by Suz firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer – MGM/Gekko/Double secret own them.
Spoilers for ‘Children of The Gods’, ‘The Broca Divide’, ‘Point of View’, ‘Divide and Conquer’, ‘Window of Opportunity’, and ‘Entity’. General knowledge of the show. Set early season five.
It was official – he was toast.
Word had got out. He didn’t know *how* it had got out (though he was eager to blame That Damn Woman, and she did seem the most obvious choice), but he’d overheard the gossip himself – from two SF’s he couldn’t even remember the names of.
And sure, gossip was usually just gossip, and bore no resemblance to reality.
The problem with this gossip was that most of it bore a startling resemblance to reality, whether the SF’s were aware of that or not. The only thing he didn’t know for sure was whether *He* knew and while *He* was on base, he wasn’t taking any chances.
So Jack was running scared. Literally.
Checking the corridor was empty he jogged towards the elevator, swiped his pass, and gratefully stepped inside as the doors immediately opened.
Yes. A piece of luck for once.
He knew he was being stupid. After all the foes and enemies he’d faced – and usually defeated – the last thing he should be worried about was whether or not *He* was going to get into the elevator from another floor.
Jack anxiously watched the floor numbers tick away on the LED display and though it seemed to take several lifetimes (which would have been handy if he really had lived through several lifetimes. This time around he’d have done things a lot differently), the elevator reached the top level, and the doors clunked open.
Jack peered out of the elevator, hiding next to the panel of floor buttons. Just some security. No *Him*.
Relieved, he strolled out normally, flashed his pass, finished the security procedures, made some small talk, and calmly walked away.
Another piece of luck.
His SUV wasn’t far; one of the perks of being the leader of the flagship team and pretty much the next most senior person under Hammond meant he could park closer than just about anyone else.
Trying to look as normal as possible he dug the keys out of his right hand jean pocket (*that* had been the fastest outfit change in history), and approached the driver’s side. Unlocking the door, he slid behind the wheel, slammed the door shut, and closed his eyes.
He yelped. Actually yelped.
His luck had just run out. Or perhaps more appropriately, his luck had run away screaming.
Recovering, not sure what to be more embarrassed about – that he’d yelped, or that the man he was trying and failing to hide from must had known he’d been sneaking around like a teenage boy hiding in his girlfriend’s bedroom – he cleared his throat.
“Jacob.” He cleared his throat a second time.
Oh yeah. He couldn’t cut the tension in there with a naquadah-enhanced bomb.
“How’d you get in-?”
“Tok’ra trade secret. Start the engine,” He turned away, looking out through the windshield. “Take us to the nearest bar.”
Briefly glancing towards the door, Jack considered the possibility of tumbling out and running back into the SGC, and the holding cell he’d happily place himself in before Jacob reached him. It didn’t seem likely. He was pretty sure ol’ Selmak gave Jacob an advantage in both strength and stamina, and while part of him knew that Jacob wasn’t going to hit him, another part just didn’t want to test the theory.
So like the good boy that he was – at least when it came to Carter’s – Jack started the engine and pulled out of his parking space.
The drive took about twenty minutes. There wasn’t a lot that was right next door to the Mountain, and even if there had been and despite Jacob’s order, the bar Jack was heading too was just a little bit further than the closest one. If he was going down, he was going down in his favourite place.
Not a word was uttered, but Jack at least knew enough not to turn the radio on.
They arrived eventually, and Jack’s relief must have been palpable. He parked, turned off the engine, and actually leapt out of the car. It wasn’t much of a leap given the state of his knee, but the meaning was there.
Soon enough they were inside, on opposite sides of a booth, Jack regaining at least some confidence from the familiar surroundings.
Jacob ordered drinks for both of them – Jack certainly wasn’t about to object to whatever drink Jacob thought he should have – and when the girl who took their order stepped away, Jacob spoke.
“I don’t carry money around anymore – seems kinda pointless. So I’m afraid you’re going to have to pay.”
Great. Not only was he about to get his ass kicked, but he also had to pay for the privilege. “Okay.” Gee, the table sure was fascinating. Nice, strong, sturdy wood. None of that cheap stuff. This came from a tree with purpose.
The drinks arrived. The girl left. Jack decided he just wasn’t going to say anything. That way he couldn’t get into any trouble.
