A Chance for a Family
By Gemsong

 

Spoilers: Broca Divide, Singularity, Divide and Conquer
Category: AU, Angst, Smarm, Romance, Action/Adventure

Chapter 1

Colonel Jack O'Neill sat in his office, his head in his hands. The painful throbbing in his temples had eased but was a long way from vanishing. He couldn't fix this. He couldn't make it better. For all his dumb colonel act, he still had always found a way to fix things. But this time he couldn't fix it. Carter couldn't fix it. Even the Asgard couldn't fix it and they had the most advanced technology he knew of. But there were still things they didn't know. And this was one of those things.

He rubbed his hands down his face and straightened. Complaining wouldn't change anything. Pushing himself up from the desk, he left his office. His destination was the infirmary. He pushed open the double doors. The main room was quiet as he entered. Most of the beds were empty and generally it doubly quiet this time of night unless a team was due back. If there were injuries then this place would become a hive of activity.

But now it was quiet. And Jack considered that a blessing at the moment. He moved across the room to the bed that was curtained off . He slipped past the curtain and looked down on the small figure lying on the bed. Jack moved closer and perched on the side of the bed.

Daniel lay sleeping, curled up on his side, his thumb in his mouth. Jack stared down at him, still trying to get used to the change in him. Daniel had been an adult until three days ago. They had discovered the abandoned outpost of a long forgotten goa’uld. They had also found a piece of technology that had been unknown until now.

Daniel had picked it up, brushing off the dirt that had been caked on the medallion. In that moment it activated. Daniel had glowed brightly. For a moment they couldn’t see him. What seemed an eternity later, their vision cleared. Where Daniel had been standing was now an eight year old child.

They had been fortunate that some of his memory had remained intact. Jack had been deeply relieved by that. When Daniel was eight the first time around, his parents had just died and he had been placed in an uncaring foster care system.

Jack heard the sound of quiet steps approaching and looked up to see Janet brush aside the curtain and step in. He smiled slightly as she approached the bed. Her dark hair was twisted into a bun, but wisps of the silky strands had escaped to rest against her temples.

“What’s the word, Doc?” he asked, keeping his voice low.

Janet gently straightened the blanket over Daniel’s shoulder. “The paperwork has been approved for me to adopt Daniel,” she said, her voice equally as soft.

Jack kept his face expressionless. He had wanted to take Daniel himself, but the fact was his friend needed a more stable environment. Janet had done well with Cassie. He couldn’t fault her as a parent. She had all the right clearances as well the personality to be a loving mother.

“He’ll do well with you,” Jack said, looking down at the sleeping child.

Despite the lack of expression, Janet knew what he was thinking. “Colonel…” she began.

“It’s the best choice, Doc,” Jack said. “I’m out in the field a lot.”

“You still need to be part of his life, Jack,” she said, deliberately using his first name. She rarely did so as it seemed to be too personal.

Jack smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’m very good at being Uncle Jack,” he said. “Don’t suppose you’d want two dogs…?”

Janet rolled her eyes. “I have enough problems with Boomer,” she replied.

“Have you told Cassie yet?” Jack asked.

Janet nodded. “I think the reality will hit her when she sees him,” she said. “Her uncle Daniel is now her little brother.”

“She’s a smart kid,” Jack said. “She’ll handle it.”

“I hope so.” Janet replied. “She’s still a ten year old.”

“With you as her mother,” Jack said. His eyes warmed.

Janet could only smile in return at the compliment. She only hoped it would be half as easy as he made it sound.

Jack got to his feet. He paused as he stood next to her. “Take care of him, Janet,” he said quietly. His hand reached up and caressed her cheek.

They stared at each other, their eyes meeting in a timeless moment. Then suddenly the moment was gone and so was Jack. Janet looked down at the child on the bed. She let out a breath, knowing her life would never be the same.

***

Daniel sat on the edge of the bed in his new room in Janet’s house. He looked around but there wasn’t much familiar. He was having a hard time adjusting to the new situation. His heel thumped against the bottom mattress. Sometimes Janet couldn’t understand why he wanted to be alone. Sometimes it seemed like too much to take in.

He knew that he used to be big. An adult. Something had happened to turn him back into a child. His memory seemed confused sometimes. He would get flashes of things he must have done as a adult. Then he would remember his parents. It seemed like it was only yesterday when they died. He felt his chest tighten at the memory and he wrapped his arms tightly around his chest.

He was interrupted by a knock on his door. Before he could say anything, it opened and Cassie stuck her head in. Daniel straightened abruptly, frowning in annoyance.

“I didn’t say come in,” he said.

Cassie stared at him for a moment. It was just as hard for her as anyone else. This wasn’t her Uncle Daniel. This was Danny. He wasn’t the same person and she found it a little hard to get used to.

“Mom said to tell you dinner is ready,” Cassie replied.

“Okay,” Daniel replied, expecting her to leave.

She didn’t. “Mom likes dinner to be on time,” she said.

Daniel glared at her. “I get it, Cassie,” he replied. “I got it the first time you told me.”

The young girl put a hand on her hip as she stood in the doorway. “Well, you’ve been late every time,” she said. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” With a flounce of her dark hair, she walked away, leaving the door open.

Daniel growled under his breath and got up. He wished he had been able to stay with Jack. Jack would have been easier to deal with. Janet had all these rules about what he could and couldn’t do. Everything seemed off to him.

He walked into the kitchen and took his place at the table. He sat with his head down and chewed on his thumbnail. Cassie sat across from him. She stared at him as Janet put plates in front of each of them. Janet sat down between them and looked at them. The tension was so thick, it was stifling.

Cassie had come from a village mentality and tended to ask questions. Suddenly having a younger brother was throwing her. Especially when that younger brother used to be an adult she loved. Daniel, on the other hand, was much more withdrawn and tended to answer in monosyllables, much to Cassandra’s annoyance.  It had been a week and didn’t seem to be improving.

Chapter 2

The following week since Daniel came to live with them showed little improvement in just generally getting along peaceably. Janet was coming close to the limit of her patience. She didn’t know what to expect with the addition of Daniel to the household, but she had not expected Daniel and Cassie to be at such odds.

Cassie had become more aggressive, nitpicking at every little thing Daniel did. Daniel, on the other hand, had become more withdrawn, but only in Janet’s presence. On more than one occasion she had overheard a shouting match between the two. Neither of them came to her with complaints about the other.

Because Daniel’s memory was sporadic, Janet made the decision to place him in the same school Cassie went to. She had already received compliments about his intelligence much as she received when she first placed Cassie there. If she hoped that this would give them something in common, she was wrong.

When Cassie would have a difficult assignment, she would often call her Uncle Daniel to help give her direction. Now, when Danny offered to help, he was rebuffed flatly. He would then go to his room and sit alone.

