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The Return of the Gray-haired Avengers


Chapter 3

"Are you sure?" Casey asked, watching Daniel shave. He'd made his suggestion while they were taking their shower. While part of her jumped at the chance for a break, another part cringed at the idea of not being near Daniel…even for just the day. Though their respective schedules often differed, each having meetings that required their individual attendance, for the majority of the day they spent their time in Daniel's office. Together.

"Positive. I'm going to try to leave early. The team is off the roster for the week, there's no reason you can't take today off." Daniel replied. He dragged the razor over his jaw, rinsed it in the hot water running from the tap, then glanced at her in the mirror. "You'll be able to spend time with Grandma and your Aunt Janelle."

She knew his generous heart wanted to give her time with the woman who was an actual blood relative. She also knew that he longed to be able to spend more time with his Grandmother. And she knew he had two meetings that he had to attend, both before noon. "I can have lunch ready for you, then you'd at least be able to see Grandma for an hour or so," she offered.

"Good plan," Daniel agreed. He wiped his face with the towel, then leaned over to kiss her. "Any chance of having lasagna?"

She couldn't help but giggle. Lasagna was by far his favorite of the casseroles she prepared on a regular basis. "If there's a dish in the freezer, I'll get it out for lunch."

"We can take Grandma to José Muldoon's for dinner," he said.

"That sounds like a plan, Stud Muffin." Casey patted his jean-covered butt. "Will you miss me?" she asked softly.

"Every second," he replied, pulling her close for a hug. The smile in her eyes let him know that the question wasn't a result of low self-esteem, but rather the need of a lover to hear the words of love that would warm her heart. "I'll miss you like crazy."

"Good," she whispered, before raising her face for another kiss.

"Will you miss me?"

"Every second," she said softly. "And I'll miss you like crazy, too."

"Good," he grinned.

"You'd better get moving, Stud Muffin," Casey sighed, when the clock in the living room began to chime the hour.

"Yeah, I'd better." He dropped the towel into the basket, ran his hand over the curve of her breast, noting with considerable pride that her nipple stiffened beneath her tee-shirt, then opened the door. Casey slipped past him into the kitchen, to pour the last of the morning's coffee into his travel mug, a normal part of their morning routine. "Babe, you'd probably better close the windows and get the a/c on before it gets any warmer."

"Especially if I'm going to be using the oven today," she agreed.

"Grandma, Casey is going to stay home today. I'm going to come home for lunch," Daniel announced, walking into the living room where Muriel sat reading.

"Oh, that's lovely!" Muriel beamed.

"I'll give Aunt Janelle a call, Daddy can bring her here."

"We could make a coffeecake," Muriel suggested.

"Ooo…that sounds good," Casey nodded. "I'll call Emma as well."

"Coffeecake?" Daniel asked, a slight frown on his face. "I'm gonna miss coffeecake?"

"I promise to save you some," Casey giggled.


"Cross my heart," she replied solemnly, before giggling again. "Get going, or Jack will be grumpy all day."

"Right." One more taste of your sweet lips, he thought, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and pulling her close.

"Go," she whispered, as soon as his lips moved from hers.

"Right," he whispered in return. "Love you."

"Love you, too."

"I'll see you later, Grandma," Daniel said.

"Drive carefully, honey," Muriel admonished.

"Always." With a smile for his grandmother, and a wink for his Wife, Daniel hurried out the back door, trotted down the steps and disappeared into the garage.

Casey watched the Jeep pull out of the driveway and disappear down the street as she closed the bedroom windows. Couldn't help but smile. She'd miss being with him. But she was certain to enjoy learning just what Emma, Janelle, and Muriel discussed when they were together




Jack looked up when Daniel wandered into the commissary. He watched as the archaeologist grabbed a mug of coffee. Remained silent, despite the burning need to know…as both friend and commanding officer, until the younger man had dropped into the chair on the other side of the table. "Where's Radar?"

"Home. I figured she deserves to get to know her aunt. And…I always feel bad about leaving Grandma alone. I mean, she spends the money to fly out to see me, and then spends all day alone?" He shook his head.

"You could take the day off," Jack said quietly.

"I have a couple of meetings, and there's a rather complicated translation that SG-16 needs before their mission on Wednesday," Daniel replied. He took a sip of his coffee, grimacing at the bitter taste of the 'base sludge'. "I was gonna go home for lunch."

"That'll work," Jack nodded. "Take your time."


"Is Emma Hanks likely to join the group?" Jack asked casually.

