Title: Division

Author: Christi (christim@comcast.net)

Rating: PG, maybe PG-13?

Timeline: Err…technically, I guess this happens across the end of Season 8 and Season 9, but as it’s a sequel of sorts, it’s more relevant to know that it’s part of my earlier mini!series.

Disclaimer: Y’know, belated birthday presents are always nice….

Author’s Note: Remember years and years ago (Okay, somewhere around two, but whatever), when I finished Divergence and swore that it was my last mini!fic? That I had finally said all I felt I needed to say on the subject? Yes, well, I am a liar. The end of Season Eight hit, and suddenly, I realized that there was something else that could be said about it after all. And in the grand tradition of mini!fic, it sort of took over my brain until I gave in.



“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.”

                                                                                                                 -Ben Stein




By the time senior year rolled around, Jack found that their former lives as interstellar superheroes seemed more like the plot of a sci-fi summer blockbuster than anything else. Sure, from time to time they all missed that life and its many perks, but for Jack there was always something more important to do than dwell on it—training for the upcoming hockey finals, or taking Sam out for a night on the town, or trying to convince people not to elect him Class President.


So surprisingly, he didn’t think about it much. Life as an American teenager was hard enough—why complicate it more than they had to? They had their hands full with part time jobs and college applications and trying to avoid attracting too much attention. All they really needed from their old lives was the stipend that arrived in the mail once a month without fail.


Though admittedly, if he asked Sam, she’d tell him that they could have used a naquadah reactor, too. Y’know, to save on electric bills.


But in general, they were determined to manage on their own.




“The roof is leaking again.”


“I know. T and I are going to check it out this weekend.”


“All right. Hey, don’t forget that Daniel and I are taking the car on Saturday.”


“…Why is that, again?”


“We’ve got the Academic Challenge tournament, remember?”


He hadn’t. “Oh. Right. Do you want me and T to come? Because we could do that instead.”


“That’s sweet, but unnecessary. It’s going to be dreadfully boring. I still can’t believe Daniel suckered me into it.”


“He has a bad habit of doing that. You sure you don’t want us there?” There was a side of him that found watching Daniel and Sam beat self-important teenagers into the ground without breaking a sweat incredibly entertaining.


Unfortunately, she simply smiled and kissed him. “No, what I want is not to get woken up on rainy mornings by the incessant dripping.”


As he’d finally gotten used to being able to touch her, Jack kept her close. “I can take care of that,” he stated confidently. And when she leveled him with a slightly disbelieving glance, he just grinned. “Well, I’ll try, anyway.”




Because feeding and clothing four teenagers on an income regulated by a less-than-generous federal government was no easy task, it had been clear early on that getting jobs wasn’t going to be an option, but a necessity. Luckily, SG-1’s freakishly good luck in the field translated rather well to the rat race of obtaining gainful part-time employment.


Daniel fell into the most obvious choice, ending up with a clerk position at the local library. Sure, it wasn’t the same as translating artifacts from a galaxy far, far away, but books had managed to make Daniel happy long before the Stargate program and as it turned out, they still did. Seeing as the guy organized things into the Dewey decimal system as a way to relax, it made a lot of sense.


They all thought for awhile that Teal’c might go into some kind of security, but as it turned out, you had to be eighteen for that sort of thing. Instead, he had managed to get a recommendation from his Life Sciences teacher for a job as a chef’s assistant. Why, exactly, T found it so entertaining to slice vegetables for hours on end, Jack would never understand. But it made the big guy happy and he often brought home free food, so Jack wasn’t about to complain.


Sam’s job came about by accident. She had spent a lot of the last year haunting the local garage, looking for parts to fix up the mess of a junker that Jack had been suckered into buying. Eventually, the guys that worked there had just gotten used to having her around. Now, she was probably the only seventeen year old girl in the United States who basically ran an auto repair shop, and she loved every minute of it.


Jack loved her job too, because she always came home smelling like engine grease and sweat. He’d always had a thing for blondes who fixed cars—Sara had been elbow deep in the engine of a Ford pick-up when he blurted out his proposal. Besides, whenever she managed to fix some previously unfixable machine, her smile was just as bright as the old ‘I’ve conquered an indecipherable piece of alien technology’ grin he had loved for so long. But now, instead of being secretly enamored and having to hide it with a sarcastic remark, he got to kiss her—and then make a sarcastic remark.


Hey, even the new and improved Jack O’Neill, version 2.0 could only handle so much cute before feeling slightly nauseated.