It was an afternoon three weeks later as Janet sat down at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee. Across from her sat Jack with a steaming mug of coffee as well. Jack noticed she looked a little harried. Her work hadn’t suffered, but there was obviously some strain going on at home that was putting her on edge.

“It takes time for kids to get used to each other,” Jack said. “Have you tried talking to her?”

“She just clams up. I don’t understand it. Cassie’s known Daniel for years,” Janet said. “I don’t know where the attitude is coming from. It’s not like her at all.”

“It’s normal,” Jack replied as he took a sip of coffee.

“Normal? This is normal?” Janet asked with more than a touch of disbelief.

Jack nodded and smiled. “It’s simple. Cassie is used to being the top dog around here, so to speak. She was the only child in our extended dysfunctional family. Now she has competition. She’s establishing her dominance. It’s normal.”

“You sound like you speak from experience,” Janet replied with a wry grin.

“I have a younger sister,” Jack replied. “Don’t worry, it’ll work itself out.”

Janet sighed. “When?” she asked.

“Give it a few more years,” Jack said. “They should be fine by the time they reach adulthood.”

Janet rolled her eyes. “If I live that long,” she said.

Jack smirked. “If they live that long without killing each other,” he said. Janet shook her head and tossed a cookie crumb at him.

It was something of a relief to talk to him about the situation. This was the first time he had come to her home since she’d brought Daniel home. Boomer had his head on Jack’s leg as the man absently petted him.

She was about to speak when the front door burst open. Cassie entered the kitchen and squealed when she saw Jack. “Uncle Jack!” she cried, throwing her arms around his neck.

He laughed and stood up, picking her up off her feet. “How’s my girl?” he asked.

“Great now that you’re here,” Cassie replied as he set her back down .

Jack sat back down at the table. “She must think I brought her something,” he said, winking at Janet. He handed Cassie a small box.

She tore open the wrappings and her eyes lit up. “A new I-pod!” she crowed. “My old one was acting up!”

“Then this should keep you busy for a while,” Jack said with a smile and Cassie hugged him again.

Janet glanced toward the doorway. “Cassie,” she said. “Where is Daniel?”

Cassie shrugged with disinterest, her focus more on her new toy.

“Was he on the bus with you?” Janet asked, her voice taking on an edge.

Cassie lifted her head, hearing the sharp tone. “Yeah,” she said. “I don’t know where he went when we got home.”

Jack caught Janet’s sigh. Their eyes met across the table. ‘Room,’ she mouthed. It was where Daniel always went when he came home.

Jack nodded. He got up from the table. Cassie looked up at him, startled. “Are you leaving already?”

“No,” Jack replied. “I brought something for Daniel and I want to give it to him.”

He watched the play of expression on her face. Anger. Resentment. Then a mask of indifference. She had a long way to go before she mastered the poker face, he thought. He patted her head and walked down the hall to the room that had been transformed for Daniel.

He knocked on the door. There was a moment of silence. Jack knocked again. “Daniel?” he called. He heard something drop and then the door was jerked open.

“Jack?” Daniel asked in disbelief.

A moment later Jack found himself with an armload of sniffling eight year old. He kicked the door closed with his heel and went over to sit on the bed with Daniel in his lap.

“What’s going on here, Danny?”

Daniel sniffed again and wiped his runny nose on his sleeve. Jack mentally shook his head. “Why can’t I live with you?” Daniel asked.

Jack felt his stomach tighten. “We talked about this, remember?” Jack said. “I’m away for days at a time.”

“I don’t like it here,” Daniel mumbled against Jack’s chest.

Jack tucked Daniel against him, rocking quietly. “Janet is a wonderful woman,” he said firmly. “She’s a wonderful mother and most importantly… she loves you just like I do.”

“Cassie hates me,” Daniel said, his voice muffled.

“Cassie will come around,” Jack said. “Believe it or not, she loves you too.”

There was a snort in the region of his chest. Jack smiled. “I brought you something,” he said. Daniel didn’t lift his head. “You can’t see it if you don’t look.”

Reluctantly, Daniel pulled his head from the warmth and security of Jack’s chest. Jack placed a small thin rectangular object in his hands.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Open it and find out?” Jack said, smiling down at him.

Daniel looked up at him curiously then carefully opened the wrapping paper. Inside was a framed photograph. It was the picture that Daniel used to have in his apartment. One of the few pictures he had of his parents. His tears welled up and over as he clutched it tightly to his chest. Jack just held him, rocking him gently.

Chapter 3

Janet sat at the table watching her daughter. She had adjusted to life on earth much more quickly than she was adjusting to a new member of the family. Cassie was fully engrossed in the features of her I-pod and seemed oblivious to her presence. Janet reached across the table to catch Cassie’s hand.

“We need to talk,” she said.

Cassie looked up at her mother warily. Those four words never meant anything good. It usually began with something she’d messed up. Although, at the moment, she couldn’t think of what that could be.

“Cassie, I’m trying to understand something,” Janet said, still holding her daughter’s hand. “Why do you have such a problem with Daniel? You used to love him. Next to Jack, he was your favorite ‘uncle’.”

Cassie stared down at their joined hands. “He’s not Uncle Daniel,” she said flatly.

“Not the way he was, true,” Janet conceded. “He didn’t ask for this to happen to him. It’s just as hard for him as it is for the rest of us. In some ways, more so. He doesn’t remember everything of his adult life. Mostly, he only remembers things from the first time he was eight years old.”

“He’d rather live with Uncle Jack,” Cassie said. “I don’t see why he can’t. It was fine with just you and me.”

Janet squeezed her hand. “He can’t live with Uncle Jack,” she said. She forced Cassie to meet her eyes. “For the same reason Major Carter couldn’t adopt you even though she wanted to.”

Cassie’s gaze dropped away from her mother’s. She couldn’t help but remember all that she had lost and how lucky she was to have a new family. “What… what was he like… when he was eight?” she asked finally.

Janet hesitated, wondering how much to tell her. She decided to tell her the truth. She took a deep breath. “When Daniel was eight, his parents were killed,” she began. Cassie’s eyes widened. “They were crushed by a coverstone. Daniel saw it happen.”

Cassie’s face was white. She still had the occasional nightmare of all the people of her world dying. “Who took care of him?” she asked finally.

“He was placed in the state foster care system,” Janet said. “He was moved around a lot from family to family. Not all the homes were good ones. He was never adopted.”

“Is… that why you adopted him too?” Cassie asked, looking at her mother.

Janet nodded. “Jack wanted to, but he couldn’t,” she said. “Just like Sam wanted to adopt you.” She squeezed her daughter’s hand. “I was lucky to be the one who got you both. With me, you never have to hide where you came from and what happened to you.”

“What about Daniel?” Cassie asked softly.

“Sometimes he remembers things from when he was grown up,” Janet said. “With us, he doesn’t have to hide that. So when it’s difficult for him, he has us. Just like you have me when things on earth are difficult to understand.”

