Family Life Series III: The Trip
By. Kelly Mullins
Jack O'Neill was tired. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been to sleep, and that was starting to have its effect on him. He was retired, and his bed was calling him, but no, he'd had to go and retire to be with the woman he loved, and not just his bed.
For once his 7 month old daughter had obliged him by going to sleep, when her mother had called, waking her up and asking Jack to go to the grocery store. Seemed her father was coming through and was going to be there for dinner, she obviously couldn't get away from the base which left him with not only child care and grocery shopping duties, but cooking dinner and making sure the house was spotless as well. He didn't quite understand what his wife was on, Jacob wouldn't care if there was a speck of dust on a picture frame or if dinner wasn't on the table the minute he walked in the door, but he did whatever he could to make her happy.
Jack quickly glanced to his, once again, sleeping daughter in the back seat, he never failed to be amazed by some facet of her existence.
He couldn't believe that her mother, Sam Carter, had been willing to get within 10 feet of her once he'd proclaimed his love for her. He couldn't believe how perfect Carey had been when he'd first started caring for her completely when Sam had gone back to work at three weeks.
And now, he couldn't believe how much growing up she'd managed to pack into her seven short months. She was crawling, even pulling herself up on occasion. Sitting in her car seat though, she never failed to look like the tiny baby they'd brought home several months before. Arriving at the grocery store, Jack was loathe to wake her up, she had become so much more interested in discovering the world around her lately than she was in sleeping, and quiet times like these had become few and far between.
Sighing deeply, Jack decided to suck it up and get out of the truck. He walked around to the other side, pulling Carey's stroller out and unfolding it before pulling it back around to the side Carey's car seat was buckled into. In a practised maneuver that would rival most military exercises, Jack managed to get his sleeping daughter from being buckled into her car seat to being buckled into her stroller without waking her up. He quickly grabbed her diaper bag, locked the doors and was soon off, rushing as fast as possible into the bustling grocery store.
Deciding against trying to deal with both a shopping cart and stroller, Jack grabbed up a basket on his way in, intent on getting only what was absolutely necessary to get through Jacob's visit. After his trip through the meat department and the dairy section, Jack wasn't quite so sure he was going to be able to fit all of his shopping into one basket, but then he realised he had a perfectly good stroller in front of him which he could put his light dry goods on top of. Carey's "roof," for all intents and purposes, became home to the pasta, Jell-O, and Fruit Loops that Jack had been unable to fit into his basket.
"Oh, what a beautiful baby!" The woman at the checkout exclaimed as Jack unloaded his goods onto the conveyor belt that would lead them to her register. He gave her a smile and a nod of thanks at her comment as she rang up his purchases. "Oh no honey!" The cashier stopped him as he went to make an attempt at juggling the shopping bags and baby stroller. "I'll get someone to carry those out to your car."
"Thanks, I really appreciate it."
Pulling up to their house, Jack decided to get Carey out of the car and into her crib before worrying about their groceries. Through some miracle of parenting, she was still asleep after her father's trek through the house, up the stairs, and into her bedroom. Jack deposited her into the bed, taking a moment to admire his baby as she took the longest nap she'd managed in the last few months, before sighing once more and turning to get the things out of the car before they spoiled and they had to go through this whole shopping experience once more.
First, Jack cut the chicken and put the noodles on to boil, as the noodles were boiling, he chopped the vegetables before mixing everything together with some sauce and placing it in the oven to cook. Setting the timer, Jack realised with satisfaction that his meal would be coming out of the oven about the time Jacob and Sam were walking in the door from work. Now all he had to do was tidy up some baby toys that Carey had kindly strewn around the house and make sure there were no dirty clothes lurking on the bathroom floors.
As the food was cooking and Carey was asleep, Jack decided it was the perfect opportunity to do laundry, an activity he'd nearly mastered in the last few months. He gathered the colours into their respective groups before shoving all of the darks into the washer, tossing in some soap, and after stating the thing, went in search of something else he could tidy up. Jacob's "room" became his next victim, he thought that the Tok'ra might enjoy his visit more if he didn't have and break his (their?) neck by tripping over a stray toy Carey might have dragged into the guest bedroom.
Inside the room in question, Jack found not one, but four toys, a blanket, three socks, and something that looked suspiciously like Nox hair, which had probably come out of the artificial potted plant in the corner. As he was vacuuming, Jack made a mental note to keep a better eye on his daughter as she was crawling around the house.
As he put the vacuum away, Carey woke up, he assumed it was from the noise he had been making, but as he walking into her bedroom, he found her just sitting peacefully running one of her toys across the bars of her crib, seeming to enjoy the noise it made.
"Hey Care, ready to get up?" She held her arms out to him, allowing him to pick her up and carry her through the house to check on their meal in the kitchen. Things looked like they were progressing well and he noted there were still over 30 minutes on the timer, with this information in mind Jack took one more glance around himself and decided he and Carey could both use a walk around the lake. Being the newly kitchen savvy person he was, Jack O'Neill set the oven to turn itself off when the timer went off, just in case they got waylaid for some unforeseen reason.
Carey seemed perfectly content to be carried around by her father for once, intent on watching the ducks swim across the lake. Jack loved this place, he was surprised had been the one to pick it out but, he rationalised, she knew he was going to be spending a good portion of his retirement without her considering her hectic work schedule. He'd only fished the lake a handful of times before Carey had been born and his life had begun to revolve around her, he had actually caught a fish though, which had been a strange, yet not unwelcome surprise.