“You know,” Jacob announced, probably fiddling with his shot glass although Jack was still staring at the table. “Selmak’s influence means alcohol has absolutely zero effect on me.”
That kinda sucked.
“Of course that doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop trying anytime soon,” He concluded, downing the shot in one gulp.
By now Jack’s nose was almost grazing the table. Maybe if he became really, really small, Jacob wouldn’t know he was there.
“So,” Jacob sighed, lowering the glass down.
Okay, stick with the earlier plan: say nothing. At all. Fake muteness. Nothing was going to make him speak.
“How long has this been going on?”
Except for that. “Hey – nothing *has* gone on. Ever. I want to make that abundantly clear.” Oops. The nose had lifted, his face had lifted, and he was pointing an accusing finger at Carter’s dad.
Damn emotions getting the better of him. He hated that.
He lowered the finger; annoyed at the situation, annoyed at Jacob, but mostly annoyed with himself.
Jacob merely blinked, unsurprised. “Let me rephrase that: how long have you had inappropriate feelings for my daughter?”
He actually expected an answer to that? He actually expected him to come right out and say it? His anger grew. “I really don’t think-”
“Jack,” A warning tone was definitely present.
“Oh come on, Jacob. What do you expect? An undying declaration of love for Carter? I don’t think so.” That wasn’t the way he worked. “You’re military...or at least you were. You’re a guy. Kind of. You can’t tell me you’re any better at this than I am.”
He didn’t argue with Jack’s point. “I just want the truth.”
The truth? Ha. Definitely a novel concept, he thought, with a trace of bitterness.
And that was it. He let the anger, bitterness and outright frustration at his situation build in the pit of his stomach. That was his way through. Speaking with tight, controlled words, he began. “All right. Yes, I have inappropriate feelings for Carter. I don’t know how long I’ve had them; there was no one specific thing, it just kind of...happened. It wasn’t intentional and I certainly didn’t go looking for it – especially after Sara and Charlie. I didn’t want to get involved with *anyone* ever again at that point, thank you very much, and-”
Jacob spoke softly. “Stop.”
“But I’m giving you what you want.” Jack didn’t get it.
“No,” He argued. “You may be angry at the position you’ve found yourself it, but you will not talk about the feelings you have for my daughter in that tone of voice. She deserves better, and you know it.”
Jack felt like he’d just been punched in the stomach, all the emotions he kept there being forced out of his body – the anger right along with them. Closing his eyes, he lowered his head. “I don’t know how else to...I can’t just *say*...”
“Then talk about her.”
He opened his eyes, sneaking a wary look at Jacob. “Say *what* about her?”
“Anything,” Jacob shrugged, thanking the woman as she brought them two more drinks. “What did you think of her when you first met?”
Now that was easy. “Pain in the ass.”
Her dad was definitely amused, holding a glass. “Love at first sight then?”
“Hardly,” Jack snorted, feeling a little more at ease. He hadn’t had either of his drinks yet, so he picked one up and studied the contents. “She couldn’t *wait* to think the worst of me. The slightest chance of a slip-up and BAM! She’d hit me over the head with it.”
Now it was Jacob’s chance to look ashamed. “Yeah, I uh...that was probably my fault. At least partially anyway. I wasn’t what you’d call a good role model. Or a particularly good father.”
Thrilled that the focus of attention was turning towards someone else, Jack heartily joined in with the conversation. “But you’re making up for it now, aren’t you?”
“When I’m around,” Jacob sighed. “It’s hard being away so much. Whenever I come back my grandkids are suddenly a foot higher than they used to be.”
There wasn’t anything he could say to that. He couldn’t even say, “I’m sure they understand,” because really, no one outside of the SGC had any clue why their work was so important.
“I can only take consolation in the fact that both of my children are surrounded by people who care about them.”
“They certainly are,” Jack agreed. That much he could say.
“You ever met Mark?”
“No. Just you and Carter.” Frankly, he wasn’t sure he wanted to meet Carter’s brother. He finally gulped down that first drink.
Nodding, sighing, Jacob abruptly changed subject. “So have you and Sam had sex yet?”
