A Fluke in Time

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - January 10 & 18, 2013
Spoilers:  1969
Size:  41kb, short story
Written:  June 15-16,30, July 1, 2013, September 2-3,5-9, 2014
Summary:  Jack and Daniel come face-to-face with people from their past with SG-1.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s):  “Temptations”

A Fluke in Time
by Orrymain

“Dad, Daddy, is it okay if I'm home from school late today?” Jeff inquired as he picked up his backpack and prepared to leave with Jennifer for another day at high school.

“What's up?” Jack inquired as he held one-year-old JD in his arms.

“A couple of us need to go to the junkyard to see if we can find an old van or bus, or something.”

“Why?” Daniel queried while he helped the twins on with their jackets since he was about to take them to spend the day with their neighbor, Mrs. Valissi.

“It's for the play we're prepping,” Jeff answered.  “We want something authentic to put on the stage.”

“A bus?” Jack questioned skeptically.

“Or a van ... or ...”

“... something,” both Jack and Daniel said at the same time as Jeff did also.

“Be home for dinner,” Daniel instructed.  “The plan is for six.”

“Yeah, the plan,” Jack sneered, fully aware that all too often dinnertime was not ready when scheduled.  Giving his oldest son a knowing look, he added commandingly, “Call.  We want to know where you are.”

“I know the routine.  Thanks.”

“Jeff,  they're here.  Let's go,” Jennifer spoke about friends who were giving the siblings a ride to school.

“Have a good day,” Daniel called out to the backs of the fleeing twosome.

“Daniel, how are they going to get a car on the auditorium stage?”

Daniel shrugged in response, shooed the Spitfires towards the front door, and advised, “I'll be back right back.”

“Be good for Mrs. V,” Jack ordered the twins.

“We will!” Ricky called out excitedly.

====

Sure enough, things did not quite go as planned for the Jackson-O'Neills.  Daniel unexpectedly had to meet a client in the late afternoon and Jack had his hands full with the Munchkins, who all seemed to be coming down with colds, but were rebelling against spending the afternoon in bed.  Dinner was definitely going to be late.

“Dad, you won't believe the groovin' bus we found,” Jeff spoke enthusiastically when he approached.  Seeing his father staring down the triplets, he asked, “Something wrong?”

“Mutiny!” Jack exclaimed, causing the three children to giggle.  That was followed by two sneezes and a cough.  “Bed!  Now!  *All* of you.”

“He means it this time,” Aislinn whispered to her brothers.

“General eyes,” Jonny sighed, turning around and coughing as he marched up the stairs, followed by his reluctant siblings.

With the triplets handled, Jack faced his oldest son and laughed, “You found a groovin' bus?”

“Well, it fits our scheme.  The play takes place in the sixties and this thing fits in with the hippie culture of the day.”

“Son, love the idea, but how are you going to get a bus on the stage?”

“We haven't exactly figured that out yet, but we had to get the bus, Dad.  The other choice was one of those insect cars ...”

“A bug?”

“Yeah, insect something ...”

“Jeff, it was called a beetle or a bug -- a VW bug.”

“Whatever it was called, it was way too small, but ... I mean, Dad, this bus is wild.  You have to come see it.”

The pit of Jack's stomach turned, prompting him to ask, “Jeff, is there some crazy bus in front of our house?”

“Um, not yet, but it will be, soon.”  With a plea-like tone, Jeff explained, “I had to take it somewhere.”

“What's wrong with school?”

“We, the other kids on the production team and me, don't want to ruin the surprise for the audience.  It's okay if we keep it here for a while, isn't it?”

Jack shook his head in disbelief and let out something that sounded like a groan, but that was his only response.

“Um, actually, Dad, I gave our address to the owner of the junkyard.  It was his bus.  He's bringing it over.  He should be here any minute.”

“Peachy,” Jack sighed.  

====

Outside, Daniel drove up in his shiny Shelby-American sports car and quickly got out.  He stood, staring at the object parked in front of his home.  An odd feeling overtook him as he walked closer to the large, colorful bus.

Daniel's focus was drawn to the giant blue eye at the top center of the bus.  Then he noticed the peace sign on the driver's side.  He walked to the side, slowly making his way towards the back.  The blend of colors was so familiar to him.  Greens, purples, yellows: it was all very psychedelic.

The archaeologist went behind the bus, still studying it closely.  He took note of the license plate: PJ-2251.

~Why does that sound familiar?~

When the archaeologist turned the corner again, he almost bumped into a man.

The Caucasian stranger was an inch or two shy of six feet with large blue eyes and a prominent nose.  His wavy blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail.  His stubbly face had just a hint of a beard present.  He looked to be in his sixties and had a tired, well-lived expression in his face.  The man had on a long shirt over brown pants that almost matched the wild hues of the bus, a colorful splatter surrounding a bright yellow sun.

