Title: The Discussion That Never Was
Author: Debi C
Date: 27 June 2001
Season/Spoilers: The Light Archive: Alpha Gate. Area 52. Anyone else please ask.
Synopsis: Are the rumors that are circulating about Colonel and his conquests true?
Notes: Thanks to Madeline for the Beta.
Warnings: Slash in content. Some kissing, hugging and yelling.
"Colonel O'Neill" General Hammond's voice was on the other end of the phone line. "Colonel O'Neill, I'd like to see you in my office." O'Neill was sitting at his cluttered desk working on a report on the possible values of a trade agreement with some insectivores from p3467910. He immediately shuffled it all together and left it in a pile on the blotter.
The voice, the tone and the use of his rank let Jack know that something was wrong in SGC. General Hammond didn't sound pleased and that usually meant that O'Neill would be even less pleased at the end of their conversation. As he headed for George's office he was trying to figure out what had happened. The only thing he could figure out made his heart and blood pressure shift location from his chest to down around his ankles. The secret was out.
He walked into the General's office and came to attention staring at the fake paneling that was in every Air Force office he had ever been in. This was not a social call.
Hammond was looking at several pieces of paper that were scattered on his desk. He was frowning in thought and didn't look at his 2IC for several seconds. When he did look up, he was still frowning. He noticed the Colonel's position. He sighed and indicated the tan, psuedo-leather chair in front of his desk. "Sit down, Colonel."
Jack did as he was instructed without saying a word. Hammond shuffled the papers into a pile and pushed them over to the side of his desk. The General clasped his hands in front on his glass-covered desktop and looked up at his friend and second in command..
"Colonel O'Neill, the reason I called you here is two-fold." Hammond folded his hands on his desk and sighed. "One is that I am considering my future and that of the SGC. Sooner or later, I will be retiring from active duty." O'Neill opened his mouth to speak but the General waved him off with a gesture. "I am considering my recommendation for my replacement. I am considering you for this position. To do that I will have to not only recommend you for this position but to recommend you for a star." He paused and looked directly at Jack. "To do that I would have to first, determine not only if you are the right man for the job but whether or not you want it." The General cleared his throat, then continued. "You're life would be very different; no fieldwork, no team to support your decisions and your private life would be under much closer scrutiny."
O'Neill looked at Hammond in mild shock. He had not expected this. Hell, he hadn't even thought about making General. It had seemed too far-fetched with his history. That and his private life being what it was. "Sir, I..."
"Not yet, Jack. Hold your horses." Hammond continued. "I have a concern here. Don't get me wrong, I respect you more than any other person I know. But there are rumors going around at SGC and I need to know the truth."
O'Neill waited. He had known about the rumors and he had to set his friend and commander straight. It was time.
General Hammond looked at him thoughtfully. "Jack are the rumors about you and Major Carter having an affair. Is this true?"
That one was easy. "No Sir, they are not." He shifted in his chair. "We had feelings for one another. Hell I still care more for her than I'm supposed to, but not in that way. That was a mistake on both of our parts. She was getting over Martouf's death and I, well; I was running away from something."
"So, there never was a relationship?"
"Well sir, there was, and still is, an emotional bond there." Jack shifted his position in the uncomfortable piece of furniture. "But an actual physical relationship, no sir. There wasn't. There was her career to think of and, honestly Sir I think we were both trying to work through some other issues that we were 'not' dealing with."
George nodded. He had suspected that these two career officers wouldn't risk so much for an obviously ill-matched relationship. Now came the hard question, the real one.
"The other rumor is a little harder for me to ask, Jack. In fact, I can't officially ask this. But I assure you this answer will not leave this office. It falls under the 'don't ask, don't tell ruling' " Hammond looked distinctly uncomfortable. "This is something that you must consider before I recommend you for the star. It is entirely up to you, Jack."
O'Neill looked up and spoke before Hammond could even frame the illegal question. "Yes."
"Yes, what?" The General looked at him in confusion.
"Yes, Sir. That 'rumor' is true. We've already talked about it and...well, it doesn't really matter what the outcome of this interview is. We've decided our priorities." It was Jack's turn to look uncomfortable but he wasn't going to change his mind. "I'll retire if you feel it's necessary but I'd rather not at this point."
"Then you and Dr. Jackson?" Hammond sat back in his chair and gazed directly at his friend and second-in-command gauging his answer.
"Yes, sir." He smiled crookedly at his 'boss'. "Definitely, with great certainty and no regrets whatsoever."
"I...was afraid of that." The General shook his head. "It seemed more likely, considering your past...feelings for him." He picked up a pen from his desk and started playing with it. "You don't have to answer any more of my questions Jack."
General Hammond's lapse into informality was Jack's cue. They both knew that the star and the command position were impossible now. And Jack O'Neill didn't give a rat's ass about it. He smiled up at his CO and friend. "I know."
