Title: Visitors and Fish

Author: Christi

Rating: PG-13, because under all that pretension and fabric, they really do have rather wicked senses of humor….

Timeline: It’s an AU. There is no timeline! But it follows my story A Maneuvering Business, if that counts.

Category: Austen!insanity.

Disclaimer: Judging from what follows, it’s probably a very good thing that these characters don’t belong to me. God only knows what atrocities I’d inflict upon them.

Author’s Note: Okay, so in case you missed it, earlier this year I somehow found myself writing a really crazy story where the SG-1 people kind of went all…period piece on me. And now, apparently, I’m doing it again. I’m not entirely sure that there’s a justification for inflicting more highly ridiculous Austen-ized Stargate fic upon the world. Still, I have to admit that despite its insanity (which I freely admit to), I love Gateshire quite a bit, and writing about it and our characters in such a wacky scenario is horribly addicting. Which is how you all have found yourselves reading this—I simply couldn’t stop myself. So, my apologies.

The sjfanfic10 prompt I used for this was, “Using a storage closet for something other than its intended purpose, but not for the standard fandom purpose of clandestine romantic liaisons.” Needless to say, it caused me a bit of worry, seeing as I’ve written not one, but two previous fics centered around the various happenings in storage closets. But apparently, there are some ideas that just never outlive their usefulness in my brain.

Also? familyarchives saved this fic. It was a different (and I think much less generally adorable) story before she let me ramble at her. So, thank you for that, m’dear. kate98, caroly_214, and control_freak80 beta’d and they’re lovely for doing it because as you can imagine, beta-reading a story like this is quite the task.


Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.”





Colonel Jack O’Neill was entirely aware that his current position was more than a little unusual. After all, it wasn’t everyday that you came across a man who was reduced to hiding in his own storage cupboard. In his opinion, this is what listening to the rules of polite society brought one to—getting covered in dust while wedged between a crate of currant preserves and a somewhat ridiculously large jar of pickles.


In general, Jack had very few lofty ambitions in life. Being retired after an extremely successful military career and having unexpectedly inherited a fortune along the way, he most often occupied his time watching his wife run experiments in her makeshift science laboratory while he played with their dog, Thor. It was a lifestyle that had suited him quite well until recently, when circumstances had conspired to interrupt his state of contented marital bliss.


The troubles had begun with the unexpected arrival of an unwanted houseguest—though admittedly, other than Teal’c, Jack tended to view most interlopers as such. The young man, who called himself Jonas Quinn, claimed to be a distant cousin of O’Neill’s several times removed. To be fair, this was entirely possible, considering that Jack had had little to do with any part of his family for several years and quite frankly, would have preferred for that state of affairs to continue.


Unfortunately, Jonas had recently found himself in somewhat difficult circumstances. Being the eldest son of a fairly wealthy family, he had always been given every luxury in living and education. However, that liberality had returned to haunt his family when the somewhat earnest young man had gone so far as to express pro-American sentiments during a local ball.


Feeling the weight of the scandal heavily, Jonas had immediately been expelled from all good society in his village, and after his parents safely and irrevocably settled the family fortune upon Jonas’s younger brother, they had strongly suggested he search out Jack O’Neill. After all, the Colonel was the only other member of their family in recent history to be so thoroughly ostracized.


Because O’Neill thought the circumstances surrounding his young relation’s banishment so ridiculous (and because his wife had been in the room and would have demanded he take action), he had reluctantly allowed Jonas to stay, even going so far as to promise to find some kind of suitable employment for him.


Unfortunately, as it turned out, there was very little a formally educated young man with no money nor useful connections was qualified to do.


Still, Jack was certain he could overcome this particular obstacle given time. Time, however, was proving an issue. Not that Jonas thought there was any particular rush, but Jack knew if a position could not be found soon, bloodshed might soon follow.


As it turned out, Jonas had seen his admittance into the house as a sign of fellow feeling, and was now continually seeking him out in an effort to further improve the acquaintance between them. In short, Jonas seemed to be desperately in search of some sort of intimate relationship with Jack, while Jack’s sole desire was to have the young man out of his house as quickly and efficiently as possible.


All of this had led to Jack’s current position, uncomfortably ensconced in his own storage cupboard in what he suspected was a somewhat desperate attempt to get a moment’s peace.


