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Stitch n' Bitch

by Christi and Sharon


"You," Frances started bluntly from her corner stool, "are completely pathetic."

Andrew just continued staring out the window, smiling sheepishly. "Don't I know it."

"The guy practically screams 'straight as an arrow', y'know." Frances calmly threaded a trailing edge of yarn onto a needle and wove it into her new scarf.

"Undeniably," Andrew agreed mournfully.

"And he's at least fifteen years older than you," Kate pointed out, fingers flying at their usual frenetic pace.

“Also true,” Andrew allowed.

"And he's in love," Sue murmured, setting down a plate of brownies.

At that, Andrew clutched his chest dramatically. "Ow. That one hurt."

“The truth does, dear,” Sue said unrepentantly. Andrew just heaved a heavy sigh by way of reply, gaining him looks of exasperation, annoyance, and sympathy all at the same time.

"Sorry, Andrew." Frances shot him a half-smile and pulled out a fresh skein of black from her bag.

" you actually use any other colors?" Kate commented, eying the yarn.

"I like black," Frances replied, unperturbed. "It's practical."

"It's a little early nineties, though," Andrew remarked. "The whole goth movement in general is really past its prime.”

Frances raised an eyebrow and grinned. "Goth will never die."

Sue, bless her little hippie throwback soul, looked confused. "I thought death was the whole point?"

Frances laughed and pulled out a skein of white. "I was thinking of adding in a little skull-and-crossbones."

"Goth pirate?" Andrew chuckled. "Way to start a new movement there."

She glared at him. "Hey. I think out of all of us, I've been the least prone to wanting to stomp on you and your Mr. Moon Eyes routine lately. No mocking allowed."

"Point taken," Andrew agreed lightly. "I'm sure it'll be very...cutting edge."

"That sounded like mocking," she said warningly.

"I don't think you're leaving her in stitches, Andrew," Kate muttered.

There was a sudden pause.

"Did Kate just-" Andrew began, feeling slightly disgruntled.

"Yeah." Frances looked awed. "Kate made a joke. Not a good joke, but-"

"It's progress," Sue said tolerantly, picking up her own project -- an intricate piece of lacework that left them all agape whenever they looked at it too closely. "Now if only we could get her to gain ten pounds."

Kate glared. "Are you trying to drive me to a new hobby? Is that it?"

"Oh, you know you love....hey! Hey! He's here!" Andrew said suddenly, standing up in excitement before gathering himself and sitting down...only to stand again, fidgeting.

Frances let out a sudden, suspicious coughing fit, earning her a quick, murderous glare from Andrew.

Still, it couldn't be denied that they all peered out the window, however surreptitiously. "Oh, Cassandra is with him," Sue noted, eyeing the plate in the center of the work table with distress. "I'm not sure I made enough brownies."

"Sue, if we ate even half of those-"

The end of the objection was abruptly cut off, however, as the front bell rang, officially announcing the arrival of Jack and Cassie. Andrew, still feeling awkward and jumpy (no matter how many times the girls pointed out his crush was futile) finally sat back down, but was the first to break the silence. "Hi there."

Cassie grinned at them sitting around the round table. "Wow. You guys totally never leave, do you?"

"Not if we can avoid it," Frances said dryly.

"They like to screen my prospective customers and scare away the sane ones," Sue answered dryly.

Jack half-smiled at this, though the expression was smaller and tighter than usual. "No worries here, then."

Cassie rolled her eyes, flouncing across the room and sitting down with them. "You'll have to excuse him. He's in a mood." She eyed the brownies for all of two seconds before turning her big brown eyes on hapless Sue. "Sue, could I..?"

"Always, dear," Sue assured her, though the young girl had grabbed two before the sentence had really fully formed. Sue, for her part, looked at Jack in sudden concern. "Bad day?"

He shrugged, browsing around the shop aimlessly. "Bad week."

Mouth full of chocolate, Cassie tried to speak, then though better of it and swallowed first. "There was a close call at work."

"Cassie!" Jack chided.

She glared at him defiantly. "What? Nothing classified about that."

Sue paled slightly. "Did you...lose someone?"

This time, his wry smile was a little warmer, maybe at her obvious concern, and he squeezed the older woman's shoulders slightly. "No, nothing like that. Just a close call. I can't really go into it."

Really, Andrew reflected, he should be more evolved than to find the whole 'classified' thing sexy. Unfortunately, he totally wasn't. "But you're all right?"

"Yeah. We're all okay," Jack replied with a sigh, dropping into a nearby chair.

"All?" Frances asked perceptively.

"Sam was there," Cassie informed them. "She was the close call."

Andrew literally felt his stomach drop at her explanation. So, Jack was all in a tizzy because Sam had been in danger? Well. That was just...depressing.

"Cassie!" Jack snapped.

Cassie, in typical teenager fashion, shrugged. "Why did you think I dragged you here, Jack? You've been impossible all week. You won't talk to me or Daniel or Teal'c or, God forbid, Sam. So you're going to talk to them."