"Probably. Casey was gonna make a coffeecake for Grandma and Aunt Janelle. I can't see her not inviting Emma," Daniel responded. "Case would probably think it would be rude not to invite Emma."

Jack silently studied his coffee, then pulled an imaginary bit of…something…from the interior of the mug, flicking his fingers slightly. "So…"

Daniel waited, biting back his grin. Fairly certain he knew what Jack was about to say.

"Do you think it's safe leaving those three old women and your wife alone?"

He chuckled loudly. "I hope so!"

"Well, Casey is a licensed driver, won't have to worry about that," Jack grinned.

"As long as they stay out of legal trouble, I'll be happy," Daniel declared.

Jack chuckled as well.

"Hey, where's Sam?" Daniel asked, suddenly realizing that he and Jack were alone at the table that the team shared every morning.

"Working with some doohickey. She was up at five this morning with an idea about it…or for it. I didn't catch everything she said."

Again, he bit back his smile. Jack liked to play dumb. He was anything but. However, if Sam had awakened him, no doubt not one word of what she said to him had filtered through. There had been times during missions when he or Sam would get an idea, wake Jack up to let him know, and Jack hadn't even attempted to follow the discussion. He'd hold up his hand, tell them that if they thought it was a good idea, to go for it, and then he'd roll over and go back to sleep. Of course, if there was trouble, Jack never seemed to actually sleep. Daniel pulled his wandering thoughts back to the conversation.

"I told her there was no way I was stepping foot on this base that early," Jack was saying.


"Teal'c hasn't come in yet. I'm tellin' ya, Danny, Doc has been a bad influence on our Jaffa. I swear he comes in later every morning!"

This time Daniel did smile. "Get used to it."

Jack sat back in his chair, his smile matching that of his young friend. "Gotta admit, I'm glad to know that he's not alone. I mean, you have Radar, and thanks to Radar and her little chat with the president, I have Sam. If Teal'c wasn't hooked up with Doc, it would just be…" he shrugged.

"Awkward?" Daniel offered.

The older man shook his head. "No…lonely. Teal'c would be lonely. And I think it would be worse for him, knowing that the four of us…well…aren't."

There were times that Jack could shock him with his thoughts. This was one of them. For whatever reason, and Daniel admitted silently that his own perceptions of Jack colored his expectations of the man, he'd never thought that Jack would take note of the emotional well-being of those around him. Simply because Jack O'Neill and emotions did not get along well. At least, not publicly. It was, however, typical that Jack would be so observant about a member of his team.

"At least he's didn't get serious about Gracie," Jack continued.

"What was wrong with Gracie?" Daniel asked immediately. That he was defensive over a woman he barely knew escaped him, as did the fact that it typical for him to do so. He'd always stood up for the 'underdog'. Because his fall from grace had made him the largest underdog in the archaeological community. He knew how lonely - how bitter - the position could be.

"C'mon, Daniel. Could you ever really see her as part of the team?" Jack asked.

In spite of his attempts to do so, Daniel found that it was impossible to imagine the quiet, dark-haired tech participating in any of the team outings. No, he couldn't see Gracie joining them at O'Malley's. Or sitting around on the living room floor of his home or Sam's house, eating pizza and discussing past missions. Like it or not, (and Daniel had no doubt there were lovers and spouses who didn't particularly like it,) SG teams came as a set. 'Downtime' didn't necessarily mean that those on a team went their separate ways. The military spouses of team members were probably more accustomed to that 'group' mindset. He wondered briefly about the civilians…how did they deal with the fact that while they were in a relationship with one person, at least three other people were equally or more important to that spouse or lover? He realized for the first time that anyone who became romantically involved with any of the members of SG-1 would have to 'fit in' with the team - be a part of the team, whether that person went on missions or not. Immediately thanked every god and goddess he could think of that Casey not only 'fit in', she was a bona fide member of the team. And, he thought with a private smile, so was Janet. Even if she didn't go on missions with them.

Jack pointed his chin toward the door. "Ah, the late, great Teal'c."

"Jack, don't give him any grief," Daniel warned, glancing over his shoulder at the approaching Jaffa.

"Me? Would I do that?"

"Yes," Daniel said without hesitation. He looked up and smiled when Teal'c joined them. "Good morning, Teal'c."

"Good morning, Daniel Jackson."

Jack made a show of looking at his watch. "Wow. Almost seven-thirty."

"Traffic was unusually heavy as we approached the base," Teal'c replied calmly.

