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His Father's Eyes
Life settled into a 'normal' routine. With the team off the roster for a full week, all the team members were able to make substantial strides in their work at the SGC. A fact for which they were celebrating during an afternoon break.
"Thanks to help from Jonas, I've finally finished the Incan and the Mayan pantheons," Casey announced.
"That's great," Daniel said. "Let's see, you've finished the Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Norwegian, Celtic, Viking, and Nubian pantheons as well, right?"
"Right," Casey replied. "The Norwegian, Celtic and Viking pantheons are darned near the same, so that was easy. The Saxon pantheon promises to be easier, they're almost monotheistic."
Daniel nodded. "You're doing a great job, Angel."
"Indeed," Teal'c said. "There are many distinct civilizations. To have accomplished as much as you have is impressive."
"Thanks, Teal'c. Sometimes I feel like it's never going to be done," Casey said.
"Have faith," Daniel smiled.
"What about you?" Casey asked, turning to Sam.
"Well, those ATVs we learned about in that alternate universe? I think we've been able to come up with a power source," Sam announced. "The Tegerians helped tremendously with that. They have incredible solar powered batteries that will be perfect. We just have to figure out how to seal them in a protective cover, so that the ATVs can be used in varied environments, and yet still be able to draw solar power."
"Now that's good news," Jack said. "I'm all for riding rather than hiking."
"Well, we'll only be able to use the ATVs on terrain that will allow relative freedom of movement. Some of the forest or jungle terrain won't be safe for them," Sam pointed out.
"Still, if we can-" Jack broke off as a group of men nearly staggered into the commissary. They were filthy, wet, and looked exhausted. Each of them headed immediately for the coffee urn. "Ah, Ferretti is back."
The team watched silently as the men took their coffee and stumbled to the closest table. One particular pilot held their attention. "I need to talk to Hammond," Jack said quietly.
"We owe them," Sam said softly.
"I concur," Teal'c said.
"So do I," Daniel said.
Casey cocked her head sideways. Then, without a word to her teammates, she stood and walked over to the table where the pilots sat, sipping gratefully on their hot coffee.
"Casey?" Daniel frowned when his wife chose to ignore him.
"What the hell is she doing?" Jack hissed.
"How should I know?" Daniel demanded quietly.
"Looks to me like she's going to talk to Lieutenant Graham," Sam sided.
"I believe she has reason to," Teal'c said. "I believe she received a download of sorts."
Daniel frowned. If that was true, it had certainly been a very short download, as he'd not noticed, and she hadn't reached out for him.
All they could do was to continue to watch, and wonder what the seer was up to.
Casey approached the table, cleared her throat, then smiled when the men looked up at her. "Excuse me, I know you guys are beat." She glanced at Ferretti. "You must be losing your touch. Either that, or these guys were better than the group I went through with."
Ferretti chuckled. "I remember that group."
"We crawled back through the 'gate. Standing wasn't an option," she told the men who watched her carefully. She smiled at the tired chuckles that filled the air. "I don't mean to bother you, but um…Lieutenant Graham?"
Jay's head came up. He'd seen the beautiful blonde on the Daedalus while he and his fellow pilots had been on their first mission. Her eyes were even more bewitching up close. "Yes, ma'am?"
"Oh, god, that makes me sound ancient," Casey moaned. "Please, just call me Casey."
"Yes, ma'am…er…Casey," Jay replied.
"Would you mind joining me and my friends for a moment?"
He glanced around. Met the curious expressions of his friends with a confused look of his own. Is this more training? Some sort of test? All he wanted to do was finish his coffee, take a hot shower, and then sleep for about a week. He had no desire to be questioned by officers. Particularly General O'Neill. He was the second-in-command of the SGC, and the man in charge of the spaceships owned by the US military. He managed to keep his sigh silent. "Sure."
Casey waited, noting the man could barely move. She reached out, put her arm around his waist. "Just lean on me. I remember that damned planet. Haunts me in my nightmares."
Jay chuckled. And allowed the slender woman to help him across the room.
