by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer – MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Spoilers for ‘Divide and Conquer’, ‘The Warrior’, ‘Abyss’ and ‘Allegiance’. An ‘Allegiance’ episode addition.

Those of you who like this can once again thank Anna. Those of you who hate this can once again blame Anna :)


Jack wished he could say that he’d been enjoying his conversation with Jacob, but as soon as he’d mentioned Kanan their discussion had become another in a long line of unpleasant memories.

He rarely had a chance to have a serious conversation with Carter’s dad. Usually it was the off the cuff but mutually respectful banter (despite appearances), and as much as he enjoyed that, and as much as he liked the guy, he just wasn’t sure that he knew him particularly well.

He knew what kind of father he was, what kind of fighter, what kind of Tok’ra...but the kind of man?

He could make assumptions, based on those other aspects of him, but...

Surprising himself, Jack realised that it was nice having an older guy around to talk to. Not necessarily a father figure, just someone older. Pained as he was to admit it, he was usually the oldest guy in any situation these days, and there were just some things he couldn’t bring up with Hammond.

Of course, there were also some things he couldn’t bring up with Carter’s dad, specifically because he *was* Carter’s dad.

But all the thinking he’d had the time to do when he was...gone...and recovering, had at least made him realise that he wasn’t particularly happy with the guy he was. He’d figured he’d been doing okay – most days were usually faced without a frown on his face (no more than usual, anyway) – but somewhere, there were parts of himself he didn’t like.

That were...not worthy.

Not worthy of what he wasn’t sure, it was just that kernel of information that had revealed itself as he lay on the floor of the cell, waiting, fearing, what was coming again.

And another one of the things he’d realised about himself was that he didn’t get to know people well enough. Only those he worked with side by side for five years had any clue who he really was, and even that was debatable.

The problem was, getting to know people meant...talking. He wasn’t big on talking. If he could just get Jacob started on some subject and let *him* do all the talking...

Shifting on whatever the hell it was he was sitting on (hey, it was taking his weight – that was all that mattered), he sighed as he looked towards the Jaffa. They were still practising those moves that in Jack’s opinion were *way* too dangerous, but even he had to admit they looked pretty impressive. Certainly wouldn’t want to fight one of those guys himself, unless he was armed with a P-90.

Still coming up empty he glanced back towards Jacob, when something grabbed his attention.

That was it.

He’d noticed it before of course, but not during their first or second meetings. No, it’d been the first time he’d seen Jacob in the Tok’ra outfit. It’d made an interesting counterpoint; something that alien combined with something so intrinsically human.

In all their years of doing this, they’d yet to see wedding rings in any other culture.

“Do you still miss her?”

Jacob didn’t look at him, knowing he was the intended recipient of the question, and instead concentrating on his left hand. He didn’t seem surprised, or fazed by the question. “Every day. Even out here, when I’m so far from Earth and where I knew her, there are still times when I turn a corner and expect to see her. When I ask a question and I’m surprised that someone else’s voice answers.”

Jack was beginning to regret asking *his* question. “I would have liked to have met her.”

“Oh she would have loved you,” Jake responded, lifting his head and – much to Jack’s relief – grinning that big grin he rarely wore. The grin his daughter had definitely inherited.

“Yeah?” That was pleasing news, even if it shouldn’t have been.

“She always had a weakness for pain’s in the ass. Hell, she married me, didn’t she?”

Smirking, Jack turned away. “I’m touched.”

“Sam’s so much like her sometimes it’s scary. Kate wasn’t a scientist or a soldier, but...occasionally Sam’ll walk in a certain way, or give someone a certain look – usually you,” He added, with a brief smile. “And just for a second it’s like looking at my wife again.”

Immediately yanked back to memories of Charlie, Jack spoke. “I didn’t mean to dredge up-”

“No, no it’s all right,” Jacob insisted, lifting his hand up a few inches. “It’s...nice, being able to talk about her. Doesn’t happen often. The Tok’ra aren’t big on talking.”

Wow. He actually had something in common with the Tok’ra.

“I mean,” Jacob continued. “Selmak already knew everything there was to know about me the minute we were joined.”

More than willing to get away from the subject of symbiotes again, Jack asked another question. “When’d you ask her to marry you?”

“When I realised I was in love with her.”

Amused as the immediate answer, Jack lifted his eyebrows.

Jacob shrugged. “We’d known each other for...just over two years. Just friends; she was the sister of one of the guys I worked with in the old days. One day he didn’t come in, and it turned out some lunatic who’d been drinking had got behind the wheel of a car.” He shook his head, remembering. “I lost it. I spent the next six days sitting next to her hospital bed – they had no idea if she was going to make it. And I realised, as I watched her, that I would have given absolutely *anything* to swap places with her. To be the one lying on that bed, dying by inches.”

The words tumbled out before Jack could stop them. “You’d have rather died yourself, than lose her.” In a way, it was almost a relief to be able to say them again – though they’d been a secret the first time he’d been forced to utter those words, afterwards it had been another secret, this time shared by everyone who’d been in that room.

It was good to get it off his chest, even if Jacob didn’t really have a clue. And he couldn’t help but appreciate the irony: it another universe, he could have been talking to himself in twenty years time.

Jacob knew none of this. “Obviously she recovered, and as soon as she was coherent and conscious, I asked her to marry me.”

“The end,” Jack stated happily.

“Hardly,” Jacob countered, much to Jack’s amazement. “She turned me down. Always stubborn, she was sure I was trying to take advantage of her. I managed to convince her, eventually, that I wasn’t. I can be pretty stubborn myself.”

Chuckling, Jack shook his head. Damn! “That was a great story.”

“Why’d you ask?”

A sliver of discomfort found its way back in. He watched the Jaffa again. “Ah, you know. Boredom. Not a lot to do at the moment. You know how it is.”

“True,” Jacob admitted, though Jack suspected he hadn’t believed a word. “There’s a lot more waiting to this hero stuff than was mentioned on the job advertisement.”

“Worth it though,”

“Oh yeah,” Jake replied. “Wouldn’t do anything else.”

Lapsing into a happy silence, both men sighed and lost themselves in the fascinating movements of the men fighting a few hundred feet away.

Well, at least until Jacob spoke again.

“So Jack...do you think it’s true that women are drawn to men who remind them of their fathers?”


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