Learning to Live With It Part 3
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
Title: Learning to Live With It Part 3
Author: Su Freund
Category: Angst, Drama, Action/Adventure
Content Level: Age 13+
Content Warnings: Minor use of mild language
Pairings: Jack & Sam
Spoilers: General S9 spoilers
Summary: In his quest to find Sam's killer, Jack seeks help from an old friend
Sequel/Series Info: Sequel to Learning to Live With It Part 2
Copyright (c) 2005 Su Freund
Art Credit: A gorgeous cap of Jack, made into a book cover by Fulinn28, illustrates this fic on my site and can be viewed here https://www.ficwithfins.com/AA3_1/archive/2/learningto3.html or in my book cover art gallery. Thanks Fulinn!
Author's Note: Thanks To Bonnie for her invaluable help in beta reading this fic
Learning to Live With It Part 3
Next morning was a terrible dawning for the three men. Jack and Daniel had dosed fitfully and Teal'c had only managed to get through it by Kel'no'reem, rather than the sleep he actually required these days.
Jack woke in shock to the feel of an arm around him, and looked to see that Daniel slept by his side.
"Daniel, what the hell do you think you're doin'?"
The sleeping Daniel woke abruptly.
"Get your arm off of me for crying out loud!"
"What the hell are you doing asleep on my bed?"
"I heard you cry out from a nightmare, came to see if you were okay and... I guess I just fell asleep. Don't you remember?"
"Unfortunately, I remember too much. Way too much," Jack replied sadly. "Sam's gone and we can't bring her back."
"I know Jack..."
"Is everything alright?" Teal'c interrupted from the doorway, "I heard loud voices."
"You'd scream too if you woke up to find Daniel with his arm around you," Jack quipped, sarcastically, and Teal'c smiled slightly.
"Indeed," he agreed.
"Gee, thanks guys. I didn't do it on purpose. You aren't my type, Jack."
"I'm real happy to hear that, Daniel. Okay, time to make coffee and plans, don't you think?"
"To find out who killed Sam, and why."
Daniel shuddered at the dark look in Jack's eyes as he spoke. Making an enemy of Jack was so not a good idea and anyone who thought it was needed to be locked up for their own safety. He knew that, come what may, Jack would get his answers because he wouldn't rest until he did, and wondered what fate Jack had in mind for the perpetrators.
He figured Jack had no intention of bringing those people to the kind of justice recognised by the US government. He wanted retribution, to be an angel of death. It was a scary thought and one Daniel would endlessly debate the morals of inside his head, but there is no way in hell he would be able to stop Jack doing what he intended, and he wasn't sure he would even try.
"I'll make coffee while you plan, Jack," Daniel offered, "we should all stick to what we're good at, don't you think?"
That raised a smile from Jack and they all wandered through to the kitchen.
"Breakfast?" Daniel asked.
"I don't want to eat anything, but you two go ahead. Not sure there's enough food in the house to meet the appetite of our Jaffa friend here, though."
"You ought to eat something Jack," Daniel responded with a frown.
"Daniel, you are not my mother. She's been dead for a very long time, so cut it out."
"Okay. No need to bite my head off. You want Daniel Jackson's head on toast for breakfast, feel free to take it!" Daniel responded, leaning his head towards Jack like a willing sacrifice and eliciting a small smile from his friend.
"Sheesh, I'm sorry Daniel but I can't handle all the fuss."
"Okay, I'll back off until you're emaciated and then I'll worry."
"Thank you. Now leave a guy alone to think for a few minutes."
Silence reigned while Daniel made coffee, and breakfast for Teal'c and himself. The two friends munched their way through heaps of toast and waffles and the smell made Jack want to throw up the contents of his roiling stomach but he managed to restrain himself.
"First things first, I'd better tell them not to expect me at work for a few days. Let's hope I can pull that little minor miracle off. Then we need to get hold of everything we can on operations in Area 51 so we can try to figure what's been going on. Problem is, the only two people I trust are in this room. I don't want anyone to know that we're looking into this. Not yet."
"Not even the CO at Area 51?" Daniel asked.
"For all I know he's the guy who killed Sam."
"Okay, fair enough. So how do we get access from here?"
"Good point. We can't bring physical files here. Too many, too bulky, too suspicious. We need to hack into the computer."