As for Jack himself, well, that had been a little more difficult. He’d tried a number of jobs, and they were all...fine. His stint as a tour guide for the local planetarium had been fun for awhile, and he’d liked working at the daycare, too. The pizza delivery job meant lots of free food, but the junker hadn’t liked the amount of driving. A temporary job as a karate instructor only led him to realize that even though he could kill a man five different ways with his bare hands, he knew nothing about karate.


Finally, after going through six jobs and more than his average amount of patience, Jack landed the perfect gig.


Now, three days a week after school and alternating weekends, he drove the Zamboni at the local ice rink.




It was the state hockey finals, but instead of enjoying a nice long warm-up like the rest of the guys, Jack was being served the third degree.


“You’re sure you’ve got all your pads on?”




“And the ice is clean and smooth or whatever?”


“Finished it an hour ago.”


“Is that long enough? I mean, is it all refrozen or whatever?”


“For God’s sake, Daniel. I’d swear you were my mother.”


Daniel made a face. “Oh, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t concern. It’s just that when you broke your arm last year playing this infernal sport, it cost us a small fortune to get it set.”


“This coming from the guy who tripped down the stairs and broke multiple ribs not even three months ago.”


At least Daniel had the grace to look chagrined. Really, neither one of them wanted to admit that being a teenage boy was just damn awkward. Sometimes, your feet got away from you.


While Sam laughed at their antics and ate popcorn, Teal’c glowered at the rink. “I still feel that this sport is inferior to football, O’Neill. I do not understand why you persist in participating.”


“You’re just grumpy because we won’t let you play, T.”


Everyone had agreed that the idea of Teal’c on ice skates while wielding a hockey stick was enough to strike terror into the hearts of teenagers everywhere. As such, he had been forbidden to play.


Teal’c, of course, saw it as a form of tyrannical oppression and had on several occasions, threatened to overthrow them. In-between these bursts of rebellion, however, he tended to sulk.


Sam, in her blue winter hat and (mostly) blue mittens, leaned forward and slapped Jack’s helmet. “What are you still doing here? Go kick some ass.”


He fastened the chin guard and smirked at her. “And to think those peppy cheerleading skills come completely naturally. A waste of god-given talent, I’m telling you.”


On his way back towards the ice, he had to duck the popcorn kernels she pelted in his direction.




Romance, as it turned out, was a bit of a sticking point. Oh, Jack was set just fine—he had Sam, who was beautiful and brilliant and devious. She somehow managed to look deceptively sweet and innocent while secretly hoarding a repertoire of sexual positions that even made him blush from time to time. (What’s more, thanks to the extremely bendy new body, she was more than able to follow through on that oh-so-delightful knowledge.)


Daniel and Teal’c, on the other hand, had no convenient fellow clone with whom they had unresolved issues to fall for. Strangely, for Teal’c, this turned out not to be much of a problem. As he saw it, he was now a teenager in any way that mattered, so there was nothing to prevent him from enjoying the company of the many young ladies lined up for the chance.


After all, he had been over a hundred before the whole cloning incident—if he only dated women that matched his intellectual age, he’d be forced to become a permanent fixture at the local nursing home. So, Teal’c did not hesitate to date.


And date.


And date some more. Oh, he always treated the girls with the utmost respect (it wasn’t in Teal’c to do otherwise), he just enjoyed playing the field.


Realistically, his dating habits were probably a good thing—the constant entrance and exit of girls in Teal’c’s life forced them all to socialize with people other than each other. Sam had stayed friends with a few of the girls, and one had even developed a crush on Daniel—not that it had done any good.


No, Daniel found the whole prospect of dating someone who didn’t remember the Challenger explosion more than a little disconcerting. Besides the whole inevitable ick factor, there was the problem that Daniel just really didn’t have much in common with the average teenage girl. As a result, Daniel was more likely to be found hanging out in the Teacher’s Lounge than in the cafeteria—which, of course, led to a whole new set of problems.




“I kissed her.”


Seeing as Jack hadn’t even known Daniel was dating someone, this was quite a surprise. “You kissed who?”




Er…Julie who?”


Why did Daniel seem to be blushing? “Julie Beech.”


“Julie Be…wait. You kissed Miss Beech? The AP history teacher?”


“Yes. I did.”


To be clear, Daniel could do worse than Miss Beech, a very pretty woman in her early thirties. But the fact remained….


“Daniel, that’s bad on so many levels.”


“I know!”


“I mean, she’s your teacher.”


“I know!”


“You’re her student!”


