Okay, here it is... Post #1. That's pretty much what I'll call the posts too... by a number. It's how I've kept everything straight. Hee!
by M.Edison and Christina A.
medie and angelsgracie
A Friday morning spent on one's home planet...could there be anything better?
Jack O'Neill was absolutely convinced there wasn't. With a nice week of leave stretching ahead of him, he had plans to spend some time at home, fix a few things up around the ol' homestead and generally be extremely lazy.
He liked extremely lazy.
But first, he had paperwork to attend to. Namely reading the morning paper. The work would be walking out to get it. He was quite sure the paperboy picked the hardest spot to see to throw the paper. It was like a damn Easter egg hunt without the sweet chocolate payoff.
Grumbling about the injustice of the world and newspapers, he walked out into the front yard and commenced searching. Damn thing had to be around somewhere...
Emily had been staying at Colonel Sumner's house for almost a week now. It was humorous, at first, seeing that the Colonel had two cats who were really big babies. The list he left for her to follow to take care of them led her to tease him about treating his cats like princesses. He'd just given her a stern look, tried to harrumph at her, and then ended up smiling as he asked her not to tell anyone.
When her father (or father-in-law actually) had approached her with the prospect of the small 'vacation' of house-sitting for one of his military pals and her longtime friend, she'd actually happily taken him up on the offer. Though leaving Jack Crichton, and Florida, had been difficult. It was her home... it was where all her mementos of her life with her husband were.
She didn't care what anyone said. John Crichton wasn't dead; he was missing. Though to be honest with herself, her conviction was waning. It had been too long. At least that's what her head said. Her heart spoke something different all together.
She slipped on the light jacket and headed out of the house to check the Colonel's mail. The biggest difference between Colorado and Florida... Colorado was COLD! She wasn't too sure she liked the cold.
Locating the paper underneath one of the bushes at the corner of his property, Jack popped up to see a familiar face poking around Marshall Sumner's mailbox and a faint grin crossed his features. "Well look at that." Standing up, he cupped one hand to his mouth and called out. "Hey, Em!"
She nearly jumped out of her skin at hearing her name called. She hadn't even seen anyone out on the street when she'd come out the door. Not realizing that she dropped a couple envelopes, she looked over across the street and saw the face that belonged to the voice. Giving a rare genuine smile, she waved at him. "Jack," she called back. "I didn't realize you lived across the street."
With paper in hand, he jogged lightly across the street to give her a hug. "And, last time I checked, you *definitely* didn't live across the street."
She hugged him in return, probably a bit more tightly than he was used to. She did that a lot anymore. It was almost a craving for affection and companionship. "I didn't. I mean, I still don't," she explained. "Marty want on an extended mission to parts unknown and he was talking to Dad about it. Dad suggested I come out here for the duration. Change of scenery and all. Marty has cats," she added.
Jack's eyebrows rose. "*Marty*?" He snickered over that. "Wait, he's got *cats*?! Wonders never cease." He casually looped an arm about her waist, leading her back across the street. "C'mon, I've got coffee on. You can explain to me how the hell it is Marshall *Sumner* has cats, gets called Marty, *and* gets *you* house sitting for him." He shook his head. "Some guys have all the luck..."
What were the odds? She hadn't seen Jack O'Neill since... well, since John's 'funeral' and that had been almost a year ago. "He's always been Marty. He's not the hardass that everyone thinks he is, Jack. Kinda like you." She put her arm around his waist and continued to smile. "I have NO idea about the cats... none!! I call them the 'little princesses' though."
"Always been 'Marty' huh?" He grinned again. "Well, he's a hardass with everybody but you. You're right...kinda like me. So, ol' Marty's got prima donna pets huh?" Jack was having quite the time swallowing this particular little tale but he was all the happier to hear it. Sumner was *so* going to hear it.
"Well... I was sworn to secrecy about the cats. Though I didn't sign a non-disclosure agreement, so I could always say you tortured me." She followed him into the house. "What are you up to? I didn't even know you still lived around here."