"Lieutenant Graham, I'd like you to meet General Jack O'Neill, Colonel Sam Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c of Chulak," Casey said, helping the young pilot into the chair she had occupied. She grabbed another chair, sliding it between Daniel and Teal'c. "Guys, this is Lieutenant Graham…I'm sorry, I don't know your first name."
"Jay, ma'am…er…Casey. My full name is Michael Graham, Junior. Dad wanted to call me MJ. Mom just called me Jay, and it stuck," the pilot responded.
"How is Michael?" Sam asked quietly.
Jay started, looked over at the colonel. "Ma'am?"
"Your father…how is he?"
Jay hesitated for a moment. "Do you know my dad, ma'am?"
"We all do," Daniel said quietly. "Well, Casey doesn't. She wasn't part of the team then."
"I don't understand," Jay said, clearly puzzled.
Jack wrapped both hands around his mug, stared into it for a moment, before looking up into his familiar blue eyes. "You look like your dad. Especially the eyes. Your eyes are just like his."
"I've been told that," Jay admitted. Still completely confused.
"We…SG-1…went on a mission several years ago," Daniel said, keeping his voice low.
"About six years…" Sam said. She paused, frowned slightly. "God, it's been almost seven years now!"
"On this mission, the wormhole we were traveling in was affected by a solar flare," Daniel continued. "It tossed us back in time. To the year 1969."
Jay frowned. He'd read some of the mission files that had been assigned study for the pilots. Still wasn't convinced that they were all true. He questioned just how many of those 'reports' were nothing more than incredibly detailed science-fiction stories.
"It was during this mission when we met your parents," Teal'c said. He, too, kept his voice low, not wanting the man's friends to overhear what needed to be a private conversation.
Jay's eyes went wide. "You what?"
"They were driving a crazy, psychedelic bus," Jack said, smiling at the memory. "They were heading for Woodstock."
"There was a time anomaly," Sam continued the story. "General Hammond was, in 1969, Lieutenant Hammond. Apparently our appearance there was supposed to happen. General Hammond had given me a note. I didn't realize he'd tucked one into the pocket of my tac vest - a note to himself. Well, the 'himself' of 1969. That note was a plea for him…Lieutenant Hammond…to help us."
"What was on the note he gave you?" Jay asked, too curious to keep quiet.
"The time and date of two solar flares. One to verify our hypothesis of what had happened to us, the other the flare we used to get home," Jack said.
"Mike and Jenny took us to New York City, so we could find Doctor Catherine Langford. Her father was the archaeologist who had discovered the Stargate," Daniel said, picking up the narrative. "She had an idea where the military was keeping the 'gate."
"We're pretty sure our visit is what spurred her to fight to reopen the Stargate project," Sam added. "And, we think that was maybe the entire purpose for our being rerouted in the first place."
Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c nodded. That conversation had been held at Sam's, over pizza, as soon as the team had left the base after what was nothing less than a miracle return. The entire event, they had decided, had too many specifics in it for it to just have been a random occurrence. Once Casey had joined the team, with her 'connections' to the universe, they were even more convinced that the Fates had most certainly had a hand in their visit to the past.
"Then your parents drove us to Washington DC…that's where the 'gate was being stored," Daniel continued. "We…well, I sorta started the whole thing…we told them we were aliens from another planet, that we'd been hiding from a tyrannical establishment, but that we just wanted to go home."
"Your mother was insistent that they help us," Teal'c interjected.
"They begged us to take them with us," Sam said. She sniffed softly. "Your dad had been drafted. Their trip to Woodstock was going to be their last trip before he reported for duty."
"He didn't," Jay said, shaking his head. "He and Mom went to Canada. She was pregnant with my older sister. Dad…he couldn't leave her."
"Oh, poor Mike," Sam sighed.
"They came back to the US right after my younger sister was born. Dad never talks about Canada. It's really put a wedge between him and his dad…but…" Jay paused, the frowned. "I dunno, I can't help but think, in the same situation, I'd do the same thing. Why die in a war we shouldn't have been fighting in the first place?"
