Jack O'Neill opened his front door with a flourish and grinned at the two women standing on his doorstep.
'Major.' His eyes always went to his team-mate, Samantha Carter, first, and today was no exception; he let his gaze briefly travel over her giving nothing away of his appreciation for the way her jeans hugged her long legs or how the blue in the sweater complimented her eyes.
Sam smiled back at him and juggled the brown bag of groceries she held. 'Sir.'
'Geez, it's the weekend and we're going to barbeque. Can't you guys call each other by your names like normal people?' Cassie Fraiser exclaimed, even as she stepped forward to hug him. She was dressed in a similar fashion to Carter with a green sweater instead of the blue. She looked like a kid though and not a woman despite her bright purple nail varnish and the make-up she'd used.
Jack squeezed Cassie lightly before he dropped a kiss on her forehead. 'That would assume that Carter and I are normal people.' He said lightly. Not to mention that being on a first name basis would just create too much intimacy between them given their working relationship and military ranks, and the less than professional feelings they had. He'd given Carter permission a long time ago to call him 'Jack' off-duty but she rarely, if ever, did and he understood why – he called her Carter and not 'Sam' for the same reason; maintaining an appropriate distance.
'I guess you're right.' Cassie said with a cheeky grin. 'You're definitely not normal.'
Jack pretended outrage. 'Hey.'
Carter rolled her eyes at them and made her way inside the house. Jack reluctantly let go of Cassie as she made to follow her and closed the front door. He ambled back towards the kitchen where they were unpacking groceries; Carter passing out items that Cassie stacked neatly on the counter.
'Salad?' He asked, injecting a note of horror into his voice. Usually he didn't bother with salad when he barbequed; usually he didn't have salad stuff stocked in his refrigerator to bother with.
'Mom says salad's good for you.' Cassie said primly, shooting him a look over her shoulder.
'Oh, well if the Doc says so.' Jack teased.
'You can't have a barbeque without salad.' Cassie argued good-naturedly, waving a carrot at him.
'I beg to differ.' Jack said. He'd had plenty of barbeques without green – or orange – stuff on the side of his burger or dog.
'Janet's orders, sir.' Sam said briskly and he sighed in grudging acquiescence. 'But we also got cake.' She brandished the cake box.
'Carter, you're my hero.' Jack exclaimed, not completely oblivious to the blush that brightened her cheeks at his words as he reached over to take it from her and lifting the lid. 'Vanilla cream?'
'I wanted chocolate.' Cassie said, taking the box off him.
'No way!' Jack snagged it back. 'Vanilla over chocolate any day.'
'Sam said you'd prefer the vanilla.' Cassie took the cake back and Carter intercepted it before Jack could make another grab at it.
'Why don't I put this somewhere safe?' Sam suggested dryly.
'I guess that's OK.' Jack winked at her and she ducked her head to hide her smile. The cell phone rang in the den and he waved at them as he made to leave. 'By all means, knock yourselves out making salad.'
He practically skipped the distance from the kitchen to the den. He should probably thank Jonas Quinn when he arrived, Jack thought with amusement. If it hadn't been for the Kelownan's confusion on what to do for a first date on Earth, Jack might have been facing a Sunday afternoon of doing nothing more than watching TV and drinking beer. Instead he had two of his favourite people in his kitchen and they'd brought cake. He picked up the cell and flipped it open.
'Colonel.' George Hammond greeted him formally.
'Sir.' Jack hoped that it wasn't an emergency. 'Everything OK in Washington?'
'Thor's visit did the trick.' Hammond said bluntly. 'I thought you'd want to know.'
'So, the programme?' Jack lowered his voice.
'Safe. For the time being.' Hammond sighed heavily. 'Although I believe if it hadn't been for Thor's intervention, Senator Kinsey could have been successful in his attempt to secure the Stargate for his own purposes.'
Jack grimaced. 'I'll let Thor know.'
'Thank you, Colonel.' Hammond said his goodbyes and Jack ended the call. He hurried over to the mantel and picked up the Asgard communication stone. He'd figured it was decorative enough that anyone would assume it was just an ornament. He tapped it gently and it glowed.
There was a flash of bright white light and when Jack's vision cleared, Thor stood in the middle of the room.
Carter hurried into the living area. 'Sir, are you...' she stopped abruptly at the sight of their Asgard visitor. A smile brightened her face. 'Thor!'
'It is good to see you again, Major Carter.' Thor said warmly. He turned to Jack. 'O'Neill. You wished to speak to me?'
'Just to say thank you.' Jack said, gesturing at him. 'General Hammond just called me. Your intervention worked.'
'I am most pleased to hear that.' Thor said.
'Woah!' Cassie said loudly. 'Is that...?'
'Thor, Cassie; Cassie, Thor.' Jack introduced them succinctly. Maybe contacting Thor in the living area hadn't been such a good idea. Maybe he should have sneaked away to the bathroom.
'Are you here for the barbeque?' Cassie asked excitedly as she walked to stand beside Sam.
'Oh, hey,' Jack gestured at Thor, 'you're more than welcome to join us.'
'Another time perhaps.' Thor said politely. 'I have much preparation to do before the installation of the shields and weapons.' He turned to look at Sam. 'I am looking forward to working with you again, Major Carter.'
'I'm looking forward to it too.' Sam said brightly.
'She's like a kid the night before Christmas.' Jack agreed.
Thor looked at him blankly. Jack shot Sam a look and she bit her lip as though to prevent herself from smiling.
'She's, uh, excited.' Jack explained.
'As am I.' Thor said calmly. 'It will be fascinating to examine your technology.'
'Fascinating.' Jack said dryly. He looked at Sam again and she smiled back at him. He turned back to Thor. 'Are you OK beaming Carter to Nevada as arranged?'
'I will.' Thor inclined his head. 'Major Carter can communicate when she is ready for transport with the stone.' He beamed out before Jack could reply.
Jack tossed the communication stone to Carter and wasn't surprised when she caught it one-handed. 'All yours, Carter.'
'Thank you, sir.' She looked at the stone with a frown.
'Look at this way, Carter, at least you won't end up in front of McKay half-naked.' Jack said.
Sam's eyebrows shot up as Cassie's mouth dropped open.
Jack looked at them both. 'What?'
'Been having shower beam-out nightmares by any chance, sir?' Sam asked, smirking at him. She caught Cassie's look of incomprehension. 'Thor has a habit of beaming us up without any notice.'
Cassie wrinkled her nose. 'That has to be annoying.'
'Oh yeah.' Jack agreed wryly.
