Author's notes: This is a domestic story, character driven, not action oriented. The main point of view is Jon. Teal'c and Sam regretfully make only peripheral appearances. Alpha and Beta thank yous to Jude and Sharon. Thanks Moonbaby for the feedback Any remaining errors, plot canyons and sequential off-ness are purely my own. And I'm very proud of 'em too!
by Mitch H
Date Archived: 03/14/04
Category: Tokra Flats, Drama, Slash
Characters/Pairings: Col. Jack O'Neill, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Other Characters Jon O'Neill, Jack's clone Jack/Daniel
Spoilers: Through the middle of Season Seven
Permission to archive:
Notes: This is a domestic story, character driven, not action oriented. The main point of view is Jon. Teal'c and Sam regretfully make only peripheral appearances.
Alpha and Beta thank yous to Jude and Sharon. Thanks Moonbaby for the feedback Any remaining errors, plot canyons and sequential off-ness are purely my own. And I'm very proud of 'em too!
Warnings: Gayness! Homosexual activities. Sex is almost not an issue, however a chronological 16 year old does briefly narrate a few sexual encounters.
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/ Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. Fan fiction, not for profit. No copyright infringement is intended. The story is for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations and story are mine. Please check with me first if you want to archive or link to this story.
Summary: A car wreck has terrible consequences for Jon, Jack O'Neill's clone. Daniel has to deal with the outcome to the best of his ability until Jack returns from a mission. Jack's return makes matters worse, not better. The three must struggle to come to grips with the change in their lives, keep Jon safe and out of the hands of the NID while trying to battle the emotional trauma of being thrust together under circumstances none of them clearly understand.
Title: Boy, Interrupted
Pairing: Jack/Daniel, established relationship Category: Drama, Slash
Season/Spoilers: Season Five,
Archive: Alpha Gate. Area 52. Jackdaniels. Anyone else please ask. Synopsis: Summary: A car wreck has terrible consequences for Jon, Jack O'Neill's clone. Daniel has to deal with the outcome to the best of his ability until Jack returns from a mission. Jack's return makes matters worse, not better. The three must struggle to come to grips with the change in their lives, keep Jon safe and out of the hands of the NID while trying to battle the emotional trauma of being thrust together under circumstances none of them clearly understand
Notes: This is a domestic story, character driven, not action oriented. The main point of view is Jon. Teal'c and Sam regretfully make only peripheral appearances.
Alpha and Beta thank yous to Jude and Sharon. Thanks Moonbaby for the feedback.. Any remaining errors, plot canyons and sequential off-ness are purely my own. And I'm very proud of 'em too!
Gayness! Homosexual activities. Sex is almost not an issue, however a chronological 16 year old does briefly narrate a few sexual encounters.
Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/ Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. Fan fiction, not for profit. No copyright infringement is intended. The story is for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations and story are mine. Please check with me first if you want to archive or link to this story.
Daniel didn't bother packing a bag; it should be a quick trip to Denver and back. Jack was off world without him for once, as tactical advisor on a mission that did not require either a linguist or cultural advisor. Usually it was Daniel who got called off world to help one of his department peg down a translation or advise on a cultural connection.
It felt odd to be on Earth without Jack and he knew the colonel would not like hearing him say that. Exactly why he felt odd wasn't an issue for Daniel. just for Jack who wanted Daniel strong, independent, self-reliant and in balance. All the better to keep himself on this plane of existence.
Daniel had been known to leave it. Jack didn't like that.
The call came into Hammond's office earlier that day. Jonathan O'Neill had been in a car accident four weeks ago. He was injured but ready to be discharged. His next of kin, George Hammond was notified as soon as the hospital had located a phone number for the man. The general couldn't leave the base due to the very crisis that had summoned Jack away. So the option was for either Jon to have a stranger on Hammond's staff to show up at the hospital, or Daniel.
"I'll get there in a couple of hours by helicopter and see what Jonathan needs, sir. I'll get him squared away and be back here by tonight."
"Good. I don't want the man to feel we've abandoned him. He's been lying in that hospital for several weeks. We just didn't know anything had happened. I can't leave the base right now, and since I'm listed as his next of kin, well, I want it to be someone he'll trust."
"Don't worry, sir," Daniel said. But he didn't feel as calm as he sounded. Facing Jack's clone had not been hard the first time, there had been no need for Daniel to tend to him, but this was different. What would be expected of him once he got there? Get the man's toothbrush or maybe arrange for his school assignments to be delivered? He was an adult, perfectly capable of tending to his own needs, but the hospital might be reluctant to discharge someone who appeared to be only sixteen.
Much sooner than he felt mentally ready to deal with the situation Daniel was in the hospital consulting with Jonathan's physician.
"Doctor, the nature of his injuries are--"
"This will be hard for you to hear. I'll put this in layman's terms, Mr. O'Neill. Your son has sustained brain damage, but we're very hopeful about his condition. There was some bleeding inside his brain, and when that happens--"
"Doctor Jackson. My name is Doctor Jackson. I'm not Jon's father. I'm an associate of his legal guardian."
"I see. Well, as I was saying, the young man is lucky to be alive. He sustained a heavy blow to the cranium, frontal occipital lobe damage, the only serious injury he sustained in the accident. The MRI shows tearing across the hippocampus region resulting in the expected long-term memory loss, pervasive amnesia. You're familiar with the various types of Aphasia I assume. We were extremely lucky that he's retained--"
"Long term memory loss? He doesn't know who he is?" Daniel felt disoriented. His own memory loss after his return to human form was still painfully fresh. He knew all too well that for Jon to go through that and be alone as he had been for the past few weeks must have been terribly frightening.
"He has fragments of memory, but none of it makes sense. And he's obviously suffering a psychotic breakdown. He has a very tenuous grasp of reality, which can disappear at the oddest times. He insists he's from outer space. He asked one of the nurses about space flight, if she'd ever looked down on the Earth from space. It's a shame. He seems like such a bright boy too."
"Aphasia," Daniel murmured. "Did you mention the seriousness of his condition when you notified his guardian?"
"I didn't make the call personally. You'd have to ask the hospital social worker. That's their department. If you have any further questions?"
"Yes. Many. But right now only one is important. I'd like to take Jon back home. Today. Can he leave?"
"Actually we were just about to move him out of here. I did tell the social worker to advise his guardian that Jon was ready for discharge and needed to be transferred to another facility. There's really nothing more we can do for him. If you hadn't arrived today he would have been transferred to a rehab facility where he could get help with the aphasia. He has excellent insurance."
"I'm sure he does. But I think he needs to be out of here, back with us. That might help his memory too."
"Don't fool yourself, Doctor. With the brain tears we mapped this boy is not going to get all of his memory back. What's there now is just about all he's going to get, a jumbled mass of psychotic talk about space and flying fighter jets." The doctor snapped Jon's file closed and left.
Psychotic! And talking about space travel? Daniel realized Jon had to get out of here now. If the NID got word of this . . . Daniel pushed open the door into the glass walled room and peered in. Jon sat on the side of the bed flipping through the TV channels. He was dressed in scrubs, not the typical hospital gown. Daniel smiled. Jack hated backless gowns.
"Hi," he said softly.
"No," Jon said, never taking his eyes from the TV.
"Um. No?" Daniel stepped in the room and let the door close.
"No. No more blood draws. No more x-rays. No more poke, poke, poke. I'm getting out of here today."
"Yes. Um, about that . . . Jon, do you recognize me?"
Jon looked at him. "No." He went back to changing the channel.
"Um. Jon, I'm a friend. Of your guardian. General Hammond. Did they tell you I'd be here today? The General couldn't be here so he asked me--"
"No. Nobody said a damned thing. Doesn't matter though. I got my ID. I'm outta here. My ID says I'm an emancipated minor. I can go where I want. I can go home if I want. I'm just not sure where that is, but I have the address. Got it off my ID. So you can take off. Tell your friend I'm fine."
"Um. I think you should come with me, Jon. We have an excellent medical facility at the base. General Hammond will want to see you--"
"He's my guardian, right? Not family? There is something I'd like to know. Why do I have a guardian? Does that mean my family is dead? I'm an orphan?" He flipped the TV channels.
"Not exactly. Well, actually . . . I'm not sure how to answer that. But I think we should leave now, for the base I mean. I wish Jack were here."
"Jack? Nope. That name doesn't ring a bell either. I got nothing here." Jon shook his head. "I've been in this place forever, people telling me what to do, when to do it, poking me with needles. I'm leaving today. Social worker couldn't find any family. She went to my place, to my school, she checked everywhere. Only name she came up with was this Hammond guy. And he doesn't even show up. So, nope. Thanks, but no."
"I just spoke with your less-than-forthright physician. Apparently General Hammond was told you were in good enough health to be discharged today. No mention was made of your . . . memory loss. Jon, he doesn't know how badly you were injured. I didn't know until I showed up here."
Jon turned off the TV and turned to Daniel. "They didn't tell the guy? Typical. But, no. I'm not going with you."
"I think it's for the best," Daniel said as he approached the boy. "You really should--"
"Did they tell you I'm nuts? Looney Toons? That they want to fit me for a white jacket with sleeves that tie in the back? Rubber-roomsville? Thanks, pal, but I don't intend to go with you just to trade one padded cell future for another, and I don't think you want to be saddled with babysitting a Looney Toon."
Daniel felt as if he'd been punched in the gut. He could almost feel the padded floor of a cell beneath his bare feet. He remembered how it felt, being robbed of his life, his future, his freedom. He sank onto the bed beside Jon and leaned forward to catch his breath. "Looney."
"Yeah. So like I said, no thanks. I'm going home." Jon clicked the TV back on, the volume cranked up loud.
"Turn that off. Please. I need to think a minute." Daniel took deep, steadying breaths and forced the memories of a padded room, red-rimmed eyes and a drugged stupor from his mind. McKensie had taken his glasses away. And the haze of the drugs that clouded his mind? That had been the worst thing to bear.
Jon flipped through more channels.
"Please," Daniel said softly and looked at Jon. The boy eyed him, then after several moments turned the noisy thing off. "Thanks."
"Look, tell your GENERAL friend you came and did your duty like a good little soldier, and that I'm just fine."
"I'm not a soldier," Daniel said with a smile. "I'm an archaeologist."
Jon snorted a laugh. "Dr. Phillips thought you were an MD, you know. Did you notice the way he switched from patronizing humor-the-layman speech to doctorese?"
"You were listening at the door." Daniel smiled broader.
"That's the only way to get the real dope around here. That, and swiping your own chart now and then."
"You were listening, so you knew when I came in that I wasn't one of the hospital staff, here to do tests."
Jon picked up the remote for the TV and fingered the buttons.
"I'd like you to leave it off, please."
Jon nodded but didn't put the remote down. "So, tell your friend you checked me out and I'm fine."
"No. I don't lie to my friends."
"How would you know?"
"I'm aphasic. Not mentally handicapped."
"I see. How would you like to ride in a helicopter?"
"Been there. Done that."
Daniel remembered the doctor relating Jon's mental aberrations. Flying in fighter jets--
"And before you start, no. Not piloting one. As a horizontal passenger. From the wreck to here. I got a back issue of the paper last week, read about my wreck. They used the Life-flight chopper to airlift me here."
"Jon, if you come with me, talk to Jack, we can explain some of those unusual memory flashes you're having."
"Don't patronize me. You think I'm as nutso as the rest of them do, don't you? You're going to take me to a military nuthouse and get me behind locked doors so I won't be a nuisance to your friend the general. Well, screw you."
"That's an honest assessment of the situation from your point of view. I can see how you'd come up with that idea. What can I do to assure you it won't happen?"
"Not a damned thing." Jon turned the TV back on and resumed changing the channels.
"Please." Daniel rubbed the bridge of his nose. His head was pounding from the noisy flight, from the shock of what he'd learned, and now from the difficult task of talking a young Jack O'Neill into doing something he didn't want to do. Worse, this really was not a young Jack O'Neill. With Jack, he'd have some frame of reference, some idea of motivation. But Jon was a blank slate. More, a raggedly half-erased scared teenage slate.
"Look, Jon, I promise you I will not allow anyone to lock you in a psychiatric ward. I will not allow--"
Jon got off the bed, grabbed a small bag from the bedside table and left. Daniel scrambled to follow. "Where are we going?"
"You're going back to your general friend. I'm going to my apartment."
Daniel followed the young man from the hospital, not bothering to sign him out or retrieve records. "I'll share a cab with you." He ignored the waiting military car and signaled the driver to not approach.
"Fine, you pay. But I'm telling the cab driver where to take me."
Jon got in a cab at the taxi stand and Daniel entered after him. Jon read his address off his ID, then stuffed it back in the paper bag. All his possessions were in there, everything that had survived the wreck on him, everything that had not been cut away or blood soaked. He was barefoot.
