Author's Note: This began as a short tag, then Gemsong asked a couple of pertinent questions which set free a whole swarm of replicator plot bunnies... From there, it moved into action/adventure, humour, angst, hurt/comfort - you name it. The Stargate gets used - twice - and Maybourne appears too.
Season: Late series 4, with passing references to earlier seasons.
Warning: this is a gen. fic. ;-) But that doesn't mean there isn't a little salty language.
Thanks to J.D. Brown, Chris Ely, Lorraine Marker and Marcia for help with legal information. Thanks to my alpha, Rodney Mitchell, for allowing me to bounce ideas off him and for contributing a couple of good ideas. And thanks, of course, to Gemmy.
Disclaimer: The characters mentioned in this story are, unfortunately, the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-1, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory (except the bit in this story, which is mine, all mine - ya hear?!) are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. So there!
Chapter I - Enigma
When Colonel O'Neill entered the commissary that lunchtime, he didn't need a degree in behavioral psychology to know that Something was most definitely Up. If the abrupt silence wasn't a dead giveaway, the sudden communal interest in the food, a few seconds later, certainly was. He took a tray from the stack and joined the queue.
There was no untoward reaction to them, so it obviously wasn't an S.G.-1 thing. It was something to do with himself alone.
As S.G.-1 left the commissary, they met Major Stan Kovachek of the Diplomatic Corps. heading their way.
"Colonel O'Neill, General Hammond wants a word with you in his office at your earliest convenience," he said, adding with knowing grin and a wink, "Don't worry, I didn't drop you in it."
"Huh?" O'Neill muttered, but Major Kovachek had already disappeared into the commissary.
The rest of S.G.-1 was looking equally baffled.
"O.K., kids, I'd better go. Catch you later," the Colonel said and made his way to General Hammond's office.
"Good. Your colleagues from S.G.-1 are included in the invitation, so you all go ahead - and have a good time. Oh, and I think Class As would be in order. "
Accordingly at 11.00 hours, S.G.-1, all togged out in its collective Sunday best, stepped through the wormhole on to P5C-768. It was about a year since S.G.-1 had last visited the planet. O'Neill immediately recognized the man who led the small group of people who constituted the welcoming committee as Paynan, his old drinking companion. The same could not be said for Paynan.
"Oh? You remember Major Carter, Dr. Jackson and Teal'c?"
"Oh, we certainly do!" Paynan exclaimed. "Sorry we didn't take your advice like we should've done back then, but the rebuilding's all done now and everything's pretty well back to normal."
"That's good to know," O'Neill smiled.
"Oh, but you'll be wanting to see them! I won't keep you talking here any longer..."
"But of course," O'Neill agreed falling into step with Paynan as he led the way back to the village. "They're both well, I hope?"
"So far. It was touch and go for a while and it's still early days yet."
Stopping outside a familiar log house, Paynan said, "Well, I'll leave you to get acquainted, and I'll take these folks off to the hall out of your way."
"Ri-ight," O'Neill said, still puzzled. He removed his hat and shades, lifted the latch and stepped inside.
Chapter II - Past and Present
Garan wasn't there. His mother looked at O'Neill shyly.
"They're... they're... beautiful..."
O'Neill felt himself filling up, just as he had when Charlie was born. The miracle of it - the sheer bloody beautiful miracle of it - the life he'd helped to create - something he'd never expected to see again. He wrapped his arms around Laira, lifted her off her feet, and kissed her. Couldn't help himself.
"What are their names?" he asked.
"Well, that's why you're here. Didn't anybody tell you? It's the father's honor to name his children - at the Naming Ceremony."
"Me? Pick names? That doesn't seem fair. What names would you like?"
"You know what I'd really like? Names from your world."
"Oh. Um. Funny how the mind goes blank... Er... well, Adam was the first man back on Earth. Seems appropriate somehow."
"Adam. Yes, I like that," Laira smiled, "and what else?"
"Hey, give me break here," O'Neill protested. "I've only just found out I'm a.... father Now you want me to pick names already!"