Glances were exchanged. "I suppose you heard the story about the aliens?"
Jay snorted. "Over and over again. Whenever Mom and Dad were trying to make a point about helping people…strangers…we heard about it." He looked up, meeting Jack's gaze. "After I figured out that there wasn't a real Santa Claus, just Dad in a suit with a pillow, I really didn't believe much that my parents told me. I just…I figured they were just high, ya know?"
"Well, they weren't," Jack said firmly. "Jay, without your parents' help, we never would have made it back. We'd have been stuck in 1969. Teal'c would have died in the past."
"When my symbiote matured, I would have killed it, to prevent it from taking an innocent host," Teal'c said. "Without a symbiote, a Jaffa cannot survive."
"The symbiote serves as a Jaffa's immune system," Sam explained.
"Shit," Jay breathed.
"Yeah," Casey said. "Not to mention my Stud Muffin here being old enough to be my dad by the time we finally could meet."
Daniel started, then stared at her for a moment. Hell, he'd been twenty-seven on that mission. Casey hadn't been born until 1975…six years later. By the time she'd turned twenty he'd have been forty-three!
"So, your parents are pretty much heroes to us," Sam finished.
"But, you can't tell them anything," Jay said.
"Well, maybe not. But you're part of our little SGC family," Jack said. "We could at least tell you the truth."
"We might be able to find a way to tell them the truth," Casey said. "But that should be up to you." Four pairs of eyes stared at her. She tapped her temple.
Jack nodded his understanding. "If you want them to know the truth, we'll see what we can do about getting some non-disclosure forms, and making a little visit to them."
Jay studied his hands. "I dunno…to be honest, I think maybe it would be better to leave things as they are."
"Why?" Sam asked softly.
"There's something exciting about having helped aliens escape Earth," Jay smiled. "It might be more than they can handle to know that they just helped good ol' human beings return to their own time."
Daniel smiled as well. "I guess it would be easier to believe in aliens."
"Indeed," Teal'c said.
"Well, you just let us know," Sam said.
"Yes, ma'am." Jay looked over his shoulder. His friends were doing their best not to stare at the table where the premier team sat, chatting with a lowly lieutenant.
"Better get back to your friends before they pass out," Jack said warmly. "Get a shower and some sleep, lieutenant."
"Yes, sir," Jay said, smiling. "And…thanks. Knowing the truth…it means a lot to me."
"You're welcome," Casey said.
A A A A A A
"Mom? Dad?" Jay closed the door, listened for any sound of life in the house. Heard the scrape of kitchen chairs against the floor.
"Jay?" Jenny Graham poked her head into the hallway. Her face broke into a wide smile.
Mike Graham followed his wife. "Didn't expect to get to see you so soon!"
Jay smiled. "I’m gonna be…deployed…for a few months. So I have a couple of days leave."
"Oh, I'm so glad you came to visit," Jenny said. She watched for the slight rolling of his eyes. Her son had never been able to hide his feelings from her. She knew that he found visits home to be tedious…his presence was often more for duty than love. Instead, his eyes were bright with tears. When she found herself in his embrace, she couldn't help but be surprised. "Jay?"
"Mom…I…" He shook his head. "I've been kind of an ass for the past few years," he said quietly. "I'm really sorry. I love you, Mom." He reached out, squeezed his father's shoulder. "I love you, too, Dad."
The elder Graham's blue eyes filled with tears. "I love you, too, son."
"So tell me about this new job of yours," Jenny said, pulling away from her son, leading him by the hand to the kitchen.
"To be honest, Mom, it's all classified. But believe me when I tell you that it concerns national security. And I can't imagine doing anything else," Jay answered honestly.
"Is it dangerous?" Jenny asked worriedly.
Jay frowned. "Sometimes. But I work with the best of the best, Mom. And what we do…it's really important. I have to do this job. Because I want to protect you, and Dad, and Dawn and Holly…and Gramps and Nana."