It was a tense ride. Jon stayed silent and Daniel gave up trying to instigate conversation. At a two-story apartment building, Jon left the cab, and Daniel quickly paid then followed him.
Pausing at the entrance, Daniel used his cell phone to call his driver. He ordered the man to quickly arrange for the retrieval of all of Jon's records and then come to Jon's apartment building and wait outside.
By the time Daniel ended his call, Jon had entered apartment 2F and slammed the door behind him. Daniel eyed the label on the door knocker. Gold letters spelled out O'Neill. He knocked first and then entered without an invitation. He briefly considered the possibility that he'd faced staff weapons with less fear than he felt now.
Jon wandered the apartment digging through cabinets, drawers, searching coat pockets, and looking through books. "Nothing," he kept muttering. "Nothing matches."
"Matches what?" Daniel said softly. He kept his distance, trying not to intrude any more than he already had.
"Matches who I should be. I have these images in my mind. The therapist and doctors kept telling me it was all from movies I must have seen or books I must have read. I can see a cockpit, but I'm too young to fly a military jet. I remember being shot, but I don't have the scars to match the memory. I remember being in space. I mean, like I was actually THERE. But nothing makes sense. I'm not even old enough to vote."
Daniel heard Jon's despair and felt frustration welling within him. What could he say that wouldn't send Jon further into retreat? He was barely tolerating Daniel's presence as it was. "I don't know what to tell you. Jack could help."
"Is Jack this general?" Jon sank onto his couch and stared at his clenched hands.
"No. Jack is . . . a friend. He knows you. He's very good at figuring things out. I want you to come with me. We'll talk to Jack and see what advice he has."
"No way. Rubber room time, remember?"
"No. I promise. No rubber room."
"Give it up. You won't have a choice."
"I will promise you. And I don't lie to my friends."
"You're a civilian. You won't have any say in the matter."
"The general listens to me, to my opinion. In matters of importance--"
"You? An archaeologist? Right."
"I'm also a linguist. Double doctorate."
"Oh. Well, that makes all the difference in the world. Not!"
Daniel smiled. "He does listen to me. I'll tell him you don't need any psychiatric treatment."
"Yeah. I hear the military is always taking advice from archaeologists who know a lot about languages. Uh huh. You show up with me on the base, and I'll be whooshed into a nuthouse so fast--"
"Jon, listen to me. I'm a civilian advisor, the top civilian advisor at the installation where your Guardian is commander. My advice on matters there is taken above all others besides General Hammond and Colonel O'--Uh. And the general's second in command. He listens to me. They both do."
Jon shot him a narrow gaze. Daniel realized he'd made a big mistake mentioning Jack's last name. It was too late to do anything about that now; he'd just have to hope Jon would let it drop. He did not want to explain why Jack had the same name he'd just seen on Jon's apartment door. This was not the time or place for that. He had to get Jon back to Colorado Springs before the NID got any idea of what was going on.
"Uh. I won't take you on base, how about that? I'll take you to my place. I guess actually I'll take you to Jack's place which is sort of my place. That's where I'm staying. I'm in the market for a new house, and he's letting me stay there a while. There's plenty of room for you." Particularly because Daniel didn't use the guest room. He slept with Jack of course.
"Got a TV?"
"Of course. How else would I get the Discovery Channel?"
"Uh, yes. Hockey. Football. Jack watches all the time."
"And maybe this Jack can help me with some of these crazy memory mismatches?"
"Yes, I'm sure he can."
"Got any beer?"
Daniel waited outside the apartment as Jon packed a bag.
He gave the general a call and briefed him. General Hammond quickly ended the call so he could make sure all of Jon's records were swiftly expunged from the hospital, all copies flown to the mountain. The NID could get no word of this, or Jon's life could be in danger.
Now Daniel just had to make sure the general was the one who told Jack about his new houseguest. Daniel didn't want to be under the mountain when Jack learned his clone would be staying with them for a while. He doubted if Jack would be happy about this at all.
Jon followed Daniel up the sidewalk to the house. He glanced back at the curbside mailbox one more time. The black and white letters over the box spelled out O'Neill. Jon pressed his lips into a thin tight line. The guy in front of him wasn't O'Neill. What had he said his last name was? Not Jack. That was the guy he was staying with. He followed Daniel into the house and stared around at the living room. "I've been here before?"
"Do you remember anything?" Daniel asked.
"Not a damned thing. Nothing," Jon said in a disgusted tone. "Blank. But stick me in the cockpit of an F-16, and I bet I can touch the altimeter with a blindfold on."
"I don't doubt that," Daniel said as he walked to the kitchen.
"And just why is that?" Jon demanded as he followed Daniel. "That's a pretty loony thing for a kid to say, you know."
Opening the refrigerator, Daniel got out a beer and some orange juice. He poured a glass of juice and set both drinks on the table then motioned Jon to join him. Jon resignedly reached for the juice and Daniel stopped him. He handed the boy the beer and took the juice for himself.
Jon eyed him speculatively then cautiously took the beer. He sipped it then grinned. "I knew how this was going to taste, and I was right. Crazy. Or I'm just an underage drinker. Oh, crap. I'm an underage drinker and you're guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor." Jon took another swallow.
"I suppose you're half right." Daniel sipped the juice. "I don't see how you can drink that stuff."
Daniel watched Jon try to relax. He was a bundle of nerves, precisely how Daniel thought he must look himself. He sipped the juice and studied Jon's tense face, the defensive posture he held, the tightness in his shoulders and arms. While Jon slowly worked on drinking the beer Daniel worked on making his own body relax, to get rid of the same tension he realized he must be showing.
For a while they sat in companionable silence, both taking advantage of the peace to calm down. It had been an emotionally exhausting day. The physical toll hadn't been easy to bear either.
Jon began to relax but after a while he started fidgeting. "So, when's Jack gonna' get here?"
"Right now," Jack said from the kitchen doorway. " Jon, what the hell are you doing here? Put that beer down! Are you nuts, Daniel? Giving him a beer?"
"Jack," Daniel jumped to his feet.
"I'm the nut, old man, not him. So don't you speak to him that way! And as to what I'm doing here, well, I can fix that little problem right now." Jon slammed the half-empty bottle onto the table and stormed past Jack through the living room toward the front door.
"Jon, stop! Please!" Daniel darted around Jack. "Wait. Let me straighten this out. Jack, what the hell do you think you're doing? Didn't you understand what Hammond said?"
"Hammond?" Jack dogged Daniel's heels. "He was asleep when I got back. I left him word that I'd be back for a debriefing in the morning. Daniel, stop! I want to at least say hi. I've missed you--"
Daniel glared over his shoulder at Jack and caught up to Jon at the front door. He grabbed the boy's elbow.
Suddenly Jon whirled around and with lightening speed slammed the heel of his left hand into Daniel's solar plexus. Then the boy's motion continued smoothly as Jon moved forward, grabbed Daniel's arm and vaulted the man over his head, slamming him upside down into the front door. Daniel sank to the floor unconscious.
"Fuck!" Jack shouted and leaped between his fallen lover and the clone. "Get back or I'll kill you!" He crouched and checked Daniel for a pulse, keeping his gaze half on Jon's retreating form.
"Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit," Jon muttered. "I'm sorry! Oh shit," he moaned as he sank to his knees in the middle of the room. "Is he . . . oh God!"
Jack felt a strong pulse. "He's alive. Stay away! Stay the fuck away." Jack glared at the huddling teen. "He's got a pulse, and he's breathing. You might have broken his neck. Don't move, or I swear I'll kill you."
Jack placed his hands on Daniel's neck, careful not to move him even a fraction of an inch. "Danny. Danny. Wake up. Come on. Please. I need to call an ambulance."
"Oh shit," Jon whispered. "An ambulance. I can do that. Hold on. I'll get the phone. Where's a phone? Where's a phone?" he asked as he looked frantically around the room.
"On the end table, same as it's always been," Jack snapped.
Jon scrambled on hands and knees to the end table. "Where!" he called frantically.
"IN the fucking box!"
"This?" Jon picked up a wooden box, flicked the lid open to find a small cell phone concealed inside. It was connected to a charger cord running out the bottom of the box. He turned the phone on and dialed 911. "What's your address?"
Jack turned a murderous gaze on the boy. "I'm going to break your neck! Stop fucking around!"
Daniel groaned and Jack forgot Jon instantly. "Danny? Danny? Don't move. You could be seriously hurt."
"Oh. Ow. Ow. Oh. Let go of my neck, Jack. Ow." Daniel struggled away from Jack's hold and tried to sit up. He toppled a little and Jack steadied him as he leaned back against the front door. "Ow. My ass. Let go, Jack. My neck is fine. It's my ass that's broken."
"Are you sure?"
"That my ass is broken?" Daniel glared at him through one squinted eye as he rubbed his chest. "Yes. And I've got the crack to prove it. What the hell did he hit my chest with?"
"The heel of his hand. He could have killed you." Jack shot a glare over his shoulder at the boy who still knelt, holding the phone in his hand. "And hang that up!"
"Ow. Just his hand?"
"Yeah. Daniel how many times have I told you not to try to surprise me or--"
"Uh, I wasn't trying to surprise him, Jack."
"No, you just tried to stop him when he was pissed off."
"But you've never done that to me--"
"I never would. I'm not CRAZY," Jack said the last word loudly as he glared over his shoulder again at Jon.
Jon dropped the phone and sank from a crouch to sit cross-legged on the floor. "But I am."
Daniel closed his eyes and rested his head back against the front door. "My chest hurts. I think I may have a cracked rib or two."
"Most likely. You're lucky you can move. Can you wiggle your toes?"
"I'm fine, Jack," Daniel insisted. Then to satisfy Jack he moved his feet back and forth. "Toes and all. Everything except my cracked ass and this rib here, and maybe this rib too. Ouch."
"Jon, if you move, I'll take you down. Understand? I'm older than you, but I've got a Walther PPK strapped to my ankle."
"Jack!" Daniel started to slap Jack on the arm but then thought better of it and merely touched his lover's shoulder. "Don't talk to him like that. It was an accident."
"What the hell kind of accident is that? He could have killed you--"
"Mister . . . Uh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I don't know what happened. I don't know how that happened. Let me just leave. Let me just get out of here. I promise I won't hurt you again. I'm sorry."
"Mister?" Jack asked Jon, anger still tightening his voice. "Just stay where you are. Don't come near us. You're fucking crazy--"
Daniel grabbed Jack's t-shirt and pulled on the neck hard. "Stop that. Right now. Jon is not crazy." He turned to the boy, ignoring the alarmed look from his lover. "Jon, you're not crazy. Just give me a minute to explain things to Jack. I swear this will all make a little more sense in a minute."
"Danny, how the hell is this going to make sense? Jon shows up here, where he knows he's not supposed to be and body slams you upside down against the front door? And then starts playing phone games instead of calling 911? How the hell--"
"Jack, shut up. My ass hurts. My chest hurts, and you're giving me another headache."
"I'm sorry--" Jack shook his head and glared suspiciously. "And what's with this shit of him calling you mister?"
"Well, he never told me his last name," Jon said softly.
"Never . . . What the hell is going on?"
"You told the doctor in Denver your name but I didn't hear that part. Oh, it should be Doctor somebody, right?"
"I'm sorry, Jon. I don't know how I managed to be so rude."
"You, rude? He's the one who almost killed you--"
"Jack, if you can't shut up, I'm just going to ignore you. Now which one of you is going to help me up off my broken ass? And where are my glasses?"
After sitting on the soft couch cushions Daniel decided his ass wasn't broken. But his glasses were. Jack ordered Jon to go to the bedroom and get Daniel's extra pair. Daniel told him where he'd find them. Jon disappeared quickly on the errand.
"You should have talked to Hammond before you left the base."
"I was in a hurry to get home to see you," Jack said contritely. "I see you missed me too."
"Shut up. Kiss me quick before he gets back."
Jack swooped in for a kiss but was pushed away after only the briefest contact. "More," he demanded.
Daniel shook his head and pointed in the direction of the bedroom where Jon could be heard rummaging around. "We don't need any distractions right now."
"Got 'em," the boy called just as he reappeared.
"Jack, don't say a word. Jon, thanks. Now, you sit down on that chair and both of you be quiet. Jack you sit here beside me. I might need to lean on you."
"I need to be getting you to the doctor. You could be seriously hurt, Daniel."
"I'll go after you listen. Jack, we have a problem, the three of us. Jon was in a car wreck a few weeks ago. He sustained a serious head injury. He's suffered some brain damage, long-term memory loss. He doesn't remember who he is."
Jack's mouth fell open as he slowly turned to look at his clone.
Jon defiantly met his gaze. "So you knew me before the accident. I've pretty much figured that out. So did your . . . friend, Danny. Daniel. Whatever. So, was I always crazy? Is that why I got sent away to Denver? Is that why you don't want me in your house?"