"Sorry, Jack. I guess it must have come as a bit of a shock."
"Ah, well, a surprise, yes. But a pleasant one. I'm still a little knocked out by all this... By them."
O'Neill thought a while as Laira watched him.
"Well, my ancestry's Irish, so how about... Brendan? That's a good Irish name."
Laira beamed. "They sound just perfect, Jack - Adam and Brendan."
The entire village was congregated in the Meeting Hall when Jack walked in, proudly carrying Adam with Laira at his side carrying Brendan. O'Neill caught sight of the interested gazes of his team. They didn't look too surprised so presumably someone had clued them in on the reason for their presence on Edora. A pity. He would kind of liked to have been there when they found out.
The Naming Ceremony was solemn but quite short. Everyone was looking forward to the feasting and dancing part of the celebrations that traditionally followed on. After the actual Naming, the rest of S.G.-1 descended upon their leader who was still holding Adam. Carter positively cooed over the baby, rather to O'Neill's surprise, and Teal'c cracked one of his rare smiles.
"I believe that congratulations are in order, ColonelO'Neill," he said.
Chapter III - Family
O'Neill was watching Laira calmly feeding their sons. His mind went back unbidden to Sara and Charlie, and he wondered what lay in the future for these two new lives. One thing he was certain of. Neither of them would be getting his hands on any firearms. Ever.
Now that the initial surprise had worn off - including the fact that he had been surprised - he had a lot of thinking to do about the future. All their futures. In particular, he was torn by his obligations and responsibilities to his team and his country on the one side, and his new family - his sons - on the other. His sons. My, that sounded good! It was a second chance... The pull was very strong.
And Laira? She was a good woman, a strong woman. He liked her. He respected her. Hell, he was fond of her. She'd taken him in when he'd had nothing - and nowhere else to go. Did he love her? He couldn't tell. Probably not, then. Which was kind of sad really. Maybe, if he stayed, he would come to love her? If he stayed...
That meant walking away from Stargate Command, away from S.G.-1 his other 'kids'... He knew he was damn' good at his job. He also knew he wasn't irreplaceable. They'd get used another C.O. soon enough. So long as it wasn't another Makepeace...
He wondered if Laira would like to emigrate to Colorado Springs, then considered the culture shock. Life might be physically harder here, but she had a network of support that she wouldn't have in the States. There would be barriers to her making friends, too. And he'd be away much of the time. No. It would be cruel to suggest it.
And what about himself. What did he want? Truthfully? He wanted his sons, that was for sure. But now? Did they need him right now? Not really. Mom was the most important person in an infant's life. Could he settle down to being a homesteader again? He'd adapted pretty well before, but that was when he'd thought he had no choice. He'd made the best of it. But when he'd heard Teal'c's voice over the intercom., he couldn't deny his heart had soared at the thought of going home - home to that little blue-green planet called Earth.
The U.S.A.F. had been his life for over twenty years. Sure, a lot of it had been far from comfortable, especially the months in Iraq, but at least it supplied the variety he craved. He recalled Daniel's comment about hard work and boredom. That pulled him up sharp. Could he knuckle down a second time, knowing he didn't have to? Was he really cut out for this sort of existence? He didn't think he'd ever been so indecisive in his life!
Laira put Brendan down to sleep and gazed enquiringly at O'Neill.
'If you love someone, set him free.' Perhaps she did love him too - a little. That was a sad thought, knowing he didn't fully return that love. He met her eyes at last and she came to him.
"I really don't know what to say," he murmured apologetically.
"There's no need," she said, running her hands over his dark blue jacket and the medal ribbons. "I can see you're an important man. You have to go back. I understand."
It was late when S.G.-1 walked, a little unsteadily, back to the 'Gate. All in all, it had been a good day. Most of the talk revolved about the exploits of some of the celebrants. When the conversation flagged a little, Daniel asked,
"So what do you plan to do now, Jack? Retire off-world?"
"I'm thinking about it, but not yet awhile. In a few year's time when Adam and Brendan are more in need of a father, then yeah, maybe... Right now though, I figure I'm still more use to Stargate Command."