Jenny and Michael exchanged worried glances. "Are you involved with fighting terrorists?"
He couldn't help but chuckle. The Goa'uld were worse than terrorists. But, at the same time, the description fit. "I can't say anything...but, yeah, that's close enough."
"Oh, Jay, please be careful!" Jenny said, one hand over her heart.
"I promise, Mom." Again, he was offering the truth.
"Well, tell us about the people you work with," Mike said, settling at the table beside his son.
"First person I met was Major Ferretti. This guy gets his jollies putting the newbies through training. But he's a fair man," Jay said, respect filling his voice. "He cares about each and every cadet…that's what they call the newbies. Wants us to have the best training possible."
"That's good," Mike nodded.
"Then there's General Hammond. He's the OIC of…of the base where I'm assigned."
"OIC?" Jenny asked, puzzled.
"Officer-in-charge," Jay explained. "I only met him once, after my training. He's a good man. Great officer. The guys I'm flying with…they're a great bunch of guys. We're a pretty diverse group, too. One of the guys is from New Jersey. I swear he's a hoot to listen to. Then there's Cowboy. He's an actual cowboy from Wyoming. Grew up on a ranch. His dad and brothers love ranching. He loves flying."
"Well, there's always one oddball in every family," Mike said, winking at Jenny and giving Jay a clap on the shoulder.
"Are you saying I'm the family oddball?" Jay asked, a wide grin on his face.
"Not out loud I'm not," Mike teased.
Jay heaved a sigh. "Dad, it's true, and you and I both know it."
"But remember this, son. No family can do without their oddball."
Tears filled his eyes, and the lump in his throat made speech impossible. Instead, Jay leaned over and hugged his father's neck. "Thanks, Dad."
"So where do you live? Are they feeding you?" Jenny asked.
"I'll be in assigned quarters for pilots," he answered truthfully. No need to add that those quarters were on an honest-to-goodness space ship. One built by the US military, using alien technology. "There's a commissary, food is pretty good there. And there are snack machines. I can get sandwiches, chips, cookies, stuff like that."
"Well, eat proper meals as often as you can," Jenny urged.
"I will, I promise."
"You said you're going to be deployed?" Mike asked.
"Yeah. Might be a few months before I can get back here. Communication…well, there won't be a way for me to communicate directly. If you need to reach me, I have contact numbers. They can have me home in twenty-four hours." Jay reached into his pocket for the slip of paper he'd written all of the pertinent information on. He handed it to his father, but his mother immediately took the slip from his father's fingers.
"I'll put this in my jewelry box."
Everything important, anything of value to his mother, went into her jewelry box, a large wooden box with flowers and birds painted on the lid.
"If there's any kind of emergency, just call. They'll let me come home," Jay promised.
"That's good to know," Mike nodded.
"So…how are Dawn and Holly?"
Jenny shrugged. "I met a really nice young man in my college painting class. Tried to introduce him to Dawn, but she wouldn't even show him the courtesy of meeting him for coffee."
Jay snorted. His mother took college courses as a means of staying current, and filling her life with more than just housework and laundry. And was hell bent to see his oldest sister married. With children. "Maybe you should just let her find someone on her own," he suggested.
Now it was Mike who snorted.
Jenny tossed a frown at her husband. "I want to know she's married before I die. I'd like to have grandchildren I could see and hold before I'm dead, but that's not looking very promising."
Jay gave in to his chuckles. "Mom, you are not that old!"
She gave a soft 'harrumph'. "Sometimes I feel it."
He reached out and took his mother's hand. "Well, sometimes I feel old, too. Especially after some of the PT Major Ferretti puts us through."
"Physical training. Nothing is as bad as going through an aerobic workout with Mrs. Jackson, though." Jay wisely decided to omit the fact that it was actually Teal'c who lead the class. Casey Jackson simply led those capable in 'extra' steps for each exercise. The woman was as decidedly sadistic as Major Ferretti.
"Aerobics? Didn't know the military went in for that," Mike chuckled.