She spun back around and made for the kitchen again.
Jack was left with Carter who was continuing to smirk at him. If only she knew his nightmare was actually a fantasy wish that Thor would deposit her half-naked in front of him one day. As if she knew what he was thinking, she blushed and dropped the smirk.
'Shouldn't you be lighting the barbeque, sir?' Sam asked pointedly.
'Barbeque. Right.' Jack wagged a finger at her. 'I knew there was something.' He turned on his heel and headed out to the grill. It didn't take more than a few moments to get the fire burning fiercely. He wafted a hand over the metal grid to clear the smoke. It would need to cool down before they cooked the meat.
He made his way back inside and stopped in the middle of the den when he glanced through the open hole in the internal wall. He had a clear view through the dining room and into the kitchen where he could see Carter passing Cassie some tomatoes to chop and the way the young woman's eyes rolled in response. It was making salad; a mundane domestic chore, something that shouldn't have caught his attention, and yet it had.
His eyes dropped on a wave of longing as a fragment of a memory shot through him.
'Why don't you tear up the lettuce, Charlie?' Sara handed their son the bright crisp green oval as Jack entered the kitchen.
'I don't like salad.' Charlie complained.
'Charlie...' she started to protest.
'And neither does Dad.' He said triumphantly.
Sara looked at Jack exasperated.
'He's right.' Jack said, grinning. He ruffled Charlie's hair as he leaned over to kiss his wife's cheek softly. 'I don't.' He picked up the cigarette packet and the lighter he'd discarded on the counter earlier. 'I'm going to light the grill.' And sneak a smoke; Sara wouldn't let him smoke in the house anymore since she'd given up.
Sara sighed but there was amusement in her eyes not irritation. 'You could try and be a good example.' She complained with mock sternness.
'That's what Moms are for.' Jack said easily, winking at Charlie who grinned back at him.
'Jack?' Cassie waved a hand in front of his face.
Jack started. 'Sorry.' He gestured at her as she motioned for him to follow her through to the kitchen. 'What?'
'I can't find bowls.' Cassie complained, glancing at him over her shoulder as though she was concerned. 'Are you OK? You zoned out.'
'Yeah. Just thinking.' Jack said dismissively, hoping she'd drop it. There was no way he was admitting that seeing her and Carter making salad in his kitchen had reminded him of the days before he'd lost his son and pushed his wife away in the aftermath; had him wishing that he, Carter and Cassie were a unit.
Cassie and Carter were family, Jack reminded himself; just not the way he'd been wishing they were – as his. Maybe in an alternate universe somewhere Sam stood in his kitchen as his wife and Cassie as his daughter but not in his reality – he just wasn't that lucky or deserving apparently. He was lucky to have them at all, Jack thought sternly as he pushed past Carter and opened a cupboard, pulling out a set of mismatched bowls. 'These do?'
'That's great, sir.' Sam plucked the uppermost one off the top and handed it to Cassie.
Cassie gathered up a handful of salad leaves and dropped them into the bowl.
'What time's Teal'c getting here?' Sam asked.
'He was borrowing a base car. He should be arriving any minute.' Jack said, glancing at his watch.
Sam nodded. 'What about Lieutenant Rush and Jonas?'
'Jonas?' Cassie slowed in dumping salad into its container. 'As in Jonas Quinn, the guy who got Daniel killed?'
Sam darted an anxious look towards Jack before she turned to the young woman beside her. 'Cassie, that's not true, and you know he's a member of the team now and...'
'Yeah.' Cassie snorted. 'And how did that happen?' She shoved the bowl aside. 'Just don't expect me to talk to him.' She marched out of the room. The door to the deck banged loudly as she slammed it.
Sam sighed and made to go after her.
Jack caught hold of her hand, stopping her exit. 'I've got this.'
'I've never spoken to her about Jonas. I didn't think,' Sam admitted, her eyes meeting his with a strange mix of hurt and remorse that made him want to hug her, 'I mean, she hasn't even met Jonas yet and...'
'My fault, Carter.' Jack's hand squeezed hers gently. 'I didn't think anything of it either and it was my idea to invite her, remember?' He'd made the suggestion when Carter had called him in the middle of the night worried about how Cassie had taken the news that Nirrti was dead. The call had made him happy in a way he didn't want to examine too closely. He and Carter couldn't be more than friends and so he valued every moment their friendship got just that bit closer.
Her cheeks went pink but she nodded.
'I'll take care of it.' Jack promised her. He gave her hand another light squeeze and let go. He left before he did something more foolish like kissing her.
He followed Cassie out onto the deck. She sat on the bench beside the house, arms folded tightly over her chest, a mutinous expression on her teenage face.
He dropped to sit next to her. They sat together for a while in silence.
Jack wet his lips. 'We've never talked about what happened with Daniel, have we?' They hadn't. He'd pretty much left everyone to cope with their grief without him; just like after Charlie had died. Hell, he'd only pushed past his own pain to help Carter because he couldn't bear the thought of losing her too.
'Mom told me.'
'What did she tell you?' Jack asked.
'How Daniel saved everyone on Kelowna; about the radiation poisoning.' Cassie said shortly. 'How Jonas didn't do anything to stop him.'
'Do you think he could have done something to stop Daniel from helping?' Jack asked bluntly. 'And do you really think Jonas would be on the team if I thought for one moment he had anything to do with Daniel...leaving?'
'No.' Cassie admitted grudgingly.
Jack leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. He clasped his hands together lightly. 'It wasn't Jonas's fault. Even if Jonas had acted instead of Daniel...' he sighed, 'Daniel would probably have gone into the lab with him; probably have still taken a lethal dose of radiation,' he waved one hand in the air, 'and he still would have gone glowy.' If there was one thing he was certain of, it was that.
Cassie sighed beside him; her heel kicked the ground.
Jack made a face. 'Jonas cleared Daniel's name, and he gave up his home, everything he knows to help us.'
'Is that why you let him join SG1?' Cassie asked bluntly.
Jack grimaced. He still quite hadn't worked that one out yet; because Jonas reminded him of Daniel, or because he'd helped save Earth from Anubis, or because he really hadn't wanted a Russian on the team; it was all muddled in his head. 'Honestly; I don't know.' He looked over at her. 'Now, ask me why I let him stay on SG1?'
'Why do you let him stay on SG1?' Cassie replied dutifully.
'Because he saved my life; he saved Carter's life; he saved Teal'c's.' Jack said softly. 'He's earned it.'
Cassie bit her lip.
'Look at it another way, Cass,' Jack said briskly, 'if it had been me or Sam who'd gone glowy and Daniel was around, how do you think he would be treating Jonas?'