"Ja-ack...?" Daniel grinned.
"Oh, yeah, and that reminds me. When we get back to S.G.C., I am going to explain to Kovachek and the rest of S.G.-9 - with the aid of a zat gun - the meaning of the word, 'discretion'! I don't think there's anyone on base they haven't told about this except the people they should have - you three, me and General Hammond. Dial home, Daniel!"
Chapter IV - Rite of Passage
General Hammond had been there to greet S.G.-1 after the mission as always, but taking in their rather inebriated state, had deferred the debriefing until the morning. O'Neill went to see his commanding officer privately before the meeting. He had to confess that, like his report on the first Abydos mission, his report on his sojourn on Edora wasn't quite as complete as, perhaps, it could have been.
As he'd hoped, Hammond was very understanding about the omission - congratulated him on his achievement - said it was a pity it couldn't be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records. It would, of course, be necessary to include in his mission report the reason for S.G.-1's last visit. Colonel O'Neill could already hear the sniggers in the Pentagon.
O'Neill was in a strange mood for the next few days after the euphoria of discovering he was a father wore off and normality returned. It was hardly surprising he felt so antsy, - knowing he had twin sons on another world half a universe away, - knowing they were only a few seconds away by wormhole. Knowing he couldn't expect the Government and the tax-payer to fund visits whenever a wayward colonel wanted...
By way of alleviating the stress, his team put their heads together and came up with a surprise 'baby shower'. Accordingly Sam and Teal'c, together with General Hammond, Doctor Fraiser and Cassie, gathered in Daniel's apartment for the party on the Saturday of the following week.
in bright blue holographic letters was strung along one wall.
"Come on in, Jack. Join the party," Daniel grinned, leading a slightly bemused colonel into the room.
"Surprise! Surprise!" yelled the assembled crowd, letting off party poppers and blowing hooters.
As he moved further into the room, he took in the finger buffet laid out on the dining table. Two heaps of presents were piled up on the coffee table and flowing on to the floor - presents wrapped in shades of blue paper. Most of it had babies and Teddy bears on it. One heap was labelled 'Adam', the other 'Brendan'.
"Come and sit down, Jack," General Hammond said, picking up a large handful of envelopes and shifting along the couch to make room.
O'Neill sat down and took the envelopes from him. Daniel handed him an elegant Spanish paper knife in the form of a sword - a souvenir of Toledo. There were cards from many friends on the base, mostly with rather dubious personal messages included. O'Neill was rather surprised by some of the senders - Sergeant Siler, Linda Lloyd, the pharmacist, Annie from the commissary, even one of the S.F.s from the car compound... And he could just see the smirk on Major Davis's face as he read his card.
Sam passed over one of the parcels.
"Er, shouldn't we send them through to Laira to open," Jack demurred.
"Well, I think it's your first official duty as proud father to open them now," Janet declared. "We all want to know what's in them and we can always wrap them again later."
Put like that, O'Neill wasn't going to spoil their bit of fun. Besides, thinking about it, he wanted to know what his sons would be wearing and, later, playing with. He would hold the mental pictures in his mind and in his heart. Hm. Note to self. Take camera on next visit. He looked across at Daniel and it occurred to him, then, that Daniel only had one single photograph of Sha're.
There was a ring at the doorbell. Daniel, surprised, went to answer it. He opened the door and saw a tall teenaged girl with long dark hair and a vaguely familiar face.
"Are you Mr. Jackson?" the girl asked with a soft southern European accent.
"Ah, well, I'm Dr. Jackson, yes."
"Oh... Dr. Daniel Jackson?"
"Um, ye-es, that's right," Daniel replied warily.
"Papa!" she exclaimed, flinging her arms round his neck and kissing him soundly on both cheeks.
"P-Papa?" Daniel echoed faintly.
Silence held the listeners spellbound. O'Neill, unwrapping a white Teddy bear from the flabbergasted archaeologist, looked sideways at Sam, whose eyes were as round as saucers.
"Papa?!" he mouthed at her.