Cassie looked down. Her mother had definitely given her something to think about.

***
Janet walked Jack to the door. “Thanks for coming by,” she said, smiling up at him.

He smiled back. “Any time, Doc,” he said. “How about I come by this weekend and take the two of them to a movie or something. Give you a break?”

Jack watched the play of weary emotion over her face. She really did need a break. “You don’t have to do that,” she said. “We’ll manage.”

“I want to do it,” Jack replied. “They’re my kids too, you know.”

Janet smiled weakly. “I know…” she said, giving in as Jack knew she would.

Without thinking, he pulled her into his arms, his chin resting on the top of her head. He could feel her hands clenching in the material of his shirt. He noticed her hair had a faint, almost flowery scent, possibly from her shampoo.

“You don’t have to do this alone, Janet,” he said quietly. “If you need me… us… we’ll be here.”

She nodded, resting her head against his chest. She didn’t realize how much she needed this until this moment. She could hear the steady beat of his heart against her ear and his arms were warm and strong around her.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

He nuzzled the top of her head and then pulled away. For a moment Janet felt bereft of his touch but she managed to smile up at him.

“Any time,” Jack said. He cupped her face with a callused hand and then turned and walked away.

Janet closed the door behind him and leaned against it. She couldn’t allow herself to feel anything. She remembered all too clearly the Zartac incident. Jack and Sam had expressed feelings for each other they could never, would ever act on. They were her friends and she had to respect their feelings. If only she could keep her own under some kind of control.

***

It was later in the evening when Cassie knocked on Daniel’s door. There was silence. She hesitated and knocked again. Finally there was an answer.

“Who is it?” Daniel’s muffled voice responded.

“It’s Cassie,” she said. “Can I come in?”

There was another long pause before he answered. “Okay,” he said finally. He looked a little surprised as she came into the room. Up until now, she’d just barged in, sometimes without knocking at all.

“Is something wrong?” Daniel asked. Probably yet another of Janet’s rules he was messing up.

Cassie walked slowly over to him. “I was wondering if you wanted my old I-pod,” she said. She sat down beside him on the bed and held it out. The cover was a deep red with some scratches in it.

Slowly he took it from her hand, turning it over to examine it. It did seem familiar. “It still works,” Cassie continued. “And there’s some music on it you might like.”

Daniel looked up at her. He considered questioning this change in her behavior, but then decided not too. There was less tension between them at the moment and he was in no rush to bring it back. “I’m not sure I know how to work this,” he said finally. “It’s familiar, but I don’t remember…” He trailed off with a frown.

“That’s okay,” Cassie said. “I’ll show you”.

A little while later Janet was walking down the hall and heard the sound of low voices. Daniel’s door was open and she peeked in. Cassie and Daniel sat on his bed, their heads close together, discussing music on the I-pod. Cassie was making sure that Daniel knew what artist was ‘in’ and what artist was not.

Janet smiled a little with relief. She moved on without disturbing them. Any breakthrough was better than none at all.

Chapter 4

Midmorning on Saturday, Jack showed up again at Janet’s house. As planned, he would take the kids out for a movie and to the mall. He would probably regret it later, but it was for a good cause. While they were out, Sam would be coming to pick up Janet and take her out for what Jack called ‘girly time’. Jack had the feeling it had something to do with a spa and/or shopping or whatever. He vaguely remembered Sarah needing girly time periodically.

Jack knocked on the door and  Cassie instantly answered it. “Uncle Jack!” she squealed, throwing her arms around his waist. He gave her a quick hug.

“Ready to go, Shortcake?” he asked with a smile, tugging one of her braids.

“Of course,” Cassie responded with a little sniff.

“No I-pod,” Jack said.

Cassie looked at him stunned. “But….”

Jack shook his head. “No I-pod,” he repeated. “I don’t like being ignored by women.”

Cassie huffed and turned to empty her bag of the I-pod, along with other items that she knew Jack would probably be against. While Cassie was reorganizing her bag, Jack looked over to see Daniel standing in the background.

The boy had his arms tightly around his chest in a self-hug. Jack was familiar with that particular pose. Daniel had tended to do that a lot the first couple of years they had known each other.

Jack had quickly picked up on the reason behind it. A defense mechanism for when he was feeling unsure or insecure. He leaned over, resting his hands on his knees as he looked at Daniel.

“Ready to go, sport?” he asked.

Daniel shrugged slightly. “I guess,” he said without enthusiasm.

Jack put a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Want to tell me what’s wrong?” he asked.

Daniel lifted his head and looked up at Jack. The brown eyes were serious and concerned and Daniel’s instinctive reaction was to trust the man. “No,” he replied. Jack’s eyebrow went up. “It just that some things I remember and some things I don’t. What if I’ve already seen the movie?”

“I know for a fact you haven’t seen this movie,” Jack replied.

“How can you be sure?”

Jack smiled. “They just released it. Fourth in the Indiana Jones Trilogy,” Jack said.

Daniel’s mouth opened and then closed then opened again. “You can’t have four movies in a trilogy,” he said.

“Then what would you call it?” Jack said as he straightened. He ruffled the top of Daniel’s head. He saw the boy’s frown of concentration just as he saw the tension easing out of the small body. “Cass, let’s move!” he called. “We have places to go and people to annoy.”

***

The adventure began at a local Burger King. Jack has made the wrongful assumption that fast food meant you get it fast, you eat it fast and you leave fast. He wouldn’t have been wrong if he had been alone. Having an eight year old and a ten year old along made time slow down. Cassie futzed over what was healthy and what was not. Daniel was just overwhelmed by the choices.

When the choices were made after what seemed to Jack like hours of discussion, they took their trays to the booth to eat. Jack bit into his loaded steakhouse burger with guilty pleasure. Daniel examined his crown shaped chicken tenders with a doubtful look, but dug into them with a will once he got a taste.

Cassie had chosen a salad, which was soon ignored after the first bite. It was more important for her to chat (babble, Jack thought) about what was going on with school, her friends and her burgeoning social life. Jack frowned slightly. Puberty was coming up too fast. Daniel occasionally snorted and rolled his eyes, obviously having been privy to some of Cassie’s frantic social whirl. She ignored him. Jack considered the idea of sitting on Janet’s front porch, cleaning his P-90.

The next stop was the movie theatre. Jack paid for one adult and 2 children, though personally, he had doubts about that. Even though they had just had lunch, Cassie insisted on the required popcorn and drinks. Then the choosing of the proper position in the theatre. Cassie was an ‘up front’ kind of girl. So Daniel and Cassie sat in the front row while Jack perched in the uncomfortable seat behind them.

As the whispering between the two commenced, Jack questioned his sanity. And the movie hadn’t even started yet.

***

Janet groaned in deep pleasure. Strong hands were kneading the tight muscles of her lower back. The masseuse was an expert. She didn’t know her muscles had gotten so tense and she was a doctor.