Cassie heaved another sigh. 'That's so not fair.' She scowled. 'I like being mad at Jonas.' She kicked at the ground. 'It means I don't have to be mad at Daniel.'
Jack sighed himself. He knew that feeling all too well. He'd pretty much taken the same approach in the immediacy of Jonas's arrival.
'You're going to ask me to be nice to him, aren't you?' Her eyes narrowed on him.
Jack raised a scarred eyebrow. 'What do you think?'
Cassie glared back at him.
'Today's a big deal for him.' Jack explained. 'It's his first date on Earth, first date with Lieutenant Rush...'
'His first date?' Cassie interrupted. 'And he's bringing her to a team barbeque?' Her voice got higher with every word.
'Ah. Well. That might have been my idea. Kind of.' Jack winced at her appalled expression.
'When was the last time you dated, Jack?' Cassie asked. 'I mean; a team barbeque for a first date?'
'It's a Kelownan thing for a first date.' Jack said defensively. He so wasn't admitting to Cassie exactly when his last date had been. 'You take your date to meet your family so they can check her out so I thought; team barbeque – same difference.'
'Right.' Cassie snorted. She got to her feet and rubbed her arms to warm up again. 'Well, this should be fun.'
Jack straightened. 'Cass...' he said warningly.
'I'll be nice.' She promised. She smiled at him with an innocence he didn't quite believe as she disappeared into the house.
'Yep.' Jack muttered as he followed her. 'That's what I'm afraid of.'
Jonas turned to look at Stacey Rush. She was focused on driving and he used the opportunity to admire her again. Her curly strawberry blonde hair was down and it brushed the top of her denim jacket at the shoulders. Underneath, he could see the flash of a pink blouse. Her legs were encased in the jeans everyone seemed to wear.
She caught him looking at her and smiled. 'What?'
'Have I told you how beautiful you look?'
Stacey laughed lightly. 'You're good for my ego, Jonas.' She shot him a pleased look. 'You don't scrub up too badly yourself.'
Jonas looked down at his khaki pants and green checked shirt. He shrugged. It wasn't as though he had an extensive wardrobe. 'Thank you, and thank you for driving.'
'No problem.' Stacey smiled back at him. 'How are the lessons going?'
'I haven't hit anything yet.' Jonas said dryly, recalling his last driving lesson. 'That's a good thing, right?'
She laughed again. 'A very good thing.' She agreed. 'Who's teaching you?'
'Teal'c.' Jonas smiled as she did. 'What?'
Stacey grinned, her freckled face bright with amusement. 'Come on, you don't think one alien teaching another to drive on Earth, isn't funny?'
Jonas laughed. 'I guess I hadn't thought of it that way before.'
'You know I was beginning to think you were never going to ask me out.' Stacey commented as she took a turning he recognised.
'Well, this is the first time I've asked anyone out since I got here, I mean, to Earth.' Jonas explained. 'I wasn't sure what the protocol was.'
'I'm glad you figured it out.' Her flirtatious hazel eyes met his briefly before she returned her attention to the road.
Jonas smiled contentedly. He pointed at the next turn-off. 'Here.'
Stacey hit the indicator and made the turning smoothly.
'Are you sure you're OK with a team barbeque as a date?' Jonas asked. Nyan had seemed quite surprised by the idea that morning at breakfast.
'I'm OK.' Stacey assured him. 'I mean, it's a little scary, what with Colonel O'Neill and all the rest of your team but they're not that scary once you get to know them, right?'
'Right.' Jonas assured her. He paused as he considered his team-mates. 'Well, yes, they're still all kind of scary but they're nice.' He smiled at her. 'Even the Colonel.'
Stacey shook her head. 'You have no idea how jealous everyone else is going to be that I got to go to a barbeque with SG1.'
Jonas wasn't unaware of the status the team had at the SGC and the glee in her voice had him a little concerned. She had agreed to go out with him before she had known the date was a team barbeque, he reminded himself. Or maybe, whispered the voice in his head, she'd only been interested in him in the first place because of his position on SG1. He dismissed the thought almost immediately.
They pulled up in front of the Colonel's house and Jonas got out, hurrying around to hold the driver's door open for Stacey.
'Thank you.' Stacey reached into the back of the car for the items they'd picked up before setting off for the Colonel's house.
Jonas took the beer from her and she grasped the pie box firmly. They walked up to the wooden front door together and knocked. Jonas smiled at her reassuringly.
The door opened widely and Jack stood there with a wide smile that Jonas could not recall seeing before. 'Hey. Good to see you. Come on in, kids.'
'We brought beer.' Jonas lifted his offering and Jack took it from him deftly.
'And pie, sir.' Stacey said shyly.
'Excellent.' Jack said with genuine appreciation. 'Carter brought salad.'
'Salad's good for you, sir.' Stacey replied with a laugh at his disgusted expression.
'That's what she tells me.' Jack quipped as he ushered them both inside.
'I also brought cake, sir.' Sam pointed out as she walked up to take the pie from Stacey. 'Hi.'
'Major Carter.' Stacey said politely, relinquishing her pie.
'I'll take this into the kitchen.' Sam smiled, shyness mixed with her innate charm, and Jonas slowly let out his breath – he hadn't realised he'd been holding it.
Stacey smiled back. 'Thank you, ma'am.'
Jack waved a hand at the Jaffa in front of the fireplace as he led the way into the den. 'You know Teal'c obviously, and this is Cassie Fraiser.'
Jonas's eyes widened in pleased surprise as the young woman sitting on the sofa got to her feet. She was also dressed in jeans matched with a green sweater that brought out the red in her hair. He'd heard a lot about Cassie from Sam and he'd read the journal on the mission to Hanka and its aftermath. He'd been looking forward to meeting her. 'Hi.' He felt Stacey stiffen beside him and wondered at it as he held out his hand to shake Cassie's.
'I'm Jonas.' He said brightly. 'This is Stacey Rush.'
Cassie smiled but her attention was on Stacey. 'We met at my Mom's Christmas thing last year.'
'I remember.' Stacey said awkwardly. 'Hi.'
'Speaking of drinks, Cass, why don't you and I get some sorted?' Jack said pointedly. 'Ginger ale for you T?'
'Indeed.' Teal'c said solemnly.
'Stacey?' Jack asked.
'I'll have a juice, sir.'
Jack nodded. 'Jonas?'
'I'll have a ginger ale.' Jonas said.
'T, can you check on the grill?'