Some twenty seconds later, after Jack had finished coughing up a lung, he gasped for breath and glared at the man sitting opposite him. “You deliberately waited until I drank something. That was evil.” His voice was definitely croaking.
Jacob didn’t seem to think so. In fact he was grinning, and continued speaking with a shrug. “Kissed?”
“I notice you haven’t answered my question yet.”
“No, we haven’t had sex for crying out loud!” Geez! He was milking this ‘concerned father’ thing for all it was worth.
“And the kissing part?”
Jack couldn’t help it: he fell suspiciously quiet.
Damn. How to get out of this one?
This time his nose was just grazing his shot glass – the one he hadn’t drunk from yet. “I want you to know in advance that technically, none of these were my fault.”
“None of *what* were?”
Focusing on the amber liquid inside the glass, Jack lifted his right hand and began counting them off.
His thumb stuck out.
“Carter gets infected with an alien virus that makes her want to mate; she kisses me. I drag her off to the infirmary.”
His index finger lifted.
“We encounter an alternate reality where Carter and I are married, although ‘I’ve’ subsequently died. We help save their planet and when I say goodbye to the alternate Carter, she kisses me.”
His middle finger lifted.
“Teal’c and I get stuck in a time loop, repeating the same ten hours over and over and *over* again. I start to lose it. Knowing no one will have any memory of it, I resign and kiss Carter.” He felt the urge to clear this throat again, eyes still locked on the drink. “As you can see, two of them really weren’t my fault, one of them wasn’t even *our* Carter, and the last one...well, the only defence I can offer for that is that I was definitely going nuts. By the way, she, uh...doesn’t know about that one so I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t say anything.”
God, what had he just *done*? Was he looking to get his ass kicked out of the Air Force?
Jacob still hadn’t said anything, so Jack felt compelled to.
“Can we just get away from the subject of kissing Carter please?”
“Okay,” Jacob shifted, not really sounding annoyed. Not really sounding...anything. His next choice of subject didn’t cheer Jack up at *all*. “Worst you’ve ever felt in regards to Sam.”
Though there’d been some doozies, that was easy too. He breathed the words out on a sigh. “The Entity.” Finally looking up he took in Jacob’s frown, realising he was going to need an explanation. His hands moved, easily wrapping around the small glass. “She was taken over by some kind of electronic-energy life form thingy. The only way to...I had to...” Oh, God “...kill her.” It’d only been a couple of months since it happened. He tried not to think about it, but when he did...
“She told me.”
Of course she had.
“Well I say we get some more drinks in and discuss something else. What sports do you like?”
Utterly confused, Jack stared suspiciously at Carter’s dad. “Huh?”
He was trying to signal for another drink. “I understand fishing is a favourite.”
Straightening his back out, Jack sat up. “Aren’t you gonna...kick my ass?”
Turning back to look at him, Jacob frowned. “No.”
But...he...it... “Why not?”
“Because although I am Sam’s father, I’m also a human being. You don’t get to choose who you’re going to have feelings for – as you said yourself, it just happens. Besides,” He finally got the waitress’ attention, and pointed towards their table. “It’s not as if you’re letting it interfere with the work. Your Entity story alone convinced me of that.”
Jack couldn’t figure out quite what to say. More precisely, he wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to speak again.
The new drinks arrived. Old glasses disappeared.
“I’ve never understood the appeal of fishing myself, but-”
“Jacob,” Much, *much* as he wanted to change this particular subject, there was one thing he just had to ask. “When did you...find out? Was it obvious? Who told you?” It was that damned Anise, he’d bet anything she couldn’t keep her mouth shut.
“Actually,” Jacob slowly admitted, “I didn’t find out until about five minutes ago.” He let it linger. “When you told me.”
Jack felt like his jaw hit the table.
“I had my suspicions,” He mused, “But that’s all they were. So when I came for a visit this time, *I* started the gossip at the SGC, and let nature take its course. Worked beautifully, by the way.”
No, no. He could *not* believe it. The entire thing... “You didn’t know *anything* up until five minutes ago?”
“Nope,” He was definitely looking pleased with himself.
“Oh my God,” Jack muttered, lowering his head far enough this time that it finally thumped against the table. “I’m so *stupid*.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Jacob assured him, patting the top of his head. “I’m sure that’s part of the reason Sam likes you so much.”
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