Immediately, Daniel had the feeling he'd met the man before, but he just couldn't place him at the moment.

“Oh, I'm sorry.  I didn't know you were there,” Daniel apologized.

“No worries.  I was just taking a last look.”

“Last look?”

“Sold her.”

“Oh,” Daniel responded, suddenly realizing the buyer had to be his oldest son.  At the same time, though, he couldn't shed the strange feeling he had.  ~Something is really crazy here.~

--

“Okay, show it to me,” Jack said, following his excited son outside.

“It's here!” Jeff exclaimed, sprinting forward a few steps.  He looked back, beckoning his dad by waving his arm a few times.  “Come on, Dad.  Look at it.”

Jack's reaction was similar to Daniel's.  The bus stood out, big time.  It was painted in an array of bold and loud colors.  It was definitely beyond its time, though.  There was some rust visible, some of the paint was faded and muted from years in the sun, and the tires were worn, the tread all but gone on more than one of them.  On top of the bus was a luggage rack that had seen better days.  It was also rusted and broken in three spots.

~It's like a bad trip, a really bad trip,~ the general thought, thinking not about a road trek but the result of a drugged out mind game.  He frowned as he noted the character painted on the open door.  It reminded him of an alien rabbit from Wonderland.  ~I know my mind is mush, but there can't be two of those on the planet.~

“Isn't it great?” Jeff called out excitedly.

“Oh, yeah, great,” Jack echoed.  ~If your play is about a bad LSD trip.~

“Hey, Mister Larson!” Jeff shouted, seeing the junkyard owner talking to his daddy.  Quickening his pace, the student assumed, “You've met my daddy.”

“Not really,” the man answered.

~Or maybe just not today,~ Daniel put forth silently, having listened to the man talking a bit.  His mind began to place the voice with the bus.  He noticed the ponytail and imagined the hair hanging freely.  He visualized the man's beard a bit fuller.  Finally, he added a pair of round gold wire-rim glasses to the expressive face he was staring at.  ~Oh gawd.  Does he recognize me?~

“Daddy, this is Mister Larson.  He sold the bus to us for our play,” Jeff began.  Looking at the owner, he introduced, “This is my father, Daniel Jackson-O'Neill.”

“Daniel?” the man questioned as a memory stirred from the name being connected to the face.  ~I knew that was him.  Crazy man.~

Just then Jack was nearing the area and lightly hollered to his husband, “Daniel, you've seen it.”

“It's hard to miss,” Daniel responded just as his soulmate joined him.  “Jack, this is Mister Larson.”

“Nice to meet you, Mister Larson,” Jack greeted as the two men shook hands.  ~Can't be.~

“Michael,” the man stated as a broad smile began to form on his face.  Recognition had clearly set in.  ~Man, this is a real trip.~

**Jack?**

**Daniel, don't weird me out anymore than I already am.**

“Jack?” the man echoed, his smile now full blown.  “Oh, man, this is weird, like really far out.”

Jack just grinned a bit nervously and suggested to his son, “Jeff, why don't you go help Jen watch the kids.”

“Huh?”

“Go!” Jack ordered in a tone and expression that, while confusing to the boy, told him to disappear and fast.

“Yes, Sir.”

As the high schooler walked away, Jack called out, “And make sure the Munchkins haven't gone AWOL.”

“AWOL?” Daniel questioned.

“Early stages of a cold.  They've been resisting my order to stay in their rooms.”

Daniel nodded in understanding as he folded his arms across his chest.  He would like to go inside and check on the triplets, but he had to stay where he was.  Life had just gotten very complicated, again.

“This is so fruitcake,” the man laughed.  “Jenny's gonna blow her mind when she sees you two.”

“Jenny?” Jack and Daniel spoke in perfect unison.

**Daniel?**

**I know, Jack.**

**No, you don't know.  Carter's on her way over.**

**Sweet,** Daniel responded, intentionally using one of his lover's pet words.  **He knows who we are, Jack.**

“Wow, this is incredible.  She was right.  You *are* aliens!”  The man's glee turned solemn, however, as he asked with regret, “You didn't get home?”

Glancing across at his husband, Daniel pursed his lips and answered, “We are home, Michael.  Earth is our home and,” he pointed toward the house, “we ... we live here.”

“We?”

“We're, uh ... married,” Daniel clarified.

“Wow!” Michael exclaimed.  Looking at Jack, he confessed, “We always thought you were with that blonde chick.”