Teal'c inclined his head. He excused himself and made for the open door out to the deck. Jack jerked his head up the stairs towards the kitchen at Cassie and she followed.
Stacey let out a short breath.
'You OK?' Jonas asked in a low voice.
'Yeah, I just didn't expect the CMO's daughter to be on the guest list.' Stacey whispered.
Jonas looked at her surprised. He hadn't considered her relationship to Cassie as being problematic but he guessed he could see the awkwardness in being at a barbeque with the close relative of someone of importance in a work situation. 'I didn't realise she was going to be here.' He admitted. 'She's supposed to be very nice.' He looked at her uncertain expression and his heart sank. As much as he'd been looking forward to meeting Cassie given her importance to his team-mates not to mention that they had something in common both being displaced on Earth from their home planets, he didn't want anything to ruin the date for Stacey. 'But we could leave, if you want.'
Stacey put her hand on his arm. 'No. It's OK.' She smiled at him. 'Really.'
Jonas nodded. 'OK, then.'
'So,' Jack bounded back down into the den with drinks for Jonas, Stacey and himself, 'here you go.'
'Thank you, Colonel.' Stacey said. 'You have a great home.' She gestured around the room. 'I love the split level.'
'Thank you.' Jack smiled at her. 'And please, I think we can lose the ranks for an afternoon; call me Jack.'
Jonas could see the surprise on Sam's face as she overheard the Colonel's statement as she came down the stairs her hands filled with salad bowls. Cassie followed her with three drinks carefully balanced in her hands. Jonas surmised they were for her.
Jack seemed to realise Sam was there because he darted a look at her. 'That OK with you, Carter?'
Sam didn't reply to him directly but motioned at Stacey as she crossed the room. 'Call me Sam.'
'And I'm Stacey.' She gestured at the bowls. 'Can I help with anything?'
'No, we're good.' Sam said. She disappeared out onto the deck, Cassie following in her wake.
'Just kick back and relax.' Jack said, motioning wildly. 'And now, if you'll excuse me I have some meat I have to burn.' He gave them a lopsided smile and made his own retreat.
Stacey smiled at Jonas. 'He's actually quite charming, isn't he, underneath all the gruffness?'
Jonas raised his eyebrows a little. He gestured at the door. 'You want to go outside and join them.'
'Sure.' Stacey fell into step beside him and they made their way outside.
It wasn't cold outside, the sun was shining and the sky was a brilliant blue. But it wasn't overly warm either and Jonas felt Stacey move closer to him as they took their places at the table. He enjoyed the way she inched closer until their bodies pressed nicely together hip to shoulder, knee to thigh.
Jonas smiled at her and felt her hand come to rest on his thigh as she winked at him.
The meat was beginning to cook and the scent of the roasting flesh had Jonas's mouth watering and he turned back to his smirking team leader grateful for a distraction. 'Smells good.'
'Now.' Sam agreed.
'Was that a comment about my barbequeing skills, Carter?' Jack teased, wielding the tongs at her.
'Of course not, sir.' Sam replied insincerely, smiling at him.
Stacey cleared her throat. 'So, I noticed The Simpsons tapes in the living room. Are you a fan?'
Jack brightened and nodded. 'You?' He pointed with his beer bottle.
'I love the show.' Stacey agreed.
'That's the one with the yellow cartoon characters, right?' Jonas asked, joining in the conversation.
'Yep.' Jack answered. 'It's a classic.'
'I don't think I've watched it yet.' Jonas admitted. He'd watched a lot of films mostly following Teal'c's and Nyan's suggestions.
Jack pointed the tongs at Teal'c. 'That's your fault. Filling his head with Star Wars.'
Teal'c glowered at Jack momentarily before turning to an amused Stacey. 'Do you not enjoy the Star Wars films, Stacey Rush?'
'I do.' Stacey smiled. 'Who hasn't wanted to be Princess Leia?'
'You did?' Jonas asked.
'Sure,' Stacey said, 'she got to shoot bad guys and save the galaxy. Who wouldn't want to be her?'
'I know someone just like her.' Jack's eyes landed on Sam who lowered her gaze.
'So,' Cassie said suddenly, leaning back in her seat at the table and tapping her glass of juice impatiently, 'would you choose to date Hans Solo or Luke Skywalker?'
Stacey looked at Cassie as though startled by the question. 'Well, I...'
'Isn't Luke like her brother?' Jack interrupted, taking a gulp of his beer.
'Indeed.' Teal'c nodded sagely. 'It would have been most unwise for Princess Leia to have chosen Luke Skywalker as her romantic interest.'
'I didn't mean Leia,' Cassie said, 'I mean, Stacey. Who would Stacey pick?'
They all looked at their guest.
Stacey shrugged, a hint of a blush on her cheeks. 'I do have a thing for Harrison Ford.'
'How about you, Sam?' Cassie smiled sweetly. 'Who would you pick?'
Sam choked on her drink. She waved away their concern as they moved to assist her. 'I'm fine.'
'So?' prompted Cassie.
'Yeah,' Jack grinned, 'so?'
Sam glared at him before she turned back to Cassie. 'Hans Solo. He had the Millennium Falcon.'
Cassie raised her half-filled glass and gestured at Jonas. 'What about you?'
'Me?' Jonas looked at her bemused. He would have thought it was obvious he liked girls. 'I don't...'
'I don't mean who would you choose to date but who would you choose to be?' Cassie explained hurriedly.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow in response and Jonas saw the smirk that the Colonel couldn't quite hide as he turned away to fiddle with the burning meat.
'Luke.' Jonas said, dragging his attention back to the topic. 'I kind of understand him better, I think. We both come from planets in the middle of nowhere, wanting an adventure in space.'
Stacey smiled at him, nudging him with her elbow. Jonas enjoyed the brief contact.
'See that's why I like him too.' Cassie said.
He noticed the speculative look in her eyes and wondered at it.
'I guess you have that in common.' Stacey said. 'Both coming from other worlds.'
Cassie nodded although she didn't look happy at the reminder of her origins. 'What about you, Jack?' She asked, another cheeky grin appearing on her face.
It was Jack's turn to choke. 'Me?' He managed to question when he finished coughing.
'You, sir.' Sam agreed cheerfully, taking advantage of the opportunity to get her own back. 'Who would you choose to be?'
Jack shrugged, his eyes twinkling as Sam ducked her head, hiding her smile. 'Hans Solo.' Another smirk lifted his lips. 'Because he had the Millenium Falcon.'
Jonas smiled. 'Hey, what about you, Teal'c?'
'Master Yoda is the superior warrior.' Teal'c said solemnly.