"No," Daniel said. "Jack, help him." Daniel leaned his head back on the couch and closed his eyes.
"Help him? How? Want me to take him to the hospital too? Or to the base psych ward?"
"No!" Daniel and Jon said simultaneously.
"I promised him, no psych ward. And you KNOW I mean that."
"Yeah, I can see how you'd make that promise. But what the hell am I supposed to do to help him?"
"Tell him who he is."
"Uh, Jon, you're . . . Uh."
For Jon everything fell into place. The name on the mailbox matched Jon's ID, matched what was on the door of that stark apartment in Denver. Those dark eyes staring back at him were so like the ones he'd been studying in the mirror seemingly every hour on the hour during his hospital stay. The ears, the mouth, they were an older reflection of the face he'd been trying to get to know for four solid weeks. It all made sense.
"I'm your son," he whispered just as Daniel groaned loudly.
"Oh, guys. I think I need to go to . . . " Daniel passed out.
Jack sat in the ward of the Cheyenne Mountain infirmary. Jon sat as far as he could get from Jack and still be in the same room.
Daniel had been x-rayed and was currently getting his left arm strapped into a sling. The arm wasn't broken, but two ribs were cracked and muscles on that side of his chest wall torn from his impact on the floor. Jack had said it occurred during a little training exercise. Jon had gaped at the man's lie but followed his lead, staying mum about the incident.
Daniel was wheeled back into the ward and told he could leave in the morning. After thanking the doctor, he ordered Jack to take Jon home and get some rest. "You two come get me in the morning. We'll talk to Hammond, then figure out what to do. And Jon," he reached out and took the boy's wrist. "This was not your fault. I should not have done what I did. If I'd been less angry at Jack I would never have triggered that response in you. I'll make you a deal. I won't blame you, if you won't blame me. Okay?"
"Sure, Danny," Jon mumbled. His eyes looked bright with moisture.
"Uh, and call me Daniel. Jack is the only one who ever calls me Danny, and even then, only when I let him get away with it."
"Okay," the boy said, sounding none too reassured.
"Take care of him for me, Jack," Daniel said just before he sank into exhausted oblivion.
Jack drove down the mountain in silence. When he arrived at his home he realized neither he nor Jon had said a word since leaving Daniel's side.
"I'm tired. Let's get some sleep and we'll deal with this in the morning."
Jon said nothing. Jack led him into the house. "There's some canned stew in the kitchen if you're hungry. You can take Daniel's bed in there," he said pointing to the guest room. "Anything else you need?"
"No. I'm fine," Jon said.
Jack eyed him a moment, then started toward the master bedroom. He stopped at his doorway and turned back to Jon who hadn't moved. "It wasn't you're fault. Daniel was right. It was a trained response that just got triggered at the wrong time. But even so, Jon, don't think about sneaking off. After what you did to Daniel you owe it to him to be there in the morning."
Jon glared at him. "How did you know I was thinking about leaving tonight?"
"Because in your place I would have had the same idea." Then Jack went in his room and closed the door behind him.
"Like father, like son," Jon murmured to Jack's closed door.
In the morning Daniel winced and rolled to his left. With his right hand gripping the edge of the bed, he levered himself upright then gingerly got to his feet. The ribs were sore, but the real pain was in the torn muscles. His neck was stiff and his head was pounding.
When the doctor signed his release Daniel breathed a sigh of relief. He surprised Jack by meeting him at the elevator. Jon was a step behind Jack, a perfect picture of teenage misery.
"Hey, guys. If you don't mind, could we swing by my office before we head home? I could use you two to carry a few books for me."
"Sure, Daniel." Jack fell in step beside his lover as they walked through the SGC.
"Jon, does any of this look familiar?" Daniel asked quietly as they passed corridor branches, offices, and personnel.
"Nope. Guess I'm not the kind of kid you take to work with you," he said to Jack.
Daniel dropped behind Jack and companionably took Jon's arm. "I think it would be best if no one here knew of your problem; no one outside of the general and perhaps our other team mates, Sam Carter and Teal'c."
"NID has ears everywhere. That's what you're thinking, isn't it?" Jack asked.
"NID?" Jon asked.
Daniel shushed him and guided him into his office. When the three were alone behind the closed door he nodded. "Jon, I promised to keep you out of a psychiatric facility. There are certain people, a faction that oversees military actions, the NID. They'd want you to be . . . secured, if they suspected your condition could lead to the revelation of certain secrets."
"But I don't know anything. Literally."
"Yes, actually you do. Or rather you used to, and what's happening is that bits of those secrets are coming out."
Jon paced around. "I don't know anything. I've just got a crazy jumble of insanity in my head."
Jack stepped in front of the boy and halted him. "I should have talked to you last night. I was just so wiped out, and this morning, so worried about Daniel . . . Jon, you do know things. At least your body does. The way you threw Daniel last night proves that. You reacted out of an instinct that's trained into you. And obviously you don't have full control. So until you can get that control back, we need to keep this quiet or keep you locked up."
Jon looked stricken. "But I'm not gonna get it back. That's what all the doctors at the hospital said. I'm brain damaged. Defective. I'm not going to get that control."
"Jack, that's an accurate assessment, that he won't get his full memory back. But Jon, that's not the whole truth about your situation--"
"I don't wanna be locked up!"
The off world traveler klaxon sounded, followed by an urgent call for Dr. Jackson and Colonel O'Neill to report to the gate control room.
"We can't leave him now!" Daniel protested.
"Stay here," O'Neill ordered Jon. "We'll be back as soon as possible. Don't leave this office." He opened the door and ran.
Daniel laid a hand on Jon's shoulder. "Trust me. I know your situation, and I know of a way out of this. Please trust me. Stay here."
Jon mutely nodded.
Seven hours later, an exhausted Jon laid down on Daniel's narrow couch trying to ignore his hunger and thirst. Daniel had asked Jon to trust him. He was the first adult who'd been even halfway decent, and Jon had almost killed him! Guilt and gratitude rooted Jon to the room like no orders or locks ever could have.
Daniel's office was a treasure-trove of stuff Jon couldn't keep his hands off. For the first six hours of his confinement he had explored meticulously and carefully. Unlike the vacant-feeling guestroom Jack had pretended was Daniel's, this place showed that a busy eclectic person inhabited it. Papers, objects that were being studied, and open books were everywhere. But the computer was password protected. Jon fumed at that.
Now he stretched out on the couch and studied the office. There was no sign of Jack in this space. At the house last night Daniel sent him to the master bedroom for his spare glasses. They were in a drawer of a nightstand. That had to be where Daniel slept. He sure didn't spend any time in that blank guestroom! Not the man who worked in this office. And Jack's uniform jacket and hat were in the room with Daniel's glasses.
But there was no evidence that Jack spent time in this office. So they slept in the same bedroom at that house with the mailbox labeled O'Neill. Jon had done a lot of TV watching during his brief four weeks alive. He'd watched Will and Grace, that stupid Queer Eye show and Queer as Folk. He knew which way was up. So at home they were a couple.
But on base, they didn't work in the same room, or apparently even spend a lot of time together in here. So why hide their relationship here? Must be the don't tell thing. Jack was military and Jon had even watched CNN while he was in the hospital. There were plenty of stories about the U.S. Military and gay rights.
"Don't ask, don't tell. Got it, Daniel. To the people here you live in Jack's guestroom. Okay." Suddenly he bolted upright as a blonde chick came into the office followed by a really large black guy.
". . . and thanks to Thor, Daniel managed to get a message back. He and Jack are safe, and making progress with the negotiations. But they won't be back for several days-- Oh, Jon. What are you doing here?" Sam stopped just inside Daniel's office and eyed the teen.
"Where's Daniel and Jack? They told me to wait here for them."
"Since when do you mind orders, let alone Jack's?" she asked with a laugh.
Jon tried to casually laugh with her. "Just thought I'd stay put for a while, that's all."
"Colonel O'Neill and Daniel Jackson will not be returning this evening." Teal'c eyed the young version of O'Neill intently. "You wait in vain. They were removed without notice from this facility, and their return is not expected for many days."
"Oh. Well then, I guess I'll just . . . go home then."
"Home?" Sam asked. "It's kind of late to drive back to Denver tonight."
"Oh. Well, I'm staying at Jack and Daniel's place for a while. I'll just go there."
"Jack and Daniel's," Sam said thoughtfully. "Oh! Now it makes sense! Daniel sent a really strange message. Said I was supposed to go to his office and take the cc to Jack's house. I wondered what he meant. Real funny, Daniel," she said, looking at the ceiling.
"CC?" Jon asked.
"Daniel has a twisted sense of humor, and you really have to pay attention to even see it. Most people don't even know he's cracking a joke. Come on. I'll drive you."
Mutely, Jon followed the blonde. He glanced nervously up at the big black guy, trying hard not to stare at the design on his forehead. It was more than a tattoo! It stood out from his skin. Jon shivered and felt relieved when the big man didn't join them on the elevator ride to the top.
"So what are you doing in town?" Sam asked as she drove to Colonel O'Neill's house.
"Just visiting." Jon was dying to ask questions, but Daniel had seemed so adamant that he keep his condition a secret. Could this chick be one of those NID people?
"For how long?"
"Got any special plans?"
"No, not really. Just gonna hang out and wait for them to get back. When did you say they'd be back?"
"We don't really know." Sam smiled. "But Colonel O'Neill is probably boiling mad right now. He hates it when things like this come up."
"Yeah, I know how he feels."
"I'll bet you do," she said with a twinkle in her eye.
Jon stared out the windshield of her car. Crazy. What more could go wrong? "Where's Hammond?"
"The general? He's in a meeting. I don't know when he'll be free, due to the nature of this situation. It's all pretty chaotic under the mountain. I'm just glad that I was free to take you back to Jack's. Tell me how you've been."
"Oh, fine. Say, how long has it been since I last saw you?"
Sam gave him a dubious look. "I'd think that would be easier for you to remember than me. How long have you been . . . you?"
Jon forced a soft chuckle. Damn, this definitely was not easy.
"How long ago was it that the colonel moved you to Denver? A year, right?"
"Yeah. I think so."
"How does it feel to be going to school again?"
"Oh, you know."
Sam shook her head. "I can't imagine what it's like. Hey, how about girls? Dating anyone?"
"Well, not anyone special." No schoolmates, female or male, had shown up at Jon's hospital room. Just his English teacher and his math teacher. Neither of them had sparked any memories in Jon.
"Mmm," Sam said sympathetically.
Jon felt a tug of embarrassment and eyed the attractive blonde. "But don't get me wrong. I'm not like my father. I like girls."
Sam's eyebrows rose sharply. "Your dad? Oh, Jon. I bet that's something I'm not supposed to know."
Shit! He silently berated himself. Of course not! Don't ask, don't tell. And what had he just done? Blurted out one of those secrets Daniel wanted kept. Damn. Jon would rather do anything than hurt Daniel any more than he already had.
"I'm sorry. I mean, could you just forget I said that? Don't tell Daniel or Jack--"
"Hey, my lips are sealed. I won't tell the colonel a thing. But maybe we should drop the subject of his private life, okay?"
Jon smiled gratefully at her. He relaxed enough to really look at her. Boy, she was one hot chick.
Jon infiltrated casa O'Neill like a black ops agent on a mission to discover and capture state secrets from a powerful opponent. He started in the master bedroom, quickly discerning which were Daniel's drawers, which were his dad's. Daniel's things were kind of haphazardly stuffed in, Jack's things were in tight neat rows. Socks rolled, underwear rolled, t-shirts folded in three sections instead of the typical double fold. "Just the way my stuff was in that apartment. Apparently, Daddy Jack, the apple doesn't fall far from the O'Neill tree." Jon put everything back exactly as he found it, including the sloppy wads of Daniel's t-shirts.
He started on the master bedroom's closet next and hit the mother lode. From the right side of the closet he pulled out a file box, sat on the floor in the bedroom, and began reading the papers one at a time.
"Tax returns. How unhelpful," he said with mock cheer. "Credit card receipts. Well, Pop, if I were a poor and crooked teenager, you'd be one broke old man by this time tomorrow. But I've got my own dough. So let's see what else is in here. Birth certificate. You're how old? Jeeze, you look older! Why don't you dye that gray stuff? Or is your boyfriend into senior citizens? Uh, sorry Daniel," he said to a pair of Daniel's shoes on the closet floor. The left side of the closet was Daniel's, full of comfortable sweaters and soft shoes. The right side had hockey jerseys, uniforms and a row of boots and dress shoes polished to an absurd shine.
Jon put the papers back and reached to the next section and read the folder label. "Hmm. Charlie O'Neill. Birth certificate. Hmm. Oh. Now we're getting somewhere. Oh man, this doesn't make sense. Is this me? The date is slightly off. But the year. This is screwy. Unless this is a brother . . . no. The year is right. This has to be my birth certificate. This has to be . . . Or a twin. Charles Jonathan O'Neill. Why change my middle name around? And the date is just a little off. Why change my birth date?"