Daniel snickered, quickly ducked his head, took a sip of his coffee to hide his grin. He and Casey had used that excuse several times, when their passion had kept them in bed longer than they should have been, resulting in them being late to arrive at the SGC for their shift.

"Yeah, it gets that way," Jack grinned. "Especially when-"

"So, Jack, any word from Gary?"

Jack frowned at the obvious change of topic. Daniel's expression told him that there would be no teasing the Jaffa. At least for the moment. "No."

"Casey said that his crew should be here before noon. Something about them taking the first direct flight out this morning," Daniel said.

Jack nodded. "Good. We'll let General Hammond know what's going on when they arrive. We can decide then what we should or shouldn't do."

Daniel glanced at his watch. With a sigh, he pushed himself to his feet. "I have a meeting. Call me when they get here."

"I will."

With a nod at Teal'c, who returned the gesture, he headed toward the door. He missed Casey. Normally when the team left the commissary after breakfast, her soft hand was in his, or wrapped around his wrist, or her arm was around his waist. Even the most casual touch never failed to set his heart on fire, have his body on the verge of bursting into flames. The warmth of her love wrapping around his soul was like a warm blanket. He sighed, shoved his hands into his pockets, wondering how long he would be able to wait before returning home for lunch.




By nine-thirty, Casey was pulling a freshly baked coffeecake from the oven. Muriel was busy fixing another pot of coffee, having mastered use of the coffee maker. Emma and Janelle were discussing the prior day's activities, laughing over the antics that had occurred during the lip-sync contest.

"Your friends are a lively bunch," Janelle said, smiling at her great-niece.

"Yes, they are," Casey smiled in return. "I can't imagine my life without them."

Muriel sat down at the table beside Emma. "Daniel and I were looking through your photo album a bit yesterday. He told me that he took you to the Caribbean for your honeymoon," she said.

"He did," Casey confirmed. "We stayed at the Sandal's Resort on Grand Bahama Island. It was absolutely beautiful. The furniture was so lovely - very Caribbean, mostly teak or mahogany, although the chairs and the love seat were wicker, with lots of plump cushions in such bright colors. And our patio was only about fifty feet from the ocean!"

"Oh, it sounds wonderful!" Muriel exclaimed.

"We had one of the honeymoon suites, which had a Jacuzzi in one corner of the room. Well, it was actually in the bathroom, but that part was open to the main room," Casey said.

"Did you leave the room at all?" Janelle asked, her eyes twinkling with laughter.

"As a matter of fact, we did," Casey giggled. "They offer boat tours, but while we were there, they were running a special, so we opted to learn to snorkel. Then we just rented the equipment and snorkeled off our own beach after that."

Muriel frowned slightly. "That's going underwater with a special breathing tube…or something like that?"

Casey nodded. "Yep. It takes a few minutes to get used to being able to breathe when your face is underwater, but oh, it's so beautiful. You can dive deeper, and then when you're close enough to the surface, you give a hard puff to clear the tube, and you can breathe."

"I don't mind playing in the water. Well, I enjoyed it when I was younger," Muriel clarified with a smile. "But I never was fond of deep water, or swimming."

"Must be the 'landlubber' in us," Janelle said, reaching over to pat Muriel's hand. "I'm not much of a swimmer, either."

"My Henry and I used to scuba dive, when we lived in Hawaii," Emma said, her eyes taking on a far away look. "For awhile, we actually discussed him leaving the Navy, and starting a salvage company. You know, dive for boats that have sunk?"

"Were you going to look for treasure?" Muriel asked.

Emma laughed. "That was the plan. We even had our eye on the perfect boat. It was in horrible shape…well, it just needed lots of TLC." She sighed. "His new orders came through, and we admitted that we'd probably never find anything anyway. Wound up in Germany." The older woman turned to Casey. "I want to hear more about the honeymoon."

Casey giggled. "Well, we did go walking on the beach a couple of times. The Honeymoon Suites were on this cove, and it was as if we had the entire place to ourselves. Daniel doesn't think the other rooms were occupied while we were there. At least, we never saw anyone one. We didn't even eat in the dining room until the last night we were there…it was a special meal that was part of the package," she explained. "I think it was the day after we'd learned to snorkel that I learned never to wander from the room without a towel if I didn't have my suit on!"

"Your suit?" Muriel asked, puzzled.

"My bikini," Casey grinned. "We ran around naked most of the time."

"My goodness," Janelle exclaimed.

Casey shrugged. "Most of the beaches there are nude, or at least topless."

"What happened to teach you that lesson?" Emma asked.