There was an answering groan beside her. Janet had enough energy to turn her head to the side to see Sam on another table, getting the same treatment.

“Was this your idea?” Janet asked.

Sam smiled. “No,” she replied. “Jack thought you needed time away from Cassie and Daniel.”

“A day at the spa?”

“Pure pampering, he said,” Sam replied. “He said you needed it. That’s why he took the ‘kids’ out for a movie. He said you were having a tough time with them.”

“It’s not that bad really,” Janet protested. Then she grunted as a knot of tight muscles were forced into a relaxed state. “It’s an adjustment.”

Sam smiled. “You know what I think?” she asked, lifting her head to rest her chin on her folded arms.

“Mmmmm?” Janet replied. Her feet were now being massaged.

“As much as Jack talks about you and the ‘kids’, I’m beginning to think he likes you,” Sam said.

“Of course,” Janet replied. “We’re friends.”

“More than friends,” Sam said.

Janet lifted her head to look at her. “Sam… I don’t…” she began.

Sam sat up, the towel wrapped around her body. “You should,” she said.

“But you and…” Janet said sitting up slowly.

“Have moved on,” Sam said. There was a soft smile on her face. “There was something, but it’s matured into what it was meant to be. We’re friends. Family. The annoying big brother I never had. Come to think of it I did have an annoying older brother. Therefore it’s something I’m experienced with.”

Janet looked away from her friend, unsure of what to think. She looked up to see Sam’s hand on her arm.

“Come on,” Sam said. “There’s a whirlpool calling our name.”

Janet smiled up at her weakly.

Chapter 5

It was mid afternoon when Jack walked the mall with Cassie and Daniel. Malls as a rule were not a hang out for Jack. He preferred getting his shopping done in a one stop store like Wal-Mart. The kids had enjoyed the movie and seemed to be looking forward to spending more time in his company. Daniel even consented to hold his hand on occasion. Cassie, at ten, decided she was too old for that. Of course that didn’t stop her from grabbing his hand to drag him off to something he just had to see.

He knew he would have to stop and let them buy something eventually. Barnes and Noble had a nice big outlet in the mall and he led the two children in that direction. It was the right choice. Both sets of eyes were huge with child-like greed.

“Here we are,” Jack said. Suddenly, the two kids started moving in two different directions. “Hold it!” Cassie and Daniel  skidded to a stop and stared at him as if he was torturing them.

“Uncle Jack…” Cassie nearly wailed.

“Where are you two going?” Jack asked.

“History section,” Daniel said.

“Music section,” Cassie said.

Jack realized this could be a slight problem. There was no way he could keep an eye on them if they were on opposite sides of the store. There had to be a compromise. He caught both of them by the shoulder.

“All right,” he said. “This is what we’re going to do. You each will get 30 minutes in each section. This time we go with Cassie’s choice and hit the music section.” He saw the mutinous pout begin on Daniel’s face. “After that we spend exactly the same amount of time in the history section,”

“But Uncle Jack…” Cassie protested.

Jack looked at her  sternly. “Don’t you have a history report due next week?” he asked. She squirmed under his gaze. “You can find a book to help you with that.” He looked between the two children. “Agreed?”

There were reluctant nods.

“Okay. Music first,” Jack said.

Cassie quickly led the way with Jack and Daniel following . The bookstore had a large selection of music. Cassie went immediately to the latest in rock music. Daniel wandered around aimlessly until he found the world music section. Keeping half an eye on both of them, Jack selected a couple of jazz CDs that he wanted for his own collection. Since he bought two for himself, he allowed each of the children to make two selections as well.

Jack had to smile as they stood in line to purchase them. Daniel was explaining to Cassie about his choices. Native American drum rhythms along with a CD of Celtic music. What surprised Jack was that she was actually paying attention. Had the great divide been breached?

From there they moved on to the books. Jack was quick to admit he was lost, but Daniel was clearly in heaven as he moved along the rows, his fingers moving over treasured volumes. Jack mentally made a note to himself to have some of Daniel’s books he had packed up at his apartment moved to Janet’s place. Probably would need to build him a bookcase to hold them.

The one thing Jack did like about Barnes and Noble was their tendency to have comfortable chairs at strategic points. He settled into one that allowed him to see down several rows. The next moment he found himself with their purchases and Cassie’s backpack.

“I have a history report to do,” Cassie said with a sigh as she stared at the overwhelming selection.

“What subject?” Daniel asked. You couldn’t say the word ‘History’ around Daniel without being specific.

Cassie shrugged. “History of England… Queen Elizabeth,” she said.

“The first or the second?” Daniel asked.

Cassie looked at him. “There were two?” she asked.

Daniel nodded. “Queen Elizabeth the first reigned during what some consider the golden age of England,” he explained. “Elizabeth the second is the current monarch on the throne.”

“I need the one who wore big frilly collars and looked like she was going bald,” Cassie replied, remembering the picture her teacher had shown her.

Daniel kept a straight face with effort and led the way to the correct section. There were several books that would suit her needs for her book report at a fourth grade level.

Jack woke from a light doze as Cassie shook his shoulder. “Uncle Jack,” she said. “We’re done.”

He looked at them. Both had two books. Daniel looked as if he had fought a war and lost. No doubt the selection process had been agonizing. He would definitely have to talk to Janet about his books. They were precious to him.

Purchases made, they left the treasure trove also known as a book store. Jack glanced at his watch and noticed it was later than he thought. They passed through the food court and Jack gave in to pleas of ice cream. Janet would probably kill him, but it was worth it. Jack was not surprised when Daniel chose chocolate mocha. Cassie, on the other hand, was an avid fan of vanilla. Plain unadorned vanilla.

Jack leaned against a column and took out his cell phone. He dialed Sam’s number, though he wasn’t sure she would answer. She and Janet were probably still basking in a sauna or being manhandled by some stud masseuse. He was surprised when she answered.

“It’s Jack,” he said. “How are you girls doing?”

He could hear the smile in Sam’s voice. “Limp as noodles and loving it,” she replied.

“Should I be jealous?”

“Lessee…. We’re relaxing and being pampered and you’re out with Cassie and Danny at the mall,” she said. “What do you think?”

Jack chuckled. “Glad it’s going so well,” he said. “Just tell Janet I’ll take the kids to dinner then bring them home. I didn’t realize it was so late.”

Sam paused. “I have a better idea,” she said softly. “You take Janet to dinner and I’ll take the kids.”

Jack was silent as his stomach seemed to flip-flop. “Carter, I…” he began.

“I can feed the kids pizza and you and Janet can talk,” Sam said.

“Talk?” he asked, noticing his mouth had gone dry.

Talk.” She stressed the word, putting wealth of meaning into it.

“Sam….” Jack said after swallowing.