Taking the folder with him to the kitchen, Jon spread it on the dining table. He opened a can of stew, heated it up and ate while studying the birth certificate. "Sara O'Neill. Sara. Your name doesn't ring a bell, Mom. Are you dead, or did you just get tired of having a crazy kid too? God, I hate stew! Single birth. That rules out the twin idea."
He turned the certificate over and looked at the footprints inked on the back. Then he opened the envelope that had been with the birth certificate. Several color photographs spilled out onto the table. Each showed a young boy at various stages of life. Some were from infancy, others showed a child at toddler stage. One showed a young boy playing baseball with Jack O'Neill.
Jon took that photo and went to the bathroom mirror. He studied Jack's face, noting the light brown hair, the dark eyes, so like his own eyes. Then he held the photo by his face and looked at the mirror, then at the boy. The chin was the same. So were the ears, the eyebrows, the eyes. This was him. He read the back of it. "Why did you stop calling me Charlie? And why don't I live with you or my mom? What did I do wrong?"
Reluctantly Jon put the papers and the photo back in the file box, and slid it back into Jack's closet. He shut the door and went to bed. It took him hours to finally drift off to sleep.
The next morning, Jon woke to a deserted house. He pulled the file box back out and dug through the folder labeled Charlie. "Come on, Mom. Show me something about you."
He looked through the photos and found one of a woman who had to be Sara O'Neill. She was posing on a beach, her son in her arms. She had a warm smile. Jon traced her image lightly. "Why? I wish you could tell me what I did wrong. Did I just go crazy? Was that it? I wish I could tell you I was sorry for whatever I did. I wish I could apologize."
He put the photo back and searched further. Jon found a letter from Sara to Jack. He debated opening it.
"Now this, this is a real invasion of privacy. I really shouldn't. But she's my mother. It's not like she's still his wife or anything, right? I mean, he's moved on. And why is he even keeping this letter? It's really not fair to Daniel, is it? I mean, Dad should get rid of this. It probably only hurts Daniel for him to have this here. I should just read it!"
Jon pulled the folded paper from the envelope, then caught sight of Daniel's shoes. "What? It's not fair to you, Daniel. Oh hell. I'd have to lie about it if Jack asked me, wouldn't I? And lying to friends is apparently not a nice thing." Jon put the letter back in the envelope, then he noted the return address. "Hey, that's probably near here. I could go see my old house!"
After making sure everything at Jack's was in its proper place Jon left on foot. He had to ask directions a few times, and accepted a couple of lifts. Hitching couldn't be too dangerous for him in light of what he'd done to Daniel. Jon figured he was pretty safe as long as nobody tried to trap him against a front door.
It was mid afternoon when he arrived at the yellow house shown in one of the photographs. Jon stood at the curb, waiting to see if any memories were stirred. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He walked up the driveway to the front steps and waited again. Still nothing. Utterly nothing. This was the same feeling he got the first time he'd stood outside Jack's house. A total blank.
"I don't belong here either," he murmured.
"Excuse me. Can I help you?"
Jon whirled and came face to face with Sara O'Neill. She stood with a bag of groceries in her hands. He had been so engrossed in his search for memories that he hadn't heard her arrive. He gaped at her. She met his gaze and studied him with a puzzled expression.
"Do I know you?" she asked.
"Uh, I think . . . yes," he finally said.
"From where?" she asked with a warm smile.
"I'm not exactly sure. It's probably been a long time. You don't recognize me?"
"Well, you look familiar. Very familiar," Sara said as she tilted her head and studied him. "I can't place you, but-- Well, tell me where we might have met."
Jon took a deep breath. "Does the name Charlie mean anything to you?"
Sara gasped and dropped the grocery sacks. She blanched white, and Jon quickly reached out to steady her. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to shock you."
"Oh." Sara covered her face with her hands. "It's all right. Give me a minute. I just . . . didn't expect . . . Oh, I'm sorry. You're about his age. I mean how old he would be if. . ."
"I'm sorry." Jon felt so bad for hurting her, so guilty for causing more pain. He seemed to be making a habit of hurting really nice people lately.
"You're one of Charlie's friends. It's probably been years since I've seen you. You've just grown up, that's all," Sara said as she visibly struggled to compose herself. "I just can't place you. Please, come inside. We can talk." She gathered up her groceries and Jon helped her get them inside.
"If Charlie had lived, he'd be about your age," she said as she entered the kitchen.
Jon felt an icy flush rush through his veins. Lived? If Charlie had lived? What the hell?
"Here, have a seat. Want a Coke?"
Jon wanted to ask for a beer, but he merely nodded. "How long . . ."
"It's been seven years. You're sixteen, right? Then of course you would have changed a lot since the last time I saw you."
"I see. Seven years is a long time."
"Yes. But it's very nice to see you again. Were you in school with Charlie?"
"Uh. Baseball. We played on the same team."
"Oh. Do you still play?" She sat with him and they sipped their drinks.
"What's your name?"
"Jon," he answered, then realized it might have been smarter to lie. After all Jonathan was his real middle name. She might get suspicious and he wanted to get as much of the truth out of her as possible before she made any realizations about his true identity.
"Jon. That's a nice name. Do you live around here?"
"No, I'm just in town visiting my father and his roommate."
"I see. Well, it's really nice to see you. Have you looked up any of your old friends?"
"Uh. I was going to, but I'm having a little trouble remembering them. I left here right after . . . after Charlie's death."
He wanted to ask her how she told people he'd died. What lie did she tell?
"Well, I might be able to help you there. I have all of Charlie's old things. I've never felt the need to pack any of it away, so it'd be easy for us to go through to find something that might help you." She smiled. "I have his old team pictures, names, addresses. Maybe that would help?"
What if she looked on the list and found there was no Jon on it? He fidgeted nervously. "I don't think so, really. I might not have time to go looking people up. Not sure how long I'll be in town."
"Well, how about we just take a quick look at the photos anyway? Of course not everyone will be on there. Some kids miss photo day you know. Charlie missed it one year. We got the team photo anyway but . . . Well, let's go up to his room and see what we can find." She led the way.
Jon sighed in relief. "Thanks, Mrs. O'Neill. This is very nice of you."
"Call me Sara. I'm not Mrs. O'Neill any longer."
"You got divorced?" he asked as he followed her up the stairs.
"Yes. Shortly after Charlie died. My husband is a career military man. I didn't like being an Air Force "widow". Too lonely. Here we are."
Jon stood in the doorway in shock. This was a boy's room; kids toys, books, posters on the walls, as if the child had just wandered out a few moments ago to play.
He stepped in and stared around. Sara was showing him team photographs, rows of little gap-toothed boys, scrawny, and blazing in enthusiasm peered out at him.
But Jon's real attention was on the model airplanes. That one! He reached out and touched a silvery blue Corsair, its W bent wings sparking a flash of memory. He saw a hand holding a brush, the model poised to be painted. He must have worked on this model with Jack!
He tried to tune back into what Sara was saying. She spoke with such love and longing in her voice. How could she have turned her back on her son? She still loved him. How could this have happened?
"I'd like to ask you something."
"Yes?" Sara said.
"Did . . . Um. Well, I have a problem with my father. We don't get along, you see. I don't live with him any longer. He sent me away."
"I see. That's a shame. It sounds like you miss being with him."
"Well, I think I might have at one time. I mean, if he and I were as close as you and Charlie were. I was just wondering, was Charlie close to his dad?"
"Yes. Inseparably close," she said confidently. "Are you close to your mother?"
"No. Not exactly. She's not in my life any longer."
"I'm sorry to hear that. She's passed away?"
He stared at Sara, not knowing how to answer. She seemed to genuinely believe her son was dead. So, death did separate them. Should he say yes? He dropped his gaze and managed half a nod.
"Jon, you don't have to answer that. I'm prying, and I shouldn't be. Do you have anyone you can talk with?"
"Yes, actually. My dad's roommate. He's this really nice guy. Smart too."
Sara smiled. "You like him a lot."
"Sure. He's honest with me. I'm glad my dad has him in his life. Otherwise I doubt if I'd get through this."
"Get through what?"
"Oh, teenage years. You know," Jon said with a conspiratorial wink.
"Ah. Then I'm glad your dad has him too. Will he be around long?"
"Oh, it's not just a roommate thing. He'll be around. They're more . . . To be honest, they're lovers. Really devoted kind of a thing. Finish each other's sentences and all that." Jon had not intended to tell her that. She might not know her husband was sleeping with a guy now. And there was that don't ask, don't tell thing. Daniel obviously kept it a secret at work because Jack still had his job. Daniel'd probably expect Jon to keep that secret too. But what could it hurt? She didn't know who Jon was talking about.
"Good. Then you've got stability in your life. Well, here's the list, I'll copy it down for you, and you can look up anyone you'd like to, okay?"
"Would it be okay if I came back to visit you again?"
"Sure. That would be great."
When Jon got back to Jack and Daniel's, he tore into the house and went straight to the file box in Jack's closet.
"Sorry, Daniel, but I'm going to read that letter. You don't lie, but it sure looks like you're sleeping with a guy who does. And I want to know if it's just him, or did my mother lie to me today too?"
He opened the letter and sat on the floor reading it. It was long flowing sentences about a mother's grief for her dead son. Jon felt a pain growing in his stomach as he continued to read. She talked of what she missed most about her son, his smile, his laugh. She asked Jack why he wouldn't talk to her, asked him to call, to come home. She pleaded with him.
Jon sat there staring at the letter as the sun set and the room grew darker and darker.
She truly thought he was dead. And Jack let her think it, left her alone in her grief, let her believe the lie.
He decided that the man was a monster. His own father was vile. Jon hated him. But Daniel! This just didn't match up with someone Daniel would love, would choose to live with. Daniel--in the brief time Jon had known him--Daniel had showed honesty and courage. He'd been kinder and more forthright with Jon than all the doctors and social workers from the hospital combined. Why was Daniel hooked up with that bastard?
There had to be another reason for all of this. Was it that NID stuff? Did Jon learn some secret back when he was Charlie? Did Jack stick him in some kind of witness protection program?
God, it was such crazy spy stuff! Insane. And so was what he'd been able to do to Daniel. One flick of his wrist, and Daniel was sailing through the air. And that underground military base. That was totally whacked, all that top-secret stuff.
So there had to be a reason for Jack to have done what he did. And if so, maybe all those crazy vision flashes were actually going to make sense like Daniel said they would. Maybe Jon had flown in an F-16 for real. But wait. Outer space? Had he been on the space shuttle and looked out a window at Earth? No way. No freakin' way.
Still . . . Daniel said . . . And Daniel wanted him to keep secrets.
Okay, Jon would do it. For Daniel. Not for Jack.
Once again, Jon cleaned up all evidence of his invasive search. Tonight he'd order pizza. He was sick to death of canned stew.
Jon had pizza every night for a week before the two men finally returned.
Jack and Daniel arrived home shortly after dawn. Daniel was exhausted and more than a little irritable. His shoulder and ribs were still sore, but thankfully he no longer needed the sling.
"I don't care if we do have a houseguest. I'm sleeping in bed with you and that's it, Jack. End of argument. Jon won't know a thing."
Jack unlocked the front door and followed his lover inside. "The way YOU like it? Ha! Daniel, whack me on the head with a Buick, and I'm still going to know I'm fucking your brains out in the next room."
Jack stopped abruptly when he saw the empty pizza box and single beer bottle on the coffee table. Jon was sprawled on the couch.
Jon sat up, blinking the sleep from his eyes. "You two are the noisiest--"
"What are you doing out here?" Jack interrupted. "Why aren't you in bed?"
Jon smiled wickedly. "What? And take DANIEL'S bed? Why Jack, that'd mean he'd have to sleep with you when he got home. I figured I'd bunk on the couch and spare him that torture."
"Give it up, Jack. He's better at pulling your leg than anyone else on this planet. Get that mess cleaned up, Jon. We're going to bed. We'll talk in a few hours." Daniel pushed Jack toward the master bedroom.
"Jack," Daniel scolded as he shut the door. "If it wasn't a memory he already possessed, he figured it out when he got my extra pair of glasses, okay? If that wasn't enough for you, think! He's been in this house a week, using the guestroom where my clothes," Daniel paused and pointed at the closet, "are not. Let it go. I've got to sleep now. And I have to have you by me, or that sleep is not going to happen the way I want and need."
To end the verbal sparring Daniel started stripping. It wasn't easy or elegant. He tore one button off his shirt in the process, then flung the garment on the floor in frustration.
This got Jack to his side and helping instantly. The older man gently guided him to the bed, pulled his shoes and socks off while Daniel struggled with his belt and the button on his slacks. He laid back as Jack shimmied the pants and boxers down. Daniel sprawled then, his legs wide.