"Well, from what I was told, it all started when General Hammond happened to witness one of Mrs. Jackson's personal aerobics workouts. She combines Pilate's, aerobics, and martial arts movements in this workout that is absolutely killer. And she does it all to music."
"Really? What kind of music?" Jenny asked.
"From what I've been told, all kinds. Guess Mrs. J likes all types of music," Jay replied. "The two days we worked out with the group, it was a mix of classic rock, a bit of country western, and some new age stuff."
"It can be. While I'm deployed, I won't be able to work out with…um…them. Mrs. J and the others. But we'll have a full gym to use, so we won't get soft," Jay grinned.
Before any reply could be made, the back door opened, and Dawn Graham stepped into the kitchen. Her eyes lit up at the sight of her baby brother. "Jay!"
"Hey, sis," Jay grinned.
"I thought you were off flying for Uncle Sam."
"I was in training."
"It's…classified," Jay replied.
"Probably illegal or immoral, too," Dawn sniffed. She had no more love of the military than her parents had ever had.
"Not even close," Jay said quietly.
"Dawn, what your brother is doing is important," Mike said. "Everyone in this family will show him support and love."
Dawn looked at her father. She knew that he'd been at a loss to understand why his only son had seen fit to enlist in the military he himself had left the country to avoid serving in. "What gives?"
"What I'm doing is important, Dawn. And it's protecting you, and Mom and Dad and Holly…and everyone else on the…in the country," he said, barely catching himself in time.
Dawn's green eyes, just like her mothers, narrowed slightly. She looked at her parents. Both of them doggedly determined to support Jay. Both of them looking more than a bit proud of him. She sighed. "It must be, if Mom and Dad have blessed it."
"Mom and Dad don't even know what 'it' is," Jay countered. "But they trust me. Believe in me."
"I…" She shook her head. Then walked across the room and leaned down to hug her brother. Kissed the side of his head. "I believe in you, too."
"Jay was just telling us he works with several very nice men," Jenny said primly, before sipping from her cup of coffee.
"Mom!" Dawn wailed. She turned to Jay. "Please tell me you didn't!"
He held up both hands, although he was laughing almost too hard to answer. "I didn't, I swear. I just mentioned some of the guys I work with."
Mike patted his wife's hand. "Give the girl a break, Jen," he said quietly.
"By the time I was her age, I already had two children," Jenny told her husband.
"I know. If things had been different…" He shook his head. "No, no I wouldn't change anything that's happened to us. We've had a good life. A very interesting life."
Jenny nodded solemnly. "We managed to help aliens get home, had three beautiful children…I say we've done well."
Jay cleared his throat. "How can you be sure you helped those aliens?"
Mike looked like a toddler, caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "What do you mean?"
He'd never seen his father look so…guilty?…at the very least discomfited. Which only piqued his curiosity.
"I…we…" Mike looked helplessly at Jenny.
"They wanted us to go…to run. For our own safety. To be honest, we almost didn't get away," Jenny said quietly.
"We'd taken them as close to a storage facility on a military base that we could get. They wanted us to go…Jack insisted on it," Mike said.
Jay kept his face passive.
"But, we wanted to make sure. We didn't want to abandon them if their plan didn't work," Mike explained.
That, Jay thought, was totally typical of his parents.
"We parked the bus up the road, out of sight, and slipped in, just the way they did," Jenny added. "We followed them into this building…"
"Some huge warehouse," Mike clarified. "They knew exactly what they were looking for. They opened this crate…it was enormous. Inside was this…circle. And then…they brought in a dozen vehicles, and Sam connected all these wires to the circle, and to the batteries of the vehicles."
"Then Teal'c, he was this huge, black warrior, with a mark in the middle of his forehead," Jenny interjected, "he started moving the inside ring of this circle."
Jay kept his eyes on his hands. The mark in the middle of Teal'c's forehead was a symbol. It was solid gold, which signified his standing as the First Prime of Apophis. Well, he thought, at least one of the people they'd met had been a real alien!