“Good, it’s settled,” his second in command said. “We’ll meet you in front of Luigi’s in about an hour. I’ll take the kids and you take Janet.”

“Wait…”

“Bye, Jack.” The phone went dead. He stared at it blindly for a long moment.

He was brought out of his stupor by the sound of Cassie’s voice raised in strident anger.

“You leave my brother alone!”

Jack whirled to where he had left the kids, sitting, eating ice cream. What he saw was Daniel sitting on the floor, looking shocked. Cassie was standing in front of him yelling at a boy who was easily twice her size. She looked more than ready to take him down. What the kid probably didn’t know was that she could.

He made a move to shove her out of his way. Cassie grabbed his wrist and twisted, throwing her weight into it. The next thing the boy knew he was flat on his back on the sticky food court floor. A burly man came over.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, girl!” he snapped, taking a menacing step in her direction.

“He was picking on my brother!” Cassie said angrily.

The man looked vaguely familiar. Jack quickly stepped between him and Cassie. “What’s the problem here, Sergeant?” he said, taking the command tone. The man took a step back.

The boy struggled to his feet. “Your kid tripped me!” he said. “I was minding my own business and she just stuck her foot out.”

Jack’s eyes narrowed. “Is that a fact?” he asked, pinning the boy with a gaze that made new recruits look like scared rabbits.

“Dad, he pushed Danny down for no reason!” Cassie protested.

Jack kept his eyes on the boy. His father put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed firmly. “I think an apology is in order, don’t you think, Sergeant?” Jack said.

Between Jack’s stare and the grip his father had on his shoulder, the boy decided truth was the better part of valor. “Sorry,” he mumbled in Daniel’s direction.

“Sorry about this, Colonel O’Neill,” the sergeant said.

“Let’s just make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Jack said. He turned away, dismissing him to find Cassie helping Daniel to his feet. “You okay, Danny?” he asked.

The boy nodded, looking more surprised than hurt. “I’m okay…” Cassie nudged him. “Dad…”

Jack had to smile at the ploy. “Good,” he said. “Let’s go meet your mom and Aunt Sam,” he said.

As they walked across the parking lot with their purchases, Jack wondered if he could convince Sam to stay and they could all have dinner together. A nice little family gathering. Maybe call Teal’c…. He could hope.

Chapter 6

All of Jack’s vague hopes that Sam and the kids would be joining them for dinner were effectively dashed. Even Jack was impressed by Sam’s skills. The two women were already there, waiting for them. As Jack got out of truck, Sam slipped into the driver’s seat. Jack stood there gaping as the kids waved to Janet. The next moment his truck was gone.

Jack slowly turned to Janet with a bemused expression. “That went well,” he said, not meaning a word of it. He opened the door to the restaurant and gestured for her to precede him.

Since it was so early, they were able to get a good table by the window. Janet sipped a glass of wine while Jack nursed his beer.

“So you planned this as well?” she asked.

Jack shook his head. “Since it was getting late, I was going to take the kids to dinner while you and Sam did your thing,” he said honestly. “This part was Sam’s idea, not mine.”

Janet could see his discomfort. “We can leave if you want,” she said finally.

Jack looked across the table at the woman staring at him. Then he smiled slowly. “No,” he said. “Just the two of us is fine.”

Janet found her mouth curving into an answering smile. Sam set them up. But it wasn’t without cause. His smile warmed her and she found herself blushing under the heat of his gaze. They were on the brink of possibility. He held out his hand to her and she took it, and together they took the first step.

***

Sam took the kids home and ordered pizza as they fought over what DVD to watch. They reached a compromise on watching the first Indiana Jones movie. Having seen the latest, they were still in the mood for more Dr. Jones.

Sam sat down on the couch and started the movie. “The first in the trilogy?” she said.

“You can’t have four movies in a trilogy,” Daniel protested. It was the same response to Jack that morning.

“So what would you call it?” Cassie asked, sprawling on the floor.

Daniel thought for a moment. “A quartet?”

“Isn’t that music?” Cassie asked, rolling over on her back to look  at Daniel.

He was sprawled on the couch with Sam, his legs hanging over the arm. “It is a term used for four things that are alike,” Daniel explained.

The kids didn’t seem that interested in watching the movie at the moment. There were more interesting things to discuss.

“Sam?” Cassie asked.

“Yes?”

“Why did we leave mom and Uncle Jack at the restaurant?” she said. “I thought we were going to have dinner together.”

Sam smiled. “Janet and Jack needed some time alone together,” she replied.

“For what?” Daniel asked curiously. “Is there something wrong?”

“No,” Sam replied.

“You mean alone alone time?” Cassie asked, suddenly realizing what Sam meant.

Sam smiled smugly. “Exactly,” she replied.

“Candlelight and everything?” Cassie persisted.

“Maybe.”

Before Cassie could question further, the pizza arrived and Sam was spared any more interrogation. The food and the movie distracted them from pursuing the subject further. Sam just hoped her clumsy attempt at matchmaking would work. Seeing the two of them together made her feel good.

***

Cassie and Daniel got off the school bus to make their way the one block to home. Cassie had turned in her book report, which Daniel had helped her with the day before. He didn’t do it for her. He just helped her structure the information she researched in the books and on the internet. Consequently Cassie felt she turned in a better report than if she hadn’t had his tutoring. There were moments when it was just like when he was big and her Uncle Daniel, teaching her how to find the answers instead of just giving them to her.

They walked side by side down the street. It was a sunny day, though a little cool. The trees had already begun to change color. Autumn would be hitting with full force in a short time.

“Danny?” Cassie said.

“Yeah?” he replied shifting his book bag. He shouldn’t have taken his new books to class with him, but he wanted to show his teacher.

“What do you think of it?” she asked.

The younger boy glanced at her. “What do I think of what?” he asked in return.

“Mom and Uncle Jack,” Cassie replied.

Daniel looked at her, a little confused. “What about them?” he asked. She wasn’t making a lot of sense to him at the moment.

Cassie rolled her eyes and sighed. “I think they like each other,” she said.

“Of course they do,” Daniel said. “They’re friends.”

“I mean really like each other,” Cassie said.

Daniel’s blank look continued. “They’re really good friends,” he said finally.

Cassie looked at him. Obviously Daniel’s sense of romance had disappeared along with his size. “I mean like each other so much they get married and have babies,” she said. “You do know where babies come from, right?”

“Of course,” Daniel said, blushing, suddenly not wanting to have the conversation. “But you don’t need to be married for that.”

Cassie made a sound that was a mixture of frustration and disgust. “I mean, I think Mom and Uncle Jack like each other enough that they might get married,” she said.

Daniel blinked. “Oh.”

“Therefore, he wouldn’t be Uncle Jack anymore,” Cassie continued. “He would be Dad.”

Daniel was quiet for a moment. “Does that bother you?” he asked.