Casey's grin widened as she reached for the carafe of the coffeemaker. "Well, it was a beautiful morning…every morning on the island was beautiful, but we were actually awake fairly early. So, Daniel suggested a walk before ordering breakfast." She poured more coffee for Emma, and launched into a description of the 'near disaster'. "So anyway," she said, "he looks over at me…I mean, we're standing there on the beach, naked as the day we were born…and tells me that he's fairly certain that the boat we can see heading toward us is full of tourists. And there wasn't much in the way of plant life to hide behind. So I'm about to panic, and he just smiles that beautiful smile of his, and says, 'Relax, Angel. We'll just head into the water.' Which would have been fine, except that water is so crystal clear, if the boat got close enough, they'd still have been able to tell we were naked!"

Janelle chuckled. "That would certainly throw a kink into your day!"

The slender seer giggled, then sat down at the table. "Well, if we'd brought the towels like I'd wanted to, we wouldn't have had a problem. The thing of it was, we'd walked the beach the day before and never saw a single soul. So, doing it again didn't seem like such a risk, especially so early."

"Why didn't Daniel want to bring along towels?" Muriel asked, just before sipping her coffee.

"He didn't want to have to keep track of them," Casey replied easily.

"So what happened?" Emma asked.

"We wandered out into the water, did a little bit of diving…even though we didn't have snorkel gear, and when we came up the third time, the boat was gone."

"Probably headed out to open water for fishing," Emma surmised.

"I didn't care where it went…I was too relieved to care," Casey grinned. A sudden poke in the back of her mind caused the grin to fade immediately.

"Casey?" Emma said, worried at the way the younger woman's cheeks suddenly paled.

Janelle reached for Casey's hand, her concern reflected in her eyes. "Dear, are you ill?"

"Um…give me a minute," Casey said quietly. Wished fervently for Daniel, and the safety of his arms. She closed her eyes, not something she normally did until the 'flash' that accompanied her downloads signaled that the 'vision' was complete. An audible sigh escaped when the information being given to her had been received, and the 'flash' faded behind her closed eyelids. It took several seconds for the images to stop spinning…the face of the man she'd seen seemed familiar somehow. And the man was running. Away? No. No…toward. She shook her head mentally. That wasn't right either. Chasing…he was chasing someone! She strained to see in front of the man…gasped out loud at the face that looked back over his shoulder. "Oh, hell," she muttered.

"What's wrong, dear?" Janelle asked, as concerned about her niece as the other two women were.

"Um…I just had a download," she explained. Her aunt and Daniel's grandmother were aware of her 'gift', even if they'd never witnessed a download. She glanced at Emma. "I…well…sometimes…"

"I know, Casey," Emma smiled reassuringly. "Daniel told me."

"Oh. Well, there's a young man in some serious trouble right now," Casey said, rising to her feet. "I have to warn him."

"Is there anything we can do to help?" Emma asked immediately.

"I don't think so," Casey replied. "Excuse me." She raced into the bedroom, grabbed her cell phone, thankful that she'd programmed the number after the first time she'd needed it. Listened impatiently to the ring-tone that indicated the call had gone through. If he was at home, she had to make him understand how important it was that he stay there. If not, he had to get home. She cocked her head sideways as the thought ricocheted through her head. Would the danger she could sense follow him if he wasn't home? All she could see clearly was the word 'home'. An indication that 'home' was where a certain teenager needed to be…or stay. "Come on, kid, pick up!" she muttered.




He tossed another glance at the table in the middle of the food court. The cute little blonde was still watching him. He winked and smiled, and was rewarded when she blushed, then giggled softly. With the confidence of a man, the teenager rose to his feet, Big Gulp in hand, and sauntered to where the girl sat with her friends. "Ladies," he said amiably, dropping into an empty chair across from the object of his attention. "My name is Jon O'Neill, and a group of young women as lovely as yourselves shouldn't be here alone. There are so many jerks out there, maybe I should sit here with you, just in case."

"Do we look like we need protection?" the tall brunette asked sharply, her eyes-narrowed slightly.

Johnny looked her over. "As beautiful as you are? Yep."

His quip had the desired effect. The brunette blushed prettily, ran her fingers through her hair and smiled warmly at him. His attention went back to the blonde. "And you are…?"

"Brandy Peterson," the little blonde tittered.

"Brandy…Brandy…" Johnny repeated the name slowly, then nodded. "Yep, I think that's about right. You're as intoxicating as brandy."

"You drink?" another of the girls, another blonde, asked suspiciously.

