Title: Barista 21-- Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing, Oh My!
Season: Season 3
Related Episode : Seth
Rating: G
Category: Humor


It feels strange to be back in the Northwest after nearly 15 years of living in the Rockies. I was born in Portland, Oregon, but I don't remember too much of those first 8 years of my life. I'm pretty certain coffee wasn't the end all-be all down there like it is up here in Seattle. But then again, I was only in elementary school, so what did I know?

When Victor asked me if I would like to head to Seattle for a coffee convention, I just laughed. I mean, sure it makes sense to have a Starbucks convention in Seattle, but an independent coffee convention? Isn't that just a little weird? Apparently the organizers of INCA (Independent Coffee Organization of America) thought it would be hysterical to flout their independence by gathering in the Mecca of all coffee cities: Seattle. I have to admit- they were pretty much right.

Several hundred representatives (both baristas and owners) met in downtown Seattle's Convention Center for a little knowledge sharing and general big business bashing. We had fun tasting small house coffee roasts and strategizing how to make the most of independent coffee houses. While it is true that I don't especially like coffee, I do enjoy the smell and am perfectly capable of sampling different blends.

The best part came when we took breaks or went to lunch. We'd walk down the streets of downtown Seattle wearing "Support Independent Coffee" buttons. I found the whole thing hysterical, although Seattleites seemed to take our presence in stride. We had several locals stop and talk with us about the importance of small businesses and supporting local communities. They seemed earnest enough despite the lingering scent of coffee on their breath. Who knows? Perhaps they had been drinking their own homemade coffee? Yeah right! As if anyone in Seattle actually owns a Mr. Coffee. Still, it was enjoyable chatting with small-time coffee shop owners and baristas from other parts of the country.

The weather had been a surprise though. I had brought a light raincoat and covered shoes specifically for my visit and what do I get? 76 degrees and a light northerly breeze; so much for the mythos of Seattle rain. I guess I should have known better.

I had spent yesterday walking around the touristy Pike Place market located in the heart of downtown Seattle. The number of people was truly impressive and I wondered if any of the strangers jostling my arms and legs were locals. I watched the guys throwing fish and ate my lunch in a park along the waterfront. Mt. Rainier hovered like a majestic guardian angel in the background as I enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine and watched the ferries cruise to and fro across the sound. I can see why people might like to live here.

Today I decided to leave the crowded downtown area and head towards…the equally crowded historic district. Unlike most of the other tourists about however, I had a destination, Elliot Bay Books. Although not nearly as large as the prodigious Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, I had been told that Elliot Bay was a pretty cool bookstore in its own right. And being the not so closeted bibliophile that I am, I had to go check it out.

As I browsed the stacks I listened to the booksellers talk about the growing popularity of Amazon books and what it might mean for independent booksellers. I think I'm beginning to see a theme here in Seattle. Although the city as a whole seems to attract mega corporations (anyone hear of a little computer company known as Microsoft? How about Boeing?), the liberal-minded denizens tended to root for the little guy. I had a feeling this winter's World Trade Organization meeting here would be interesting.

I find myself in the ancient history section and am eyeing some books on Mesopotamia. Eyeing being just about all I could do, as the books are a good two feet above my head. I glance to my right and spy one of the many little step stools located throughout the store. Unfortunately, someone was actually sitting on the damn thing so I couldn't actually use it. The left yielded only a couple of patrons browsing similar shelves as I. With a sigh I carefully push several books on the lower shelf towards the back and gingerly take a step higher as I reach for the still unattainable Secrets of Early Civilization. Sometimes being short sucks.

"You know, I bet there are easier ways to get a book," a humorous voice says behind me as a hand reaches blithely past my shoulder and grabs the book I want.

Instantly I freeze; I know that voice.

I slowly take a step down and turn around and am greeted by a smiling and very familiar face. My draw drops. "Daniel?" I'm certain I'm doing a really excellent impression of a puffer fish. I know it has to be him, but it just isn't everyday you see a friend from home. At least not when your home is several thousand miles away.

"Kira?" Daniel's eyes widen in shock and surprise and we stare at each other for several long moments before Daniel's face breaks into a grin and he reaches down to give me a long hug. Daniel hug number four!

Not that I'm counting or anything.

"What are you doing in Seattle?" He asks releasing me from the hug and handing over the book I was having problems reaching.

"Coffee convention," I reply grinning. "You?"

"Business." Daniel's answer is short and succinct. Hmm. Not much of an answer, but this is Daniel after all; enigma is his middle name.

"Colonel Jack and Sam with you?" I ask looking around the crowded store.

"Not in the store, no. But Jack's here in Seattle as well." I shake my head in disbelief and smile. What are the odds?

"And Sam? What about your friend Murray?"

"Sam and her dad are in San Diego and Murray.."

"She's with her dad?" I interrupt as my mind instantly flashes back to last winter and his illness. "Is he doing all right?

