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At Knit's End

by Katrina


Even as Daniel’s shadow fell over him, looming overhead with an ominous sort of intent, Jack didn’t bother to pause in eating his pie. In fact, ignoring Daniel’s presence was entirely too easy.

Until Daniel had to go and do something irritating like speak. “Hey, Jack.” Wisely, Jack didn’t respond. “How’s the pie today?”

“Same as always,” Jack replied flatly.

“Seen Sam yet today?”

Well, that hadn’t taken long.

“Have you seen her at all yet?”

Still ignoring. Ignoring would make the problem away – Jack didn’t care what MacKenzie said.

“So, that’s a no then.”

Jack sighed, chewing even more slowly. “Isn’t it a little early for you to be this annoying?”

“It’s four in the afternoon,” Daniel retorted dryly.

“Exactly,” Jack confirmed, stabbing the remaining bite of pie, placing it in his mouth and chewing loudly.

Daniel’s sigh was heavy and final. “She’d really like to see you.”

He knew. Of course he knew. He just couldn’t do anything about it. Sliding out of his seat and dropping his fork with a clank, he brushed past Daniel and out of the commissary. “Have a nice evening, Daniel.”

“I hate it when I’m right,” he heard Daniel mutter on his way out the door.

That, Jack could agree with.


Almost another work day finished and Jack still hadn’t gone back to visit her. He had, in fact, done everything to avoid it. He had trained with (and gotten beat down by) Teal’c. He had perfected a new yo-yo trick. He had eaten two pieces of cake and some Jell-o.

He had even done his paperwork.

When all that was finished, Jack had resorted to wandering through the tube-shaped halls of the SGC, determinedly NOT thinking about Carter laying in the Infirmary several floors away.

Come to think of it, he never had understood why NORAD thought a tube was a suitable shape for a top secret facility. Square hallways seemed so much more suited to a military mindset. They were sharp. Plain. Regulated.

It seemed like at least something in his life should be. With that thought, Jack sighed and climbed into the elevator, more than ready to go home and continue with his not-visiting-or-thinking-about-Carter plan of action.

Thinking about Carter meant thinking about what he had done, and that…that was something Jack had to stop doing. He had to stop thinking about how with one action, he had been willing to wipe out everything they’d built, from socks to answering her incessant questions on that damned beach. Because that was what he did. It was what his job – his life - demanded of him.

God, he really was a self-destructive son of a bitch.

Sure, at the end of the day, nothing had happened. Did that make it better? Or did that just mean that this one time, luck had decided to be on his side? He honestly didn’t know. Wasn’t sure he wanted to, either. Luckily, just then the elevator doors opened again – a timely distraction. He stepped out and headed for the parking lot. As he neared his truck, he felt his phone ring in his pocket.

Picking it up without looking, he barked, “O'Neill.”

“Jack?”' Cassie. Now there was a welcome distraction.

“Hey Cassie. What’s going on?”

“Oh, not much.”

One thing he had figured out after a few years was that not much was never not much. “Uh huh.”

Her voice was hesitant and maybe a little sheepish, because she knew how transparent she was being. “So, um, do you think you could come pick me up?”


The girl huffed loudly. “On?”

Jack listened for a moment, making sure that he couldn’t hear anything suspect in the background. All he could hear was a TV jingle, though – nothing unusual. “What’s going on, Cass?”

“I’m at home,” she growled, “but I need to get out of here. Mom is driving me nuts.”

He smiled, amused by her so purely teenage problems. “Ah. So I’m your escape strategy, huh?”


Damn, she must be desperate to skip right over wheedling and resort to begging. “Well, where would we go?”

“Anywhere. Take me to the hardware store and make me stare at nails for all I care.”

He laughed. “I’m just headed out, think you can hold out for a few more minutes?”

“You are a life saver, Jack.”

Hardly. Not that she needed to know that. “Sure, kid. See you in a few.”

A soft “Thanks” came over the line before she hung up.

Jack swung his phone in his hand as he headed towards the Fraiser stronghold. This could be the worst decision to make this evening, but then again, he had nothing better to do than stew at home. Resolved, he punched a few buttons on his phone and waited as the call connected.


“Hey, Doc.”

“Colonel.” There was a pause. “Everything okay?”

“You might have to tell me. I just got off of the phone with your daughter.”

“Oh boy.”

Jack chuckled at that response. “Yeah. She’s requesting amnesty via good-ole Uncle Jack.” Across the line, he could hear Janet sigh. “Things on the farm a bit rough these days?”

“Oh, I’d say it’s about what you could expect from a teenager.”

Because he had so much experience with them. This plan just kept getting better and better. “Well, I figure some time away might do her some good.”

“Knock yourself out.” The haste in her reply was…a little terrifying. “Keep her all night as far as I’m concerned.”

“Sure, Doc. I’ll be there in a few.”


He was seriously rethinking this whole fiasco. Not five minutes into their drive to…well, wherever, and she had already brought up wanting to see Sam.



How had she gotten that specific tone down so fast? “How about ice cream instead?”

“The commissary has ice cream. We could stop there first if you really need a sugar fix.”

How was it that he could face down interstellar bad guys without blinking, but a fifteen year old girl had him in knots? “You’re as stubborn as your mother, you know.”

