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There Shouldn't Have Been a Phase Three

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Janet looked green as she glared at Ms. Moore's bagged lunch. "Could you lock that away before I puke all over your desk?"

"Janet," said Elizabeth, and Janet just shot a look over to her. Elizabeth raised one eyebrow.

"I'm nauseated by the scent of cooked meat right now, Liz," said Janet shortly. "She's got a hamburger. I really will throw up, and if I'm going to get detention, it's going to be for something I did, not something I can't help."

"I'm sure the administration of this school will take your attitude into consideration at the hearing tonight," said Ms. Moore. She smiled as she put her lunch bag into a desk drawer, but Janet just kept glaring at her.

"The administration of this school can take my attitude into consideration all they want." Janet started inspecting her fingernails. "Not that it's going to let them get away with anything."

"Now listen--" started Ms. Moore.

"I'm afraid you're going to have to take our circumstances into consideration," Elizabeth said. She leaned forward. "We've already presented the administration, the school board, the local police department, and the state government the requested affidavits that no crime of any kind has been committed, as well as further copies of our documented status as emancipated minors. Notarized. In triplicate."

"Yes, but--" said Ms. Moore. Elizabeth could see the school handbook open on Ms. Moore's computer.

"There are no 'buts' here," interrupted Elizabeth. "Neither school nor state policies mandate that unmarried, pregnant minors be expelled from secondary education."

"It's not like we can get married anyway," muttered Janet bitterly. "Unless we run off to Canada, and that's where McKay is from."

"Give me time," said Elizabeth. Her mouth curved up just enough that Janet would know it was a smile.

"Got plenty of that," said Janet. She waved one hand in the air in a mockingly cheerful gesture. "So long as the school board stops harassing us."

"The principal simply thinks you'd be more comfortable in a smaller, private school with more individualized instruction," said Ms. Moore. She shifted in her seat, looking uncomfortable. "There's no harassment involved."

All Elizabeth did was shrug. "Neither Janet nor I are leaving this school."

"Besides, if they kicked us out, can you imagine the holy reign of terror that Jack would unleash?" asked Janet. Her look of glee was almost maniacal, and Elizabeth certainly noticed Ms. Moore's look of terror. "If they think he's bad now--"

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," said Elizabeth.

There was a knock on Ms. Moore's door, and then it opened before she could answer. Elizabeth didn't miss Ms. Moore's frown, but her eyes widened slightly at the figure standing in the doorway. "Kate?" she asked.

"Elizabeth." Kate smiled pleasantly, and Elizabeth sat back and crossed her legs. This was unexpected. Not unwelcome, but not what she had thought was going to happen. "Janet. Is this Dr. Webb?"

"No, Principal Webb ran and hid with a fake case of the flu," said Janet. She smirked at Ms. Moore. "Our psych teacher got stuck with the dirty job of telling us that the school is trying to kick us out."

"That's really not the case," started Ms. Moore.

Kate stepped inside and closed the door behind her. She had her most vague expression on, the one that could read as almost anything. Elizabeth already knew what it meant in this case, though.

"I'm afraid the school board's wishes don't matter in this case," Kate said. "General O'Neill contacted me when he learned of the situation. As Jack and Janet's closest living relative, he's certainly very concerned about their education, and this is the best school in the area."

"I don't understand," said Ms. Moore, frowning. "I know that Janet and Jack are close, and have a relative in Washington--"

"I'm afraid most of the details are obscured by the clearance required for General O'Neill's work," said Kate. She spread her hands and gave Ms. Moore what Elizabeth knew was her best sympathetic look. "Regardless, he's asked me to look in on the situation."

"The situation's just fine," said Janet. "Liz has it all handled, except for the fact that I got kicked out of the cast of the latest play for being knocked up."

"I'll be joining the school faculty as the counselor. Dr. Thessau has diabetes and has developed complications. She's on medical leave." Kate's expression was still pleasant, at least, but Ms. Moore looked poleaxed.

Elizabeth just pursed her lips and looked seriously at Kate. "Wasn't Dr. Thessau in charge of the drama club?"

"As a matter of fact, she was," said Kate, looking amused. "Janet, I hope you'll be at rehearsal tonight. Elizabeth, General O'Neill said that next time you need to messenger him paperwork, please scan it in and just cite the legal references when you e-mail it to Walter."

"His hernia?" asked Janet sympathetically.

Kate nodded. "You two should get back to class," she said. "We can go out after school for ice cream, if you'd like."

"Because we're pregnant and you're humoring us?" snapped Janet.

"Not really." Kate looked torn between being nonplussed and being amused. "I haven't had ice cream in a few years. It doesn't travel well."


Kate dug into her sundae with a plastic spoon and sighed as she relaxed into the theater seat. Elizabeth sat next to her, her hands folded in her lap. She glanced sidelong at Kate. "I was surprised to see you here," she said.

"I know," said Kate. She turned to the side to face Elizabeth. "The rest of us had a discussion and informed General O'Neill that we'd all be taking rotating duty at your school."

She forced herself to look up and meet Kate's eyes. "But why?"

"Aside from the joy of hearing about Colonel Sheppard being forced to deal with hordes of teenagers with overactive hormones, you mean?" asked Kate. Her mouth quirked up. "Because when you came to visit us, we realized we'd left you alone here, and that's not right."

"I'm not the real--" started Elizabeth.

"You're as real as she is," said Kate.

"Fat lot of good that does us now," said Janet, collapsing into the chair on the other side of Elizabeth. "How's it going, Kate?"

"Hello, Janet," said Kate. "Carson asked me to pass on his regards. How are you feeling?"

"Like I've got repressed feelings I'm just dying to get out," snapped Janet. "Do you have office hours? I'd rather not talk about my feelings during rehearsal. Do you even have any qualifications for this?"

"Summer stock throughout high school and college," said Kate. She shrugged and dug into her sundae again. "Some in Colorado before Elizabeth and I started working together."

"Great," said Janet. She slumped in the seat. "I'm going to be the only pregnant Juliet ever. With my pregnant girlfriend in the audience."