"Like a fish," Johnny grinned, holding up the large cup. "I can kill a 12-pack of Coke in less than an hour."

Again the girls giggled, exchanging glances, Brandy receiving envious looks from her friends.

"Seriously," the brunette said, "do you drink alcohol?"

"Nah. That would be illegal, wouldn't it?"

"Get over it, Kelsey," Brandy hissed. She looked back at Johnny, giving him a coy smile. "I haven't seen you before…where do you go to school?"

"Discovery Canyon High," Johnny responded.

"That's a nice school," Brandy replied graciously. She glanced at her friend, the two sharing a knowing look…one filled with approval.

"Yeah, it's nice enough, I suppose," he agreed. It wasn't difficult to see the dollar signs that had popped up in the girl's eyes. Johnny sighed mentally. Apparently women learned at an early age to be very…selective; based on where a guy lived, the kind of car he drove, or how much money he made…or, in his case, how big his allowance was. That fact was one he hadn't been aware of when he…he shook his head mentally. Those aren't your memories, he told himself firmly, pushing away thoughts and feelings and images of teenage girls.

He hadn't really paid attention to where he lived or the school he'd be attending when he'd first been placed with the Hastings, and enrolled in the local high school. It wasn't long before he was aware of the fact that he lived in one of the 'nicer' neighborhoods. It wasn't elite, but the house his foster parents owned was in a 'coveted' development. Apparently Miss Brandy…whatever her last name was…knew all of these little details. Yep, Brandy's a 'status seeker', he thought. Not that it mattered. He wasn't after a wife. Just a girlfriend. Hopefully one who was as willing to indulge her raging hormones as often as he was.

When his phone began to vibrate, he sighed audibly. "Excuse me," he said politely. He stepped away from the table, frowning at the ID of the caller. "What's up?"

"Are you okay?"

The concern in the soft voice had him immediately on edge. "Yeah, why?"

"Where are you?"

If anyone else had asked him the question, no doubt he would have popped off that it wasn't really any of their business. Well, not if it were Mom or Dad, he thought. He respected his foster parents a great deal. Even loved them, if he were honest with himself. They certainly offered him as much love as they could…no strings attached. But this particular person had…talents…that made the question ring with more than just idle curiosity. "Chapel Hills Mall."

"Get out. Now. Get home as soon as you can."

"Radar, what's going on?" The little hairs on the back of his neck were beginning to stand on end. A not so pleasant indication that something was about to go very tits up for him.

"I'm not sure. I just know that you're in danger. Someone is after you. Not a clue who it is…yet," Casey replied. She paused for a moment. "Johnny, I'm not joking."

"I never thought you were." He was already covertly looking around…seeming to do nothing more than glance here or there while he talked. While his body might have been that of a fifteen year old, he had the memories of a veteran Air Force officer. A special ops trained soldier. "How many?"

"Not sure. I can only sense one close to you."

"Got it. I'm on my way home."



The longer pause alerted him to the fact that Casey was either thinking…or was picking up something via her 'radar'. "No…bad idea," she said hurriedly. "He'd have a chance to accost you…force you off the bus."

Johnny's frown deepened when the seer's voice faded. He heard her talking to someone in the background...




Casey's fingers tightened on the phone. Another image…of the tall man, following Johnny onto the bus, a bus that seemed unnaturally empty, then forcing him off at an unfamiliar stop. "No…bad idea. He'd have a chance to accost you…force you off the bus." She darted back into the dining room, startling her guests. "Emma, do you still have that red car?"

"Why, yes. But…why?" Emma asked, her eyes wide with surprise.

Casey held up her hand, forestalling more questions from the inquisitive…and now confused…elderly women sitting around her dining room table. "Johnny?"

"Still here."

"Change of plans. Stay put. I'm on my way. Stay near people. Lots of people," Casey said, unaware of the panic that had crept into her voice.

"I'm in the food court," Johnny replied.

She closed her eyes as a wave of relief washed over her. As long as he stayed in a very public place, the tall man wouldn't be able to kidnap him. He just had to stay near people. People…no - witnesses, plenty of witnesses…lots of people, then home. Home meant safety…the words tumbled through her mind. "That should work. If it starts to clear out, head to one of the stores. Talk with sales people…anything to keep from being alone."

"Got it. Call me when you get here."

"I will. I’m on my way, I promise." She knew the call had ended by sudden silence in her ear. She turned to find her guests on their feet, watching her carefully. "We have to go, I'll explain on the way."




