Title: Barista 28-- Bullsh*t
Season: Season 3
Spoilers: Shades of Gray (318), slight Urgo reference
Rating: PG-13 (for obvious swearword usage)

Author's Notes: The long awaited Kira-take on Shades of Gray. Hope it doesn't disappoint! Very special thank you to Susan for her educating me on the proper use of commas. And to Roxie and Kath for their beta'ing expertise!

February is just not my favorite month. Come to think of it, January isn't a whole lot of fun either. All the winter holidays are over and outside of a Monday off for Martin Luthor King, Jr. Day, there's nothing to look forward to until May! Except spring break. But then again, spring break is for students and teachers - coffee shop workers tend to be twice as busy around that time. Gee, lucky me.

On the plus side, the world didn't end at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999. Not that anyone seriously thought it would, but it was questionable whether our computers would work the next day. Turned out to be complete hype. Oh sure, maybe if everyone were still running their old Apple IIs there might have been an issue, but computer and software companies did everything they could to sell and upgrade just about everything out there. So January 1st, 2000 (man, that sounds weird) turned out to be just another day.

Another day with a really, really bad headache, but that's a whole different story. At least I wasn't alone in my misery.

I saw Daniel just twice last month, and both times he was looking pretty glum. I didn't need to ask how the search was going for Jack, it was written all over his face. He had dragged Sam in with him the last time and I was shocked at how..well, crappy she looked. We're talking bags the size of small moons under her eyes! Apparently Sam has the same propensity as Daniel to not eat when worried or busy; apparently she has been both. Even in bulky winter clothing, I could see she had lost several pounds. Now I understand why Daniel was so worried about her - Sam is not a woman who can afford to lose 10 or 15 pounds! I was still confused as to why it seemed (at least to Daniel and definitely to Sam herself) like Sam was the only person capable of finding Jack. I'm sure the Air Force has a crack team of search and rescue commandos or something like that. Still, I know I'm not getting the whole story here, so I'll just make sure my friends know that I'm here if they need a sympathetic ear..or large quantities of caffeine.

I had just finished unlocking the front doors a few weeks ago, when Daniel came bursting in like a caricature of the Tasmanian devil himself. Instantly I guess that Jack must have been found.

"He's back," Daniel said in a rush, with a very large smile. The smile was contagious, and I found myself grinning as well. "We brought him back yesterday. We didn't get much time with him before he was whisked away by the base's CO, General Hammond, for a briefing."

"Well, that sucks," I said. "You finally get Jack home, and he has to go sit in a stuffy office and give a briefing?? How fair is that?"

"Not very," Daniel said with a knowing shake of his head. "Jack did promise to have us all over for a BBQ tonight, so it will be wonderful to.."

I never got to hear how wonderful it would be, as Daniel was interrupted by the shrill beeping of his cellphone.

"You know, I really hate these things ..." Daniel said as he pushed a button to answer the call.

"I know I'm late ..." Daniel started, before even hearing who it was. Late? It's six o'clock in the morning, how the heck can he be late?

"Hi, Jack!" Daniel said enthusiastically. "I'm afraid my amazing skills in punctuality have not improved in your absence." He paused to listen to Jack's answer, and I could see his face noticeably deflate as Jack continued to talk.

"Oh," Daniel said at last. Jack must have said something more, for then Daniel interrupted him. "No, no - I understand, Jack." He turned away from me and held up one of his hands in frustration. "Actually Jack, I don't understand. You just returned from three months living in a place you never wanted to be. Can't they give you a little time to yourself? I can cite plenty of examples of the importance of acclimation ..."

I didn't hear Jack's answer, but I betcha it was something along the lines of, "It's the military way.".

"Well, the Air Force is wrong, Jack," Daniel said, becoming more and more agitated. "I know you're career military and all that, but can't General Hammond . . ?" Again he paused as Jack said something.

"Fine," Daniel said, clearly not happy. "I'll tell Sam and T ... Murray when I get in to work." His shoulders slumped in defeat as he listened to Jack's final words.