“Carter?  No, never, no,” Jack stammered, not really sure what he should be saying to the stranger he now knew was not a stranger, but one of the hippies who had helped SG-1 years earlier when they'd been transported back in time to the year 1969.

“Well, free love, baby.  Jenny and I are cool with that,” Michael responded, nodding his head several times at the news.

At that moment a white Volkswagon bug drove up.  On it were several decals, including flowers, mushrooms, and the quote, “Can't we all just get along?”

“That's Jenny!” Michael Larson announced enthusiastically as he started to walk to the car.  “Jenny, you aren't going to believe this!”

That's when Jack and Daniel noticed the obvious limp to the man's walk.  It was quite pronounced and slowed his eager progress significantly.

“Jack, what are we going to do?”

“What can we do?  He recognized me right off the bat,” Jack answered.

“I think he knew me, too, but ...”

“The hair isn't quite as long as it was then,” Jack mused, raising his left and mussing his Love's hair that was nowhere near as long as the shag he had when SG-1 met the two hippies.

“We are older, too, Babe,” Daniel reminded lightly.

Gruffly, Jack bemoaned, “There's no way out of this.”

“What do we tell them?  We can't tell them about the Stargate,” Daniel whispered, looking back behind him to see Michael was just opening Jenny's car door for her.

“I know that, but we can't say we aren't who we are because we already admitted we are who we are so we can't suddenly say we aren't who he thinks we are because we are.”

As Daniel stared at his Love, his mouth agape, Jack's eyes looked to the side and he let out a small groan of frustration.

“You know what I mean,” the general insisted.

“Yes, I do.  What about Sam?”

“Shanahan's working late.”  Jack sighed and admitted, “Doc called earlier.  She said Pete's involved in some stakeout tonight.  It's dangerous, more so than normal.  Carter's a little worried, so I thought she should be with us until he gets home.”

The younger man smiled.

“Don't do that.”

“My grizzly bear.  I'm glad you convinced her to come over.”

“I called Andy,” Jack stated, referring to a friend who used to be the sheriff.  “He still has strong ties to the department.  He told me it could be a long, long night.  Whatever is going down, it's big.”

“Well, this will distract her,” Daniel asserted.

“See, Jenny, it's them,” Michael pointed out as he approached with the woman.

Hearing the statement, Daniel turned around, taking the position to Jack's right.  He smiled at the woman.  She was several inches shorter than Michael, still slender after all these years.  Her hair was short now, and it was gray, not the long black mane it had been in 1969.  Her cheeks were still naturally rosy and, as had been the case before, she wore very little makeup.  Daniel could only sense a bit of gloss on her lips and the lightest amount of eye shadow that make her brown eyes stand out more.

Jenny stared at Jack and Daniel for a moment and then expressed in amazement, “It is you, but ... how?”

“Magic,” Jack answered.  Then he nodded politely and said, “Good to see you again.”

“Hello, Jenny,” Daniel greeted on the footsteps of his husband's words.

“This is amazing.  Are you aliens?  You must be,” the woman asserted as she stared at the men, trying to rationalize their current look with how they were when she first met them forty-three years ago.

“Yeah,” Jack sighed, looking at Daniel for help.  “No, we're not aliens.”

“But we did need to get home, and we did, thanks to you two,” Daniel admitted appreciatively.  “Um, well, you probably have a lot of questions.”

Before another word could be spoken, Sam's car drove into the Jackson-O'Neill driveway.

“Carter, the brakes!” Jack shouted, seeing how close Sam had come to rear-ending his precious Ford truck.  ~That was close,~ he thought as he watched Sam park her car and turn off the ignition.

Hurrying out of the car, Sam's eyes were wide as she gasped, “Sir, that bus, it's ...”

“We know, Carter,” Jack interrupted.

“It's her,” Jenny observed softly.  “Michael, it's her.”

“Yeah.  Total weirdsville.”

Sam's eyes went from the painted bus to the senior citizen couple.  Instantly, she recognized Michael and Jenny.

“Holy smokes,” the blonde explained.  “Um ...”

“They know it's us,” Jack advised his second-in-command.

Sam nodded and then smiled at the other couple.

“I still love your hair,” Jenny told Sam with a smile.

“Thank you.  Wow!” Sam responded, still reeling from the surprise.  “I tried to find you once, but couldn't match up your names with any records.”

“Oh,” Jenny responded with her soft spoken voice, glancing over at Michael.

“These aren't the names we were born with,” Michael explained.

“We chose them before our trip because they sounded freer, more with it, than our real names.”

“We liked them, so kept them,” Michael added.

“I guess that makes sense,” Daniel responded.  “Ah, we need to talk.”

“In here,” Jack suggested, nodding at the bus and then starting to walk back to the other side where the door was.  “Hasn't changed much,” he observed as he walked toward the back of the long vehicle and took a seat.