Cassie bit her lip in thought. “I don’t think so,” she said. “I think I could get used to it.” Then she glanced over at him and grinned. “I got used to a little brother, didn’t I?”

Daniel snorted in response. Neither had noticed the black van following them until it sped up and came to an abrupt stop beside them. The side door swung open, and four men dressed in black jumped out of the van.

“Cassie! Run!” Daniel screamed as one man wrapped a strong arm around him, lifting him off his feet.

Cassie tried to make a run for it, but the men were faster. Before she could scream, a foul smelling rag was slapped over her nose and mouth and she was dragged into the black van with Daniel. That was the last thing she remembered.

Chapter 7

It was late when Janet arrived home. All the lights were on and she felt irritated with the waste. She’d have to talk to Cassie and Daniel about doing that. She sighed and headed next door to pick up her children. When she worked late, she arranged for them to go to Mrs. Gunderson until she got home. The reason the lights were on meant that they had to go into the house to get something they just had to have while they were at the neighbors. She knocked on the door.

A few minutes later the door opened and the older woman smiled at her. “Hello Dr. Fraiser,” she said. “What can I do for you?”

Janet smiled. “I've come to pick up my wayward children,” she said. “It's been a long day.”

Mrs. Gunderson stared at her in surprise. “I thought they were with you?” she said. “They didn't come here after school.”

Janet felt her stomach clench. “What?”

“They're not here. They didn't show up at the usual time,” Mrs. Gunderson said.

“Thanks,” Janet said and hurried back across the yard to her house. What kind of game did those two think they were playing at? They knew the rules. If Janet's car was not in the driveway when they got home from school, they were to go directly to Mrs. Gunderson until she came to get them. They would have a lot of explaining to do.

That was when Janet noticed the door was ajar, the light streaming out onto the walkway. Her mouth went dry as her hand slipped silently into her purse and she pulled out her .38 auto. She held the gun in both hands as she approached the door cautiously. Except for the lights, everything was silent. As she stepped into living room, she started shaking.

The room had been trashed. Even the furniture had been overturned.

“Cassie? Danny?” she called. There was no answer. In her heart, she knew there wouldn’t be one.

Fumbling, she pulled out her cell phone and used the speed dial. It seemed to ring for an eternity before there was an answer.

“O’Neill.”

“Jack…. They’re gone!” Janet said into the phone. “They’ve taken the children!”

“Janet, are you at home?” he asked, his voice taking on a commanding tone.

“Yes,” she replied. “They wrecked the house,” she added as an afterthought.

“Janet,” Jack said, “I want you to get out of house and go to the neighbors until I get there.”

“Jack…”

“Do it,” he said. “I’m on my way.”

***

Jack didn’t find Janet at the neighbors. She was sitting on the front step of the house, the door still open behind her. He squatted down in front of her and gently removed the gun from her hands. She looked up at him, her eyes red with unshed tears.

“Jack…” she said.

He held her hands even though his knees were protesting  the position he was crouched in. “I know,” he said. “We’ll find them and bring them home.”

Ten minutes later more vehicles and people pulled up in front of Janet’s house. Jack had been on the way to his truck halfway through his conversation. By the time he had started the engine, he had called the base and put them on alert. Considering that neither Cassie nor Daniel were ordinary children, this had the stink of something more sinister.

Lou Ferretti led a team into Janet’s house, sweeping it for clues. Teal’c took another team to retrace the last steps the children would have taken. Sam was in the surveillance van looking for any clue, starting by hacking into the video system at the school as well as the video feed from the bus they normally rode.

Jack sat beside Janet outside. It was growing dark, which would make the search harder. He slipped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her snuggly against his side. He could feel her trembling as she tried to hold herself together. For now, there was nothing they could do but wait and hope.

Then Jack’s cell phone rang.

***

Cassie’s head was pounding as she slowly regained consciousness. She rubbed her temples and shifted onto her back.

“Danny…?” she murmured.

“Here…” came the soft reply.

Cassie forced her eyes open. The two of them were on a single cot in a small cell. She blinked rapidly until her eyes adjusted. It seemed bright in the room, but  in truth only a single light bulb hung from the ceiling. Other than the cot, the room was as empty as it was dingy. She sat up, the headache making her eyes water. At least that’s what she told herself. It didn’t matter that she wanted to start bawling her head off for her mother.

She scooted closer to Daniel and put an arm around his shoulder. She felt him shaking. She pulled the rough blanket up around the two of them and they huddled close together. The room was cool, but that wasn’t the only reason both of them were trembling.

“Where do you think we are?” Cassie asked in a whisper.

“I don’t know,” Daniel replied. “I’m sorry I got you into this.”

“You didn’t do this,” Cassie said, puzzled.

“They probably only meant to get me,” he explained. “They probably think I remember the stuff from when I was a grown up.”

“It’s not your fault, Danny,” Cassie said firmly. “Mom will find out we’re gone and then call Uncle Jack and he’ll find us.”

“You think so?” Daniel asked.

The young girl nodded firmly. “You might not remember, but Uncle Jack never leaves anyone behind. And that includes us. He’ll find us. I know he will.” Daniel nodded and huddled closer to Cassie. All they could do now was wait.

Fortunately or unfortunately, they didn’t have to wait long. The door opened and two men stepped into the room. The two children huddled back further, eyes wide with fear.

“What do you want?” Cassie demanded, her voice squeaking .

Both men ignored her and approached the cot. With heavy hands they yanked Daniel out of her grip. Cassie tried to fight them off while Daniel struggled, but she was knocked back, and a moment later, she was alone. They had taken Danny away to do something horrible to him, she just knew it.

Cassie got up and ran to the door, banging on it. “Let me out!” she cried. “Where are you taking him?”

Her only answer was silence. Cassie let the tears come, sobbing her fear and worry. She moved back to the cot, pulling the blanket back around her as she cried. There was nothing she could do. And they could come for her next. She looked around as she scrubbed her face with the scratchy material of the blanket. There was nothing for her to use. Just their book bags.

Cassie blinked. Her book bag. She dragged it to her and pulled it under the blanket with her. She dug around in the contents, pulling out books, half a bag of chips. In an inside side pocket was her cell phone. Only for emergencies, Mom had said. And this was an emergency. Under the cover of the blanket, she opened the cell phone and used the speed dial for Jack’s number.

Leaving it under the blanket, she got up again and started banging on the door. Then she started yelling at the top of her lungs. The tears were real as she pounded on the door.

***

Jack flipped open his phone. The caller ID said it was Cassie. His eyes went wide. “Cassie!” he yelled into the phone.

There was silence at first. Then he heard banging and yelling. Cassie’s voice yelling. “Where is my brother! Where did you take him! My dad is going to find you! Let me out!”

Jack smiled ferally. “That’s my girl,” he said.

Janet was tugging at his shirt for attention. “Jack, what’s going on?” she demanded.