When the door to the cupboard swung open and the sounds of another person rummaging around could be heard, he realized that it was not only desperate, but ultimately futile.


Expecting to be discovered any moment, Jack was surprised when the door merely swung shut once again—with the newest interloper inside. From his vantage point, he could not make out the figure that had entered, but over the sounds of shuffling and the clamor of a crate falling to the ground, he heard a feminine voice cursing—in Russian.


“Sam?” he whispered into the darkness.


“Jack?” his wife responded, sounding equally flabbergasted with his presence. “What are you doing in here?”


Because the response ‘hiding from my entirely too enthusiastic relative’ sounded a bit ridiculous, Jack quickly came up with another. “Doing inventory of our currant preserves. Cook mentioned we might be running a bit low.”


Admittedly, he wasn’t sure that his excuse had been any better than the truth.


Listening to his wife’s laughter, he could tell it hadn’t mattered—she hadn’t believed him anyway. “Jack, you don’t even like currant preserves. You couldn’t think of a better story than that?”


“I wasn’t expecting to have to come up with a story at all,” he pointed out. “It’s not as though there’s much cause for conversation in storage cupboards.”


She managed to find him in the dark and easily slid her arms around his waist. “You couldn’t have just told me that you were hiding from Jonas?”


He shuffled closer, ducking his face into her neck. “I prefer to think of it as a strategic withdrawal.”


“Ah, of course,” she allowed. “My mistake.”


Jack got the distinct impression that his wife was merely humoring him. Luckily, he was in general too besotted with her to mind much. “What about you?”


“Oh, I’m hiding from Dr. McKay.”


If Jack had even in passing thought of Jonas as an unwelcome guest, then he wasn’t certain that there was a word for Rodney McKay’s presence in his household. Previously a famed scientist in London, the past months had seen a considerable decline in the general confidence placed in his scientific findings, thanks to the repeated publications of a widely unknown entity—one ‘S. O’Neill.’ While the articles published from this anonymous mind were brilliant, they also tended to clash with some of Dr. McKay’s own long-standing theories about physics.


Enraged by both the decline in his visibility as the leading scientific mind in Britain and what he perceived to be the egotistical and often fallacious assumptions made by his invisible competitor, Dr. McKay had set about finding the reclusive fellow scientist and proving him a fraud. This of course, had led him right to Jack O’Neill’s doorstep.


Dr. McKay seemed to long ago have reached the conclusion that it was impossible to be both brilliant and polite. As the man considered brilliant to be his default state of being, he had accepted that everyday manners were a small sacrifice to the altar of his own supposedly singular intellect—much to the general disdain and derision of those who were often subjected to his presence.


Upon his arrival, the impudent little man had demanded to speak with ‘S. O’Neill.’ And while Jack was certain that his wife would normally have little problem with tearing Dr. McKay apart for breakfast and continuing on her way without a second thought, her foe had made the one mistake sure to get under her skin—he had blindly and stubbornly assumed that ‘S. O’Neill’ was a man.


So they came to the current state of affairs. Dr. McKay was demanding to see ‘S. O’Neill’ and Mrs. O’Neill maintained that there was no man at Cheyenne Manor by that name. When the scientist declared he would not leave the O’Neill household until he was permitted to speak to him, she snapped and said that he would have a long wait indeed.


That had been nearly a week ago. True to his word, the scientist refused to leave, and Samantha in turn refused to give him the satisfaction of granting his desire to confront his rival, instead preferring to toy with him. And while Jack O’Neill loved his wife’s occasionally devious nature (it was, in fact, one of the many reasons he had married her), he couldn’t help but wonder if or when the charade would end and they would be able to return to their blissfully peaceful existence.


Of course, with Jonas in the house as well, Dr. McKay’s presence was just an added annoyance.


“What has Dr. McKay done now?” Jack asked.


“Oh. He discovered that the conservatory had been converted into a laboratory and is proceeding to rant about how he knew Mr. S. O’Neill was here all along and he demands to speak with him and the rest of the usual drivel. He’s just so unrelenting that I needed some peace and quiet.”


“And you chose the storage cupboard?”


He could hear her amusement even if he couldn’t make out her grin in the dark. “I was hoping we’d have some lemons stashed somewhere that I could throw at him.”


Jack couldn’t help but chuckle at that, drawing her a little closer. “A noble thought indeed. I haven’t seen any lemons in here, though.”