"Daniel, he was watching, and he'd call out when the symbol he wanted was in the middle of this…this…well, it was like this," Mike said, demonstrating with his hands, making a triangle with his fingers. "There were several of those things around the outer edge of the circle, and each time he called out for Teal'c to stop, there was a clanging sound, and those things lit up. When a triangle lit up, it stayed lit. Then…then…"
"It's so hard to describe. You have to remember, this is alien technology we're talking about," Jenny said.
No shit! Jay thought. His parents had no clue exactly how alien!
"This…this…well, it looked like water that just came whooshing out, like a sideways column," Mike said. "It was all blue and shimmery. Well, by this time the guards had figured out that someone was in the warehouse. They were shooting at Jack and Sam and Daniel and Teal'c. We were hiding in a corner, and for a couple of minutes, I was afraid they'd catch us."
"Sam kept saying, 'not yet, not yet'," Jenny said. "Then Jack yelled that they had no choice, they had to go. They ran up, and just…disappeared…into that shimmery circle. And then…it just…it just vanished. That huge ring was still there, but…they were gone. The guards were so busy trying to figure out what had happened that we were able to slip back out. We ran all the way to the bus."
Jay pursed his lips. "Well, at least they made it."
"We headed for Woodstock," Mike said. "We were never the same after that."
"I'd guess not," Jay said. "You can't see something like that and remain…unaffected."
Mike smiled. "I think it made us better people."
"I don't doubt it, Dad." And for the first time in his life, Jay meant every word.
Later, Jay slipped to his bedroom, pulled out his cell phone. He dialed the number to the SGC. "Yes, is General O'Neill there?"
"One moment, please," the operator said.
He heard two or three clicks. Then heard the general bark a hello. "Sir, it's Jay Graham."
"Jay, what can I do for you?" Jack asked amiably.
"Sir, I take it that you had no idea my parents were in the warehouse where the Stargate was," Jay said, jumping immediately to the point.
"Sir, they saw you uncrate the Stargate, and dial it…manually…Major Ferretti explained it was possible if there was a power source available. You used the batteries from military vehicles, right?"
"Yeah, we did," Jack replied.
"Sir, they saw the whole thing. Saw you leave. They were able to slip away because the guards were too confused about what had happened to start searching for others right away. It…sir, it really impacted on them. Having seen it for myself, I understand that," Jay said.
"Damn. They never mentioned any of this before?" Jack asked.
"No, sir," Jay said. "They seemed a bit, well, they said you'd made them promise to leave. They both acted sorta guilty about the whole thing. They wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't asked if they were sure the aliens made it home safely. I'm sorry, sir, I shouldn't have said anything."
"Damn," Jack swore again. "This changes things."
"I thought it might, sir."
"I'm going to talk to General Hammond. Then the team and I will pay a little visit to your folks. That part of the story they're going to have to keep to themselves."
"Uh, sir, my sister was present when they told me about seeing you escape."
Jack heaved a sigh. "Okay. We'll call when we're on our way. You'll have to make sure your sister is present for our little visit as well."
"You did the right thing, calling me right away," Jack said.
"It just seemed like the right thing to do. To keep the 'gate a secret."
"Well, it was. We'll be there sometime tomorrow."
A A A A A A
It was just after breakfast the following morning, which was later than the usual weekday meal, when a sharp rap on the door brought Mike to his feet. "Jenny, were we expecting company today?"
"Not that I know of," Jenny replied.
"Dawn is supposed to be here," Jay said. "I called her," he said, in response to the questions in his parents' eyes.
"Since when does she knock on the door?" Mike asked.
"Who knocks where?" Dawn asked, walking into the kitchen.
Again the sharp rap on the front door. "Mom, maybe you should start another pot of coffee. Everyone just stay right here," Jay said. "I'll answer the door."
"Jay-" Mike started.
"Dad…trust me," Jay said quietly.
Jay hurried to the living room. Opened the door. "Hello, sir."
"This way. Everyone is in the kitchen."