Letting his gaze wander, trying to appear as natural as possible, Johnny shoved his phone back into his pocket. Gave a smile to the little blonde. For now, he'd continue to talk to her. If someone was watching, he sure as hell didn't want to tip the asshole off to the fact that he was aware of the danger.

"Your mom?" Brandy asked.

"Huh? Oh, no. Friend of mine. She's going to pick me up."

Brandy frowned, and pouted slightly.

Johnny smiled, and reached for the girl's hand, casually lacing their fingers together. "She's an older friend. Married and everything. She gives me a lift whenever I need one."

"Oh," Brandy smiled. "That's nice."

Whenever he 'needed' a ride, it was because Casey Jackson had 'picked up' something that concerned him. Those 'rides' had only occurred twice. Once when he'd been so overwhelmed dealing with the fact that he was a clone he'd contemplated running away. He had no clue how Casey had known. But when he'd left school that day, determined to walk to the nearest bus station and take a bus to…anywhere…she'd been waiting in the parking lot.

She'd not once mouthed platitudes. She'd driven randomly. Let him vent his feelings. His anger. She'd even told him he had every right to be mad as hell about the situation. Then she'd taken his hand, squeezed his fingers, and told him to always follow his heart. If he thought running away was the right thing to do, she'd take him to the bus station, or train depot, or even the airport. Then she'd gently pointed out that most likely the Air Force would catch up with him and have him home by the end of the week.

He hadn't wanted to admit it, but deep inside, he'd wanted someone to know…to figure out how badly he was hurting. To stop him from leaving. He hadn't thought anyone would. He hadn't counted on a seer, the friend of the man from whom he'd been created. When she'd taken him home, his foster father had been there. Johnny had introduced Casey. All she'd said was that she'd sensed that Johnny had needed to talk. Phil Hastings had smiled, and put his arm around his foster son, and thanked her for her concern.

"I'm glad you have someone to talk to, Jon," Phil had said, after Casey had said her good-byes, leaving the two alone. "And if Mrs. Jackson is ever…unavailable, I'm right here, son."

That was the first of the 'father-son' talks. Whenever he was feeling out of place, whenever the memories in his head threatened to drive him nuts, Phil had been there for him. Not once condemning the acts that had left bitter, hateful memories in his mind. In fact, he'd been able to talk to Phil in a way he'd never been able to talk to anyone. Well, other than Daniel Jackson. But conversations with the archaeologist wouldn't be happening again, he was certain. The same feelings of appreciation…of love…that Jack O'Neill felt for his best friend, had blossomed and grown in Johnny for his foster father, and Phil became the best friend he'd needed.

Of course, his day-to-day life was a constant reminder of his age, and the situation in which he found himself. He had the memories of a man, but he was still just a kid. And like most kids, he needed emotional support from the adults around him. When he'd shyly…hesitantly…asked if he could call his foster father 'Dad', the older man's eyes had filled with tears, and he'd nodded. The two had hugged as if they really were father and son. The same thing had happened when he had asked Terri if he could call her 'Mom'. He didn't think he'd ever forget the bright smile, or how tightly she'd held him. Whether it was true or not, Johnny had always associated Casey with the change in his family status. From mere 'foster child' to 'son'.

It hadn't been long after that when he'd emailed her. Asking what she thought of the idea of him joining ROTC. He'd been determined to set a different course for his life…something totally different than what Colonel Jonathan O'Neill - General O'Neill, his memory poked, Casey had emailed him about the promotion - had done with his life. But the chance to work around the jets had been alluring.

They'd met up at the library not far from his school, driven to a local Sonic. Where they had discussed the matter over shakes and onion rings and Chili-Cheese Tots. She'd told him the choice was ultimately his, but that she thought he should wait at least a year before making any life choices…that he was still discovering who he was. That he was not merely a copy of Jack O'Neill, but a person in his own right. Funny, she'd been the one to treat him that way from the moment she'd seen him in that holding room, trying to convince those around him that he was Jack O'Neill. At the time, he'd believed it to be true. Even though her radar had picked up something hinky about him, which he'd dismissed as being the obvious, she'd never once treated him any differently. When they'd learned the truth about his 'creation' she'd treated him like an individual. A person.

She'd emailed a couple of times, just to stay in touch. To let him know that he hadn't been forgotten by the group of people who had been hell bent to protect him…to help him. And who, in the process, had saved his life. He suspected that she was the only one who actually thought about him. Something that didn't bother him, though her emails always made him feel good. Remembered. Cared about…

He shook himself mentally, and returned his attention to the lovely young Brandy.

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