"Oh yeah, still live here. Work at the Mountain with Sumner actually." He led her into the kitchen and dropped the paper on the counter. "Other than that, can't really say. Y'know, the whole 'tell you have to kill you' thing and I kinda like you too much to kill so not gonna tell." He fished two coffee cups out of an overhead cupboard and turned. "Cream, sugar...arsenic?"
"I'm sort of trying to wean myself from arsenic," she joked back. Setting Sumner's mail on the table by the paper, she continued, "Cream, no sugar. So you work on the mountain, huh? Dad likes to talk about that. He's always telling me there are very interesting things going on there that someone like me would love." She shrugged. "It's just difficult sometimes." She shook her head to clear the fuzz and smiled lightly. "I'm working on a book, actually," she added for shock value.
Jack considered it for a moment then nodded as he set the coffee down before her. "Yeah, it's geek central down there. You'd fit right in." He winked, dropping down onto the chair nearest to her. "Book? You?" He winced. "Big words and scientific whatchamhoosits abound I'm betting."
She sipped at the coffee, smiling as he'd gotten it perfect. "Yeah, sadly lots of big words. I'm probably going to cause a real stir. It's sort of exploring a new form of space travel. I've been studying what happened..." here she had to inhale deeply, "what happened to John and I have a working theory, so I'm proposing that perhaps in the future we'll be able to figure out how to harness the power of the wormhole and use it for space travel."
He blinked. "Really? Huh. You'd definitely fit in with the geeks I babysit." Reaching out, he rested a hand on hers. "I'm not going to ask the infamous question but I am curious."
She sighed and looked down at his hand as it covered hers. "I miss him," she admitted, "though it's getting better. I have a focus now, which I didn't before. I'm living... breathing... getting through the day." She finally lifted her eyes to his. "So overall, not bad."
"Alive, everything else is negotiable huh?" He offered quietly, keeping the sympathy out of his eyes. He knew this part of it. Had lived it himself. One thing he wasn't about to push down her throat was more sympathy.
She nodded briskly, thankful that he didn't veer off onto the tangent that most people did. She didn't like the pity... it was worse than sympathy. Losing John sucked... she didn't need people feeling sorry because of it. Then again, if anyone understood grief it was Jack O'Neill. "Sort of how we do it, isn't it?" she replied, turning her hand over under his and giving it a squeeze. "I can't believe I've lived across the street from you for a week and didn't know it. I could have been bugging you this entire time."
He feigned a grateful sigh. "Thank *GOD*...I'd've gone postal by now." With a grin, he shrugged. "We've got some time to bug each other now. Got leave for a week or so. General made me." This was said with a grumble. "But timing, as they say, is everything!"
She couldn't help the look of relief that came across her face. Emily was the kind of person who liked having those she cared about around her. Being separated from her family had been rough. Olivia was more than her sister; she was her best friend. And she really missed Jack too. She had been incredibly lonely with just Marty's cats. "A whole week? Really? The timing is actually perfect. Though I can't guarantee I won't drive you insane. I do promise not to use one big word." She never did anyway... not even in explaining her theories, unless she was talking to another scientist. She didn't like 'sounding' smart.
"Well, sanity? Overrated. Damn overrated. Besides, I'm probably already crazy." Jack smirked. "Don't you think?"
"Nope," she said, shaking her head. "I know." She pointed at him with her free hand. "You forget that I know you pretty well. You are definitely insane. But then we all are, so you fit right in with the rest of us."
"Give up on sanity and just enjoy the looney bin, hmm?" He countered with tilt of his head. "Are there finger paints? Cause, y'know, if I'm going to be crazy there'd better be finger paints involved. And play doh. There has to be play doh."
"Play?" she asked, not really having taken part in 'play' in a very long time. "Wow. Yeah, play would be good."
He grinned. "Then we'll have to. What's on the schedule for you today? Or are you free to wreak havoc?"
"I have no schedule, Jack," she said, smiling back at him. "I'm... well... on vacation. Just me and Precious and Penelope. And I doubt that they'll even miss me if I'm not at home." She winked at him. In all honesty, this was the best she'd felt in quite a while. Something to look forward to.