“Cassie is using her cell phone,” he said. He grabbed her hand and hurried her to the surveillance van. “Carter!”

Sam looked up from her laptop and Jack handed her his phone. “Cassie called…. The line is still open,” he began.

Sam’s eyes widened. “I can track her through the phone GPS,” she said. Her fingers flew over the keyboard.

While Jack gathered up the rest of the teams, Janet remained with Sam. On the computer screen a grid map of the city came up. Cross hairs overlaid the scene and began moving.

“What are you doing?” she asked finally.

“Cassie’s phone has a GPS in it,” Sam explained. “As long as the phone line is active, I can track it and pinpoint her location.”

Janet put the phone to her ear. She heard the faint screams of her daughter. Shouting for her brother. Then sobbing for her mother. She felt her heart breaking at the sound. “We’re coming, baby,” she whispered. “We’re coming.”

Chapter 8

Cassie banged on the door for a long time until her fists ached. Finally she dragged herself back to the cot, thinking. She didn’t know how long it might be for Uncle Jack and the others to track them down. In the meantime, she knew it was up to her to try to keep Daniel safe. She rummaged around in her backpack, replacing all her books. Then she reached for Daniel’s backpack, pulling out books and adding them to her own. She looked at one of the books, the history of Egypt’s Ninth Dynasty Pharaoh Seti the First. Daniel would probably freak when he found out what she planned to do with his precious book. She hefted the pack. It was heavy but still well within what she could manage. She slung it over her shoulder and moved back to the door.

She started to bang on the door again. “Is anyone out there?!” she yelled. “I have to go to the bathroom! How about some water!? Have you ever heard of the Geneva Convention about the treatment of prisoners!? Let me out of here!”

Persistence finally paid off. Cassie heard the lock on the door being undone. The door pushed open and one of the men that had taken Daniel away stood there.

“What is your problem, girl?” he demanded in a threatening tone.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” Cassie stated.

The man made a face. “Fine,” he said. “Leave the bag.”

“I can’t,” Cassie said, her hands  wrapped tightly around one of the straps.

His eyes narrowed. “Why not?” he asked, looking ready to take the bag from her.

Cassie face went red. “Because I have my period and my stuff is in here,” she replied with obvious embarrassment. What a topic to use as a ploy.

The man flushed slightly as well. “Fine,” he said. He caught her shoulder and pushed her ahead of him down the dim corridor.

Cassie walked, letting the momentum of her pace swing the bag on her shoulder. A few steps later she spun around and swung the bag at the man. Twenty pounds of books caught him in the groin. He howled in pain as he doubled over. Cassie swung the bag again, this time bringing it down on the back of his head. He went down with a thud and was silent.

Cassie looked around then started running down the hall. She heard the sound of footsteps and quickly ducked behind a pile of crates. She heard two men approaching,  talking to each other.

“Think this will be worth it?” one asked.

“It better be,” the other replied. “With the information locked in the kid’s head, we won’t have a problem getting back in.”

Cassie remained still and quiet until they were well past her and down the hall. Her mind raced as she wondered what to do. Try to sneak out and get help or find Daniel. Then a cry of pain echoed dimly. Daniel. Cassie made her choice.

****
Several dark vehicles pulled into the quiet neighborhood of abandoned apartments and warehouses. Many of the buildings had been condemned, but  the city hadn’t yet gotten around to demolishing them. So they sat, mostly empty, but sometimes with the occasional unsavory squatter.

Jack stepped out of the lead vehicle. He wasn’t totally surprised by the number of volunteers that had showed up. He had called Hammond to let him know what was going on and apparently it didn’t take long for word to spread. Many had a soft spot for Cassie and Daniel. Many had children of their own.

The group gathered around Jack for orders. “Teal’c, take SG2 and circle to the rear… cover all the exits,” he said. “Lou, take SG3 and 5, form a perimeter, no one in or out except us.  Carter, you’re with me. Janet, you stay here and wait for me to contact you.”

The teams moved away, preparing for their assault. Janet caught Jack’s arm. “Jack…” she began, the protest clear in her voice.

He turned and put his hands on her arms. “I need you here,” he said. “If either of the kids is hurt, I need to get them to you quickly and I can only do that if I know where you are.”

Her eyes widened a little at the thought of her children being injured. “You don’t think...” She couldn’t finish the sentence.

“No,” Jack replied. “But if they did… they’ll regret it.” He kissed her forehead and then disappeared with Sam into the darkness of the warehouse.

***

The shouting of men and the sound of gun fire echoed through the interior of the building. Cassie, frightened out of her wits, found herself having to duck out of sight in a closet as a group of men ran by. They must be looking for her, she thought. She peeked out of the closet to find the corridor empty. Carefully, she began checking doors. She was sure she had heard Daniel’s cry come from this direction.

She reached another door and found it ajar and peeked in. Inside were several gurneys like they had in the infirmary. On one was Daniel, laying unmoving. An IV was attached to his arm. He was being drugged. Cassie quickly slipped into the room and pushed the door closed behind her. There was no lock.

Cassie hurried over to Daniel and touched his arm. “Daniel?” she whispered. She shook his arm harder but there was no reaction to her touch or the sound of her voice. Whatever they were giving him, had left him unconscious.

She moved around to the other side of the table, seeing where the needle was taped in place on his arm. Cassie swallowed hard. “You can do this, Cassie…you’ve seen Mom do this plenty of times,” she whispered to herself.  Carefully she lifted the tape and drew out the needle, putting pressure over the puncture with her finger. She dropped the needle where it continued to drip its contents onto the floor. She pulled the tape back over the puncture mark to stem the tiny bit of bleeding.

But now what? They had to get out of there, but Cassie knew there was no way she could carry Daniel very far. She looked around the room. She slipped her arms around Daniel’s waist and pulled him off the bed. He was a dead weight and she struggled to move him to the gurney at the far end of the room. She crawled underneath, dragging him with her. Then she reached up and tugged on the blanket until they were mostly hidden. Now all she could do was wait, hoping Uncle Jack and her mother were on their way.

Suddenly the door burst open. Cassie pulled Daniel close and held him tightly to her, shivering in fear. She could see their feet when she peeked under the tiny space beneath the blanket hiding them.

“The kid’s gone!” a voice said.

The other man swore. “So’s the girl!” he said. “They must have found them. Let’s get out of here while we can!”

The men ran out, leaving the door open.

***

There was less opposition than Jack expected in the warehouse. He had expected an organized resistance; instead the teams met only sporadic return fire and resistance. He began to wonder if this was not a large NID or Trust operation. Sam was leading the way, following the signal for Cassie’s cell phone.

When they reached the room, it was empty. They found the phone hidden under the blanket, but there was no sign of Cassie or Daniel, although there was plenty of evidence they had been there.

Jack’s jaw was tight with tension. Where were they? There was plenty of chatter on the radio. The building was effectively surrounded. No one was getting out. None of the men captured thus far knew anything about the location of Cassie and Daniel.