"None of us have this expertise, O'Neill," Teal'c said, dismayed.
"I know. Only Sam could have done it."
"That means we have to bring someone in, Jack. Who do we trust that can do it?"
"I know just the guy. First I'd better call work, then I'll call him. What about you two?"
"Later. What about you two? Don't you think you need to call into the SGC?"
They were all saved the need of worrying about work when there was a knock at Jack's door and it turned out to be General Hammond, retired. He looked shaken and concerned.
"Jack, I know you probably want to be alone, but I had to come."
"You're always welcome here George."
"I'm so sorry about Sam."
"We all are."
"Any idea what happened?"
"Not yet, but I sure would like to take a peek at the crime scene reports and autopsy when they're done. Come in George."
"Daniel, Teal'c, it's been a while. It's good to see you both. A great pity about the circumstances, though."
He warmly shook the hand of each of the men, and gratefully accepted a cup of coffee. For a short while they talked about inconsequential things until Hammond brought them back to recent events.
"I'm betting I can get hold of those reports you mentioned, Jack. If there is anything I can do, anything at all, you know you only have to ask."
"Any hope of clearing us all a few days off, George?" Jack said jokingly.
"Well, I might be retired but I'm confident I can swing it." Jack arched his eyebrows not having expected that reaction, "I still hold some influence with a few people, Jack." Hammond chuckled, "Wish I was in a position to grant it myself. I'll sort something out. Are you looking into this mess?" The three conspirators exchanged looks, "I see that you are. I should advise you to leave it to the officials investigators, but I won't waste my breath. Besides, I have more faith in you three than any of them."
Jack grinned and nodded at the compliment. It was good to have Hammond on their side. He didn't stay long, not wishing to outlast his welcome at such a time.
"If you think of anything else I can do to help, call me Jack. As I said, anything at all. I want to know what happened, and who is responsible, just as much as you do. Such a waste of a good person," he sighed, shaking his head sadly. "I know how hard this must be for you, son. Don't think I don't know how you felt about her, and probably still do. My feelings for her weren't exactly regulation either. I guess I always thought of her more like a daughter than a subordinate. It seems unlikely knowing you, but if you ever need to talk I'm available to you 24/7."
Jack was touched by his ex-CO's concern and offer of friendship.
"Thank you, sir," he said with all the deference he felt for Hammond, "T-that's very... If I think of anything I'll be in touch, George. Hell, I'll be in touch anyway."
"That would be good, Jack."
George Hammond had harboured fatherly feelings towards Jack O'Neill for years. He had a great deal of respect and affection for the man, despite their many ups and downs. Sometimes Jack had been trickier to handle than an eel, but he was well worth the effort. He had disobeyed orders all too regularly, but almost always to uphold his own principles, values and beliefs, which were of a high standard. Hammond might have done the same things in his position and had never been beyond bending a few rules when necessary.
Not only that, but O'Neill was a bone fide hero and had saved the butts of the people who populated planet Earth many times, as well as Hammond's own on occasion. He owed him big time. The SGC would never have been the same place without Jack. He'd been both a pain and a joy, but most of all, it had been an honor.
They shook hands and Hammond grasped Jack's one between his two.
"Take care of yourself, son. Try not to do anything too hasty."
"Can't imagine what you mean, sir."
Jack smiled and it was obvious to George that he knew exactly what he meant. The look in Jack's eyes was terrifying and would have made a lesser man than Hammond quake in his boots. The look belied the smile by a considerable distance.
"Just be careful Jack. And call me."
"Next time, cut out the sir. I'm retired."
Less than half an hour later, Hammond called to say they all had the following week as downtime and Jack was open mouthed at how quickly he'd arranged it. He had to admit that he would go AWOL to sort out the mess if necessary, now it didn't seem to be.
Before Hammond called, Jack made a very private and personal call of his own, and one of the most difficult he had ever made in his life. Both Daniel and Teal'c were curious as to what he planned, but neither felt inclined to question him. He seemed to be possessed by a demon and if that was what kept him going then so be it.
About an hour later their guest arrived, waltzing through the door bold as brass and as if he owned the place. Both Daniel and Teal'c were stunned by the apparition that appeared before them.