'He's small.' Jack argued.
'Is size not irrelevant, O'Neill?' Teal'c said, his dark eyes shining with repressed mirth.
'And I am so not going to answer that.' Jack said firmly, flipping the meat.
They all laughed. Sam excused herself, dragging Cassie along with her, to see to the potatoes baking in the oven and Jonas was pleased to see Stacey relax as she fell into a discussion with Jack about The Simpsons.
Maybe everything would work out on their first date after all, he thought happily.
George Hammond breathed a sigh of relief as the limousine pulled away from the White House. He glanced out of the window at the dark sky. It had been a long day. The President had follow-up calls arranged with each Head of State of the nations informed of the Stargate programme and had required Hammond on hand during each. He pressed his lips together. It had been tiresome but it had been worth it. As he had said to Jack earlier that day; the Stargate programme was safe for the time being.
Major Paul Davis shifted on the seat beside him. Hammond noticed the surreptitious look the dark-haired Pentagon liaison darted at his watch. 'Plans, Major?'
The Major flushed; two high blotches of colour appearing over his cheeks. 'Just dinner with a friend, sir.'
Hammond smiled. 'If it's more convenient I can have the driver drop you somewhere else in town other than at my hotel, son.'
'No, it's not a problem, sir.' Davis hurried out. 'Julia will understand.'
'Julia?' Hammond's thin eyebrows rose up his forehead. 'As in Julia Donovan?' The news reporter had been caught up in a plot to steal the Prometheus a couple of months before.
'Yes, sir.' Davis blushed again. 'I think she initially just needed a friendly ear about what happened on the Prometheus and then we started to meet for an occasional drink and,' he caught himself, 'and I have no idea why I'm telling you this, sir.'
Hammond hid his pleasure at the new friendship between Davis and Donovan. And he genuinely was pleased. He knew it hadn't been an easy couple of months for the Major since the Prometheus had been stolen. Davis had been technically in charge of both the assignment to give the news crew access to the spacecraft and to respond to the hostages. Although Davis had done his best, the Prometheus had still been stolen and two valuable prisoners lost. It had only been the intervention of SG1 and the Asgard that had ensured the safe return of the ship. All of which had earned Davis a black mark. For a while it had also looked as though the Pentagon would move to replace him but Hammond had argued fervently against it and luckily he'd had a few senior officers back him including General Vidrine.
'You did a good job with the presentation.' Hammond said, changing their conversation from personal back to the professional.
'Thank you, sir.' Davis said. 'Although I think if it hadn't been for Thor's intervention, Senator Kinsey may have achieved his objective and gained control of the programme.'
'He's determined.' Hammond commented dryly. 'I'll give him that.'
'I would have thought almost being assassinated would have made him reconsider his position.' Davis said.
'I agree.' Hammond said. Unfortunately, it seemed that the Senator's political position had only been strengthened by the assassination attempt and the cover story concocted to explain his survival and to clear Jack's name.
His mind drifted to the evidence stored in his desk against the Senator. He had considered using it a few months before but had been stopped by a voice in his head whispering 'not yet.' He was certain the voice had belonged to the Ascended Daniel Jackson and he had followed its advice. He had to admit that while everything had worked out given Thor's intervention that perhaps it had been a foolish move either to believe that the voice had belonged to Daniel or that he should heed it.
The hotel loomed up ahead and the driver made his way to the entrance, gliding to a stop. Hammond got out, briefly adjusting his cover.
'General.' Davis saluted him.
Hammond saluted back and nodded. 'Have a good evening, Major.'
'And you, sir.' Davis set off along the pavement and Hammond watched as Davis pulled a cell phone out, no doubt to call Julia Donovan and apologise for the delay in meeting her.
Hammond made his way into the hotel, the driver following with his bag. He sighed quietly. It was times like these he regretted Jacob Carter's absence in the capitol. It would have been good to have relaxed over a good meal and shared thoughts with his old friend.
He had just checked in when a familiar form caught his eye and he turned to politely greet the Russian liaison Colonel Chekov, his heart inwardly sinking a little.
'General.' Chekov said formally.
'Colonel.' Hammond replied. He motioned at him with his card key. 'I didn't realise you stayed at this hotel.'
'It is not my usual accommodation. However, I was unable to reserve a place there this visit.' Chekov explained. 'May I buy you a drink, General?'
Hammond's pale blue eyes widened a fraction but he nodded. As much as he didn't want to spend another hour doing a political dance with the Russian, he knew he needed to keep the man on side. He turned to his waiting driver and instructed him to have the bag delivered to the room before he dismissed him. He followed Chekov into the hotel bar.
They took seats at a small round table in a corner alcove. It was private enough that they could talk without being overheard.
Chekov said something in Russian, raising his glass of clear liquid. He must have seen Hammond's questioning look because he smiled. 'Your health, General.'
Hammond raised his glass, the tumbler full of bourbon. 'And to your health.' The alcohol burned its way down his throat and he made a satisfied murmur of appreciation. He set his glass down and regarded the Russian Colonel. 'I didn't get a chance after the end of the meeting to thank you for your support today.'
Chekov gave a small shrug and gestured as though to dismiss Hammond's words. 'Had we known in advance, we could have provided additional assistance in helping you to disclose the existence of the Stargate.'
The hidden rebuke didn't go unnoticed by Hammond. He nodded. 'You would have been informed much earlier but the President only determined that he would go ahead with the disclosure at the last moment.'
'May I ask what prompted the decision?' Chekov asked.
Hammond wasn't fooled by the idle tone. He could see the sharp speculation that coloured the other man's eyes. 'The idea of disclosure was gaining a groundswell of political support especially given problems with our allies in recent cover stories. The President thought it was time.'
'And I presume Senator Kinsey was part of this...political groundswell.' Chekov commented.
Hammond took a sip of his drink to refrain from replying. Regardless of his antipathy towards Kinsey, he wouldn't give the Russians any ammunition against the US.
'I have to admit that even I was surprised by the arrival of, uh,' his eyes darted around the bar, 'our friend.'
Hammond knew he meant Thor as Chekov's gaze moved back to him.
'It is unusual is it not, for them to intervene so directly in the affairs of another?' The Russian continued.
'As he himself said, his friendship would have continued had there been another outcome.' Hammond said mildly.
'But he has a preference for you retaining control.' Chekov noted.