"Well then, it falls to us to do something completely pointless and a total waste of time." He leaned back in his chair, considering it. "Movies, shopping, or just lazing around the house and being completely useless."
She thought for a long moment. There was a lot that they could or couldn't do. "Oh," she finally perked up, "how about we do this? Maybe rent a couple movies... order some food later... watch some hockey... I like the hanging around being useless. Your couch comfy?"
"My couch is damned comfy. Better be, I keep falling asleep on it." He grinned. "Drove the guy at the store *nuts*. Had to try 'em all out before I'd buy. Got the best one in the place. Don't sink down in it, don't wake up with a crink in the neck. It's perfect. Got satellite. We can watch a ton of hockey or order dirty movies." This was said with an exaggerated leer.
She laughed and pushed on his arm, though that didn't budge him at all. "I agree to the ton of hockey, but shouldn't we get to know one another *a lot* better before we watch dirty movies together." She winked. "Though I probably will fall asleep on your couch if it's that comfy."
"You and me both. But, hey, napping, perfect way to relax and be absolutely lazy." He got up, coffee in hand. "Course, we might wanna drink the coffee first. It spills and that means I have to work and clean it up. Which is directly a violation of the rules of today."
She followed him into the living room. She was suddenly feeling revitalized. Most times, Jack O'Neill had that affect on her. He and John would carry on mercilessly. They had the same kind of sense of humor, and though she wasn't a teaser, she was almost always the teasee. Tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear, she said, "No rule violations. Just vegging out in front of the TV, that's the only thing we need to do. I'd offer to cook, but maybe I'll save that for later in the week. Cooking, no matter how much I love it, is work." Though the thought of cooking for someone again... it appealed to her.
"We no cook." He affirmed. "We order pizza. Chinese. Take out is the name of the game. Pity McDonalds doesn't deliver. Mmm..." Sinking down onto the couch, he gave a relaxed sigh before hunting up the remote and presenting it to Emily. "You can do the honors."
"I LOVE McDonald's," she smiled and took the remote. "It's almost sinful how much I love it, but pizza will be good. Chinese too. Some deli's deliver too." She clicked to the known sports channels and smiled wickedly at the old soccer game. "You know, it is a bit early for sports... but we have this," she clicked over to the cartoon station. "They show all these cartoons from when I was a kid."
"Ahhh...cartoons." Jack sighed, relaxing. "Works for me. Love these guys." He slanted a look at her. "A fact which is most likely public knowledge but I would caution you not to be too eager to share. Lest certain uppity Colonel neighbors decide to even the score." He glanced in the direction of Sumner's place. "Ah, and what a score it will be. Heh."
"Your secret's safe with me, Jack." Though she made a mental note to keep it as safe as she'd protected Marty's cats. She set her coffee mug on the end table and settled down into the couch. It was really comfortable. "So... let me be nosey." She rested her head on the back of the couch but turned do she could look at him. "How's it goin' for you? Anyone special," she finished wagging her brows at him.
"It's going." He affirmed. "But not going there. Most women I meet these days? In the same chain of command or are really annoying geeks. Present company excluded of course."
"Don't you just hate that non-fraternization rule. Though it makes sense, it's still kind of annoying, I'm sure." She smiled at him. "And I promise not to be an annoying geek. Most times, I try not to even let people know I am a geek."
"It's a pain but..." He shrugged. "It has its uses. Definitely has its uses. Seen some guys prove why the damned thing exists." This was said with a snort. "And you are a very cool geek. So much so it's hard to remember you are a geek...until you do something brilliant and then it's right there in neon lights. Geek." He took a mouthful of coffee then snickered at the antics of the cartoons on screen.
She watched him as he spoke and then as he turned his attention back to the TV. What was he thinking? He was such an enigma... even though she was sure she knew him pretty well. Was there more to the first part of his statement than he was letting on? She hoped he did find someone he could share his life with. He was a good man... who didn't deserve to be alone. "Yeah," she said softly, "neon green though. I'm not that fond of red."