Title: The Barista 19 - Mardi Gras
Season: 2
Category: Missing Scene/Epilogue
Episode Related: 221 '1969'
Spoilers: Slight reference to Brief Candle and Spirits

Author's Notes:- I made this a wee bit longer as penance. <g> And speaking of penance, I have to thank Liz for reminding me of Lent and suggesting how it might be included in the story. Thanks darlin'.

This was a really a bad idea.

Bad, horrid, nasty and have I mentioned bad?

"Quit scowling Kira and get on out there." Stefan says laughing as he shoves me out of the break room and into the crowded store.

"Easy for you to say." I grumble as I allow myself to be dragged forward. I can't fight too much; after all, I did show up for work.

The things I do for money.

As I round the corner, I am greeted with a cacophony of happy sounding voices. For all the excitement out here, you'd think this was a bar and not a coffee house!

"Would you at least *try* and have fun?" Stefan says giving me a playful pat on my butt as he ducks behind the counter.

As I said- easy for him to say.

Stefan is truly in his element. He's wearing tight, threadbare jeans that flare appallingly at the ankle and a loose peasant shirt topped by a suede vest, complete with tassels and beads. He can't stop grinning as he flirts outrageously with anyone who'll let him. Despite myself I smile. I mean if Stefan can have fun, the least I could do is try.


Thing is, it's hard to feel all fun loving and free-thinking (or is that fun thinking and free-loving?) when you're gussied up like a Jesus Christ Superstar reject.

You know this wouldn't be so bad if Victor hadn't insisted I wear ponytails. Imagine Marcia Brady with really big bushy hair and you'll understand my pain. I was NOT meant to wear my hair this way. Actually, looking back at photos, I think the only reason so many girls were able to wear this style was due to the fact that no one washed their hair much in the 60's. Seriously.

It isn't that my costume is really all that bad. Patchwork skirt with large denim patches (compliments of my mom) and several brightly colored scarves wrapped around my waist. I am wearing a simple long sleeve cotton t-shirt on top covered with a macramé vest (also my mom's). But it is the pigtails that are really driving me nuts. I pull on them one last time as I head out to the floor to bus tables.

And to think I could be safe and sound in my beloved library right about now, or perhaps freezing my ass off running a 10k around the park. But noooo, I had to sign up for a Saturday afternoon shift and don this Halloween reject of a costume. Don't get me wrong- I actually like dressing up on Halloween. But really, after the age of 10 or so, the only folks who celebrate Halloween usually do so because they're parents. Or in the company of large amounts of alcoholic beverages- there is a very good reason for this.

I look around at the 6 or so colorfully garbed Baristas and shake my head at the audacity of it all- Victor and his great ideas.

Thing is, it actually *is* a good idea. See, Victor and the other merchants in our little quarter of the city, thought it might be fun to kick off the annual Mardi Gras celebrations by having all the stores (and their employees) dress up. Of course, the fact that we're over 1000 miles from New Orleans and the bulk of the celebration was LAST WEEK doesn't seem to bother anyone. Still, holding the festivities right after Fat Tuesday seemed to be ok with everyone.

I guess we just needed a reason to have a little mid-winter party.

And that brings me to my present situation.

"So Kira, what are you giving up for Lent?" Stefan asks giving me a little eyebrow action as I tie on my apron and eye the growing number of dirty mugs and plates needing to be collected.

"I'm Jewish Stefan, we don't do Lent," I explain, releasing an exasperated sigh. I still don't understand this whole Lent thing. I mean, I understand the historical background, but the modern applications are what throw me for a loop. What exactly does giving up chocolate have to do with the crucifixion?

"Spoilsport," Stefan says as he puts the finishing touches on a truly beautiful latte.

"What are you giving up Stefan?" I'm not really sure I want to know actually. With Stefan, you can never tell.

He gives the customer his latte and with an ostentatious flourish, places one hand across his brow and sighs dramatically. "This year I am giving up regret."

"Puh-leeze!" I say rolling my eyes as I snap a towel in his general direction.

I head out to the floor and finish clearing the tables as another small batch of people squeeze through the front door. For the life of me I cannot figure out where everyone is coming from! Sure there were loud, obnoxious parties in the city core last night- but it's 11 o'clock in the morning! Shouldn't these people be at home? Watching some god-awful football game perhaps?

Oh wait a second! Football ended in late January… I mentally snap my fingers- *that's* why we're so crowded; we're between public sporting events! Baseball doesn't begin for another few weeks, football is over and it really is for the best not to mention the Denver Nuggets basketball franchise.

Of course hockey is always in style here in the Rocky Mountain State....