“So,” Daniel sighed.  “How was Woodstock?”

Jack stared at his husband for the inquiry, but the younger man simply shrugged lightly while raising his eyebrows a little.

“Mind blowing,” Michael answered.

“A real blast,” Jenny added.  Skipping the nostalgic chat, she asked, “If you're not aliens, who are you?”

“Yeah, man.  How can this be home?” Michael questioned.

“Jack?”

“Daniel?” Jack responded.  Looking at his SIC, he queried, “Carter?”

“Sir?”

“Jack?” the archaeologist repeated.

“Whoa!” Jack said, his hands rising in a stop motion.  “We've already gone a round.”  Shaking his head, he tried to figure out how the best way to handle the situation.  “I don't suppose you'd believe me if I said it was all a dream.”

“A ...” Daniel glanced at Jack for a moment “... really wacky dream?”

Seeing no change in the Larsons' expressions or demeanor, Jack sighed, “Didn't think so.”  With a cock of his head, the general asked, “Do you like science fiction, time travel stuff: 'The Time Machine,' 'Planet of the Apes,' 'Somewhere in Time,' 'The Terminator? Yadda, yadda?”

“Sure,” Jenny answered succinctly.

“That's what we did, by accident,” Jack confided.

“You went back in time?” Jenny queried.  “From when?  How?”

“Sir?” Sam prompted, seeking permission.  Once her commanding officer nodded, she answered, “The explanation of how is complicated, but it has to do with the sun and ...”

“Solar flares,” Michael completed for the astrophysicist.  “That's what you guys were talking about in the woods that night.”

“Yes.  It was a crazy fluke.  The when is easier to answer.  We went back thirty years in time, from 1999 to 1969,” Sam admitted to the couple.

“Wow,” both Michael and Jenny expressed at the reality presented to them.

“But why?” Michael asked.  “Where were you really trying to go and why?”

Jack looked at the couple and prompted, “You guys still don't like the establishment, do you?”  Seeing two shaking heads, he continued, “We're not big on the establishment, either, but we are big on protecting our world; making sure we have a world.  That's what we do ...”

“Did,” Daniel corrected.

“Almost did,” Jack amended since the couple's official retirement date was still a couple of weeks away.

“Almost did,” Daniel agreed with a small smile.

“We do what we do, almost did, so you can do your thing in peace,” Jack explained somewhat cryptically.

“But how did you ...” Jenny began, uncertain how to finalize her question.

“It's complicated,” Sam responded.  “The general's ...”

“General?” Michael queried, his face tightening in tenseness.

“Military establishment,” a concerned Jenny put forth.

“Oh no, not me,” Jack negated.  “I have a jacket a mile long.  I never liked the man; then I ended up being the man.  I tried to resign once; didn't work out. It's like retiring.  I think I own the record for the most retirements that never worked out.”

“Until now,” Daniel asserted determinedly.

“Until now,” Jack echoed definitively.  “Okay, kids, we never did the formal introductions.”  Pointing to himself, he said, “General Jack Jackson-O'Neill, known as Colonel O'Neill when we met.”  His hand reached over to touch his lover's shoulder as he continued, “Doctor Daniel Jackson-O'Neill, geek, genius, the most compassionate man in the universe, and happily my husband, but best friend and secret lover back in your '69.”

“Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” Michael surmised.

“Exactly,” Daniel affirmed.

With a nod to the blonde, Jack introduced, “Colonel Samantha Carter-Shanahan, formerly known as Captain Carter, another geek, my husband's science twin, all around good egg, and now wife to a police detective, too, so I hope you don't have any unpaid parking tickets.”  Aware the last part of his comment hadn't gone over to well, he added, “Kidding.  Shanahan's a good man; he's lucky to have landed Carter.”

“Cool,” Jenny responded with a smile.

“We're a team.  It's been that way for years.  Yeah, I'm military, but what I do, I do to protect this place, not to slam my beliefs or tell anyone what their business is, or not.  You want the establishment?  I've got names and numbers, but you won't find them here.”

“Nice to meet you, Jack,” Michael replied, extending his hand and feeling relieved.

“You, too.”

Michael looked at his wife for a moment before inquiring, “What about Snake?”

“Snake?” Daniel responded.  You mean ...”

“Murray,” Jack stated, using the Earth name he often tagged the Jaffa with.

The problem was that Jack's name stepped over Daniel's as the archaeologist chose to answer with their teammate's true name.

“Um, what's his name.  He never told us,” Jenny interjected curiously.

“Teal'c,” Daniel stated once again.  “He's an alien.”

“Daniel!”

“Jack, we have to tell them.  I mean, uh, the War with Canada?”