Nervous glances were exchanged among the team. "Before we go in there…your sister and parents are going to have to sign these forms," Jack said, holding up a folder, which contained a dozen non-disclosure forms, each one binding and permanent. "Do you think they will?"
Jay frowned for a moment. "Yes, sir, I think they will."
Jack nodded. "Lead on, son."
When the group entered the kitchen, Jenny had just started a pot of coffee. Her eyes went wide, and she immediately reached for her husband.
Daniel was struck by how much Jenny and Mike had changed. Their hair, and Mike's beard, were certainly more gray than he'd imagined. And both had deep laugh lines around their eyes. Jenny's face was leaner, sharper than it had been when she'd been so young. She'd been what, seventeen? Maybe eighteen? They'd both been so damned young. And yet, Jenny, her hair still long - though pulled back and held in place by barrettes, and Mike, his beard and long hair the same style as it had been when he'd opened that bus door for them, looked the same. Their eyes were still as bright and full of life. Jay definitely had inherited his father's eyes!
He wondered just how much he, Jack, and Sam had changed…Teal'c had always seemed 'ageless', due to being Jaffa. Before he'd become Immortal, Teal'c had aged, just at a much slower rate than the ordinary human. Casey slipped to his side, slid her arm around his waist. He took comfort from that familiar touch. No doubt the next few minutes were going to be…tense.
Mike rose slowly. "Jack? Sam? Daniel? Teal'c?"
"You came back!" Jenny declared. "Why?"
Jack rubbed a hand on the back of his neck. "Well, it's kinda a long story."
"Who are you?" Jenny asked, staring at Casey.
"I'm Casey Jackson. Daniel's wife," the slender seer replied softly.
Mike looked sharply at Jay. "You said that 'Mrs. Jackson' led the aerobics class."
"Wow, I didn't think you'd pick up on that," Jay admitted.
"What the hell is going on?" Mike demanded.
Jack pulled a chair away from the table, waved at the one Mike had been sitting in. "Have a seat, Mike. It's a long story."
"Why am I here, and Holly isn't?" Dawn asked her brother.
"Because you heard what mom and dad said last night. She didn’t," Jay said quietly.
"I don't understand."
"Please, let us explain," Sam said.
"Please do," Mike grumped.
"Well, first of all, we aren't aliens," Daniel said.
"No? Then explain what we saw!" Mike insisted.
"Well, if you'd left like we told you, then you wouldn't have seen anything, and this conversation wouldn't be necessary," Jack said. He put the folder on the table. "Before we can say anything else, all three of you will need to sign these forms."
"What are they?" Dawn asked immediately.
"Non-disclosure forms," Jack replied. He turned to Jenny and Mike. "What you saw is something of a very large military secret."
"Well, mostly military," Daniel said. "I'm not military. I'm an archaeologist. There are just as many civilians involved with the program as there are military personnel."
"What we do is very important," Sam said, her eyes pleading with Jenny. "We're trying to protect the entire planet."
"From what?" Mike asked.
"Real alien invasion," Daniel replied.
"Daniel," Jack said, a warning note in his voice.
"Please, sign the forms, so we can explain." Sam pushed the forms toward Mike and Dawn.
"Jay?" Mike said, looking over at his son.
"Dad, I had to sign even more forms, because I'm involved. You won't be told everything. Trust me, you don't want to know everything," Jay said quietly.
With a nod, Mike pulled the forms closer. Sam offered him a pen and a smile. He was barely able to smile in return. He signed the forms without reading them. Jenny did the same. Dawn carefully read each sheet of paper, her eyes going wider with each page. She looked up at her brother, then the strangers who were in her parents' kitchen. With a sigh, she signed the papers as well.
"Danny, you're on," Jack said, with a sigh and a smile.
"The story starts for us in 1928, but as you'll learn, goes back about
ten thousand years before that."
"You're kidding!" Dawn hissed.
"No, he's not," Casey said softly. "It's really hard to wrap your brain around, but it's all true."