“Jack, for God’s sake, I know! I just…we were arguing over the order of the Fourth Dynasty pharaohs and she was laughing and I just…forgot. Don’t worry, I apologized. Promised it wouldn’t happen again.”


“Yeah.” Really, it was sort of sad—Miss Beech and the older Daniel would have made a nice couple. But saying that certainly wouldn’t help anyone.


After a moment of silence, Jack couldn’t help but ask. “Was it a good kiss?”


Daniel didn’t even hesitate. Oh, yeah.”


Definitely a shame. “Well, you can always tell her to call you after graduation.”




Despite Daniel’s Mrs. Robinson-esque fiasco, they really were doing okay on their own. And while they didn’t dwell on their old lives, they certainly didn’t ignore them, either. News often came in the same envelope as their monthly check—frequently in the form of a letter hand-written by good old Walter containing the most recent news at the SGC.


When they heard that the Prometheus (as well as Daniel) had been hijacked by some alien chick in leather, Jack laughed for days. The news of Rya’c’s nuptials was celebrated by the procurement of beer (Sam was their secret weapon against getting carded). They polished off the beer when they heard about Kinsey’s demise, cheering Earth’s good fortune.


On the other hand, when news of Jacob’s death arrived, they lit a candle and sat in the living room with Sam, three friends trying to help her reconcile the loss of someone who was no longer hers to mourn.


Somehow, they had managed to find a balance between respecting what had been without letting it mean everything—they no longer lived and died by the triumphs and failures of their old lives. They celebrated and mourned briefly because once upon a time, these people had been their everything. But eventually, that faded and all they had left was each other—and surprisingly, they had discovered over the years that it was more than enough.


Still, it had to be admitted that when the big news came—the end of the Replicators, the disappearance of Anubis, the effective demise of the Goa’uld—they hadn’t been quite prepared.


Despite all of their well-adjusted practices, some small part of them had always believed that they’d eventually end up back at the SGC, fighting the fight they had been in the middle of before being so rudely interrupted.


Now…there was no reason for them to go back.


Because they didn’t quite know how to deal with it, they quickly fell back on their tried and true routine: avoidance.


After all, the SATs were right around the corner.




“I still do not understand the point of these ‘analogies’, Daniel Jackson.”


“That’s because you’re thinking too hard, Teal’c. There isn’t really a point. It’s just a way for people to judge your level of reasoning and comprehension.”


Two years ago, Teal’c would have stated that judging a young man’s skill in battle tactics would accomplish this more thoroughly.


Today, he merely turned back to his studies. “Are my previous achievements in school not enough to ensure a place in ‘college’? Why is it necessary to subject myself to this superfluous ‘SAT’?”


“Ah, the question teenagers have been asking for eighty years. Don’t stress yourself out too much, T, you’re a shoo-in for a football scholarship.”


Jack. He shouldn’t count on that. The SATs are important!”


“Daniel, you’re just pissy because they changed the format and now you have to write an essay.”


“Well, no one can write an effective essay in twenty minutes or less! Developing a good argument takes time and research and….”


“And endless lectures on very boring things. We know.”


Daniel was glaring at him again. Jack just smirked and went back to his biology homework. Eventually, Daniel followed suit, turning back to poor, confused T.


“Focus, Teal’c.  Tenet is to philosopher as….”




Unfortunately, avoidance didn’t work that long. Somehow over the course of this bizarre return to puberty, the four of them had gotten into the habit of actually talking about things. When you lived with people who knew you inside and out, it was impossible to hide a bad mood for long—not to mention that repression tended to make their day-to-day lives significantly more uncomfortable.


So it wasn’t really a surprise that when the awkward silences became too much to handle, Daniel locked them all in the living room ‘to discuss this new development’. And at first, it was strained and they were pissed at him.


Well, Jack was still pissed at him. But that was normal.


Still, the result was one very long discussion. And while no answers were reached right away, one thing was clear—whatever they decided to do, they would do it together.


After all, being together had gotten them this far.


When Daniel finally let them out, satisfied that they had met their quota of heart-to-hearts for the next millennia, Jack took a walk, thinking over their options.


College was an obvious option. The question was really more where they would end up. Staying in Colorado was the cheapest, and there were plenty of good schools right around Boulder. They could keep the house and just keep on the way they were. Besides, they would be nearby if anything…happened.


And of course, there was the Air Force. It was probably the quickest way to lead them back to their old lives—the Stargate, interstellar space wars and snarky aliens. But the idea of going through the Academy or climbing the ranks again was sort of tiresome. Besides, the idea of Daniel in the armed forces was still kind of ridiculous, even after all those years in the field.


