to the Air Force Academy.”
Methos shrugged. “I really don’t know him at all. I don’t like him, but that’s just my first impression. He can be an okay person if he takes time to actually think before he opens his mouth. But I am not the person you need to ask. He’s Bella’s friend. Why don’t you ask her?”
“I’ll do just that,” Jack said.