O'Neill leaned forward, put his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands in front. He answered the question that George couldn't ask. "When? Honestly, I think it was the day that I pulled him down off his balcony's ledge." The Colonel leaned back into the chair. "I knew then that if he had jumped, I would have followed him. I knew that I wouldn't...couldn't watch him die again, not for the human race, not for the SGC, and certainly not for me." He brought his still clasped hands up to his forehead and looked through and around his fingers. "Then when he did die in the infirmary...and I was able to get him to the Gould palace in time and he came back again, that was my...epiphany, George. The three weeks at the palace by the beach was icing on the cake." He dropped his hands to the chair's arms and smiled warmly, remembering their 'honeymoon'.
"Does Major Carter know?"
"She made it a point to disappear at opportune moments." Jack shrugged. " She's a smart girl but she didn't ask and we didn't tell."
Hammond looked confused. "But the rumors I was speaking of are over a year old, the incidents you're telling me about happened only a few months ago."
"OK, so I'm as dumb as a box of rocks." Jack threw his hands up. "I didn't get it...I swear I didn't think I stood a chance, not with someone like Daniel." He shook his head. "I know you won't appreciate this but he could do a whole lot better than an old reprobate like me. Then when he died in front of me then came back to life in my hands...shit; I didn't stand a chance. And neither did he. Fortunately for me he gave up easily. You could say that I chased him till he caught me."
Hammond shook his head in disbelief. "But you were both married. You had a son."
"Yea, but you know what happened to Sara and me. But honestly, I don't think it was all about Charlie. After...well, afterwards, it came apart too easily. She tried, I'll give her that, but it was too hard to keep our marriage together. When General West recalled me to active duty she picked up and left." He looked up at his friend who was viewing him with sympathy. "After Abydos all I found was a note and an empty house." He shook his head. "She tried, I mean really tried, but I couldn't get around what had happened. When she did talk to me she said I wasn't the man she married anymore and she was right."
"But Doctor Jackson..." George started to ask.
"I can't answer for Daniel." Jack shook his head. "He's an inexplicable phenomenon of nature. I couldn't define him five years ago and I still can't. You'd have to ask him about his reasons, I'm just happy for them." He looked over at his superior officer. "Shall I go draw up my retirement paperwork, or do you want to press charges?"
"No, of course not." Hammond looked unhappy. "I can't spare you, Jack. You or Dr. Jackson. You're too important to the effort." He sighed. "I was hoping I was wrong. You would have made a hell of a General and a damned fine Commander for the SGC."
"George, to be honest, I never even thought I had a chance for either one. I still don't. Too many people, too many ghosts, too many 'situations' in my past for the powers that be to be comfortable." He shook his head. "No, sir. When it gets too political here for me, probably when you retire, I'll go out the door with you and we can both go fishing."
"What about Dr. Jackson?"
"Daniel Jackson will do what Daniel Jackson thinks is right, just like he always does. As I said, I can't explain him, I just love him." Jack smiled and shrugged. "And he doesn't like to fish."
Hammond shook his head, again. "I can't say I understand it all, Jack. But I will say I understand your motivations. But don't do any unnecessary paperwork on my account."
Jack smiled at his commander and friend. "Thanks George, I appreciate it. I don't want to leave yet, there's too much to be done."
Hammond looked at the pile of paperwork on his desk and back at his second in command. "You're right about that, Jack, for both of us. Now get the hell back to work and leave me to these damned reports."
O'Neill snapped a salute. "Yes, Sir General Sir." He did a picture perfect about face and strode out of the office. As he closed the door, he heard a muttered 'smart ass' coming from the desk.
Col O'Neill nodded at the General's secretary as he left the office, deep in thought. When he left the area he started to his own office but decided against it and made a detour on the way back. When he got to his destination he entered the open door and looked around for Dr. Daniel Jackson. When he saw his objective was there, he pushed the door shut and turned the lock securing the only entrance into the room. The archeologist was at his worktable with yellow legal pad and number two pencil in hand. He looked up as Jack tapped on a pile of leather bound books that were resting on the corner of the workbench.
"Hey." O'Neill said to Daniel
"Hey, yourself." The younger man responded without looking up at O'Neill's entrance.
"What ya doin'?" Jack rounded the desk corner and draped his arms around Jackson's shoulders in a loose embrace.
Jackson pitched his pad and pencil down on the worktable and leaned back into his lover's arms. "Trying to translate this rubbing from a wall that SG4 brought back yesterday. It resembles a form of hieratic script that was used in the Old Kingdom." He took his glasses off and massaged the bridge of this nose, a sure sign of a headache.
The older man kissed the top of Daniel's head and started working on his shoulders with both hands. "Why don't you knock off early tonight?"
Jackson turned his head to look up at his significant other. "What's wrong, Jack? Did something happen?"
"Yea, kinda." O'Neill continued the massage. "General Hammond called me into his office today, to talk."
"Yea, Oh!" He returned to his earlier embrace position. "Now we need to talk, but not here. Come on; let's go get some dinner and head over to my house."