Strangely, Jack found himself toying with the idea of someplace far away. An out of state school on the East coast, or maybe the Midwest—someplace completely new, where they could live their lives without the specter of the Stargate hanging over them.


Because even though he missed his old life sometimes, upon further reflection Jack found that he didn’t really want it back.




Back in the living room, they huddled together, discovering that they didn’t really need to argue about the decision—just the particulars.


“I know Washington D.C. pretty well. Georgetown, American University, and George Mason are all there.”


Jack wrinkled his nose. “Sam, a lot of things may have changed over the past few years, but how I feel about Washington is not one of them. Besides, didn’t he get transferred there?”


Sam snorted with disbelieving laughter. “There’s a disaster waiting to happen.”


Seeing as he entirely agreed with her sentiment, Jack couldn’t object. “What about New York? Teal’c wouldn’t stand out so much.” After all, it was difficult to stand out in an entire city full of people who were trying to be individual.


Daniel, however, winced. “I’m not a huge fan of New York.”


When Sam whispered “Gamekeeper,” Jack understood—as he knew too well, some memories just didn’t fade, even if there weren’t technically yours.  


Teal’c, who had been silently examining a map of the United States, finally asked, “O’Neill, are you not acquainted with the city of Chicago?”


They sat in silence for a moment, eyeing one another. “Teal’c…” Jack said slowly, “That’s…not a horrible idea.”


“Not too far, but not too close,” Daniel commented. “Great museums.”


Northwestern University has a world famous science department,” Sam offered.


“It could work,” Jack reiterated. “What made you think of it, Teal’c?”


Teal’c appeared very solemn. “I have been told that Chicago has the finest pizza in the United States.”


Admittedly, it wasn’t a great reason to move across the country. But together, they decided that it was good enough.




Once the decision had been made, a curious sense of relief seemed to overtake their little house. Now, instead of constantly lurking about and avoiding probing questions about “the future” from every direction, they could make plans. There were forms to fill out and packing to do and travel arrangements to make.


For the first time, they could look into the future and see something besides hypotheticals. They had a definite destination and somehow, it made it easier to imagine a future that didn’t involve the past.


Daniel was actually considering going into Sociology instead of Archeology. Sam was leaning towards Engineering instead of Physics. Teal’c began training for his first semester on a college football team. And though he’d be hard-pressed to admit it, Jack was looking into the sciences for a major.


Because he wasn’t brilliant like Sam or Daniel and wasn’t a football hero like Teal’c, Jack’s major worry was getting into the same school they did. As such, he agonized over his applications—Sam joked that it was probably the most time he had spent on paperwork in his entire life.


She was right, of course.


Good test scores and a solid academic record weren’t quite enough to soothe his worries. In the end, it was his application essay that restored his normal cocky confidence—a treatise on friendship, laced with sarcastic wit and honest enthusiasm. Jack knew he’d never show it to any of them, but he wrote it and meant it and he thought that was probably enough.


It certainly wasn’t something he could have done two years ago. But then again, that was sort of the point.


Before they were quite ready for it, the harried frenzy of the last months of senior year was upon them. People passed around yearbooks and took ridiculous photos and played a truly pathetic senior prank. And while they didn’t participate in any of it, the four of them watched and laughed and enjoyed it.


Surrounded by hundreds of eighteen year olds throwing themselves into the future at breakneck speeds, it was hard not to be excited about change.




Senior Week had been one slightly campy activity after another, culminating in the one event Jack had been looking forward to—Senior Skip Day. Of course, traditionally you were supposed to use the extra day to prepare for Prom, which was on the following evening. But considering that they were only going to Prom because they had all been nominated for Prom King and Queen respectively (despite their very vocal objections), Jack could ignore the agonizing over every detail of the ritual.


Instead, he went searching for Sam, who he found in the driveway, loading a few bags into the junker. “Going somewhere?”


She tilted her head. “Maybe.”




“Well, it depends.”


“On what, exactly?”


Sam sighed, slamming the trunk. “I turned eighteen last week.”


Jack knew—he had been there. There had been cake. Good cake, because Teal’c had made it. “I remember.”


“And you were eighteen in January.”


Honestly, he still had issues with birthdays. But according to the piece of paper the government had given him when this whole thing started, she was right. “Yes…and…so?”


“Well, it’s Senior Skip Day. Meaning no school.”


Eventually, she’d get to a point. He was almost positive. “Okay….”


“I figure if we leave now, we can be back in time for the Prom tomorrow.”