"My nuts need to breathe," he said sleepily, then yawned.
Jack put his clothes in a hamper in the corner then removed his lover's glasses. "Under the covers before you start snoring."
"I don't snore," Daniel insisted as he was nudged up, then pushed under the covers. He sprawled wide again, his eyes shut. "Nuts. Breathing."
"Yes, I can practically hear them snoring too. You snore, Daniel. You sneeze, you cough and you snore."
"Get in bed, Jack. You promised to fuck my brains out."
"Buick. Right in the next room."
"Lube. Right in the nightstand."
"Go to sleep," Jack insisted with a chuckle as he stripped and put his clothes in the hamper with Daniel's dirty ones. "You're halfway there now."
The only thing moving on Daniel was his mouth. He still lay sprawled, eyes closed. "Lube. Brains. Fuck. What part of that don't you understand?"
"Will you shut your foul mouth?" Jack asked with a grin. He scratched his balls and pulled at the head of his cock. It was filling with blood already.
"Are you hard? If not, then I'll just open my mouth a little wider and get you that way. Come here, forget the lube."
"What? You want me to climb over you and . . . Daniel, go to sleep." Jack lifted the covers and climbed in beside his sprawled lover. He leaned over Daniel and kissed his closed eyes, first the left, then the right. His cock rubbed lightly against Daniel's naked hip. "Love you, baby."
"Prove it. Fuck me." Daniel still hadn't moved.
Jack laughed. "Oh, you know exactly what to say to turn me on, don't you?" He fisted his cock languidly.
"Fuck me now. That better?"
Daniel groaned. "Can't you just . . . you know. Lift me?"
Jack sighed. He used his best long-suffering sigh. This got him a one-eyed squint from his lover. Jack smiled then nudged Daniel's hip with his hand. He felt a little drop of wetness his dick had deposited there. "Over. I need the sight of your beautiful ass. I need to feel you with your legs spread for me. Come on, baby."
"Oh, all right," Daniel grumbled. He groaned and grunted as he turned over, positioning his growing cock aiming toward his own navel. "Lube, then. I'm tight, and I want it hard and fast. No fingers, no prep other than a little of that lube."
"So you want it rough? I don't think you're up to that."
"What part of fuck me NOW do you still not get, Jack?" Daniel spread his legs wide, running one foot up and down Jack's hairy calf. He managed a low throaty purr as Jack touched his ass crack.
"I got the now part. I also got the fuck part. So pretty much, I think I get it all."
He gently pressed a large drop of the lubricant on his target; Daniel's sweet opening. His cock would bring a nice even coating of the lube inside. The first entry might be painful--Daniel would enjoy that--but the subsequent strokes would be bliss for them both. Jack kissed the back of Daniel's neck, then licked his skin.
"Yes," Daniel hissed. "Want nothing between us. Not even air."
"I'm doing it sweet and slow. You're not up to rough and fast."
"Mmm," was Daniel's only reply.
With a final kiss Jack knelt between his lover's spread legs and took his cock in hand. He moved forward and slid skin to skin until his head met where Daniel wanted him, until Jack met where he needed to be tonight. The first penetration had his lover hissing and Jack kissed him again.
"Baby, let me in." He knew the words were not necessary. Daniel and he were so connected no verbal guidance was necessary. But Daniel loved the sound of Jack's voice, loved the gentle requests, so Jack always managed some kind of loving words, some kind of intimate talk. "Yes, like that. Yeah."
"Jack. Jack," Daniel sighed his lover's name, interspersed among the man's thrusts into his willing body. "Jack."
"Not even air between us," Jack whispered, his lips brushing across Daniel's left ear. "Not even air. Gonna make fireworks inside for me, baby? I'm not gonna be able to last much longer. Gonna cum."
"Ye-- Oh, yes. Yes. I'm . . . Jack. Love-- Oh, there. Yes." Daniel's body shuddered. His breathing grew ragged and he arched his back. "Not yet. Too soon. Sorry Jack. I can't hold off . . . "
"Come for me, baby."
With a final shudder Daniel's body clamped around Jack's cock and pulsed rhytmically, pulling the older man past his ability to hold off. They'd be sleeping on the other half of the bed tonight. Jack managed a grin as his own body found release. He had a sweet little cum deep inside Daniel, his favorite spot in the universe.
Sleep found them both quickly.
It didn't take much finesse on Jon's part to convince Daniel and Jack that enough of his memory was coming back, that he knew who he was. CC had to be the key. It was what the blonde chick had called him, Daniel's code for him. Over breakfast the next morning he'd simply said "I'm the CC. It's mostly all come back to me, okay?"
Daniel had fussed and asked him for details but apparently there'd been some kind of top/bottom switch during the night that Jon didn't even want to try to fathom because any explanation only led to images of them naked and that made Jon unbelievably uncomfortable. Just the idea of parental figures naked and doing the big it was completely disgusting. But from Jon's teenage perspective the result seemed to be that suddenly Jack was the man in charge and Daniel was all fuming and fussing and Jack got his way. No more blathering on about Jon's memories for a while. Jack needed a break.
So if Daniel was on top last night that meant today Jack was boss? So if Jack was on top tonight did that mean tomorrow Daniel would be bossing him around? But at the infirmary Daniel had definitely been on his back, and Jack had not been in charge. Oh, but gay guys don't usually get it done to them when they're lying on their backs. So Jack . . . Oh fuck! Torpedo that image quick! Hit DELETE!
"Huh?" Jon still sat across the table from Jack. He had missed everything Jack had just said about today's schedule.
"Carbon copy with a few patches of ink missing, I'd say," Jack commented snidely.
CC meant carbon copy! Jon pondered this new information.
Daniel turned from the sink and threw a dishtowel at Jack. "You will NOT be rude to this boy. Is that understood?"
Okay, so maybe Jack was on top for a little while last night?
"He's NOT a boy!"
Daniel stepped to Jon's side and asked, "How old are you?"
Jon was tired of the questions. "Sixteen."
Daniel merely turned back to Jack and lifted one eyebrow.
"Okay, that just supports what I said. A few patches of ink missing."
"And those patches make him a sixteen year old boy with some amazing training and experiences most sixteen-year-olds should not have."
"Not really much more than Ska'ara had at sixteen. Or boys on the front lines in Iraq."
"Hmm. You're right there. So you can treat him as nicely as you would Ska'ara?"
"Touch, Doctor Jackson."
"Thank you, Colonel O'Neill." Daniel sat in the chair beside Jack. "Now, Jon, you've got to stay put unless one of us or Sam or Teal'c goes with you. Sam said she brought you home but she didn't know the extent of your problem that day. Now she does. And Teal'c, well, he's not really very well adapted to our culture as it is so . . . just stay here unless you're with Sam, Jack or me, okay?"
"So the NID doesn't nab me, right?"
"Yes. You know it does seem like you're getting more memory back. According to the MRI readings that really shouldn't be happening like it appears to be. How have you been feeling?"
"Cool. Just hanging out here, taking it easy. You know. The usual. Being a good little carbon copy."
"Yeah," Jack said with a childish sneer. "I know how good I was at sixteen." Jack got up and began clearing away the dishes.
"Jack, he's not exactly you. I mean, you with some major differences. I mean, take into account the differences there's been since he moved to Denver plus the head injury--"
"Brain damage," Jon supplied harshly. "I'm brain damaged."
"Not cognitively, Jon."
"Maybe I was a hell of a lot smarter before the big head-whack. Maybe I used to be able to play the violin and do calculus while hanging upside down--"
"Try it," Jack called his bluff. "Not the violin stuff, but the calculus. Think you can?"
Jon stared blankly at the older man for a moment. Then his expression changed to one of wonder. "Oh, yeah. I actually can. I didn't know that stuff was even in there! Why the hell am I still in school?"
"You chose to be. Wanted to try doing it a little differently than I did. Nothing wrong with that."
"I would imagine that several things are still in your head. You just didn't understand they could possibly be there, so you never tried to access the data," Daniel surmised. "Things will probably come to you as you need them. Like the defense training. It just popped out. Your cognitive skills may well all be intact. You quite possibly could-if put in the situation--fly a fighter jet."
Jon shook his head. What kind of sixteen year old was trained to fly fighter jets? Kid super spy. Like that lame movie on HBO? Oh brother. This was so absurd. "Yeah. Okay," he said neutrally.
"But don't!" Jack said as he stood at Daniel's shoulder. "Or the NID will be in here snatching your sorry ass, and I don't know what they'd do with you."
"So until all this comes out or back or whatever, or I get a handle on things, what do I do with myself? Go back to school?"
"I don't think that's wise, do you, Jack?"
"No. Too risky. Some kid pops you on the shoulder and you flash back to Iraq and toss him through a five-story window. No. You can stay here."
"Iraq?" Jon couldn't hold in the surprise. He'd been in Iraq? That was taking kid spy just way too far.
Daniel reached across the table and laid a hand on Jon's arm. "Don't try to struggle with all this too much. You're safe here with us. We'll look out for you, Jon. And we'll help you regain what you can. We'll help you if you have to start over. You've got us."
Jon looked at Daniel and wanted more than anything to hug him and make this man proud of him. Daniel had faith in him. He looked at Jack and met a skeptical reserved glare. Daniel had faith where his own father didn't. Sara was right. Jon was damned lucky to have Daniel in his life.
"How come you're being so nice to me when my own . . . when he's not?"
"Maybe because I know exactly what it's like to lose yourself and struggle to regain your life, your memories, yourself."
"Yes. I'll tell you about it sometime. And besides, I like you. You're a tough kid. You take the hits, and you get back up again. You were ready to march out of that hospital no matter what anyone said or did. Ready to go take care of life, you know? Reminds me of myself when I was a kid."
Jack gaped at Daniel, and Jon saw. He let out a guffaw at Jack.
"What?" Daniel asked Jack, offended. "I was a tough kid. I ran all over Egypt by myself while my parents were working. I made it through black market dens, past murderers and thieves and survived."
"I thought you were American," Jon said with a smile. Daniel and Jack both looked at him. "Oh, a hole in my memory, eh?"
"Kind of," Daniel said. "I lived in several places until I lost my parents when I was eight. Then I went into the New York foster care system. I graduated early, went on to college for a while, then went to work at the stargate. I met Jack about eight years ago."
"About the time I . . . " Jon stopped himself before mentioning the name change thing and the terrible deception that had been played on his mother. "I think I remember that you two have been together since then?"
"Oh, no. I left for a year, then Jack came and got me. Then we were separated another year while I was on a higher plane of existence."
"A higher plane of existence?" Jon asked incredulously. "You mean like a Shambala master?"
"Not quite," Daniel said with humor. "A little higher plane than that."
Jon shook his head.
"Okay, 'nuff of this. I say we finish breakfast, wash up in here, and head out to the lake for some fishing."
Daniel groaned, but Jon saw the pleased smile on the man's face. Jack leaned over and gave Daniel a warm hug and kissed the man's temple. Daniel leaned back and tilted his head up. Jack moved forward and gave Daniel a kiss on his mouth, his hand possessively curled around Daniel's vulnerable throat.
"Gah! Get a room, why don't 'ya," he said jokingly.
Daniel flashed him a grin, and Jon enjoyed the irritated look on Jack's face.
Not surprisingly, Jon loved fishing! Daniel really didn't, but he put up with it very well, which Jon was grateful for. Being outside in the calm stillness, standing on the shore of the placid Colorado lake felt wonderful. The sky was so blue and bright it made Jon's eyes water. There was a good breeze off the water, keeping them cool and comfortable in the bright sun.
He eased down the shore a little further away from Jack and Daniel. He stretched and watched Jack. The older man stood at the bottom of a grassy bank, his rod held lightly, but his attention was not on the water. He was focused on Daniel. Several feet up the bank and to Jack's right Daniel slumped in a low canvas beach chair, his nose buried in a ridiculously thick book. Just in case he got bored with that one, he had two more books stacked on the ground at his feet. Jon smiled.
These two guys were good for each other. And so far, even though Jack was a royal pain of a father, the two guys were good for Jon. He knew he was where he belonged for now.
"My two dads," he muttered to himself. Wasn't that a TV show or something? "Hey, a bite. I got another bite." He reeled in his fourth big rainbow trout of the day and held it up for Jack to admire. Jack shot him a big grin and helped put the fish on the wait line. Both O'Neill's admired the catch, then mutually agreed to take pity on Daniel and call it a day.
Jack hadn't caught anything all day and Jon was a little surprised his dad didn't whine about it. In fact Jack had been pretty decent about everything today, patient and attentive with Jon, very thoughtful about Daniel's needs.
"Fish tonight!" Jack cheerfully announced. "With that last catch of Jon's we've got enough for Sam and Teal'c. Daniel, pack it up. We're outta here."
Jon felt a flush of warmth at Jack's approving comment about his catch.