Surprisingly the next few hours actually fly by. The weird late morning breakfast crowd leaves and we're left with just a steady stream of mostly tourists. By 3:00 it had died down enough for Vic to send home Jenn and Jeff (they had been here since 7 am) and after admonishing Stefan and I to be good, (why'd he single out us?!) he left as well.

"Music!" Stefan says with a grin as he waggles his eyebrows at me. I can't help but laugh as he puts on the soundtrack to Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

"This isn't 60's music Stefan." I say primly.

"Abba got together in the 60's." He replies turning up the volume to ‘Mama Mia'.

"Doesn't count," I say reaching over him and grabbing a CD from the pile of "approved" music choices. I'm not above playing my own music from time to time, but we have plenty of good 60's stuff to choose from- I'll save Priscilla for after we close.

I had just put on some early Simon and Garfunkel when I hear the tell tale jingle of someone walking through the front door. Instantly I dimple at spying one of my favorite customers when suddenly I realize I'm still dressed for a Grateful Dead concert and my pig tails are frizzing all over the place- I bet I look 14 years old!

Great! I look 14 and Jack looks… Absently I wet my lips. You really aren't supposed to look that good in your 40's. Totally inappropriate thoughts rush through my mind as I duck behind the espresso machine. Really mature I know, but it's an impulse thing. Maybe if I'm behind the damn thing he won't see me.

Initially, I am successful. It doesn't appear like Colonel Jack has spotted me, but I can see him just fine. Looking good Colonel J! That man *so* knows how to fill out a pair of Levis. I guess it makes sense that Jack and Daniel are friends. I mean, they don't seem to have a damn thing in common except a weird military connection and their attractiveness. Not that they'd really notice that of course. The truly good-looking guys never do.

Now don't go thinking that all I do is fantasize about Colonel Jack and Daniel all day long, ‘cause I don't. Honest. I can go weeks without seeing them (or thinking about them) and then one day Daniel will come in looking like something the cat dragged in; pale and several pounds lighter, sporting assorted cuts and bruises. Naturally he can't tell me what happened. And then there's Jack. Not too long ago he stopped by with his arm in a sling and when I asked him about it he replied quite drolly, "Archery accident." Daniel nearly choked on his breve with that pronouncement.

I think of all of this as I remain crouched at Stefan's feet. Stefan keeps trying to step on me and Sandy (on register) is doing her best not to laugh. Some friends I have! I poke my head out sideways and catch a quick glimpse of one amused looking colonel. Seems Jack is pleased as punch at something and is feeling the need to share. He reaches in and takes out his phone, the whole time looking around the general area and grinning like a fool. I don't see what number he presses, but it is definitely someone on speed dial. I take the opportunity to leave the security of the espresso machine for the long counter space to my left. I decide now would be an excellent time to inventory the plastic cups. Stefan was about to rat me out anyways.

"Hey Sam." Jack says into his cell phone as he takes a step closer to the front of the line (he's now third).

"Nope, I'm not at Daniel's yet. Actually, I was hoping you could do me a favor." Again he looks around the shop and shakes his head still chuckling to himself.

"Can you pick up Daniel and meet me at Kira's coffee shop?" I duck my head even lower as I blush up a storm. Good thing Victor isn't here. ‘Kira's' coffee shop?!

Jack waves a hand impatiently. "Yeah, I know we're all supposed to meet at his place, but trust me on this- you guys need to get down here."

He listens for a few moments and then darts his eyes in my direction. He can't really see me under the counter, can he?

"Kira? Yeah, she's here. I think she's hiding from me at the moment." Damn. He did see me.

"Why? I think she's embarrassed." Damn straight I am. Colonel Jack continues listening as he moves up to the number two spot in line. "Just go grab Danny Carter and come on out- you'll see why." He hangs up the phone and shoves two hands into his pockets as he patiently waits in line. Suddenly he takes a quick step forward and pokes his head over the counter.

"Hi Kira," he says smiling as he gives me a little wave with his fingertips.

"Uh, hi Jack," I reply, completely mortified as I stand up and straighten my skirt.

"What ‘cha doing?" Jack asks innocently.

"Counting cups?" Damn. Should have said that without the question mark.

"Uh huh," Jack says pulling his head back away from the counter. The guy in front of him places his order (after giving both of us a funny look) and Jack steps to the front of the line as his turn comes up.

"I go it Sandy," I say sighing as I stand up. It had been a pretty dumb idea to hide from Colonel Jack O'Neill. He's probably had secret anti-hiding training or something.

"Think it'll be ok if I just take off Kree?" Sandy asks. I don't miss the slight flinch from Jack as she says this. I glance at my watch- 3:30 p.m.