"For crying out loud, Jack, haven't you learned to lock your door yet? I could have been anyone. I thought this was all hush, hush."
It was Jon O'Neill, looking dishevelled and carrying a large bag, which he dumped in the middle of the living room floor.
"Jon, how are ya?" Jack asked, reaching to take his hand and then changing his mind and pulling him into a bear hug. Daniel thought it was a little odd to watch the real thing hugging his younger clone.
"I'm so sorry, man," Jon said. "I guess I'm feeling a bit shocked, and emotional."
"Yeah? Go figure. Me too," Jack replied.
"I'm glad you called, even if we haven't seen each other for a while. I'm glad I know, and I want to get the bastards as much as you do. So, I guess we ought to get down to business, although I could do with some coffee," he eyed Daniel.
"Um... Jack, are you going to explain?" Daniel said recovering from his initial surprise.
"Oh, great to see you guys too," answered Jon sarcastically.
"I-I'm sorry, but I'm a little confused." Daniel responded.
"You want a hacker? Well here I am," Jon bowed. "round of applause later, please."
"Y-you?" stammered Daniel.
"You might say I learned a few tricks that Jack doesn't know since last me met."
Daniel wondered how dangerous that made this young man who stood before them: Jack O'Neill and then some. Holy cow!
"Jon's an expert in that area." Jack said
"How did you know?"
"Let's just say I helped him out of a little trouble a while back."
"For which I am truly grateful, Jack, otherwise I might have been rotting in jail instead of being available to help you."
"Just don't ask, Daniel, alright?" Jack said hastily.
"Sure thing, Jack."
Jon had been caught hacking into a very secret government installation's network a few months before and Jack had managed to pull some strings. If he got caught this time there was probably going to be nothing Jack could do to help him, and Jon knew it, but he was willing to take the chance. He had no intention of getting caught.
"I think I mentioned coffee?" Jon said, looking at Daniel again, "And you are so good at making it, Daniel."
"Alright, already, I'll go make some."
"Good, that gives me a chance to set things up."
"Laptop's right here, ready to go," Jack pointed.
"That crock of shit? You're kidding, right? It's okay, Jack. You never did appreciate the finer arts of information technology. I brought my own equipment, just give me some space."
Jack cleared the table and watched Jon work with some fascination. His equipment was state of the art, and then some things that Jack had no idea what they were. He felt proud of the boy; of himself.
'Amazing what you could accomplish if you set your mind to it, Jack. What you have accomplished,' he thought. 'never knew I had it in me.'
"Okay, you need to tell me exactly what you want me to do," Jon said when he had set everything up.
All Jack had told him on the phone was that Sam was dead, suspected murdered, how it had happened and that he required Jon's services. He had made no mention of Area 51.
"I need you to hack into the mainframe at Groom Lake."
"Groom Lake? Oh man, you don't want much do ya?"
"Can you do it?"
"Piece of cake!"
"Can you do it without being detected?"
"That's the hard part. But I think it might be possible. You can't do this through an official route?"
"What do you think?"
"Yeah, I know; hush, hush."
Daniel came in with coffee and they dived in.
"I'm not sure I can do this," declared Jon out of the blue.
"Give me a break, Jack. Less than two hours ago I didn't even know Sam had been killed. Given any thought to how I might be feeling about it? I loved her too, you know." From his expression it was clear that Jack hadn't thought about that much. "Thanks for thinking of me," Jon added sarcastically.
"Okay, I admit I hadn't really considered all of that, but we haven't got any time for screwing around here." Jack felt foolish for not having considered young Jon's feelings. This was himself he was talking to. It couldn't be easy for him. Jack knew that better than anyone.
"Just let me think, okay. I haven't had any time to think. It's only just sinking in. I need to go for a walk and clear my head."
Although impatient to get cracking, Jack suddenly understood what the poor guy must be going through. For Jon, today was like yesterday had been for Jack.
"Sure Jon, whatever you say."
Jon walked out looking depressed and Daniel looked aghast at Jack.
"You're just going to let him go off on his own?" he said.
"Why not? I wanted to be, but you guys simply wouldn't let me. He'll be back."
The one person Jack knew for certain would never let him down right now was himself and as Jon, for all intents and purposes, was him, he was fairly confident of that.
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