“Yeah, man, that was far out, even for us,” Michael admitted as he recalled one of the strong man's first remarks after SG-1 had hitched a ride on the eye-catching bus.

Reluctantly, Jack chose not to silence his husband.

“Teal'c is an alien.”

“Area 51,” Jenny told her husband.

“They've got aliens there,” Michael replied.

“Look, we can't get into details about Teal'c or Area 51,” Daniel told the couple.

“The government couldn't hide it,” Michael contended.

“We helped with that, by the way,” Jack advised the visitors.  ~Maybe that will get us a few points, not that I'm keeping score, or that we need them.  Focus, O'Neill.~

“What he means is, we helped convince ... people that they needed to admit Area 51 exists.”

“The truth is still not out,” Jenny claimed.

“No, not all of it,” Daniel confirmed.  “But at least it's something.”

“Why?” Jenny asked.  She expounded, “Why admit to Area 51 without admitting to aliens like Teal'c?”

“It's ...”

“... complicated,” both Jack and Daniel replied.

“Jenny, the government tends to operate on the concept of plausible deniability with the public,” Sam explained.  “A situation occurred at Area 51 that required the government to up its game.”

“It was a cover for something else,” Michael surmised.

“There you go!” Jack concurred.

“Thank you, by the way,” Daniel interjected.  “I don't know if we said it enough back then, but we couldn't have gotten home without you.”

“Home, meaning 1999,” Jenny responded.  She saw the nods from the teammates and uttered, “Wow.”

A few seconds of silence surrounded the group as Michael and Jenny digested what they'd been told.

“We good?” Jack asked the married couple.

“We're glad we were there to help,” Michael answered with a nod.  “This is really cool seeing you again.”

“We never told anyone,” Jenny added.  “I'm not sure why, but we didn't.”

“Thank you,” Jack returned sincerely.

“Michael, did you go to Vietnam?” Sam inquired.  “If you don't want to talk about it ...”

“No, it's okay,” Michael answered.  “I did a tour.”

“Michael won a medal,” Jenny stated matter-of-factly.

“I gave it to some kids years ago for an art project,” Michael expounded. “I guess I don't want to talk about it.”

“That's fine,” Daniel responded respectfully.  “Um, would you like to have dinner with us tonight?”

“We have a rowdy bunch, but they're great kids.”

“That's right,” Michael remarked.  “Jenny, the kid who bought the bus is their son.”

“Cool.”

“We, uh, actually have twelve children,” Daniel pointed out.

“Wow!” Michael stated.

“Yeah, wow,” Jack echoed.  “We didn't get them all at once, but they are ours and if you're okay with that, Daniel's invitation goes.  Carter's staying for dinner, too.”

“Maybe you can show me how to get my hair to look like yours,” Jenny wished longingly.

“It's pretty basic,” Sam replied with a smile.

“So you're staying?” Jack asked.

“Okay,” Michael agreed.

“Um, if you'll excuse me for a minute, I'll tell the children we're having guests,” Daniel advised the group as he stood up.  **Give me a couple of minutes to get the brood together, Jack.  Depending upon how the conversation goes, they might think Michael and Jenny know about the Stargate.**

**Don't waste time,** Jack responded via the lovers' unique communication ability.  With his husband already off the bus, Jack asked, “How's the junk business?”

“Junky,” Michael mused.

====

“Gather round,” Daniel instructed the children hastily.  “Jen, JD?”

“He's in the nursery, playing with Bij and Katie,” Jennifer answered, holding the portable baby monitor in her hand.

“Thanks,” Daniel replied.  “We're having dinner guests.  Their names are Michael and Jenny Larson, and they're very nice people, but, uh ... well ...”

“This is gonna be good,” Jonny whispered to his nearest siblings.

“Dad and I met Michael and Jenny in 1969.”

“But you didn't know Dad then,” a confused Brianna pointed out.

“Well, in our early days with SGC we left for a mission through the Stargate,” Daniel began.  “There was a ... a thing.  Aunt Sam can explain it to you sometime if you want, but instead of reaching the planet we were going to, we ended up still on Earth, only back in 1969.”

“Wow, time travel,” a fascinated David expressed with big eyes.  ~Definitely need to talk to Aunt Sam about this.~

“Look, we can tell you more about it later, but what is important for right now is that while Michael and Jenny know that Dad and I were a team with Aunt Sam and Teal'c, they do not know about the Stargate.  They know only that somehow we ended up 1969.  They helped us.  We probably wouldn't have made it back to our own time without them, so we're indebted to them.”

“So are we,” Lulu responded appreciatively, always very aware of her good fortune to have been adopted by Jack and Daniel.