Knowing that something important had happened, Daniel didn't hesitate. He put his worktable in a more organized state and followed O'Neill out of his office, locking the door behind them. As they walked down the hall together they stayed a reasonable distance apart. When they exited the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, they walked separated by some two to three feet. The went to their separate cars and then drove to their respective homes, O'Neill to his ranch style in a residential area and Jackson to his downtown apartment. Several hours later, they met at a Steakhouse for dinner, two colleagues just having a quiet meal. Afterwards they both got into their car and drove off in different directions. They stopped at two different shops. O'Neill stopped at a seven-eleven and bought two six packs of beer. Jackson stopped at a supermarket and bought some ice cream, cake and chocolate syrup. Then they both proceeded to the suburban house that Jack owned.
Daniel parked his compact car in one side of the two-car garage and closed the door behind it. Jack pulled up into the driveway on the other side, locked his Jeep and went in the front door. Only after the front door was closed and locked and the foodstuffs put in their proper place did the two men relax. Daniel sat on the overstuffed couch and hit the clicker to activate the television. Jack came in, sat next to him while he handed Jackson an open beer, removed his shoes and finally turned and lay on the couch, his head in his lover's lap.
Daniel bent down to kiss him and took another sip from the bottle. "It must have been a rough day; you bought the steak and still didn't talk about it."
Jack looked up at his chosen passion and nodded. "When Hammond called me into his office I didn't know what was wrong, just that he was cranked about something. Then he told me he was his planning his retirement and would I consider being SGC Commander and recommending me for a star."
The young man sensed something other than a promotion had caused his beloved's unsettled mood. "A star, huh. That's big news."
"Well, no. Actually it's not gonna happen." Jack shifted his position and put his beer down on the floor. "I told him I didn't want it."
"Yea." Jack looked up at the younger man's expression. "He started the conversation asking me about rumors that he had heard. He asked me if I was having an affair with Carter."
"And?" Daniel prompted, looking down at him.
"Well, I told him no, that our feelings had been wrong. That we hadn't acted on them and it was a thing of the past." O'Neill reached up and started caressing Danny's throat and face.
Daniel caught the hand and kissed it's palm. "Then?"
"Well, then he asked if I were having a relationship with you.." Daniel sucked a finger into his mouth. Jack smiled up at him. "I said 'yes, I was.' Daniel released his victim and held it away again looking down at Jack. After seeing the expression on the other man's face, he started on the next finger, kissing down to the wrist. "Then he asked how long it had been going on. I told him for several months." O'Neill chuckled. "Hammond said that he'd heard the rumors over a year ago."
"What did you say to that? Daniel Jackson released the pulse point and started in on another finger.
Jack watched his progress with a satisfied smile. "I told him I was stupid and it had taken me longer than that to figure out what I wanted and that I chased you till you caught me."
Daniel looked down at Jack is amazement. "You told him about us? About us having a relationship? Why?"
"Because he's our friend, Danny. Because he deserves to know and not be caught unawares if he had recommended me for the job." Jack watched the emotions of surprise and curiosity flit across his lover's face. "Because we owe him the truth."
"And now that he knows the truth?" Jackson looked curiously. "What will happen?"
O'Neill sat up and turned to face the younger man. "From all indications, nothing. He told me not to do anything." Jack freed his hand from the gentle attack and reached down for his beer. "He'd asked a question that he legally couldn't ask. I gave him an answer that he legally couldn't hear. I asked him if I should fill out the paperwork, he said he couldn't spare either of us for the cause. I took him at his word." He shrugged. "Of course when George retires, I suppose I will too." He looked at his partner. "What you do is, of course, up to you. We could go fishing or...whatever."
Daniel turned to face his love. "Fishing...or whatever, hum. Well, I suppose I could go back to doing excavation back in Egypt trying to prove Aliens built the pyramids...." He glanced over with a smile in his eyes. "But it might make 'them' nervous."
O'Neill smiled. "Just a little bit, Dannyboy. Yes, I could see them getting a tad nervous over that one." He leaned over and kissed the younger man, slipping his hand into the unbuttoned top of the shirt and stroking the smooth chest. As he connected, Daniel leaned over and kissed his lover, moaning into Jack's mouth. Jack sucked the facile tongue into his mouth. He disengaged long enough to murmur. "I was thinking of starting a little excavation right here in Colorado Springs, looking for the heart of one certain doctor of Archeology."
"It would be a waste of time, 'Doctor' O'Neill." Daniel muttered into Jack's neck, "It's already been found and locked away by some Air Force flyboy."
"That's right, Danny boy. Locked up and thrown away the key." Jack pushed him back on the couch and got up.
"Hey, where you going'?" Came a plaintive call from the couch.
"Headed for the kitchen." Jack answered over his shoulder. "Don't move a muscle, I've got plans for that ice cream and chocolate syrup I saw you unpack."
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