"Jack, have you at least had a chance to talk to Sam?" Pause.

"Well, you should." There was a lot of weight in that last sentence of Daniel's. "I'll see you in a few days, then." I know Jack must have said goodbye, but Daniel sure didn't.

"Well, at least he's home," Daniel said softly accepting his espresso.

I hadn't seen Daniel for two weeks since then and was kinda wondering how he and Jack were working out. Actually, I wasn't really certain Jack was back. After being gone for more than three months, I don't think I was going to believe he had returned until I saw him for myself.

Tuesday afternoons in February are notoriously slow. Tourists usually visit places like Vail or Crested Butte in the winter. My regulars are all at work and I'm just plain bored.

Bored and cold. Victor seriously needs to buy us a new furnace. Or the building's landlords do - I dunno how all of that works. Just know its damn cold in here!

I had just made myself my third hot cider of the day when the door opens and there in glorious Technicolor is one Colonel Jack O'Neill.

"Jack!" I shout as a rush around the counter and give him a huge hug. It was complete spontaneity on my part and luckily Jack didn't seem to mind so much.

"Hi, Kira," he says giving me an affectionate hug in return. "Miss me much?" he asks looking down at me.

"Just a little," I say trying not to go all girly on him and burst into tears. I can't help it; I hadn't seen Jack in nearly four months!

"I missed you too," Jack says fondly. "There was no coffee at all where I was!"

"Oh you poor man," I say releasing Jack from my death grip. "How did you survive?"

"I had help," Jack says somewhat wistfully with a small shrug. I know I'm not going to get the whole story about where Jack was and what has happened these last several months; best to concentrate on what he *can* tell me.

"Coffee?" I ask.

"I'd love some," Jack says accompanying me to the counter. "And why don't I try one of those American-things Daniel always has."


"Yeah, that's the one."

"Single, double or triple?" I ask. Jack mutters something about coffee sounding a lot like baseball and settles for a double tall.

"So how are you, Jack?" I ask as I hand him his drink and lead him over to the two easy chairs near the window.

"Cold," Jack says instantly looking around the deserted shop. "Kira, have you guys heard of a thermostat?" I can't help but laugh.

"Victor's working on it." I say running back and grabbing my own steaming cider to warm my hands.

"That's good." Jack pauses somewhat awkwardly before perking up as he remembers something. "I heard through the grapevine that you graduated."

"Yep," I say nodding. "Last December. You're now looking at a UC Springs graduate student."

"Well, congratulations!" Jack says proudly. "So, what are you studying now?" He interrupts himself to place a caveat on his question, "If you tell me archaeology, Kira, I might just faint." I laugh.

"Jack, I doubt you have ever fainted in your life."

"Well maybe not so much fainted, as passed out ... "

"I figured as much," I say, chuckling.

"So . . ?" Jack asks again. "What are you studying?"

"I'm currently just studying Ancient History, but am considering getting a double MA in History and Archival Science."

"No archaeology?" Jack asks sounding relieved.

"Well, I'm not going to get a degree in it, but ..."

"Here we go," Jack says leaning back and taking a sip of his coffee.

"I'm heading to Egypt next month in order to work on a dig."

"Of course you are," Jack says with a sigh. He pauses for a moment deep in thought. "Kira, have you ever met anyone name Urgo?"

"Who?" I ask completely confused. Urgo? What kind of name is Urgo?

"Sorry. Forget I asked." Jack says shaking his head. "Still, you do remind me of Daniel."

"I'll take that as a compliment," I say beaming.

"You should," Jack answers simply.

"How is Daniel, Jack?"

"Pissed at me." Now it's my turn to lean back in the chair. Daniel and Jack sure seem to have a complicated relationship; I have lost track of the number of times they have been worried about one another. Pissed at one another seems to come up fairly frequently as well.

"What did you do?" I ask.

"Not going to ask what Daniel did?" Jack counters.