“Jack, this is Lou,” came the call radio.

“Have you found them?” Jack asked.

“No,” Lou replied. “We think we’ve caught the majority of the combatants, but none of them seem to know where your kids are. We’ve started a room by room search. Teal’c is going to question them. I think I’ll give him a hand.” Lou sounded as if he was looking forward to it.

“We found Cassie’s cell phone,” Jack replied. “We’ll keep looking.”

He turned to Sam who had gathered up what remained of the children’s items and stuffed them into Daniel’s back pack. “I have everything,” she said.

“Let’s go then,” Jack said. “Search every room if we have to.”

“What if…?” Sam began. Jack knew she was about to voice the thought that the children were no longer in the building.

“They’re here,” Jack said flatly. “I feel it. I don’t care if we have to tear the building down to find them.”

Jack and Sam started down the hall, searching room by room. Lou called again on the radio. They hadn’t found the kids yet, but after some persuasion from Teal’c, one of the men confessed to being knocked out by Cassie and her backpack of pain. He was still nursing a part of his anatomy that had been injured. Lou’s voice was full of amusement as he shared that information.

Jack and Sam  smiled at the thought. That meant that Cassie had escaped and could be hiding, not knowing that the cavalry had arrived. They came across empty room after empty room and Jack’s worry and frustration level was starting to peak out.

“Cassie! Daniel!” he yelled. Yes, he was taking a risk. There could be a few agents waiting around the corner to shoot him, but he felt it was worth it. In the silence that followed his shout, a small voice answered.

“Daddy?” He knew that voice.

Jack and Sam ran through the open door a few feet away. “Cassie!”

Cassie lifted up the blanket where she was hiding with Daniel. “Daddy!” she choked out in a half sob.

Jack squatted down, ignoring the complaint of his knees. He and Sam helped Cassie out from under the gurney. While Sam gently cradled Daniel’s unconscious body, Jack found his arms filled with a sobbing little girl. At first she was a little incoherent as she cried and Jack smoothed back her hair, murmuring reassurances to her that she and Daniel were safe now. Finally wiping her eyes on Jack’s shoulder, she lifted her head.

Sam was checking Daniel over, worried about his condition. His pulse was slow and when she lifted his eyelids, she saw that his pupils were dilated and unresponsive. “Colonel, I think he’s  been drugged.”

“They h-had him on the table with an IV,” Cassie said. “I heard him cry. I thought they were hurting him. That’s how I found him. Then I pulled it out because I thought it was doing something bad to him.”

“You did right, Cassie,” Sam replied.

“Let’s get out of here,” Jack said. He shifted Cassie in his arms until he could reach his radio. “This is O’Neill. We have the kids. We’re on our way out.”

Chapter 9

Janet stood anxiously beside the van while she waited for Jack and Sam to come out with the children. A few moments later she saw Sam and rushed forward. As she took Daniel from Sam’s arms, she examined him with her eyes while Sam explained what had happened. Sam had also brought the IV bag so that they could test the contents and figure out what they had given him.

“Mommy?”

Janet looked up to see Cassie in Jack’s arms. She breathed a sigh of relief. “Are you okay, honey?” she asked.

Cassie nodded and laid her head on Jack’s shoulder. They climbed into the back of the van for the trip back to the base so that Janet could run tests on the drug and on Daniel to make sure there was no permanent damage.

Jack and Janet were sitting side by side in the van. Cassie, exhausted, had dozed off on Jack’s lap. He gently smoothed her hair from her face. That’s when it hit him. When they found the kids, she had called him ‘Daddy’, not Uncle Jack. Occasionally she had called him Dad in a teasing manner. But this was different.

He looked over to Janet beside him who was cradling Danny in her arms. “She called me Daddy,” he said softly.

Janet looked at her sleeping daughter, and then she looked up into the warm brown eyes of the man beside her. She smiled. The look they shared held two words. ‘Our children’.

***

It was several days before the full story was revealed. Teal’c initial methods of ‘persuasion’ had been effective with the men he questioned. The ten men were former members of the NID who were looking for a way back into the organization. A chance meeting with one of the nurses who had cared for Daniel when he had first returned after being downsized had resulted in what the young woman thought was an innocent romance.

Then it was a matter of waiting for the opportunity to grab Daniel. They had believed the boy had retained all of his adult memory and would be more easily manipulated in his smaller body. Cassie had been taken to ensure his cooperation. The information they thought they would get from him would be their pass back into the organization.

They had quickly discovered they were wrong. What they had was a frightened child on their hands with limited knowledge. They had used a simple truth serum on him along with a sedative to keep him under control but had misjudged the dosage and Daniel had lost consciousness.

Thanks to Sam, Janet was able to determine what drugs they had used on Daniel and was able to counteract them. She was hovering over him when he finally regained consciousness. He opened sleepy blue eyes to look up at her.

“Mommy?” he muttered.

“I’m here,” she replied, brushing locks of blond hair from his forehead.

“Daddy came,” he said.

“That’s right,” Janet said. She kissed his forehead. When she pulled back, she could see he had already fallen back into a more natural sleep, much to her relief.

***

It was several nights later and the four were at Jack’s house. Jack and Janet were sitting on the couch. Jack had his arm around Janet and her head rested comfortably on his shoulder. Neither was watching the movie playing quietly in the background. Boomer was sleeping on the floor at Jack’s feet. It was a comfortable domestic scene.

“When did this happen?” Jack asked.

“Does it matter?” Janet asked, lifting her head.

“I guess not,” Jack replied with a smile and leaned in to kiss her.

Cassie and Daniel were in Jack’s den.  Cassie was sprawled on a small couch as she flicked through the songs on her I-pod. Daniel was sitting on the floor, leaning back on the couch with a book propped up against his raised knees. “Cassie?” he asked lifting his head.

“Mmmmm?” was the distracted response.

“Do you remember your home?” Daniel asked. “I mean, before you came here.”

Cassie was quiet for a moment. “I remember. I remember watching everyone die.” Her voice was subdued. “Everyone was gone. My parents… aunts and uncles… everyone.”

“Do you miss them?” Daniel asked, turning to look up at her.

She nodded. “Sometimes,” she said. “I thought I was going to be alone forever.”

“Me too,” Daniel said quietly. “My grandfather didn’t want to take me when my parents died.”

Cassie rolled over to face him. “That’s changed,” she said. “Now we have a mom and a dad, aunts and uncles and even General Hammond is like having a grandfather.”

Daniel smiled up at her. “I even got a sister,” he said.

Cassie grinned back at him. “I’ve got a brother,” she said. “We might have lost our first families. But now we have a chance for a new family.”

“I think they need to get married first,” Daniel said.

“We’re going to have to work on them,” Cassie said. “Here’s my idea….”

The End

 

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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.