Hammond shrugged easily. He could see why Russia would be concerned at the way the Asgard had supported the SGC retaining control; he had in fact set out to intimidate the other nations by suggesting the Asgard backed only them. He had to admit that though that he had been surprised when Thor had acquiesced to his request, made during a discussion on the planned outfitting of the Prometheus with Asgard shields and weapons. 'I believe he has a fondness for Colonel O'Neill and the rest of SG1. They've risked their lives on several occasions to save his.'
'Ah. Yes. Colonel O'Neill.' Chekov murmured. 'I now understand why he was so ready to take responsibility for Colonel Evanov's death during his last mission.'
Hammond bristled at the implication that Jack had only taken responsibility to ensure the Russians remained supportive during the disclosure. 'He meant every word.' He stabbed the table with a finger. 'He regrets Evanov's death as do I.'
Chekov held up his hand. 'I apologise. It was a poor joke.' He said quietly. 'Even I could see O'Neill meant his words sincerely.'
'I know Jack can seem irreverent but he's a good man.' Hammond said loyally. He doubted the Asgard would be so fond of Jack if he wasn't.
'Doctor Jackson once said the same to me.' Chekov said. He drained his glass and stood. 'It has been a pleasure, General. Until next time.'
Hammond nodded. He breathed a sigh of relief as the Russian left and downed the rest of his drink. Room service, Hammond determined; a nice steak with some fries – he could almost hear his daughter's voice correcting him and insisting on baked potato. He'd call her, he decided, while he waited for the food. He stood up slowly and made his way to the elevators.
The journey to his room took moments and he stepped inside the suite with relief. He barely took in the tasteful decor and the antique furniture. He was just pleased to finally be alone. He pulled off his tie and jacket and made for the telephone in the living room of the suite.
The buzzing sound of a transporter made him freeze and put down the phone as he slowly turned around to see Thor. He swallowed his resentment at the interruption to his plans. He owed the alien a great debt of gratitude after all.
'General Hammond.' Thor inclined his large grey head, his dark eyes blinking at Hammond. 'Colonel O'Neill informed me that all had gone well with our plan.'
'It worked like a charm.' Hammond confirmed. 'I have to thank you again for agreeing to help.'
Thor nodded. His thin fingers grasped the Queen Anne style chair in front of him.
'Please. Sit.' Hammond said, walking over to sit on the sofa as the Asgard took the chair. 'I have to admit Thor that I am curious as to why you agreed to lend your assistance. I understand you don't usually intervene so directly in the political affairs of others.'
'This is true.' Thor acknowledged. 'And I am certain that there are those on the Asgard High Council that would be most displeased with my action here today.'
'But?' prompted Hammond.
'But I believe it is in the Asgard's best interests to continue working with those we know are honourable.' Thor said.
In other words, better the devil they knew, Hammond thought half-amused.
'Particularly given our decision to share our technology with you.' Thor continued. He gestured at Hammond. He inclined his head. 'Is everything being prepared for the installation as we discussed, General Hammond?'
'Everything is being done as you requested. I know Major Carter is looking forward to assisting you.' Hammond said, recognising the change in the subject.
'I am also like a human infant the night before Christmas.' Thor said.
Hammond looked at him bemused.
'I am looking forward to working with her once again.' Thor clarified. 'She has an exceptional mind.'
'That she has.' Hammond agreed. 'They're an exceptional team.'
'As I believe Teal'c would say: indeed.' Thor said.
'I owe them my life.' Thor said simply.
Hammond nodded; everyone on the planet owed SG1 their lives, several times over. He sighed. 'They've been through a lot this last year.'
'The loss of Daniel Jackson was most difficult for them.' Thor commented.
Hammond nodded. 'I won't pretend otherwise.' He admitted. He gave a small smile. 'And I won't deny that I would have liked his expertise today myself. Daniel had a way of convincing people to do the right thing.'
'Not just people.' Thor said.
Hammond looked at him curiously. 'Thor?'
'All I can say,' Thor said dryly, 'is that despite the constraints placed upon him as an Ascended being, I believe that Daniel Jackson has continued his work to ensure the safety of Earth.'
Hammond stared at him. Thor had seen Daniel, he realised, his heart pounding with the realisation. They'd had interactions with Ascended beings themselves before so it wasn't unthinkable that the Asgard had seen Daniel in his Ascended form.
His mind raced. They had been told the Asgard had changed their mind about giving them technology upon realising that Anubis had effectively broken the Protected Planets treaty when he had attacked Thor. He was beginning to wonder if Daniel Jackson hadn't had some part in helping them come to that realisation. The archaeologist had known the treaty better than anyone else.
Thor rose smoothly to his feet. 'I have taken up enough of your evening, General Hammond. I will contact you tomorrow ahead of the installation.'
'One question, Thor.' Hammond stood up too. 'Is he OK?'
Thor's wide eyes blinked at him innocently. 'I believe he is, General Hammond.' The bright white light zapped him away before Hammond could ask anything further.
Hammond sat back down.
A slow smile spread across his face. His own doubts about hearing Daniel's voice in his head disappeared. He was more certain than ever that it had been Daniel Jackson, and he trusted him. He debated briefly whether to inform SG1 but dismissed the idea. They had only just healed from the archaeologist's departure and he didn't want to open up old wounds. Moreover, Hammond didn't have proof nor any explicit confession from Thor that Daniel had been involved with the decision to give them technology. It seemed such a fanciful notion that Daniel would continue to watch over them as an Ascended being.
Fanciful notion or not, Hammond thought firmly, it certainly made him feel better. And if it had been Daniel who had spoken the words 'not yet' perhaps he had been right. After all, the Stargate programme was safe from Kinsey's machinations for another day without Hammond using the evidence he had saved. Perhaps, Hammond considered thoughtfully, there would be another opportunity to bring Kinsey down, or a better time for Hammond to play the remaining ace up his sleeve. He patted the arm of the sofa softly. He could wait. He'd managed to outwit Kinsey during the day's events; he could do it again.
'Maybe she wants to date Jack.' Cassie's stage-whisper to Sam reached Jonas's ears as he approached the kitchen.
'Cassie.' Sam's tone held a warning that mothers the galaxy over seemed able to convey without effort. Jonas remembered his own mother speaking to him with the same note if he was in danger of pushing his luck.
'I'm just saying,' Cassie murmured, 'between the Harrison Ford thing, The Simpsons and now hockey?'
Jonas couldn't blame her. He had just watched, as Cassie had, Stacey joking with the Colonel about some hockey reference as he helped the others clear the dishes away. A lump formed in Jonas's throat that he resolutely ignored. So Stacey loved hockey along with The Simpsons. She had ensured Jonas was part of the discussions too, explaining things to him as they went, Jonas told himself briskly. But it didn't help the encroaching feeling of exclusion the more time Stacey continued to dwell on the topics closest to his team leader's heart – topics that Jonas had little interest in.