Cassie leaned her head back against the seat with a shrug. “Yeah. I’m beginning to think that it’s one of our major problems. She says ‘no’. I say ‘yes.’” She rotated her finger in a circular motion. “Round and round and round we go.”

Jack remained silent. Silent seemed to work best for him.

“Anyway,” Cassie continued, “What’s with you not wanting to visit Sam?”

“Can we not talk about that?”

“Yeah, that’s not really an option. What happened?”

Sometimes, the girl was entirely too insightful for his own good. “Cassie,” he warned in a rigid tone, “this is not a topic that is open for discussion.”

Predictably, she ignored him. “Let’s see, you’ve been weird ever since your three week disappearance.”

“You’re obviously confused. I’m always this weird.”

She stared at him for a few moments before shaking her head and looking out the side window. The expression on her face made him feel…well, not good. “Being fifteen sucks.”

Ha! At least she had thrown in the towel. Jack 1. Cassie 0. “Believe it or not, you being fifteen has nothing to do with me not wanting to talk about it.”

She scrunched up her face disbelievingly.

“Really,” he insisted, hoping the subject was now permanently closed after another sigh came from across the cab. “Do you want to talk about what’s going on with your mom?”

“Yes,” Cassie said bluntly, giving him a cool stare. “Which is why I want to go see Sam.”

His stomach churned. “Walked right into that one, didn’t I?”

“You’re driving, not walking. And I told you – you’ve been weird.”

“Cass, you’re scary observant. Now, stop paying so much attention. You’re making me look like a good influence.”

“It’s all from Sam and Daniel, so don’t worry.”

Jack couldn’t help but laugh before trotting out his next argument. “I’ve been cooped up in that base all day, Cass. The last thing I want is spend more time there.”

Please?” With the slightly desperate tone lacing her voice, he could feel his resolve wane. He was such a sucker.

Now it was his turn to sigh. “Just promise me one thing.” The girl raised her eyebrows expectantly. “Don’t show up pregnant. Or strung out on…well, anything.”

Cassie snorted. “When did you turn into an after school special?”

“Hey, watch it,” Jack used his grown up voice, getting a little irritated with having his ass handed to him by a kid not old enough to drive. “Don’t forget that I’m the one playing the role of the savior in this current scenario.”

“Sorry.” Cassie dipped her head, sounding honestly contrite. “I really do appreciate it.”

It was a meek offering, but he’d take it. “Just reassure an old man that whatever’s going on doesn’t involve anything that would be cause for an after school special…or imprisonment.”

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that.”

“Smart kid.”

“Which is no thanks to you either.”

Well, that was true enough. “We’re not going to go right this second, but I’ll think about going sometime tonight. Fair enough?”

“Fair enough,” she allowed with a smile. “So where are we off to?”

“Well, one of the things I can tell you about my three week hiatus is that I am now low on yarn.”

“Oh, yay! We haven’t seen them for a while. What’s on the horizon for your next project?”

“I’m thinking about something yellow this time.” Yellow was bright and happy and distracting.

“More socks?”

“No,” Jack said shortly. He wouldn’t be making socks for…well, for a long while, anyway. “Maybe a sweater or something. And I’m thinking of upgrading to different needles.”

“Andrew will be thrilled. He asked about you last time I was there.”

“Oh yeah?” Jack shook his head.

“Yeah,” she confirmed with a slight laugh as she leaned against the door. When silence fell once again, Jack decided to try one last time.

“You sure you don’t want to talk about it? I’m a fantastic listener.”

“If I tell you now, do you promise to let it go for the rest of the night?”

He eyed her. “It’s definitely negotiable.”

She met his stare before crumpling slightly. “You know, it’s nothing. Well, it’s something. It’s just everything she does is driving me nuts.”

“Ah.” Why did he offer to listen again? Oh, that’s right - because he was a sucker.

“And then I end up feeling awful because I know it’s not her fault.” Jack remained quiet. “And I know everyone keeps telling me that I’ll grow out of it. And that what’s happening now feels bigger than it really is.” She ran her fingers through her hair distractedly, obviously trying to sort out her thoughts. “But you know what? It’s all I can see right now. And I know it’s dumb. I’m from another planet and I know so much more than so many people. But still, I just can’t see past any of this teenage shit!” She blew out a breath and winced before adding, “Sorry.”

At a loss for what else to do, Jack reached across the cab and squeezed her arm gently.

Cassie sighed. “This must seem so mundane to you.”

“No, Cass,” Jack denied, though he wasn’t honestly sure if he understood enough to have an opinion one way or the other. “Just out of my area of expertise.” She needed Carter. Which was just so damn…typical of his life. “So how about we pretend that I’m not a pushover and I’ll take you to see her after we hit The Yarn Shop, huh?” He could knit while she talked to Carter. Knit and not go in. That would be…well, it would suck. But it would be better than any of his alternatives.

Cassie scooted closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder. The simple act made him squeeze the steering wheel just a little harder. “You know this is why I love you, right?”

“And here I thought it was my dashing good looks and winning personality.”

“I suppose those don’t hurt,” Cassie allowed with a small smile.

“Way to suck up, kid,” he muttered.

“Why bother? You’re already giving me what I want. That must suck for you, huh?”

“Maybe a bit,” he allowed.

She reached up and brushed a kiss on his cheek. “Thanks for doing it anyway.”


Come on, you knew the last fic was too good to be true, didn't you?

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