"He's doing fine Kira." I start worrying my lower lip between my teeth. "You sure?"

"I spoke to him just yesterday," Daniel says, giving me a reassuring smile. "He's doing good." I catch a little hesitation in his voice.

"But…?" I prompt.

Daniel shakes his head and chuckles. "Is there anything you don't catch Kira?"

"Not really." I give him a little shrug. I don't think Daniel needs to know that I only really pay attention to people and subjects I like. Confused the hell out of my parents. A's in history and social studies, while the "easier" courses of PE and home economics usually meant a low C. Well it did until I realized I needed a good GPA in order to get into college. After that, I forced myself to pay attention to the boring classes as well.

I notice that Daniel still hasn't explained about Jacob, and I shoot him a look usually reserved for Stefan or one of my other friends. The look that says 'Stop being so pig-headed and spill it!'

"Well?" I prompt.

"Jacob was slightly injured two days ago." Daniel explains, as he unsuccessfully tries to hide a grimace. Slightly injured? Catching himself, Daniel backpedales. "Honest Kira, I spoke to both Jacob and Sam this morning; they're doing fine. They're in San Diego visiting Sam's brother."

I nod. I can see he was telling me the truth. Although with Daniel it never is really the *whole* truth, but as long as I know that Jacob Carter is all right, I'm content to let it be. "So Daniel," I ask with a playful smile on my lips. "Want to grab a cup of coffee?"

"I have a better idea Kira," Daniel answers slyly, as he smiles and nods his head knowingly. Grabbing my books, he heads to the registers.


"You are a sneaky lit.." I pause considering my choice of words. I can't really be calling a 6-foot tall guy little, can I? "You are a sneaky one Dr. Jackson," I say instead as Daniel reaches into his pocket and takes out a white hotel card key.

Daniel holds one long tapered finger to his lips and motions me to be quiet. The door opens with a soft click and Daniel steps inside. He waves me behind him as we step into a decent sized living room. I had only been in a hotel suite once before and still found the notion of anything besides the obligatory two queen size beds and a small table extravagant.

Although it's 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the curtains are drawn and the lights are dimmed. I can see the vague outline of a person sprawled out on a bed in the next room. Daniel turns to me and grins even wider. I shake my head and motion to him to come back out. It's one thing to surprise Jack with my presence, it's something completely different to wake the guy up!

"You do know I heard you come in, don't you Daniel?" A gravelly voice says from the next room.

"Can't put anything past you, can I Jack?" Daniel replies in return, as he steps into the bedroom. I remain behind in the shadows of the living room.

"Special ops training, Daniel." Jack flops over onto his back and pulls the pillow over his head. "How come you don't have a damn headache?" He asks in an accusing voice muffled by the pillow. "I can understand why Carter escaped this joyful experience, but shouldn't you, Mr. Pollen/Grass/Dander, be having some side effects?" He groans melodramatically as he takes the pillow off his head and squints in Daniel's general direction.

Hangover? I frown slightly trying to think of what could make Jack O'Neill feel obviously under the weather and not effect Daniel. From what I had seen last year, Daniel can't really hold his liquor and I think Jack beat Sam in that silly drinking contest of theirs.

Daniel just shrugs. "Janet thinks it has something to do with my antihistamines."

"I swear Daniel, Janet should just issue everyone who goes off.."

"Jack!" Daniel interjects loudly, interrupting whatever Jack was going to say. He glances back in my direction and waves me forward. "You'll never guess what I found at the bookstore." Apparently Daniels loud shout had left Jack hurting once again. His pillow is back over his face and all I can see is a couple fingers twirling around in a 'la-di-da' loop.

"Just as long as it doesn't weigh over our allotment of 80 pounds Daniel." Jack replies in a muffled voice.

Daniel grins as he looks back in my direction. "I think she weighs a little more than that Jack."

"She?" Jack repeats, as he slowly removes his pillow and turns his head towards Daniel's direction. I'm pretty sure he can see me skulking in the shadows behind Daniel. "Picking up strays again Dr. Jackson?" Jack asks, as he carefully eases himself up into a sitting position.

"Hi Jack." I step out from behind Daniel and give the Colonel a little wave.

"Kira." Jack takes in my presence with casual aplomb. "Aren't you a little far from home?"

"No further than you," I replhy impishly in return.

"Smart ass," he mumbles as he grabs a bottle of aspirin next to the bed and pours a couple of the tablets into his hand. "Thanks for giving me the advanced notice Daniel." Jack says tightly as he swallows the pills dry. Ew! He must really be hurting if he doesn't even feel the need for water. Either that or his taste buds are all out of whack.

"Quit being a grouch Jack." Daniel steps over to the vanity area and pours Jack a glass of water. "You didn't betray any deep dark Air Force secret or anything."

"No thanks to you," Jack says pointedly, accepting the water with a small nod of thanks.

"Give me a little credit Jack!" Daniel whines, sounding several years younger than he actually is.