Jonas made the plates clatter audibly as he took the final steps into the kitchen.
Sam greeted him with a sympathetic smile. She looked strained herself; white lines of tension bracketed her mouth and eyes. 'I think it could be time for dessert.' She said with false bravado. 'What do you think?'
'Sure.' Jonas attempted a smile. It wasn't her fault his date had gone so badly. It wasn't even the Colonel's – he'd been nothing but a gracious host all day. Sam and Teal'c had both tried to introduce other topics as had Cassie. Perhaps the young girl had gotten it right; maybe Stacey would prefer to be dating Jack O'Neill.
'Cassie's wrong, you know.' Sam's voice nudged him out of his introspection.
Jonas looked up and belatedly realised that he was alone with Sam in the kitchen. Cassie must have been dispatched with the pie given it was missing from the counter. He feigned innocence. 'About what?'
'Stacey likes you.' Sam said. 'You can tell.'
'You can?' Jonas blurted out the question. Somehow in the last few hours he had begun to doubt that.
Sam nodded and dropped her gaze as she manoeuvred the cake onto a large plate. 'I think she's just...a little in awe of the Colonel.' She licked her thumb where the cake icing had gotten smudged.
'I don't know half the stuff they're talking about.' Jonas remarked as he picked up the smaller plates she indicated.
'It doesn't mean anything, Jonas.' Sam said comfortingly. 'It doesn't change that she came here with you.' She pushed him gently in the direction of the den. They had come inside after eating, the falling temperature a signal to seek the warmth of the indoors.
Jack gazed at the cake, rubbing his hands with glee and making Jonas smile, as Sam put it down. 'Now, this was what I was waiting for.' His dark eyes met Sam's and she smiled, the tension draining out of her expression for a moment.
'What about a slice of pie, Jack?' Stacey asked, interrupting the moment.
Cassie gestured with her drink. 'It's chocolate. He prefers vanilla cream.'
'It's not a competition.' Jack said mildly. But Jonas noticed the way his eyes remained on Sam. 'But I admit; vanilla cream's my favourite.'
'I'll have some pie.' Jonas said quickly, seeing Stacey's disappointment.
Stacey grinned at him. 'You prefer chocolate?'
'I do.' Jonas said with absolute truth. 'We don't have chocolate on Kelowna.'
'Nor I on Chulak.' Teal'c said. 'I will also have pie.'
'We didn't have it on Hanka either.' Cassie said as Stacey leaned forward to cut Jonas a section of pie. 'We had pinbar.'
'Pinbar?' Jonas asked curious.
'It was a dark, sticky cake. Kind of like fruit cake here but much, much better.' Cassie sighed. 'I miss pinbar.' She gestured with her glass and it flew out of her hand.
Jonas watched as the glass landed squarely in the pie, sending the chocolate cream splattering, and the last liquid contents of the glass arching through the air. It all landed over Stacey.
For a second, nobody moved.
Stacey looked down in horror at her ruined blouse and splattered jeans.
'Oh my God!' Cassie clapped a hand over her mouth. 'I am so sorry!'
Jack's lips twitched as he got to his feet; Jonas noticed Sam was already moving to right the glass, Teal'c to whisk the ruined pie away.
'Carter, maybe you can find something for Stacey to change into? I think I have some of Daniel's old sweats in the spare room closet.' Jack suggested.
'Yes, sir.' Sam gently took hold of the other woman and led her away.
Jack looked at Cassie and Jonas wondered at the look of admonishment on his face.
'I swear,' Cassie said, holding a hand up as though she was taking an oath, 'it was an accident.'
'It's not your fault.' Jonas said. 'Let's face it, it wasn't going well before...' he waved toward the scene of the accident. 'She has more in common with the Colonel than me.'
Jack winced visibly at Jonas's assertion. 'Jonas, she's just trying to impress a senior officer; that's all. She's not actually interested in me. Believe me; I've seen it a hundred times before.'
Jonas could see the belief in what he'd said in the Colonel's brown eyes. 'Maybe.' He allowed. 'But, no offence, Colonel; I kind of hoped my date would spend more time talking with me than with you.' He pushed a hand through his hair. 'If you'll excuse me, I think I'll get some air.' He walked out before anyone could stop him.
He sat on the edge of the deck, his legs dangling a good few feet off the ground as he stared across the Colonel's backyard. He wasn't surprised to hear the door open behind him – he'd expected someone to come out and talk with him. He was however surprised at who it was.
Cassie sat beside him and let her legs swing back. They thumped into the wall below. 'You overheard me talking with Sam.'
Jonas shrugged. 'You only said what I was already thinking.'
'I was being mean.' Cassie blurted out, gesturing at him.
Jonas looked at her surprised at the confession.
'I really, really, didn't mean to drop my glass and ruin her blouse,' Cassie rushed out hurriedly, 'but before in the kitchen,' she bit her lip in a way that reminded Jonas of Sam, 'I was just being mean to you.'
'Why?' Jonas asked confused. What had he done to make her want to be mean to him? It didn't make any sense.
Cassie looked at him as though he was stupid and he suddenly got it; Daniel Jackson.
'Oh. Well. I can understand that.' Jonas said softly. He remembered only too well the cold shoulder he'd been given his first few weeks at the SGC when it seemed everyone blamed him for the other man almost dying, leaving; he'd blamed himself – did blame himself.
She sighed. 'I lost everyone once. Mom, SG1...they're all I have left.' She murmured, her gaze dropping to her hands on her lap. 'And I don't want to be mad at Daniel for leaving so...'
Jonas nodded. 'I get it I do.' His voice rang with his own understanding. SG1 was everything he had left too. He held his breath because he knew if she made them choose between him and her, he didn't stand a chance.
'But I like you and it's very annoying.' Cassie complained, tossing her auburn hair back. 'You kind of remind me of me when I first came to Earth.'
Jonas didn't know quite how to respond to that. 'Thank you?'
She gave a soft huff. Her eyes lifted to spear his. 'Stacey likes likes you.'
Jonas opened his mouth to argue.
'She looks at you when she thinks you aren't looking.' Cassie said before he could say something. 'And she always knows where you are. She sneaked food off your plate and she might have been talking to Jack but she never moved from your side all dinner.'
'So you think her talking to the Colonel...'