Teal'c was a scary dude. No matter how you looked at it, the guy was intimidating. But all through the evening Jon kept a placid faade. No reason to look like a coward in front of Sam, the blonde chick with the great assets.
After dinner they were all in the living room. Teal'c and Daniel were talking and some stray comment came out of the scary dude about their last mission off planet. Jon almost choked to death on his coffee. He covered it up by saying the stuff was too hot for his taste. But the blonde chick, Sam, shot him a strange look. He decided to stop puppy-dogging around behind her. She was too damned smart!
But . . . off planet! Off the damned Earth! They went off to other planets on their missions. Holy crap. And that vision Jon had of looking down at Earth through a window. It was real? It was freakin' real? Holy crap. He'd actually been in space!
He was really grateful he'd sat the cup down when Teal'c mentioned his home planet. It wasn't Earth. The scary dude was an alien. Jon studied him. Other than the thing on his forehead, he looked human. So what did that mean the blonde babe was? Was she an earthling or maybe a Venusian love-goddess Amazon queen? Jon wasn't sure which he hoped for. Human or love-goddess.
But now all that stuff he'd seen in Daniel's office was making sense. All that stuff was alien artifacts. All the language stuff was alien languages. Alien alphabets and alien civilizations. Daniel's job was WICKED!
"Daniel, what kind of education would it take for me to get a job like yours?"
The room was instantly silent. All eyes bored into him. Jon thought Jack looked a little miffed. Why should that be? What did the old man care if his son followed in his footsteps into the military? "What?" he finally asked to break the oppressive silence.
"I thought you wanted to go to the Air Force academy, be a pilot," Jack said.
"Jack, his goals need not parallel yours any longer. You knew that a year ago. And as time progresses the gap grows wider, then considering what he's been through--"
"Oh, you just want another warm body that pretends to understand your scribbles and pottery shards, Daniel."
Jon grinned. He could hear the gruffness, but he knew the secret to Jack O'Neill now. Jack loved Daniel so much it was disgusting. So if he got any pissier would he end up on the bottom tonight? Oh CRAP! Delete!
Blonde chicks. Big boobs. Thong bikinis. Eh. This wasn't working. Well, Justin Timberlake? Eww. Uh. Nick Carter? No. That other singer, Darius? Oh. Maybe. Darius had some serious shoulder muscles. And his butt was so small. It'd fit really nicely between Jon's hands if they were dancing together. Dancing with the guy would be much more interesting than dancing with Sam. He could put a hand on the guy's hip and one on the back of his neck. Nice!
Maybe more than one of his apples didn't fall that far from the tree. But he also noted Daniel and Jack were careful not to show their relationship in front of the blonde and the alien.
"Jon, if you're serious, I'd love to show you more about my work. Sam and I thought we'd start next week giving you some basic reviews of various academic areas, then figure out where your strengths are and where you'll need to apply yourself to recover what knowledge you may have lost. I think it will be only a matter of reconnecting on most things, as it was with the math you discovered for yourself this morning."
"Yadda yadda," Jack said and left to get another beer from the fridge.
"Sounds good," Jon said with a smile.
"And astrophysics," Sam said. "You might be interested in something in that field. I can also work with you on flight simulators if you want."
"And I shall endeavor to instruct you in proper control of your physical defense skills. You have the heart of a warrior. It must be brought within your control so as to avoid future unfortunate injuries to those you do not wish to harm."
"Uh. Yeah." Jon shifted nervously.
"Teal'c," Jack said as he sauntered back into the room, "you're scaring the kid."
"That was not my intention, O'Neill."
"Yeah, well Y'are, but still," he paused and sat on the couch by Sam, "it's a good idea. I'm definitely not the one to do that. It'd just be too creepy. So go pound the canvas with Teal'c so our archaeologist can keep all his own teeth in his head."
"Jack, so help me if you give him a hard time about that, I'm going to pound you into the canvas--"
"I shall pound him for you, DanielJackson. You are in no condition to perform a proper pounding."
"Thank you, Teal'c."
"You guys are great," Jon said with gratitude. He blushed, then covered his embarrassment by sipping some coffee.
Sam and Teal'c went on the roof with Jack to look at stars. Jon helped Daniel in the kitchen. "Why go peer at points of light when you can just go be in them?"
"It's the wonder of it, I suppose. We've made a habit of looking at stars from almost all of the planets we've visited. Do you remember any of your trips off-world?"
"I don't remember any of that. None of it. And I've been trying all evening. Nothing. Not a damned thing except one image of the Earth out a window."
"Well, that's odd. You've got some personal memories back, of who you are, who Jack and I are, but there are still some large gaps apparently. But your cognitive abilities seem to be all intact. That means you can retrain yourself, have whatever future you want."
"Daniel, can you tell me why I don't still live here? I mean, I like it with you guys, all of you. It feels good to be here."
Daniel shut off the water and turned to the boy. "You don't remember?"
"Yes, yes, I do," Jon said hastily. "But it just seems like it would have been worth the risk. I wasn't happy in Denver. Did you see my place? It looked like a hotel room. Nothing personal. And during the four weeks I was in the hospital no friends came to see me. I had no friends at that school I was going to. Two of my teachers came. I asked them questions. I really didn't like their answers. I must have been pretty miserable. Pretty lonely."
Jon watched Daniel dry his hands, then the man pulled him into a fatherly hug. Oh this felt good! Jon brought his hands up and hugged Daniel. He felt safe, safe for the first time in . . . well, since he could ever remember.
"I'm sorry, Jon. We didn't know. If Jack had known it was so tough on you he would have come for you. He would have helped."
"I believe you. He's really a good guy, isn't he?"
"Yes." Daniel ruffled a hand through Jon's hair. "Now, how about we go take a look at those stars too?"
"Sure," Jon said with a smile. He wiped away a tear, and was glad he didn't feel any flush of shame. Daniel was easy to be around. Maybe Jack and he could get a relationship like this eventually. Then maybe his dad wouldn't send him away again. Jon fervently hoped he could stay.
On the roof Jon surprised himself by getting engrossed in what Jack was showing him through the scope. After some brief instructions Jon was able to operate the powerful viewing device himself, and he and Jack talked animatedly, the others fading from their awareness.
Eventually Sam and Teal'c had to leave, and Daniel escorted them to the door. Jon sat down on the roof by Jack and watched the older man make fine adjustments to the telescope.
"Thanks. Thanks for helping me out like this. I know it's not easy, not easy to have me around and all, but I appreciate what you've done for me."
"Hey, you're not that hard to be around, kid. Hey," Jack peered over the scope at him, "I just realized something. You're a kid. Daniel was right. You act like a sixteen year old."
"Is that a good thing?"
"I . . . I suppose it is. Is it making you feel okay?"
"Uh. Yeah. Shouldn't it?"
"Uh. Yeah. I guess."
"Jack, you're not too good at the touchy feely stuff, are you?"
Jack snorted then turned back to the scope.
"Did I piss you off just now?"
"Okay. Jack? I'd really like to learn about archaeology and linguistics. Have you ever spent any time in Daniel's office? Seen all the stuff in there? It's like he gets to solve one mystery after another. He gets to know things before anyone else does, he gets to see and understand and . . . and . . . He has the most bitchin' job--"
"Yeah, but don't tell him that."
"Oh, of course not. But don't you think he already knows?"
"Yeah. But he doesn't know we know, and as long as he doesn't know we know, then we can know it, and it doesn't matter because he doesn't know we know. You know?"
Jon worked hard to keep up his deception. His math skills were superb. Sam said that was because he really had all the training any Air Force pilot had. He knew geology and history and biology and it just went on and on and on. Why the hell had he been wasting his time in high school? Oh, cover from the NID. And that had to still go on apparently. When walking around in the stargate installation he was supposed to act as if he'd had no memory loss at all, to pretend like he was Jack's nephew as Daniel had instructed him.
"You know everything Colonel Jack O'Neill knows, right?"
"Right," he'd agreed, not fathoming why that should be so. No one would know everything their father knew. That was absurd.
But he did his best to dance the dance Daniel, Jack and Sam set out for him. As to the dance Teal'c wanted from him? Scary! He hated the sessions in the gym. It was scary to have his body do things that just didn't seem possible for a kid his age. He was appalled at all the ways he knew how to kill a man. Now he truly understood why Jack had threatened to shoot him when he'd hurt Daniel that first day in their house.
Jon found a couple more opportunities to go back and secretly visit Sara. His mother was always glad to see him. On one visit she gave him a poster of a Corsair for his bedroom wall. Sneaking off from Jack's was pretty simple. He just waited until they were gone on a mission. They never checked up on him.
Months passed, and Jon loved the routine he lived in now. He spent five days a week in the mountain being treated to the best education in the world. He was learning languages though, and that wasn't easy. He had no hope of catching up to Daniel. At sixteen Daniel had already been able to speak more than a dozen languages. Jon had a fair grasp of three, but that would improve. He had the determination and was good at recognizing patterns and symbols.
Saturdays, when the adults were on Earth were the best for Jon. He loved fishing with his dad, throwing a ball around in the yard, and spending much of the night on the roof with the telescope. Jack and he repainted the guestroom in strong blues with red accents, more to Jon's taste. Daniel gave him a fish tank, putting Jon in charge of choosing his own fish.
And now that his physical training with Teal'c--who never got any less scary--was over, Jon was hoping for permission to go on a three week dig in Egypt. He decided to ask Daniel first. Then he'd see if Daniel could persuade his dad to allow it.
Through one of the archaeologists in Daniel's department, he'd met some college kids in an online group who would be taking part in a dig in Giza. Jon drove Jack's truck down to Colorado Springs twice a month to meet with the group. The trip sounded like an adventure of a lifetime to Jon. And he'd made friends among the people planning to go. One friend in particular--a guy--Randy was very important to Jon. And boy was Randy randy! Jon smiled every time he thought of that incredibly ancient joke. And Randy didn't mind that Jon was three years younger than him. Randy drove up to visit on most weekends, when he didn't have exams to study for, and they'd become more than friends.
It wasn't possible to let Randy come to the house though. He might figure out Jack and Daniel were lovers and let it slip to the wrong people. That could cost Jack big time. And he didn't want to lie to Randy and say Jack was his uncle. You don't lie to your friends. But eventually Randy had met the guys and hadn't really even asked who they were to each other. It was probably obvious but Randy was pretty cool about it. So they went on dates to movies, they even played ball at the park with Jack and Daniel once. After dark they spent their time making out in Randy's car and eventually did the big IT. Spending nights in Egypt in a tent with Randy promised to be very exciting.
Before he and Randy really got it on, Jon started a brief flirtation with a guy on base. It hadn't been at all wise, but when you're sixteen, sometimes hormones do that to you. He was a tech who kept staring at Jon every time they were in the same room. Finally the guy had asked him out, but instead of going anywhere, they'd ended up in a closet having a grope-fest. Beyond that, Jon didn't know much about the guy.
They had seen each other once off base, then ended up in that closet a lot more times. It'd been hot, having the guy stroke him and kiss him. He'd touched the guy's hard-on, his first he thought, and had been surprised at the feel, the pulse and the smoothness of the shaft skin, so alike and yet so different than his own tool. The guy had pulled his cock out and begged Jon to suck him off. Jon hadn't felt like going that far but hadn't protested when the guy had dropped to his knees and sucked on Jon's hard cock. In fact he'd grabbed the guy's shoulders and really plowed into him.
Their encounters had been fun, but now that Randy was more in the picture, it wasn't something Jon went in search of. He didn't turn down repeats though. But they were much more discrete. Had to be, especially right under his dad's nose.
Jon wanted to stay this time around, didn't want to be shipped off. He was determined not to fuck up again, not to repeat whatever he'd done to get sent away, hidden from the NID like he'd been before.
Then disaster nearly ended his burgeoning relationship with Jack.
Jack had given in, and Jon was going on the trip to Egypt. Jon was so excited about it. He would see where Daniel grew up, see the pyramids for himself, and hear the new language he was learning spoken all around him. Jon's mastery of languages was steadily improving.
They went on a shopping trip to get a few things for Jon. Daniel and Jack sat at a little round table at a sidewalk caf in the shopping area waiting for Jon who was still at the last shop they'd visited. They didn't have too much more time to shop today because Jon's friend Randy was meeting him later. The boys had a late date, and Jack had promised to loan them his telescope.
Jon came to the table for a second, dropped off a package, then took off after some sunglasses. Daniel sipped his coffee and smiled at Jack. "He's going to have a blast, you know. Stop worrying."
"Who's worrying? He can take care of himself. He's old enough."
"Mind if I join you?"
Jack turned with a jerk and found Sara, his ex wife sitting at the table behind him. Speechless, he watched as she moved from her table to theirs and sat down.
"Sara," Jack finally managed to say. "How are you?"
"Fine," she said then turned her attention to Daniel. She held her hand out. "Nice to meet you. So you're the replacement. I'm the ex."