Jack let out a sigh and shot Sue a 'see what I have to put up with?' look. "I'm sure they have plenty of other things to worry about, kid."

"I have this crazy habit of including friends in things I worry about, Jack," Sue answered.

"Besides, you're the most interesting thing that happens around here," Andrew admitted shamelessly. "Without you two, we'd just bicker each other to death."

"I..." Jack looked at them both for a long moment. "I'm...oddly touched."

Andrew, naturally flirtatious, had to literally bite his tongue - hard - to curb the offer to touch him in as many ways as he wanted. "So, dish," he finally managed to choke out.

"We...had an accident with equipment that and I were testing," Jack said warily. "Carter and I were there when it...malfunctioned."

"Like I said, it was a very close call," Cassie summed up.

Jack eyed her. "Why is Carter even telling you this stuff?" he asked.

She shrugged. "I'd rather know. After everything, it's just...easier to know than to constantly be playing fill-in-the-blank."

Maybe, Andrew thought idly, their cryptic natures were a part of their charm.

"So, Sam is safe?" Frances asked.

"Yeah," Jack confirmed grimly. "I just...didn't like her coming that close."

"Well, no one likes to see a...friend get hurt," Kate said.

Jack shot her a mildly suspicious look. "Sam's a damn good officer. We'd all be sorry to lose her."

She nodded, looking back down to her knitting. "Not to mention the legal ramifications. Death can be extremely inconvenient."

"In more ways than one, I would think," Andrew added exasperatedly.

Jack paused for a moment, clearly trying to figure out if they were serious. "Yes...because one always worries more about the red tape."

"You'll have to ignore Kate. She's part android is all," Frances grinned from her corner. For some reason, this joke seemed particularly funny to Jack, who coughed to hide a grin and muttered something that sounded like kumbaya under his breath.

"Hey!" Kate protested, actually annoyed enough to pause her knitting for a few seconds.

Sue reached over to pat Kate on the hand. "You're a lawyer, dear. You must admit that there are disturbing similarities."

Kate made a face. "Oh, you're all hysterical. Really.”

"We know," Andrew laughed before turning back to their visitors. "So, you had a close call. But everyone's fine. No harm, no foul. ...Right?"

"Yeah," Jack murmured, a far-away look on his face. "We're all good."

For her part, Cassie rolled her eyes. "See, he says that. And then he...mopes."

Frances, not bothering to look up this time, replied, "Sounds familiar."

It was official. Andrew hated them all. The second Jack and Cassie left, he was confiscating Kate's laptop to search for a new job.

Or check his email. Whichever.

Jack looked over at Frances, mustering up a wan smile. "That's an unusual color choice for you."

She nodded neutrally. "It's recently been called to my attention that I've been in a bit of a rut. So I'm branching out." As Andrew watched, Frances sized up Jack, and it reminded Andrew that though she was young and crazy and sort of scary, she was actually a pretty smart kid. "Were you looking for something in particular today or are you really being forced to shop against your will?"

Andrew thought about pointing out that she was currently doing what was supposed to be his job, but thought better of it. For one, it would sound petulant. And really, it probably wasn't the best tact to take with regards to job security.

"The kid here," Jack gestured at Cassie, "reminded me that her mom's birthday is coming up and that she likes cardigans."

The kid in question rolled her eyes.

"Oh, I found a lovely pattern about a month back," Sue said with a warm smile. "You do know how to cable, right?"

Finally, a touch of the humor they were used to seeing in Jack's eyes returned, though the cause of it was anyone's guess. "Oh, theoretically," he drawled.

"Theoretically meaning 'I've tried it' or 'I saw it in a book once'?" Sue asked, smiling.

"Errr....I know there are contraptions that look like safety pins involved?"

"I see I have my work cut out for me."

From her chair, Cassie leaned forward to grab another brownie. "Go on and get yourself some schooling, Jack. I'll be waiting right here with the chocolate when you're finished."

"Cute, kid." Jack reached over and tousled her hair.

She just waved him away tolerantly, waiting for Jack and Sue to get lost amidst the needle display across the store before turning back to the rest of them. "Thanks, guys."

"He, uh, really cares about Sam, doesn't he?" Frances asked, seeming to suddenly become fascinated by her knitting.

Cassie fidgeted in her seat and sighed. "Yes. Well...I mean...I don't know. I try to stay out of it, because they're the only family I've got and the last thing they need is me being all...whatever. But from things I've overheard or my mom's let slip or I've just noticed, it's...complicated."

Looking at her, Andrew felt compelled to hug the young girl. So he did. "You're a pretty unique kid, you know?"

She smiled widely, seeming amused at his compliment. "You might even say I’m almost alien.”

Although a very fluffy episode, really if you think about it, there had to be some post-mission upset, because…well, dude! Force field! Yelling! Angsty looks! Instead of actually being angsty, which we decided would be too much work, we decided to present you with The Yarn Shop crew’s take on it all.

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