'So totally her trying to impress a senior officer.' Cassie agreed, waving a hand in the air. 'Apart from my Mom and Sam, they all do it when Jack gives them the rare opportunity to see him off-base and he isn't just, you know, being scary Colonel O'Neill.' She grimaced. 'You should see my Mom's staff sometimes and she's just a Major.'
'OK,' Jonas said, 'I get that.' He had seen it before when SG1 worked with other teams; the deference of the junior officers, the awe in which they were held. He really shouldn't have been surprised that Stacey felt the same. He shook his head. 'I guess I really didn't think this team barbeque thing through as a first date.'
'Well, that's because you listened to Jack.' Cassie pointed out with a teenage bluntness. 'You really shouldn't get dating advice from him.'
'Why not?' Jonas asked bemused at finding himself discussing his love life with a teenage girl. 'I understand that he's been married in the past.'
'Emphasis on the past as in distant.' Cassie stressed. She grinned at him. 'You want to fix this?'
'Stay right here.' Cassie sprang up and left before he could say a word.
He shook his head in bewilderment. Nothing about the date was going the way he had imagined it. He wasn't sure quite what he had imagined. He'd read so many books on dating; on Earth romantic traditions that he'd gotten confused. It was so different from Kelowna where courtship had a strict set of rules that had to be followed.
The door opened again. Cassie hurried out her arms full of candles. Jonas pushed himself to his feet to help her and she tumbled the lot into his arms.
'Teal'c always keeps a stock here. He says you can have them. Put them out.' She ordered briskly. 'I'll get a light for you.'
She was as good as her word; within moments the deck had been transformed by a blaze of candlelight. He was just blowing the taper out when she arrived back again with some drinks.
'Just stay here. I'll go and get Stacey now – I told Sam to stall her.' Cassie said firmly. She pointed at the sky. 'Sunset. We'll leave the two of you out here alone for the rest of the evening.'
'Cassie.' Jonas stopped her with a wide smile. 'Thanks.'
Cassie grinned back at him and disappeared through the door. Jonas sat back down. He got up when the door opened again and Stacey stepped out onto the deck. She was swamped by an oversize sweater proclaiming her allegiance to a University in Chicago that Jonas presumed was Daniel Jackson's. Her jeans had a couple of damp spots where the worst of the mess had been scrubbed off the denim.
She stopped abruptly at the sight of the candles and Jonas reached out for her hand, closing the door with his other before he led her to the edge of the deck.
'Jonas, this is just...incredible.' Stacey said as she gave in to his urgings to take a seat where Cassie had sat beside him a few moments before.
Jonas handed her a glass of ginger ale. 'I thought we could watch the sunset.' He motioned at the sky where the sun was inching towards the horizon, a large golden orb, its colours beginning to seep into the thin grey light and create a swathe of pinks and oranges.
'Just the two of us?' Stacey checked darting a look behind them.
'Just the two of us.' Jonas promised.
Stacey sighed and he could see the relief flicker across her open expression; the way her shoulders dropped an inch. She cuddled closer and he hesitantly put his arm around her shoulder as she focused on the sky ahead of them.
'I'm sorry about your clothes.' Jonas said softly.
'Cassie apologised.' Stacey murmured. 'She, uh, also explained about the Kelownan tradition of taking your date to meet your family.' She turned her head to meet his gaze. 'I'm honoured really.'
'Even though this was a bad idea?' Jonas questioned. 'I mean, I never really thought about how it would be for you being in the company of senior officers.'
She winced visibly. 'I got a little carried away talking with the Colonel, didn't I?'
Stacey smiled. 'I tell you what. Why don't I make it up to you on our second date?'
'Our second date?' Jonas questioned hopefully.
'And I can show you what a first date on Earth is really like.' Stacey said.
'I'd like that.' Jonas said.
They looked at each other warmly for a long moment. Jonas felt a frisson of attraction skitter over him.
'So, the first thing you should know,' Stacey said, her voice low and soft, 'is that you should always be suspicious of a woman who kisses on the first date.'
'Yeah?' Jonas asked roughly.
'Yeah. She generally wants something.' She shuffled position and kissed him softly on the lips.
Jonas examined her expression and moved to cup her cheek in the palm of one hand. He kissed her again, slowly and thoroughly.
'So,' Jonas asked as he pulled away reluctantly, 'what do you want?'
Stacey smiled brightly at him and tugged him back to her. 'You're doing just fine.'
Jonas smiled widely. 'We're going to miss the sunset.'
'There'll be another one tomorrow.' Stacey commented just before she kissed him again.
Cassie peeked out from behind the curtain and grinned. It looked like Jonas caught on quick. She sighed inwardly. It all looked so romantic. She wondered if she dropped enough hints to Dominic whether he'd do the same for her.
'That's just wrong.' Jack complained beside her as Jonas continued kissing Stacey.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow from his vantage point on the other side of the window. He was busily demolishing the remainder of the chocolate cream pie. 'Do you disagree with his technique, O'Neill?'
Cassie snorted at Jack's outraged look. Jack and kissing? She so did not want to think about that.
'She's wearing Daniel's sweater.' Jack pointed out. 'Don't you think Jonas kissing a woman wearing Daniel's sweater is the least bit creepy?'
'I don't think Daniel would mind, sir.' Sam said dryly. 'Should we even be watching them like this?'
'Probably not.' Jack admitted with a sigh.
They all didn't move.
Jonas suddenly shot them a look and they all stepped away from the window except for Cassie. Sam tugged at her and Cassie moved, rolling her eyes.
'That was a nice thing you did.' Sam said.
Cassie nodded. She liked Jonas and she was pleased she'd helped him fix things with Stacey. She felt a flutter of grief for Daniel but let it simply flow through her. She missed him, Cassie thought with a sigh, but she figured he would have been proud of the way she had helped Jonas. She turned hopefully to Jack. 'Maybe we should go out?'
'Out?' Jack prompted.
'To the ice-cream place on Main?' Cassie wheedled. She looked at Sam. 'They do the most awesome hot chocolate with marshmallows too.'
'I believe it would be wise to leave Jonas Quinn and Stacey Rush alone.' Teal'c inclined his head at Cassie, backing her up.
Jack exchanged a look with Sam who shrugged.
'I guess I'm in for another sleepless night.' Sam said ruefully as she gave in.
Jack winked at her. 'I don't mind.'
Cassie wondered at their exchange and the way Sam blushed. That had almost sounded like...
'Are you not coming with us, Cassandra Fraiser?' Teal'c offered his arm and Cassie took it gratefully, shaking away her thoughts. She snagged her coat by the door as they followed Jack and Sam out of the house.
Ice-cream with her favourite people seemed like a good reward to her.