"The replacement?" Daniel repeated questioningly. He politely shook the offered hand. "Daniel Jackson. Jack and I are colleagues."
Sara just chuckled. "Sure. Well, Daniel, it's nice to meet you. Shocking, but nice."
"Sara, what are you doing here?" Jack asked forcefully.
"Having coffee," she said. "Same as you, I would imagine. I waited until the boy left. I want to ask you something, and I want an honest answer, Jack."
"This isn't exactly the time or place--"
"I don't really care if it is the wrong place or time. No matter what your answer is it won't change anything. Still, I have to know. I was so shocked when I realized you were the roommate. But it's true. I saw you in the shoe store. I've been following the three of you since then. I won't do anything to hurt that boy. He's so sweet and innocent. He deserves stability and love, and I know you're trying to give that to him. But I have to know. When?"
"Sara, this really is not appropriate. Regardless of what you think is going on, that boy is none of your business--"
"Charlie would feel very differently about that. He was my son too, Jack."
"What? Of course he was. Sara, that has nothing to do . . . What do you think is going on here?"
"Play dumb, Jack. You do it so well. Mr. Jackson, why did you send him away? It's a horrible thing to grow up without a parent, to be alone in the world without a mother, and not even to have a father to turn to? That's no way for a child to grow up."
Daniel leaned away from her and drew his mouth into a tight line.
"A boy needs family. He needs people he can come to when he's lonely."
"Oh, believe me. I know that all too well. Jack, I . . . I . . ." Daniel started to rise, and Jack laid a hand on his arm.
"Just a minute, Daniel. Sara, this is uncalled for. I don't know what you think you're doing, but attacking Daniel this way is beneath you."
"Give it up, Jack. I know Jon adores you, and he's counting on you to help him build a good relationship with Mr. Jackson, but don't make excuses for the way the man has chosen to raise his son."
"Son!" Daniel exclaimed. "Jon? How do you know Jon?"
"Hey, Daniel," Jon called breathlessly as he rushed up to their table, "can I borrow-- oh, sh--Uh, I gotta go."
Jack snagged the boy by his belt and halted him mid-stride. "Hi Jon," he said in a terribly casual tone. "Look who stopped by to say hello. An old friend of yours, I think."
Jon was pulled back around, and he stiffly sat at the last chair at the little round table. "Uh. Hi."
"Hi," Sara said warmly and gave him a hug. He returned it, hanging onto her a bit longer than she hung onto him. He let go reluctantly and faced Jack.
"So, Jon. You and Sara have . . . met?"
"Yes. You know I've really got to go get some sunglasses. I just needed to borrow your credit card, Daniel. You said I could if I went over my limit? I'll just go get them and be back in a minute."
Jack smiled. "No," he said slowly. "So, Sara, you know Jon. Isn't that nice."
Sara ignored her ex husband. "You're getting ready for your trip to Egypt? It sounds so exciting, Jon. Your dad must be very proud of you."
"How about some coffee?" Jon asked. "I could get it for you."
Jack leaned forward and tapped Jon's arm. "And you've been keeping her up to date about your life, eh? Your upcoming trip?"
"Yes. The trip that I really want to make, and that I'd do anything to keep permission for. Anything."
"Sara, it was great seeing you again, but we really do have to get going. Jon has to meet a friend pretty soon. We've got to go drop him off." Jack stood. Daniel and Jon got to their feet.
Sara stood and hugged Jon again. She whispered for him to give her a call when he had time to talk, then the three men left.
Daniel glanced over his shoulder at Jack's ex wife. She was eying him critically. Daniel nodded, then turned away. "Well, wasn't that fun."
Jon was silent as they got in the truck.
Jack turned the ignition key but sat there, gripping the wheel and staring out the windshield. "I don't know what the hell to do with you, Jon. That was the stupidest, most dangerous, boneheaded--"
Daniel interrupted him. "Are we not enough, Jon? Do you need more people from your past?"
"Daniel, how can you ask me that? She's my--For crying out loud, Daniel. Wouldn't you go talk to yours if--Oh, God. Daniel, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I know you would, but you can't, so . . . so I shouldn't ever have said anything like that. Why do I keep hurting you? Stupid. I'm so stupid."
"It's not me that you've hurt. You've put yourself in danger by going to see her."
"No. She doesn't know who I am. She has no idea--"
"Yeah, she thinks you're Daniel's son. Why did you lie to her like that?"
"I didn't! I never told her I was Daniel's son. I don't know why she jumped to that conclusion. I told her . . . I just said I knew me when I was a kid. She must have just made a wrong assumption when she saw you two together. It's not my fault."
"Yes, it is," Jack said harshly. A tapping on his window startled him. Sara stood there smiling. Jack reluctantly rolled the window down.
"I didn't get an answer to my question."
"What?" Jack asked too loudly.
"How long have you and Mr. Jackson known each other? When did you become friends? Was it before Charlie died?"
Jack flinched back and turned his face from her. "No," he answered softly. "After. More than a year after. Sara, we have to go." Jack rolled up the window and pulled slowly from the parking space.
"Daniel, I'm sorry," Jon said, his voice cracking. "I'm so sorry for what I said. I didn't mean to bring your parents up in all of this. I'm sorry."
"Sara did the same thing to him, Jon. So you've done it to him twice today. She though Daniel was responsible for making you grow up like an orphan. Can you explain that to him and then apologize? After the way Daniel grew up? She accused him of being cruel to you."
Jon hid his face in his hands. Daniel encircled the boy's shoulders and pulled him into a one armed hug. Jon slumped against the archaeologist.
I'm sorry," he murmured behind his hands. "Daniel, I don't know why she thought that."
"How could she think you knew yourself when you were a kid?" Daniel asked gently. "The age difference wouldn't logically allow that."
"I'm sorry," Jon repeated.
"Were you lonely?" Jack asked. "This kid Randy not enough for you? And don't think I don't know about you and that tech at the base."
"What does that have to do with her?" Jon asked angrily. "I just wanted to see her is all. And I just went back because she invited me."
Jack pulled into the driveway and then herded the boy and Daniel into the house. Jack stood in the middle of the living room, nose to nose with Jon. "I saw the way you clung to her. That was stupid, Jon. Stupid and dangerous for her and for you. If you care nothing for her, think about what it's doing to Daniel and me."
"Daniel?" Jon looked from Jack to the archaeologist who sat on the couch. Jon remembered Daniel passing out on that couch after he'd been body slammed into the door. "Daniel, I'm sorry. I didn't think you'd ever run into her. And Jack loves you. You know that, don't you? She's no competition."
Daniel lifted an eyebrow and tilted his head. He gazed solemnly at Jon. "Yes, Jack loves me."
"No, Jon. I mean the danger of exposure. What the hell were you thinking? You've got more brains than that! Or were you thinking with your dick?"
"I'm not stupid, Jack!"
"Are you in love with her? Is that it? Got the hots for her?"
"Oh God! That's sick!"
"Is that it, Jon? A blast from the past? She turn you on?" Jack demanded.
"No! That would be like wanting to have sex with Daniel! Or with you, for Christ's sake."
"Jack," Daniel said, "we have a problem."
"With Daniel?" Jack accused Jon thunderously. He grabbed the boy's shirt. "You've been wanting to having sex with Daniel?"
"That's sick. Shut up!" Jon demanded. He balled his hands into fists and raised them in front of his body.
"Jack, listen to me," Daniel said. "We have a problem, and you're making the wrong assumption here. Jack!"
"What!" Jack turned and glared down at Daniel. He didn't release his grip on Jon. "He's got the hots for you, for Sara? He's put all of our lives in jeopardy by going to her. What the hell was he thinking, that he could start a romance with her?"
Jon punched him in the stomach, and Jack staggered back.
Daniel leaped from the couch and put himself bodily between the two. "Stop. Either one of you can kill me if this keeps up, and I really don't want to die. Not again. It's really gotten old."
"Daniel, move!" Jon ordered. "I can't let him say shit like that. That's sick! He's the sick one. He's crazy, not me!"
"Daniel, get the hell out of the way!" Jack ordered.
He didn't move away. Instead he held his arms wide to create a bigger block between them. "If you both don't sit down right now I'll . . . I'll call Teal'c to come make you. Want that, Jon? How about you, Jack? Want him to wipe the floor with you? And you know that for me, he'll do it. He owes me. Big time. And I'm not above taking advantage of it to save this boy from your misdirected anger."
"Misdirected? You think I'm just jealous of him having the hots for you?"
"I do NOT have the hots for Daniel! That'd be like sleeping with my own father, you sick old man! I wouldn't sleep with him any more than I'd sleep with you! And why the hell do you think I'd be turned on by my own mother? How sick does that make you?"
"Sit down!" Daniel yelled.
Jon flinched away. "You've never yelled at me before. Daniel, I'm sorry. I said I was sorry," Jon choked on that last word as his eyes watered. "Damn it. I am not gonna cry like a baby!" He wiped away tears but more came.
"Sit down," Daniel said softly and pushed Jon back into a chair. He pointed from Jack to the couch. "Now." Jack obeyed him.
Daniel sat on the coffee table facing Jon. Jack glaring over Daniel's shoulder at the crying boy.
"Jon," Daniel said softly, "you've been lying to us."
"No, I haven't. I didn't tell her I was Charlie. She still doesn't know. She still thinks Charlie is dead."
"Oh Christ," Jack swore softly. He swallowed and jumped to his feet. "I'm going to kill you. What kind of sick games were you planning to play with her?"
"I'll call Teal'c, Jack. No more warnings. Sit down." Daniel never took his eyes off Jon. "You've been lying to us about how much you remember, Jon. Did you do it to make things easier on us? On me?" Daniel touched the boy on the knee. Jon looked up at him through reddened eyes.
"No. I just didn't want him to send me away again. Please don't send me away," Jon asked Jack.
"I'm gonna send you so far away," Jack said softly. "So fucking far. Someplace where there's no gate, no way for you to ever, EVER, get back."
"Jack," Daniel said. Then he turned to eye his lover, keeping his hand on Jon's leg. "Jack, you're making assumptions here, and they're wrong. Way wrong. Please, will you just let me talk to him a minute?"
Jack glared, his jaw clenching and unclenching. The tension lines rippled in his neck. He waited.
Daniel nodded then turned back to Jon. "How did you find out about Charlie?"
"I . . . I found the birth certificate in Jack's closet. And the pictures. I put two and two together."
"Well, your math skills aren't as brilliant as we thought they were. You should have come up with four, and you ended up somewhere in the hundreds I'd say."
"I'm sorry, Daniel. I didn't mean for you to ever meet my mother."
"I know, and actually I haven't. Neither have you. Jon, you've made a wrong assumption. It must be genetic," he said with a smile at Jack. "Then again, Sara made a couple of her own today, and they were whoppers too. Maybe it's contagious."
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
"Yeah," Jack said. "After the shit this kid has pulled?"
"Jack, you need to realize something. Jon doesn't really know who he is. He's been fooling us, putting on a performance to please you so you wouldn't send him away."
"He knows he's my carbon copy--"
"Not really. He thinks he's your son. He thinks he's Charlie."
Jack stared mutely at Daniel. He blinked and stared.
Daniel looked at him, but kept a hand on Jon's leg. "I'm so sorry, Jack. I know this must be tearing you up inside. Come here and sit with me."
Jack didn't move. Daniel felt Jon tremble beneath his hand. He glanced at the boy and saw him failing to hold back more tears.
"I know who I am," the boy whispered. "I know. I saw the birth certificate and the pictures. She still has all my stuff. My room. Just like it was. Why couldn't I stay there? Why did I have to lose my mom? And my dad? Daniel, it hurts so much." Jon slid from the chair to the floor, burying his head in Daniel's lap.
Daniel ran his hands over the boy's hair. "Jon, you've been mistaken. You got some of it wrong. All you had to do was ask us, and we would have clarified what you don't remember. I see now why there were so many discrepancies with what we thought you remembered and what you should have really been able to with your injury. It makes sense now."
"No, it doesn't," Jack said. He scooted down to sit nearer to Daniel. "It doesn't. What's he talking about? Why is he talking about Charlie that way? Does he really think . . . Could he possibly have fooled himself into thinking he's Charlie?"
"Yes. And neither one of us looked too closely at the signals Jon's been sending us about this. Me, because the memory loss is personally painful to think about, and you because, well," he paused and shrugged. "How could a parent who'd suffered the loss of a child be clear headed about a situation like this?"
He brushed his fingers through Jon's hair again, then continued to explain. "Jon lost himself. I know how that feels. I know exactly how devastating that feels. So he filled in the gaps, gaps that he's not going to get back like I did. I've worked so hard to give him everything I could. I know how bad the need was, and I know how it feels to think you've done something wrong, something that made you deserve to lose everything. The staggering guilt of feeling you're suffering because you deserve to. I've been where he was, and I had you, Jack. I had you to bring me back to myself. And he thought he had you too, as a father. I had you to come back to. Jon didn't. Not as Jon. But as Charlie he did. It's why he's made the progress he has."