It took over an hour to completely explain. Mike and Jenny forgave the team for their 'lie', understanding the absolute panic the four were feeling, finding themselves in the wrong time, due to an accident while traveling through a wormhole. And trying desperately not to affect the timeline while they were stuck in the past. Both admitted not understanding the science involved; however, they accepted the truth of what they'd been told. Dawn had been silent since her initial outburst.
"Sis?" Jay asked, moving closer to Dawn. His father and General O'Neill were still talking.
"You're awfully quiet." He kept his voice low.
She tried to smile, but found that she was still too stunned to do so. "I always believed mom and dad. I knew you didn't…but now…I mean, to learn it was the absolute truth, well, without the alien part-"
"Well, technically, Teal'c's an alien," Jay pointed out.
Green eyes glanced at the tall, silent black man. She tried to ignore the odd tattoo in the middle of his forehead. "Right."
"It's just…I mean…it's scary."
"Which is why I'm out there," Jay said. "Don't worry. We'll keep the Goa'uld under control."
"You can't promise that, Jay," Dawn murmured.
"Yes, I can," Jay insisted. "I can't explain it, Dawn. All I know is that when I'm at the SGC, when I was on the Daedalus, I knew. I could feel it. I'm not saying there won't be battles. But we'll protect Earth."
She studied her younger brother. Gone was the restlessness. She'd already seen that the distance Jay had kept between himself and his parents no longer existed. He was calm, and confident…so different from the angry young man she'd known. She nodded slowly. "I believe you."
"Now, I know this has been a shock for you," Jack was saying. "We'll get out of here, and let you finish your visit with Jay."
"Thank you," Mike said. "For telling us. I'll probably worry more about Jay, but knowing that you…that all of you," he waved his hand toward the team, "are watching out for him, that helps a lot."
Jenny smiled at Sam. "I still like your hair," she said, giving a soft chuckle.
Sam ran a hand through her short locks, and laughed as well. "Thanks."
Jack gathered the signed forms. "Remember, not a word to anyone."
Mike nodded. "We promise, Jack. And good luck out there."
Jack blinked, swallowed twice. "Thanks," he said quietly. He looked around. "Okay, campers. Let's go. We need to get back to the base. We have duty this weekend."
Arm in arm, Jenny and Mike followed their guests to the front door. "You're welcome here, any time," Jenny said.
"Be careful," Daniel teased. "We might take you up on that!"
"Whenever you're near Boulder, we expect a visit," Mike said.
"We'll remember that," Sam promised
The Grahams followed the team to Jack's truck. They waved as the F250 pulled out of the driveway.
"Well, now what?" Jay asked, hands in his pockets.
"The yard needs to be mowed," Mike grinned.
"Dad, I'm on leave," Jay objected.
"How about shooting some pool?"
"You really want me to whip your ass?" Jay teased.
"Ha! As if you could, boy!" Mike taunted.
"Let's go." Jay put his arm around his father's shoulders. "You gonna play too, Mom?"
"Might just as well. Since I'm here," the dark haired woman replied. She paused slightly. "I feel bad…we have to keep this from Holly."
"It won't be so difficult," Jenny declared.
"How do you figure that?" Dawn asked.
"Because I don't even want to think about it, let alone talk about it." She led the way up the porch steps.
Mike, Jay, and Dawn exchanged knowing glances. None of them would mention what they'd learned within earshot of Jenny Graham. She meant what she said, and would see to it that the subject never came up in her presence.
Jay figured his sister and father might discuss the issue a time or two. And, he'd be able to at least let his dad know if he was going to be on the Daedalus. There was a bit of comfort knowing that his father would always be aware of where he was.
"Right," Mike said. "Subject closed."
"Let's keep it that way," Jenny said.
Five minutes later the family was enjoying a game of pool. Later in the afternoon, Holly and her husband joined them. It was the first family dinner Jay could remember enjoying so much. He was truly sorry when his leave ended, and he had to return to the SGC. And when he hugged his parents, unbridled love filled his heart.
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