"Sure." That leaves just me on register, Stefan on bar and Kim to do the dishes (she's the low man on the totem pole as she started work just two weeks ago).

"I like the look Meyers." Jack says eyeing my colorful attire. I try to ignore the little thrill I got from having Jack call me by my last name.

"Victor's idea." I say grudgingly. "For Mardi Gras." I add as an explanation.

"Wasn't that last week?" Jack asks as he checks his watch as if to verify the date.

"Uh huh." I say nodding. "Logistical problems." I say as if that can explain everything.

"Well, the place looks great," Jack remarks, looking around the room once again. We have a Woodstock poster in one corner and several blown up photographs of civil rights leaders, protesters, Vietnam vets and just general images taken from the mid-60's. Outside the other shops have also gone all out with their decorations. Those who couldn't quite do the Mardi Gras theme (like us) were decked out in 1960's paraphernalia. Lava lamps could be seen in windows and Woodstock-type music is being piped out over the block loud speakers. Least we know they work incase we're ever invaded or something.

"So great, you thought Daniel and Captain Carter should some down?" I admit it- I am curious.

"Oh yeah," Jack insists, nodding his head vigorously. "They definitely need to see this." He pauses to look at my skirt. "Plus I think Carter has a skirt just like yours.

I laugh. "I doubt it's just like it." I reply. I take a moment to twirl around. "This is one of my mom's originals. Back in '68 and '69 she used to travel around the country selling them on the street. I think traveling along Route 66 was her favorite. As soon as she gathered enough money for the next leg of her trip, she'd pack on and move further west. My dad followed her through two states before she finally accepted his proposal!" The story of how my parents met and their subsequent marriage is pretty funny, but I doubt Jack really wanted to hear about it.

"You're kidding." Jack looks completely flabbergasted.

I give him a funny look. "Nope. He really did follow her through two states."

"Right," Jack says, nodding slowly. Why do I get the feeling that wasn't what shocked him?

Jack gives another little shake of his head as he turns his attention back to me. "Can I get a regular cup of coffee while I wait for the others?"

"Absolutely. We're brewing a fresh pot right now. Go take a seat and I'll bring it out to you."

"Thanks Kira."

I take out Jack's coffee a few minutes later and then find myself quite busy as a rush of college track guys come on through. Seeing as they're buff, mostly male and slightly sweaty, my (oh so fickle) mind quickly forgets all about Jack O'Neill as I smile and take their orders.

It is a good 30 minutes later that I catch sight of Daniel and Sam walking through the front door. Jack had been sitting quietly as a mouse in the corner of the store; I had honestly forgotten all about him!

"Well at least I'll get a decent cup of coffee out of this whole thing." Daniel grumbles as he opens the door for Sam.

"Daniel, I'm sure the Colonel wouldn't ask us to come on down unless there was a good reason. Besides, did you see the way all the stores are decorated? It's like Halloween out there!"

"And in here," Jack adds, standing up and taking a few steps towards them. "Look around guys."

Both Daniel and Sam stop dead in their tracks as they take a moment to really look around the room. They both smile as the catch sight of Stefan and I decked out in our colorful attire.

"Well this looks strangely familiar," Daniel remarks in an amused voice.

"Déjà vu?" Sam asks, taking a step closer to the Woodstock sign.

"And check out Kira's skirt," Jack adds as he waves me over to the little group.

"Hey Kira," Daniel greets me warmly as I head on over. Forget what I said about not thinking about Daniel all the time. When that man smiles, I can't think of anything BUT Daniel. He gives me a quick once over. "Nice threads."

"Thanks," I answer somewhat shyly as I struggle to resist the urge to tug on my ponytails once again.

"Sir, isn't that.." Sam begins as she eyes my skirt.

"Yep," Jack replies grinning. "Although your skirt was just a bit longer I believe." Jack says eyes twinkling in amusement. I try not to be offended. Captain Sam has a good 6 or 7 inches on me- any skirt she'd own would be a lot longer.

"And it seems Kira's mom used to make skirts just like that back in the late 60's. Sold them on the road along Route 66."

"No way," Daniel gasps, sounding years younger than his 30+ years.

"Way," Jack replies, nodding vigorously.

"Uh guys?" I ask once again completely baffled as to their behavior.

"Sorry Kira," Sam apologizes, as she shoots Daniel and Jack a scolding look. "We had a costume party of sorts last week on base and the skirt I wore looked remarkably like yours."

"It's a pretty standard style Sam, I doubt you have one of mom's original skirts!" I say with a laugh. I mean, can you imagine the odds of that?

"Yeah, you're probably right." Sam doesn't sound all that convinced, however.

"Can I get you guys something to drink?" I ask, feeling the need to take the attention away from mom's skirt and me.