“That’s a shame.”


“Absolutely. However, as long as we’re here….” He pulled his wife closer.


“What exactly are you insinuating, Jack O’Neill?” was her outraged response—though he suspected that the outrage was more than a little exaggerated.


Before he could further elaborate on his decidedly shocking thoughts, the door to the storage cupboard once again swung open, revealing Teal’c standing in the doorway.


Jack was beginning to regret the allowance of Teal’c as an exception to the rule about unwanted visitors. “Teal’c, if you’re going to interrupt, you may as well come in. Make certain to shut the door behind you.”


Teal’c bowed his head and did so, shutting them once again in the black of the cupboard. “I am sorry to intrude, O’Neill. Walter Harriman asked me to locate you.”


“What does Walter want now?” While Walter was one of the most efficient servants on the staff of Cheyenne Manor, he was also the most…persistent.


“I did not inquire.”


“Of course not,” Jack muttered—right before the door opened yet again. “Oh, for God’s sake, what now?”


“Jack?” a familiar voice asked into the darkness.


Laughing helplessly into his wife’s neck and wondering what on earth their latest interloper could want, Jack replied, “Daniel?”


“Jack! There you are.”


Daniel had always had a bit of a talent for drawing things out unnecessarily. “So it seems. What do you want, Daniel?”


By now, Daniel had completely entered the cupboard and shut the door without a second thought, taking little notice of their surroundings. “Oh, I wanted to tell you that I was talking to Jonas earlier, and I have an idea.”


“Fantastic,” Jack muttered.


Somehow, Sam maneuvered around her skirts and laid a powerful kick on his shin. Letting out a yelp and nursing the new bruise on his leg, Jack couldn’t help but think that yes, he really did love his wife. “What’s your idea, Daniel?” she asked.


“Sam? I didn’t know you were in here. Wait. Why are you in here?”


“It’s a long story.”


Thankfully, before Daniel could ask her to tell it, the door opened once again. By now, Jack was almost accustomed to the blinding light that accompanied a new arrival in their strange little congregation. He even went so far as to shuffle backwards into the wall a little in the attempt to create more room.


Judging from the sounds of crashing and a decidedly feminine yell, he could tell that it hadn’t helped.


“My apologies, Janet Fraiser. I did not move quickly enough to avoid our collision.”


“It’s all right, I’m fine…” Janet’s voice trailed off, glancing at all of them. “I’m uncertain if I even want to know why the four of you are gathered in here.”


“Even if you don’t, would you mind shutting the door?” Jack asked. After all, even though the current arrangement was much more crowded than he might like, he was still managing to evade Jonas. So obviously, something was going right.


“Fine, but I’m lighting a candle first. I won’t be able to see what I came in here for otherwise.”


“And what, pray tell, was that?”


“I’ve run out of a few herbs, and I know Sam keeps a stock around here somewhere.”


Sam pulled away from him just then, and while Jack managed to suppress the desire to protest, he was decidedly unhappy with the new state of affairs. “I’ve a few back here, Janet. What do you need?”


Jack was almost expecting the door to open before she could answer. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily), he wasn’t disappointed.


“Mr. Teal’c!” exclaimed the new arrival upon opening the door.


“Greetings, Walter Harriman.”


“Have you found Colonel O’Neill?”


“Indeed, I located O’Neill in the back of this cupboard some time ago. However, as you neglected to instruct me on what to do once this task was accomplished, I thought it best to await further instruction.”


Jack had to stifle a snicker. It was sometimes easy to forget that the often stoic foreign man had his own impressively devious mind.


Walter, however, seemed to miss the joke entirely, instead taking the entire situation in stride and closing the door to the cupboard while peering in Jack’s general direction. “Sir?”


He sighed. “Yes, Walter?”


“I have a few papers that require your signature.”


It seemed that Walter always had papers the required Jack’s signature. “Of course you do.”


“Also, I feel compelled to mention that while I encourage you to entertain company, storage cupboards are not typically considered the best venue. Would you like for me to arrange for tea to be served in the parlor?”


Seeing that it didn’t seem he was going to be permitted to return to his previously serene state, Jack felt that the best thing to do was allow Walter to do as he thought was best. After all, his man-of-affairs had impeccable manners.


“I suppose you should, Walter. And pass me those documents to sign.”