“Leave for where, Carter?”




Whoa. He had so not been expecting that. But now that he thought about it, the idea was, in typical Carter fashion, brilliant. “Really?”


It wasn’t until now that he could see how nervous she was. “Yeah. I mean, if you still want to.”


“Sam…you have no idea.”




Because he really had thought about this day more than he’d ever admit, Jack didn’t let her rush things. Together with the boys, they scraped up enough cash for plane tickets (because he didn’t trust the junker not to break down and strand them in the middle of the desert). It was extravagant, buying four round trip tickets on such short notice—but this was a budget breaker they all agreed was worth the trouble.


Once there, things fell into place. They picked out the cheapest rings they could find (plain bands of silver) and Sam found a dress that didn’t annoy her to death (shimmery and blue). Conveniently, the first wedding chapel they walked into was surprisingly not too garish and had an immediate opening.


There weren’t any last-minute jitters or doubts, no qualms at all. Just Sam with some lilies in her hand and Jack in the only suit he had (the shoes were a size too small already).


Daniel (and possibly even Teal’c) cried. Jack, on the other hand, couldn’t stop grinning. Sam, for her part, mocked them all, and then proceeded to kiss him until his brain stuttered to a delighted halt.


Afterwards, it didn’t matter that their flight got delayed. They toasted over bad airport food (Teal’c found the cuisine particularly upsetting) and dozed in uncomfortable chairs. When they finally got back to Colorado, they went straight to the Prom.


Teal’c and one of his many girlfriends ended up getting crowned King and Queen. That was fine, seeing as Jack and Sam were perfectly content with their new titles. Besides, winning would have been a bit of a cliché—Jack already felt ridiculous knowing that on prom night, he was so getting laid.




Monday morning brought the last week of school and a concerned summons from the school guidance counselor for the pair.


Apparently, Mr. Bennet was concerned over “this drastic life choice.”


Mr. Bennet, Jack was amused to note, was all of twenty-six years old.


While the “older” man droned on about rash decisions and the difficulties ahead of them, Jack covertly began scribbling on a piece of paper, just out of the lecturing man’s line of sight.


I’m having a hard time taking this seriously.


Sam glanced at his note and rolled her eyes. I hadn’t noticed.


Can you blame me?


Not really. But passing notes? Really, Jack? You never would have done this in a briefing.


Oh, but I wanted to. Daniel can drone on, you know.


I know. I’m just saying. Next, you’ll be asking me ‘Can we go to second base tonight? Check yes or no.’


Sam...at this point, we’ve kind of blown second base out of the water. Repeatedly and with great enthusiasm.


He caught her trying to stifle a giggle at that one. Good point. Then, she ogled him a little, heaving a sigh. Where’s a storage closet when you need one?




Graduation came and went, and by the end of the next week, everything was ready. Housing in Chicago had been secured, everything was packed and shipped off to Illinois, and the junker was ready and waiting to go.


When the time came, Jack found himself dawdling, double-checking to make sure nothing had been left behind and imprinting everything in his memory one last time.


Sam fixing the junker in the driveway.


Playing catch with Teal’c in the front yard.


Daniel throwing his history textbook at the TV.


Strange that he found himself more sentimental over this old dump than he had even been about the SGC in recent months.


It didn’t last long though, because he had finally learned that everything he really needed was already loaded into the junker. Teal’c, behind the wheel waiting patiently. Daniel, studying a map way too intently. And Sam, stretched along the back seat, ordering him to get a move on with a smile and sinfully short cut-offs.


Admittedly, this life had been forced upon him. He had been miserable at the prospect of it, feeling that he’d been forcibly and unjustifiably ripped from everything that had been important to him.


Now, he wondered why he would have wanted anything else.




Settling along the back seat with Sam tucked alongside him, Jack plucked the map straight out of Daniel’s hands. “That’s not a good idea.”


With Teal’c already driving the car down the street, Daniel pouted. “Jack. I can navigate perfectly well.”


“Oh, I know you can. But if you navigate, we’ll somehow find ourselves driving two days out of the way to see a completely ridiculous and useless artifact, like the World’s Largest Cheeto or something.”


“I would never take us that far out of our way for a Cheeto! I don’t even like Cheetos!”


“Fine. Still, I'd be willing to bet that we'd find ourselves at way more than one so-called 'historical' landmark.”






“Yes, Teal’c?”

“I would very much like to see this Cheeto.”




Against his chest, he could feel Sam quaking with giggles. Looking up at him, she grinned. “Whose idea was it to drive all the way to Illinois again?”