"I'll have a double tall mocha," Daniel says instantly.

"Do you have Chai here Kira?" Sam asks.

"Of course," I reply. "We can make it with either regular milk or soy milk."

"Regular would be great."

"Another refill Jack?" I ask.

"I'm good." I nod as I walk back to the cash register. Stefan is already busy steaming the chocolate milk.

"Chai Carter?" I overhear Jack say as he leads his team back to his table. "What the hell is Chai?"

"In Russian it means tea Jack," Daniel adds helpfully.

"Then why didn't she just say ‘tea' Daniel?"

"Sir, you really do need to get out more," Sam says, chuckling softly. "Chai is a kind of tea drink, but made with lots of milk and spices. Nutmeg, cloves- cinnamon—it's like a latte, only made with tea."

"Sounds like that stuff we were served on..during that fact finding mission we went on a few weeks ago."

"Very similar to that sir," Sam says nodding. "That's when I remembered that there's other things to order in a coffee shop besides coffee."

"Nothing of consequence though," Daniel adds, as he gratefully accepts the mocha I had to him. "Cheers Kira."

"Daniel, you are such a coffee slave," Jack remarks, chiding his friend affectionately.

"I don't deny it Jack." Daniel takes a large sip of his beverage and looks content.

"Thanks Kira," Sam says as I hand her the chai.

"Would you like a taste sir?" Sam asks, offering Jack her beverage.

"Maybe next time Carter," Jack answers, wrinkling his nose slightly. "I think the last stuff I drank gave me a bit of a hangover."

"You barely touched the drink Jack!" Daniel scoffs.

"Well excuse me if I'm a little cautious these days about accepting food or drink from strangers!" Jack replies hotly.

"I think it's only food that's given specifically to you that you need to be worried about sir," Sam explains, trying not to grin.

"That was not my fault!"

"Uh huh," Daniel replies, taking another drink of his coffee

"Daniel…" Jack warns pointing a finger at his friend.

"This tastes great Kira!" Sam says attempting to break the mood and interrupt whatever strange conversation Jack and Daniel were having. It seemed to work.

"Thanks," I answer, as I leave them to their cryptic conversations.

As I reach the counter I can just hear Colonel Jack taking one last jab at Daniel. "Just remember Danny, you've had far more let us say ‘unusual' adventures than I."

"Yeah, but I'm the flakey archaeologist Jack- it's expected of me."

Jack lets out an exasperated sigh. "Carter, can you or Murray do something stupid the next time around?" I laugh quietly as I tune them out and focus my attention on the next person in line.

They stayed in the shop for another 15 minutes or so and spent most of the time reminiscing about some 60's party they had gone too. The conversation didn't make a lot of sense, as I would only hear bits and pieces of conversation before having to help another customer. Eventually Jack announced that they should get going and they all stood up and headed towards the register. Jack paid while Daniel bussed their dishes for me. (Yet another reason why I'm a proud member of the Daniel Jackson fan club.)

"Have a good rest of the weekend guys," I say to them as they head out the door.

"Will do Kira. You do the same," Jack replies in return.

"Sam!" I shout as I run to catch them before they leave. Everyone stops and turns to look at me. "If that skirt you have is one my mom made, there should be a small daisy appliqué sewed into the waist band. That was my mom's signature back in her seamstress/vagabond days."

"I'll make sure and have a look Kira." Sam gives me a big smile. "Take care."

"You too." I stand in the doorway for several seconds watching them amble down the street. Sometimes I really wish I could follow them to work and see just what it is they do. So many in-jokes! But in the meantime I'm content just giving them their occasional beverage and hearing second hand what they've been up too.

And having Daniel help me with my homework.

More Authors' Notes:

Last of the Season 2 Barista vignettes. I hope everyone had just as much fun reading them as I had writing them. But wait! I was given a great idea for a bonus Barista story a few weeks ago and will probably go back in time and write a chapter 17.5 in the very near future. Thank you again for all your very positive feedback!

I'll be continuing with Season 3 as soon as I get a chance to watch them. This might be a little while, but 17.5 should assuage any withdrawal symptoms until I can get my hands on the next round of Stargate DVDs. (Mid June??)

One last thought- I do have Jack calling Sam ‘Sam' on the telephone and thought long and hard about that. The thing is, that although Sam will probably not be able to drop the ‘Colonel' or ‘Sir' title- Jack can. Go back and watch ‘Spirits'- as Sam goes off on her first mission lead, Jack calls her ‘Sam'. In my humble opinion, it isn't until ‘Out of Mind' (Hey Carter, can I count your freckles for you?) that other, non-military and not strictly friend-related ideas start filtering through his head. IMHO.

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