It was probably inevitable that by the time the papers reached Daniel, disaster was imminent. So when Daniel reached back to pass the documents to Sam through some suspiciously unstable shelves, Jack only had enough time to wince and pull Sam out of the way of the falling jars, which promptly smashed on top of the now useless documents.


Besides foiling one of Walter’s few successes in getting his employer to actually run his estate, the jar that shattered also released a repulsive odor into the small space.


Choking a bit around her words, Janet’s voice asked, “Dear God, what is that?”


Coughing, Sam buried her face in Jack’s chest in an attempt to get away from the stink. “I think it was pickled herring.”


Bad pickled herring,” Jack muttered.


“Who would bother to pickle bad fish?” a new voice wondered aloud.


Wait a moment. That had sounded suspiciously like… “Jonas?”


“Yes, Colonel?”


That’s what he had thought. So much for his brilliant plan. “When did you get here?”


“Oh, I came in with Mr. Harriman, Colonel.”


He should have guessed. “Walter!”


“Yes, sir?”


“One of these days, remind me to fire you.”


“I’ll make a note of it, sir.”


Jack had the sinking suspicion that this was one order that would manage to slip Walter’s mind.


“Oh, there’s certainly no need for that, Colonel. I think this is a great game you’re all playing. May I ask what happens next?”


“Next, we all remain as still and as quiet as possible,” Sam chimed in. “After all, Dr. McKay is still out there.”


“That man is still here? For heaven’s sake, Sam, why don’t you just…?” Janet started.


“I don’t want to give him the satisfaction,” Sam replied in a rather annoyed tone. “He’s just so…so…so….”


Before they could find out what exactly Dr. McKay was, they were presented with the man himself, who so abruptly opened the door that Jonas and Walter proceeded to tumble into the hallway.


“You found us!” Jonas exclaimed in a delighted voice.


“Found you? You’re all insane!” Dr. McKay proclaimed as they began filing out of the cupboard. “Insisting scientists who obviously live here don’t and flocking into cupboards for secret meetings and…eating pickled fish?” He backed away, hands now gesturing at a rather alarming pace. “I give up! Talking to S. O’Neill isn’t worth this much trouble!”


Just as it looked like they would be ridding themselves of at least one unwanted visitor, Daniel had to go and ruin it. “Sam…what did he want to talk to you about?”


A dangerous glint came into his wife’s eye, and Jack prepared himself for the very real possibility of having to shield Daniel from her extracting a painful vengeance. Luckily, before she could begin, McKay interrupted.


You? You’re S. O’Neill?” he asked incredulously.


“Yes,” she snapped, turning her wrath onto a more legitimate recipient. “If you hadn’t been so amazingly close-minded, you would have discerned that days ago. Now if you would be so kind as to leave our house at your earliest convenience, we would appreciate it.”


Inwardly, Jack’s heart soared. At least one problem would be solved this afternoon. Perhaps Daniel’s slip of the tongue had been a good thing.


Seeming a bit dazed, McKay merely replied, “Oh, yes, of course. I was going to have to leave tomorrow anyway—I’ve obtained a new job in town at Atlantis Trading and Shipping Company.”


“That reminds me!” Daniel exclaimed. “My idea. Jonas, how would you like to come and apprentice for me? Your ear for languages really is impressive, and I could use some help translating the various documents that cross my path.”


While Jonas seemed honestly excited by the offer, Jack couldn’t help but admit that he should’ve known better than to think that Daniel would redeem himself. In less than two minutes, both of Jack’s unwanted houseguests had announced their eminent departure—only to take on a more permanent role in the town!


It made him wish that he could just grab his wife and drag her back into that storage closet. Unfortunately, the odious stink of the bad herring still lingered in his nostrils—he couldn’t quite face subjecting them both to it once again, no matter how pleasant the entertainment might be.


“Remind me to have cook throw out all the pickled fish,” he whispered in his wife’s ear as they neared the parlor.


She shot him a sympathetic look. “I absolutely agree. However….”




Purposely lagging even further behind their company, Samantha smiled at him. “However, there’s a door leading down to the wine cellar right around the corner.”


It was official—the smartest thing Colonel Jack O’Neill had ever done was marry a genius.


Grabbing her hand, he pulled her down the hall and away from their guests, her laughter chasing them the entire way.