"Maybe I should just leave?" I ask meekly from the edge of the room. Once again I feel like Jack and Daniel are having some hugely significant conversation disguised as idiotic banter. They remind me of my twin cousins - they're 14.

"No!" They both say simultaneously.

"Ouch," Jack mutters painfully, as he closes his eyes for a few moments.

"You ok?" I ask knowing full well I would never be told exactly why Jack feels like crap.

"I will be," Jack replies lightly. He gives Daniel another of those private looks of theirs.

"I've been thinking, Jack," Daniel begins, sitting on the side of the bed.

"No shocker there." Daniel lets out a small sigh and continues.

"It was something Selmak said to me. You know he has a pretty interesting theory you were affected so adversely when neither Sam nor I were Jack."

"Dr. Jackson," Jack answers tiredly. "Does national security mean nothing to you?"

"What are you talking about Jack?" Daniel replies with feigned innocence. "Dr. Selmak had some really interesting ideas. You were too busy being pig-headed about staying in Seattle to listen."

"Dr. Selmak?" Jack repeats raising an eyebrow slightly. Both he and Daniel seem to like doing the eyebrow thing. Come to think of it, didn't Murray do it as well?

"Yep." Daniel looks smug.

"Jacob's gonna love that," Jack says smirking.

"Jacob Carter?" I ask. Jack nods.

"Yep. I know you haven't seen Jacob since he was doing his suffocating fish impression in your shop.."

"Jack!" Daniel looks angry. "Jacob was dying!"

"Daniel!" Jack says in return. "Jacob is alive now, and I think I should be allowed to joke about his miraculous return to good health."

"Don't think Sam would appreciate it much," Daniel mutters.

"Ah, Carter would understand." Jack says as he sets down his water. "She likes my humor."

"She tolerates you Jack because you're her superior officer." Daniel clarifies. I attempt to disguise my chukcle with a cough. Jack doesn't buy it.

"Anyway," Jack continues, giving Daniel another one of his steely-eye looks. "Jacob is doing a hell of a lot better than the last time Kira saw him."

"This is true," Daniel agrees with a nod.

Jack just grunts and attempts to stand up. Quickly he reaches a hand out to steady himself. "Whoa, head rush." He explains as Daniel takes a step towards him. Jack just waves him away.

"I don't know about you kids, but I could so use a cup of coffee right about now.

"Coffee sounds great." I say nodding enthusiastically. I needed to get out of this Jackson/O'Neill fun house.

"You sure that's a good idea Jack?" Daniel asks, sounding a bit like a mother hen.

"Daniel," Jack says wagging a finger in Daniel's direction. "Think about how many times Frasier has you on caffeine restriction and think about how many times that happens to me." Daniel opens his mouth, but before he can say anything Jack continues. "Now think about how many times I have smuggled you in bootleg coffee." Again Daniel opens his mouth to reply and again Jack beats him to the punch. "Now consider just who might be willing to go against Doc's orders the next time you go and touch something you're not supposed to."

"Actually Jack, you were the one who touched…"

"Caffeine Daniel," Jack says interrupting Daniel's latest rant. "Just remember who keeps you endlessly supplied with caffeine."

"I thought that was Kira, Jack."

"Kira doesn't have access to level 28." Jack concludes triumphantly.

"You guys should really take this act on the road," I mutter as I follow the pair back towards the suite's living room. What the hell was in level 28?

"Think I should suggest that to Hammond?" Jack asks, as he lowers himself onto the couch and begins to put on a pair of shoes.

"Uh...no." Daniel replies, handing Jack his sunglasses.

"May I buy you a cup of coffee Ms. Meyers?" Jack asks solicitously, as he bows slightly and walks me towards the door.

"Absolutely Colonel."

"Torre Fazione!" Daniel says from behind us.

"Daniel, it's too early for pizza." Jack sighs as the hotel room door clicks behind us.

"Coffee Jack. It's a brand of coffee."

"Kira?" Jack asks, turning towards me for confirmation.

"Yep, it's coffee." I confirm with a nod. "Actually I agree with Daniel, its pretty good stuff."

"If you happen to drink coffee." Jack finishes.

"If you happen to drink coffee." I repeat. Guess he remembers that coffee actually isn't my thing. Well, drinking thing that is.

"Kira," Jack says as we reach the elevator. "May I buy you a cup of tea?"

A/N: Hee hee hee. That was fun! Hope you enjoyed this light and fluffy little Barista tale. I'm afraid the next few are going to be a little on the heavy side. Daniel drugged to the gills and put in an insane asylum? Shar'e dying? Oh yeah- we're talking some serious angst ahead.

I just made up the bit about INCA. If there really is an independent coffee organization (and I'm sure there is) it probably isn't called my little made-up acronym. And did everyone catch the subtle little jab at the World Trade Organization? The Seattle WTO riots happened in December 1999.

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