The boy sobbed into Daniel's jeans, soaking the cloth, his body shaking with the pain. "Please, don't send me away."
"We won't, Jon. We'll help you," Daniel said. He leaned down and kissed the boy's head.
Jack put an arm around Daniel. "I remember, Danny. I remember how you were in that tent. So scared. So scared and alone and you were working so hard to hold it all in from us. But you had the courage to come out eventually, to come with us. You put yourself in our hands, total strangers, and came millions of miles to us, to a place you had no memory of. It was so hard, but you did it."
Daniel smoothed his hand through Jon's hair, then kissed Jack. "I did. I got my life back. Jon's not going to get his back. You understand? Never."
"God," Jack sighed. Finally he reached out and began to rub Jon's shoulder. "This is going to hurt him. Me. It's going to hurt me."
Daniel kissed Jack again. Jack slid from the coffee table onto the floor and wrapped his arms around Jon. He eased the boy from Daniel and held him in a tight hug. The boy slowly relaxed against Jack, sobbing softly into his shirt.
"Jon, my son Charlie really did die. He died in my arms at the hospital. He shot himself with . . . with my gun. It was an accident. He got curious and took it out and . . . he died."
The boy quieted, listening intently. He kept his head pressed against Jack's shoulder. He hiccupped a few times.
"He was eight years old," Jack said slowly. "He was a very bright inquisitive child. And I loved him with all my heart. I miss him every day of my life. I wanted to die. I had no reason for living after that. I tried to . . . die. But Daniel . . . Daniel came into my life. I split up with Sara shortly after that. Then I was with Daniel and so I . . . And you . . . you are . . ." Jack stared at the ceiling.
Daniel slid onto the floor and sat on Jon's other side. He put an arm around him, patting Jack and the boy at the same time. "Then a few years later, Jack was abducted by an alien. I realize that sounds absurd but," he paused and smiled, "you know it's true. You've seen all of the stargate project. Well, this alien cloned Jack. But the clone wasn't perfect, didn't do what it was supposed to do. It only matured to the physical age of fifteen, but it had all of Jack's mental capabilities, his memories, his skills. And instead of being taken back to die on the alien ship, the clone stayed here."
After a moment Jon wiped his eyes and sat up. He solemnly gazed at Daniel, raw fear plain to see in his eyes.
"The clone was a carbon copy of Jack, except he was younger, you see. So he wanted to go live his own life, try to kind of start over, go back to school and experience life from a different direction and grow up differently."
Jon wrapped his arms around himself, imitating Daniel's self-hugging pose. He began to shake his head slowly.
"He and Jack agreed not to stay in touch, thought it would be too much pressure. Plus, if the NID learned there was someone on Earth with such extensive knowledge of the stargate project, they'd be . . . interested. They'd want him here so they could keep tabs on him and the clone wanted to be independent. So for everyone's safety, the clone lived apart, alone."
"I'm not . . . "
"Yes. You're Jack's clone. You're his genetic duplicate."
"No. That's crazy, Daniel."
"Any more crazy than stepping through a metal ring and ending up half a galaxy away? Or crazier than your sparring partner being from another planet?"
Jon mutely shook his head.
"The truth of who you are doesn't make you less important to me or to Jack. We still feel the same about you, see? Because we already knew who you really were. We've been treating you the way we did because we knew who you were and thought you knew who you were too."
Jack cleared his throat. He reached for Jon again, but the boy batted his hand away. "I'm not too good with this touchy feely stuff, but I can say I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said what I said to you. I deserved the punch. I didn't know you thought you were . . . him. Okay?"
The boy stared back at him, his posture screaming out his misery and loneliness.
Daniel reached for the boy and wasn't rebuffed. "I can't say it's all going to be okay. I'm going to be honest with you. You've got some serious thinking to do. It's a lot to take in, I know. But we're not sending you away. You're still home. This is your home now. You made it so, understand? You belong here, Jon."
"Yeah," Jack seconded that. "You do. I really want you to know that."
"I'm not your son? I'm nobody's son? I'm a thing." More tears ran down his wet cheeks. "I'm not your son."
Suddenly Daniel hugged him fiercely. "In spirit you are MY son! Mine, Jon." Daniel angrily wiped at tears on his own lashes. "Sara was more right than we thought."
Daniel mutely held the boy as he and Jack spoke.
"Yeah. I guess she was partly right," Jack agreed. "I just don't know what to say, Jon. I didn't realize . . . I'm sorry. But Charlie . . . " Jack dropped his face into his hands.
"I don't remember him," Jon said as he turned in Daniel's lose embrace to face Jack. "I don't remember you or Daniel or anyone. I don't remember Sam or Teal'c or the general. I lied. I lied to my friends. I don't remember any people at all, just being a few places, that's all. Just like looking at a few photos, that's all. And those really aren't my memories, they belong to you. It really wasn't me in the fighter jet. It was you. And in space, you got to look down at Earth. God, my stomach hurts."
"Well, they were your memories too. It was you," Jack assured him. "Does that make sense?"
"No. I feel like I stole those memories from your head, Jack. I feel like a thief. I don't want them. I thought you'd trained me to do some kind of kid spy stuff, like that movie. Sam would say things, sometimes other people in SGC would say things, and I'd think they knew about the kid spy stuff. But they weren't talking about me. Those memories weren't mine. I stole them from you. I wish I didn't have them. I feel like a thief."
"No," Jack said. "You didn't take anything that didn't belong to you in the first place. You were just mixed up is all."
"You don't have anything to be apologizing for."
"Yes I do. I lied to my friends. Daniel says that's the worst thing a guy can do."
"Oh, he does, does he? Well, personally I think it's worse to leave your friend behind while you go waltz around for a while as a glowing octopus. The least you could do is take the friend along for the ride. But, whatever floats your boat."
"Private joke, Jon. I guess it's a private joke."
"Stop apologizing, kid." Jack reached out and pulled Jon into a hug. This time he wasn't pushed away. "So, you're Daniel's son in spirit. Let's you and me discuss how we need to label what we are. If you don't have my memories--other than a few pictures, which don't really count--and you do have my genes, then you're my genetic offspring. If I'd decided to have another kid and lived on a planet where cloning was the norm for making kids, you'd be what I'd have ended up with. Got it? So maybe that's where we need to start in our discussion of redefining just who we are to each other, okay?"
"Genetic offspring." Jon pulled at his bottom lip, deep in thought.
"You know, Daniel does that," Jack said, indicating what Jon was doing with his lip. "And the arm wrap around thing too. You take after Daniel more than me."
"Does that upset you?"
"No. Not really. I think you know I love Daniel. And he's a great role-model for a kid you know. And we already know, he has the most bitchin' job, right?"
Jon grinned through his tears at Jack then briefly glanced behind him at the silent archaeologist. He turned back to Jack. "I thought we weren't supposed to let him know we know even though he most likely knows it, but doesn't know we know."
"Yeah. Well, I guess I just blew that."
"I still don't know," Daniel reassured them. "But I do know Jack admitted I'm a good role model for you. How about we get cleaned up, and we'll go with you to meet up with Randy?"
"Oh crap! I forgot about him. Am I going to be late?"
"No," Daniel assured him. "Plenty of time yet. We can talk this evening when we get home. But I'm only going to let you go under one condition. You promise me that you believe I love you and that you belong here with us."
Jon choked back a sob, then gave into it and wrapped his arms around Daniel. Jack plastered himself to Jon's back and hugged both him and Daniel at the same time.
"This feels good," Jack said. "Family. You know?"
"Yes," Daniel said. "I do know. Remember the first time I had to leave Abydos? Everyone gathering around, hugging, touching my head," he said as he stroked Jon's hair. Then he reached up and stroked Jack's hair too. "That connection. It's the center of life. Family. This is family."
One week later Jon slid into his usual spot at the kitchen table. Sunday breakfasts were great when Daniel and Jack were on Earth. He'd be leaving for Egypt tomorrow. He was all packed and very excited.
"How do you want your eggs?" Jack asked the boy. He moved a skillet of bacon off the burner and cracked eggs in a small mixing bowl. Daniel sat by Jon sipping coffee and studying an archaeological journal spread on the table before him.
"Over easy. Hey, Daniel."
"Morning," Daniel said, never taking his eyes from the article he was reading.
"You and me, fishing today. Teal'c's coming too." Jack placed a platter of toast and bacon on the table.
"Sounds good. Um, the guy I was out with last night dropped me home a little earlier than I expected. He had to get his dad's car back sooner than I thought."
"Hmm?" Daniel said, glancing up at Jon then back at his journal.
"Yeah, I got home pretty early last night."
"Oh? How . . . early?" Daniel asked.
"Well, earlier than I expected." Jon picked up a piece to toast and munched on it.
Daniel quickly flipped several pages in the journal.
Jon snagged some bacon and laid it on his plate. "Yeah. And I heard the strangest thing when I got home. It sounded like . . . Oh Jack. Harder! Oh Jack! Oh Jack Oh Jack Oh Jack Oh--"
Jon yelped as Jack whacked him on the back of the head with a spatula.
Daniel lifted the journal in front of his face " . . . oh . . . god . . . " he moaned.
Jack put eggs on Jon's plate then sat at the table. "I'm going to have to invest in soundproofing. Or a gag."
Jon stifled a snort of laughter. "Hey, Sam is supposed to take me to visit Cassie today. I can't go fishing."
"Then it's just Teal'c and me. Daniel--if he can come out from behind the magazine--is spending the afternoon doing some teleconferencing with an off world expedition."
Daniel stayed silently hidden behind the journal.
"And you've got laundry duty tonight, Jon. Don't forget!"
Jack finally snagged the magazine and threw it on the counter. "Daniel, eat what I cooked before it gets cold."
He'd been back from his trip to Egypt for three days, solid days of sleeping, eating and dancing with friends. Tonight was family night though. Jon sat on the living room floor and watched a movie, his legs stretched out in front, his back propped against pillows by the coffee table.
Daniel was laying on his stomach half on Jack who was stretched out on his back on the couch. The older man was keeping up a running dialogue of nasty comments about the flaws in the film. Soon, Daniel was on autopilot occasionally making `uh huh' noises. Eventually Daniel quit making any replies. Jon looked over his shoulder and saw that Daniel's eyes were closed, his head nestled comfortably on Jack's chest. Jon grinned. The timing of them having a free weekend on Earth had been perfect for Jon. The teen reveled in it, knowing the timing was a rare phenomenon and might not come again soon. Daniel's attitude was: take what you get and love the good times, get through the bad. So Jon did.
"I might go on another dig month after next," he said softly to Jack. "Back to Giza."
Jack rubbed Daniel's back and looked at Jon. "You need help making the arrangements?"
"Nah. Got it covered." Jon ate some popcorn, gathering up dropped kernels into a pile by his soda can. "I don't think Randy's going this time. And after Cairo this winter there's one to Belize I was looking into."
"You know Daniel's grandfather did some stuff in Belize, I think. Found a crystal skull. I think he's famous for that."
"Nicholas Ballard," Jon said. "I read about him. Isn't it amazing that he's Daniel's granddad?"
"Uh huh. Then SG-1 found a similar skull on . . . I forget which planet. We took a look at it. Daniel ended up getting shifted out of phase for a while because of it. We got Nicholas to help us get him back. Ballard stayed on that planet with the aliens there. He sends mission reports occasionally."
"He and Daniel weren't very close, were they? Daniel calls him Nick."
"Yeah. That was Nick's idea. Except after he phase shifted back, they kind of came to a new understanding I guess. Daniel called him Grandpa when they said goodbye."
"Oh." Jon sipped the warm soda and dropped a few more popcorn kernels as he munched.
"Jon, you should call me Dad."
Jon turned and eyed Jack. "Why?"
"Don't you want to?"
"Is it a matter of what I want?"
"Good question." Jack began rubbing light circles on Daniel's back. "I think . . . it's a matter of what you need. Daniel needed Nick to be a grandpa. He wasn't a very good one. I remember Daniel saying that." Jack drew a deep breath. "And I don't want you to have a dad who's not a very good one.
"I know you've got Daniel, who, apparently even though he's a loud one at inopportune moments, is a damned good dad, and you're incredibly lucky to have him in your life. He could make up for a thousand Nicholas Ballards. But I don't need him making up for me. I'm your dad."
"Yeah. But . . . So, you think this is what I need. What do you need?"
"I get what I need, son. I get what I need."
Jack pursed his lips and studied Jon a moment. "What most men need. I have family, friends, a job I love, happiness. And fishing."
Jon grinned. "Fishing. But you know you're already a great dad."
"Well, yeah, of course I am."
"Yeah. Dad." Jon grinned. Jack grinned back at him, then they turned their attention to the movie.
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