Smiling at the young girl, Daniel reached out to touch her cheek gently and then he continued, “Remember, don't talk about the Stargate or other planets or ... or ...”

“The Nox?” Little Danny questioned.

“Right.  We can only discuss the time travel aspect, but nothing more than that.  Be very, very careful with what you say.  Okay?”

“Okay,” a chorus of voices rang out.

“Okay,” Daniel acknowledged.  “Munchkins, how are you feeling?”

“I'm fine,” Little Danny responded, his voice a bit scratchy.

~Fine, like I always fine.  Yeah, I hear that,~ Daniel thought to himself.

“Yeah, fine,” Aislinn concurred with a sniffling of her nose right after.

~That's two falsehoods,~ the parent determined.

Jonny said nothing, realizing anything he might say could be held against him, but he did put his hands behind his back and stare up at the ceiling and then all around the room, anywhere but in the direction of his father.

~Yep, when all else fails, say nothing and act dumb,~ Daniel mused lightly.  “Well, don't spread your colds to our guests.  Stick to yourselves and as long as you aren't coughing and sneezing too much, you can join us for dinner, but you'll be going right to bed after.  Deal?”

“Deal,” the triplets agreed in unison.

Daniel nodded and turned towards the front door.

“Daddy?” Jeff called out, causing his father to turn back around.  “Is that why Dad was a little terse outside?”

“Yes.  We, uh, recognized the bus.”

“The bus?”

“We'll tell you about it later, okay?”

“Okay, Daddy.”

====

Dinner was going well.  The children were as fascinated by Michael and Jenny as the couple were about them.  Naturally, there had been a lot of discussion about SG-1's trip to 1969, but the children, well versed on secrecy, kept their conversation appropriate.  Michael and Jenny, for their part, were curious that the children seemed to be calm and, for a lack of a better word in their minds, nonchalant about humans traveling through time.

Jeff's school project and the need for the bus was talked about at length which logically led into more chatter about the 1969.  There was a bit of laughter as the dinner guests made the connection between SG-1's cover story and the movie, “Star Wars.”  Music of the sixties entered the conversation, which brought up topics that included hippies and Woodstock.

“Woodstock sounds like it was a lot of fun,” Jeff remarked.

“Never been anything like it sense, and we've gone to a lot of festivals,” Jenny Larson responded.

“I hope they throw me a big party like that when I join the Air Force,” Jonny stated, turning his head and trying to hide a cough.

“Heard that,” Jack noted quietly.

“I hope you never do that,” Michael honestly replied to the boy.

“I like the Air Force,” Jonny insisted.  “I'm gonna be a general like my dad and save the country.”

“Nothing wrong with being proud of your dad,” Michael's wife responded.

Michael said nothing, prompting Jack to surmise, “You had a hard time in 'Nam.  Where you stationed?”

“Near Qui Nhon,” Michael answered quietly.

Jack nodded, well aware of the Vietnam districts.

“Were you there?” the mature hippie inquired.

“No, but my brother was,” Jack answered.  “He learned a lot from that experience.”

“You know what I learned?  The only truth in war is in your mind.  I saw things, heard about things, and then you see the news reports.  Man, lies, all lies.  Once I heard a story about some big VC attack.  Soldiers died in the battle, it said.  Battle?  You know what it was?  A guard set off a flare for more light.  It fell back, hit the fuel storage, and like crazy, big explosion.  We killed those men in an accident, but that's not how they reported it.”

“Why would they lie?” Chenoa asked innocently.

No one said a word for several seconds until Jack finally sighed, “Public relations, Princess.  It was a cover to make us look good.  Telling the truth would lead to more questions, questions no one wants to answer.”

“Oh,” Chenoa responded.  ~Don't know what that means, but I'd rather talk about dancing anyway.~

“Do what you have to do, Jonny, but make sure you know the truth,” Michael told the Munchkin.  Before anyone else could say anything, the visitor changed the subject, clearly still uncomfortable thinking about his wartime experiences.  “What does your husband do, Sam?”

The query worked as all talk from there was away from SG-1, the trek back in time, and the Vietnam conflict.

An hour or so later, the evening ended with Pete Shanahan's safe arrival home and the Munchkins getting their marching orders to retire for the night.

====

The following Friday, Sam was at the house to stay with the children for a few hours while Jack and Daniel went out for dinner.  Jennifer was spending the evening with girlfriends and Jeff was having a pizza and movie night out with some of his basketball buddies.  The Munchkins were recovered from their colds, although JD now suffered with one of his own.

“Jenny and Ricky should be next,” Jack teased as he waited for Daniel, who was still dressing upstairs.

Standing opposite her commanding officer, Sam nodded and looked down.  Just then Jonny entered the living room.