Carey's arrival had changed his entire outlook on how he wanted to spend the rest of his life, now his whole life was Sam and Carey, anything else just didn't seem that significant to him anymore. He loved his life now, though he wished he could see Sam more often; Jack had belatedly realised that he saw Sam more while just working with her than living in the same house with her. He continued around the lake, expertly juggling Carey when she saw something interesting and wanted to jump out of his arms in order to get down and explore it. Soon though, Jack decided they should probably get back into the house to make the final preparations for the rest of their family.
By the time Sam and Jacob walked through the front door, they were only marginally late. Jack was playing with Carey on the floor of the living room, the table was set, and the food was all ready to go.
"Hey Care bear," Jacob greeted his grand daughter first, picking her up to get a good look at her. "you're so big!" He turned to her parents who were now standing side by side. "She's grown so much."
"She's seven months old now." Jack reminded.
"Has it really been two months since I've been here?" He turned back to the baby in his arms. "I've missed you kiddo."
"Dinner's ready if you are." Jack suggested, hoping to get to the dinner rolls before they needed to be re-heated.
"Oh, sorry Jack but Selmak has just reminded me that Carey should be wearing her PPM."
"Oops," Sam muttered, before disappearing up the stairs to their bedroom. She returned a minute later to take her infant daughter from her father to slip the Asgard Protected Persons Medallion around her neck. "Hey baby, that's better, isn't it?" Sam walked with Jacob and Jack into the dining room, placing Carey in her highchair and taking a seat next to Jack.
Jacob was the one to serve, it was their quirky little tradition that had gotten started by accident at the beginning of Sam's pregnancy and that now continued every time Jacob visited. When Jacob was staying at their house, he took over every single domestic duty he could, including making sure Carey was asleep or occupied all night so Sam and Jack could get a full night's sleep, and maybe even a little adult alone time.
"Thank you for making dinner, honey, it was wonderful." Sam complimented as Jacob cleared away the dishes. Sam stood, picking up her daughter who had managed to catch almost all of her stray food in her bib, and walked into the living room followed closely by Jack. After setting Carey down in the midst of her toys, Sam turned to Jack and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Have I ever told you how much I appreciate you doing everything around here?"
"Occasionally." He grinned cheekily at her, Sam quickly closed the now very small gap between their mouths to kiss him thoroughly, stopping just soon enough to only have her arms around her husband when her father walked in the room; Sam didn't understand jack's reluctance to have any kind of overt public displays of affection in front of her father, but she respected his feelings... Sometimes, it wasn't as if her father didn't know they were having sex, they were married and had a kid for cryin' out loud.
"It's still early yet, why don't you guys go out for dessert or something? Selmak and I will watch Carey." Jacob suggested, Sam and Jack stared at each other for a minute before answering.
"Sure, that would be nice." Sam walked over and kissed her father on the cheek. "Thanks Dad."
"It's my pleasure Sammy, I don't get to see her nearly enough, and I don't think you get to see him enough." He nodded to Jack, standing by the front door holding her jacket in his hands.
"All right, we've got both our cells, call us--" Jacob cut her off.
"I know the drill, get going or it's going to be too late."
When they got home a few hours later, both Jacob and Carey were asleep, both in their own rooms, but they could see the red light of the baby monitor in Jacob's. With a smile at one another, Sam and Jack made their way to their bedroom like two hormonally over-charged teenagers.
As Jack wandered out of their bedroom and into the kitchen the next morning, things somewhat off. For one thing, neither he nor Sam had been awakened by their daughter screaming at any point during the night, and for another, the aforementioned daughter was sitting contentedly in her highchair, drinking from a sippy cup while simultaneously managing to squash up and spread around something that looked vaguely like breakfast.
Then he noticed Jacob Carter sitting at the counter having a very in depth telephone conversation and the plot thickened. "Yes Sir, thank you Mr. President, of course I'll tell him. Goodbye Sir, yes, you too." The plot thickened even more as Jacob hung up the phone to face his intrepid son in law... in nothing but boxers. "Geez Jack, do you always walk around in your underwear?"
"What? It's what I wear to bed. Do you always talk to the president on the phone over breakfast?"
"He sends you his best, wants some baby pictures." Jacob said, as Jack took a seat next to him and claimed the coffee pot and a mug.
"What secret thing did you have to speak to him about that you're trying to distract me from?"
"Nothing Jack, I just had a couple of things I needed clarified."
"What sort of things?" Jack wasn't going to left the issue drop any time soon.
"An important family matter."
"As in our family? Jacob, you're acting too much like a Tok'ra right now, tell me what's going on."
"I'm attempting to have General Andrews removed from the SGC."
"Not that I'm opposed to the whole idea... but Sam's going to be pissed."
"I'm going to be pissed about what?" Sam asked, coming into the kitchen, kissing her daughter and husband on her way to her seat.
"Your dad drank all the coffee." He gently nudged the pot that was indeed empty closer to Jacob. "Selmak's probably buzzing inside his head." With practised ease, Jacob grabbed the pot and got up, starting to make more coffee for his daughter. In the last couple of years, Jacob and Jack had developed a knack for misleading Sam, it was often useful for surprises, and mysterious stains that just popped up for no reason.
Jacob loved his family in its current incarnation, even Jack, who was someone he was proud to call a son-in-law. General Andrews, however, was not someone Jacob loved and wanted to see on a daily basis, or ever really. He was determined that upon close examination his record would show something to preclude him from commanding Earth's first line of defence. It was all just a matter of time now, someday soon Jacob would come through the Stargate and his daughter wouldn't be there, not due to tragedy, but because she was taking time off to be home with her family where she belonged.
END (28 Dec 2002)
Send feedback please!! Kelly.Mullins@verizon.net