“Hi, Aunt Sam,” the little general greeted as he hugged the blonde.

“Hello, Jonny.”

“Are you going to tell us a story tonight?”

“Sure.”

“About the Goa'uld?” Jonny asked hopefully.  Hearing Jack cough in one his correction tones, the little boy faced his father and explained, “Dad, last time she told a story with words I didn't understand.  Little Danny and Jenny did, but I still don't know what she said.”

“Been there, done that,” Jack acknowledged.  Seeing Sam's stare, he apologized, “Sorry, Carter.”

Sam had been in the house about five minutes and to the observant general, she appeared to be somewhat distracted.  Jack had a hunch she was hiding something.

“Carter, what's up?”

With a nod, Sam walked over to the counter that separated the living room from the kitchen nook.  Her purse was there, as was a folder she'd brought with her.  Picking it up, she turned to face Jack.

“You might want to see this,” Sam suggested, holding out the folder.

“What is it?”

Sam looked at Jonny, standing tall beside his father.  She just wasn't sure what, if anything, she should say.

“It's Michael's service record.”

“You found it.”

“Well, once he told us his real name and where he'd served, it was a piece of cake.”

“Thief.”

“It's a popular expression, Sir.”

“So?” Jack prompted.  He saw Sam looking at Jonny and understood her hesitation.  “Son, go play with the kids.”

“Dad, I want to know about Michael.  I'm a big boy.”  With a certain stubbornness befitting a little general, he asserted, “I need to know why he said what he said.”

“Hold on a minute,” Jack requested.  “I'll be right back.”

With a frustrated sigh, Jonny watched his dad disappear up the stairs and bemoaned, “He's gonna ask Daddy.”

Sam chuckled, knowing that was exactly what Jack was doing.

====

“You look good enough to eat,” Jack observed when he entered the master bedroom.

“Thank you,” Daniel replied.  “I'm almost ready.”

“No rush,” Jack returned.

“Okay, you obviously didn't come up here to tell me I looked delicious,” Daniel noted, seeing the thoughtful expression on his lover's face.

“But you do,” Jack declared.  “Yeah, Carter found Michael's service record.”

“And?”

“She has it downstairs.  Jonny knows.  He wants to be in on it.”

“Oh,” Daniel expressed, putting down the hairbrush.  “Any clue what the report says?”

“No, but Carter has that look.”

“The one that says you won't understand a word she says?” Daniel queried.

“No, the other one.”

“Oh,” Daniel repeated.  “Well, he'll just ask us later and the truth is that war is a nasty event, no matter what you do or where you are.  Let's see what the report says and tell him what we think is appropriate.”

“Deal,” Jack agreed.

====

“... and then your daddy stood right up to your dad ...” Sam told Jonny as the two sat on the sofa, Sam's arm around the youngster as she spoke and his eyes focused intently on hers as he listened to the tale.

“... and said I was right,” Jack completed as he and Daniel joined Sam and Jonny in the living room. “Right, Carter?”

“Absolutely, Sir,” Sam lied with a smile.

Shaking his head at his lover's interjection, Daniel chose to ignore the subject and move on to a more important one, especially since he really wanted to leave the house and enjoy some time alone with his soulmate.

“Sam, what did you find out about Michael?”

With Daniel asking the question, Sam knew that Jonny's presence was acceptable.  She also knew from Jack's expression that she was to use her own gut feelings on what to say in front of the Munchkin.  The parents were trusting her to convey verbally what was appropriate and leave the rest unspoken, at least for now.  Retrieving the folder that she'd put down on the coffee table, she held it in her hands as she spoke.

“Michael was near the end of his tour when he was part of a five-man recon team. They came under attack.  Two soldiers were killed instantly.  The rest of the details are a little sketchy,” Sam advised, her eyes clearly stating that she was choosing not to be specific due to Jonny's presence, “but apparently, Michael distracted the VC, allowing the other two men to escape and get back to their camp.  That medal he mentioned?  It was The Bronze Star.”

Jack let out a whistle, well aware that medal was America's fourth highest ranking military award.

“With valor,” Sam added.

“For heroic activities,” Daniel explained unnecessarily, staring at the carpet as he followed up with a somewhat mumbled, “and he didn't want to kill anyone.”  Looking at his friend, he queried, “Sam, what happened to Michael after the attack?”

“Captured?” Jack guessed.

“Yes, Sir,” Sam confirmed.  “He was shot twice and tortured.  That's how his leg was injured, not from his capture, but from his captivity.”

“How long, Sam?” Daniel asked.

“He was a POW for two years before three others overpowered their guards during mealtime.  In the mayhem, he simply walked away.  Three days later, a helicopter pilot spotted him. His height and white complexion made him recognizable as an American.  You could say he slipped through the cracks.  The VC were focused on the three who killed the guards.  Michael was on his own.”

“The other three?” Jack asked.

“All recaptured.  Two were executed; the other was released in 1973 when the conflict ended,” Sam reported.  “The details are in here, if you want to read them,” she advised, handing over the folder to Jack.

Jack looked at his namesake and asked, “Any questions, Sport?”

“Michael was a hero, Dad.  He saved his team.  Why isn't he proud of that?  Why would he give away his medal?”

Jack kneeled down and motioned for Jonny to come to him.

“War stinks,” Jack told the youth.  “It hurts and it maims.  I was raised to fight.  Like Billy, we believed we had a duty to fulfill.  We did the job.  It wasn't always pleasant, but we did it.  People like Michael don't like war at all.  They don't agree that there is ever a reason to fight.  Make peace, not war, they used to say.  I wish peace were that easy, that a catchphrase could help us to achieve peace in the world, but people don't live by catchphrases.  Michael and others like him were forced to fight, drafted into a battle they didn't believe in.”

When Jack grew quiet, Daniel also bent down on his haunches and continued, “But he fought because whether or not he believed in the war, he believed in America.  Jonny, Michael didn't want to kill anyone.  He wanted to live in a world without war.  Even so, when it came time to make the choice, he went to war.  He did what he was asked to do and didn't run from it.”

“Run from it?” the confused child questioned.

“The truth is that a lot of young men opted to evade the draft.  Instead of reporting for duty, they hid out or went to Canada.  Michael thought about doing that, but for some reason, he chose to fight.”  Daniel paused, thinking, ~Gawd, were we the reason?~  Not wanting to think about that issue at the moment, he continued, “Like Dad, he did things he didn't ever want to do.  My guess is that Michael protected his friends just like Dad did so often, but the difference is that he's not a soldier in his heart.  He hates what he had to do, killing and maiming.  He believes in peace, Jonny, and that medal, well, it only serves to remind him of a time when he couldn't be himself.  He was forced to be a soldier, and when that happens, you do your best, but you're never proud of it and ... and you just wish it had never happen.  All you want to is forget about it.”

Jack looked at his soulmate and knew Daniel was speaking more about himself now.  How often the general hated what his archaeologist had been forced to do as a member of SG-1.  For a couple of years especially the flagship team had been forced to kill and kill again rather than seek out new cultures.  That still ached in his heart, too.

“Michael is happy that his teammates escaped; he's happy with himself for the decision he made to save them.  He got a medal for it, but the medal means nothing because to him, war means only murder,” Jack put forth.

“Son, we'll talk more about this later, okay?  You think about it and if you have more questions, Dad and I will answer them as best we can.  Remember, though, we're only surmising how Michael feels,” Daniel told the youth, after which he stood up and calmly put his hand on the boy's hair, running his fingers along the back of the sandy-blond hair.

“Okay, Daddy,” Jonny responded.  “Aunt Sam, what did Jenny do while Michael was fighting in the war?”

“She worked at a flower shop for a while and she participated in several protests about the war.  Mostly, I guess she waited for Michael to come home.”

“I'm glad he came home and they got married.  Are they going to come over for dinner again?”

“I hope so,” Daniel answered.

“Okay, Carter, the brood is yours.  Danny and I are out of here,” Jack advised as he, too, stood up.  “Be good,” he told his son.  “We love you.”

“Love you, too,” Jonny replied, giving his dad a hug and then going to Daniel to do the same thing.

The lovers left the house and walked to Daniel's sleek 1999 sports car that they'd be using as transportation for their date night.  They settled inside, strapping in their seatbelts.

“Love this car,” Jack opined.

“Love my Silver Fox,” Daniel responded, leaning over for a kiss.  Aware of some sadness in his husband, he prompted, “What?”

“SG-1,” Jack sighed.  “Dang it, Daniel, you became a warrior and geez, I'm proud of you, but I hate it, all of it, and the toll it took.”

“I know, Babe, but it was a long time ago.  I hope Michael can heal.  I wish we could help him somehow, but I don't know if there's anything we could do.”

“Here's something,” Jack began with a sly smile.  “Be there.  That's always what you said we need to be for folks, so let's be there.  Maybe he'll want to talk about it someday.”

“I love you,” Daniel declared to his husband.

“And I love you, but I'm also starved.  Start the car.”

With a laugh, Daniel started the silver vehicle and backed out of the driveway.  Through a fluke of time, he and his family had come into contact with people from their unusual past.  The future was unknown where Michael and Jenny were concerned, but for Jack and Daniel, love was ever present and that was no fluke.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~

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