"You said Daniel is pissed at you, not that you are pissed at Daniel; this implies that you are the one who knowingly messed things up."

"You sure you don't have a minor in psychology in those degrees of yours?"

"Nope," I confirm. "But after three years of working customer service, I'm really good at reading people.

"So is Daniel," Jack says quietly. "Unfortunately, I'm better at lying." Huh? What the heck is he talking about?

"Jack?" I ask softly.

"Right after I returned to home, I was asked by my commanding officer to go undercover on a mission."

"That must be when you cancelled the BBQ," I supply. Jack looks at me oddly.

"I'm not even going to ask how you know about that." I just shrug.

"In order for the mission to work, I had to pretend to be something I wasn't."

"That's what going undercover means, right?"

"You certain I can't talk you into applying to the Air Force Academy, Kira?" Jack asks hopefully. I let out a laugh.

"Positive, Jack."

"Can't blame a colonel for trying." Jack murmurs before continuing his story. "I needed to infiltrate a group of really bad individuals, Kira, and to protect my team, I needed to do it without their knowing about it."

"So you went undercover without telling them," I summarized.

"Exactly," Jack says nodding. "Thing is, there was a good chance the bad guys had Major Carter or Daniel bugged, so I had to put on an act pretending I didn't really like them."

"But they knew it was an act, right?" I asked. "Your team knows you and had to know that it was all an act."

"That's just it, Kira." Jack says dejectedly. "They didn't."

"Bullshit," I say.

"Excuse me?" Jack says clearly surprised at my use of language.

"You heard me the first time," I say suddenly feeling very much out of place swearing at a guy (albeit a very cute guy) old enough to be my dad. "There's no way they didn't know you were faking it."

"Kira, don't take this the wrong way - but you don't know what the hell you're talking about here."

"Give me your phone," I order. Order? I'm ordering a colonel around? I'm so going to hell for this. Without a word, (but with a raise of an eyebrow) he gives me his phone. I deftly go to his address book and find Daniel's number. Please be home, Daniel. Please be home.


"Daniel?" I ask.

"Speaking," Daniel confirms. "May I ask who is calling?" Man! The guy is polite even on the phone!

"This is Kira, Daniel. I'm currently sitting here at Victors with Colonel O'Neill and I need you to come right over."

"Is Jack all right?" Daniel asks in a concerned voice.

"No. Not really," I say truthfully. "Can you come over, Daniel?" I ask.

"I'm on my way."

I hang up and give Jack back his phone.

"I can't believe you just did that, Kira," Jack says sounding both amazed and irritated at the same time.

"Believe it, Jack," I say still running on adrenaline from my very ballsy move. I hear the telltale sound of the door opening and head back to the register to greet my new customer. "You'll stay until he arrives?" I ask fearful that he'll say, "No".

"I'll stay," Jack says with a small nod. I let out a breath I didn't know I had been holding.

"Thanks, Jack," I say before turning to greet my new customer.

Twenty minutes later one disheveled-looking Daniel Jackson walks through the front door. He sees Jack sitting by himself over by the window and makes his way over.

"Hi, Jack," Daniel says shoving his hands into his pockets.

"Hi, Daniel," Jack replies, motioning for Daniel to sit beside him.

Daniel sits in the empty seat and for countless seconds they simply stare at each other in silence.

"We need to talk, Daniel," Jack begins.

"You're right, Jack, we do," Daniel replies with a nod.

I smile to myself as Daniel skootches his chair closer and the two seem to have a very serious one-on-one discussion. Maybe I was wrong and Daniel didn't know. But you know what? As long as at the end of the day Jack and Daniel are friends again, I couldn't care less.

Notes: I had all sorts of ideas for a conclusion, but decided to wimp out and have Jack and Daniel sort it out for themselves without any nosy Baristas about. Let me know if my take on Shades worked!

I'm envisioning just one more Barista before Season 3 Barista tales are done. I'm going to do everything in my power to write that story before I leave on my little excursion this summer, but I can't promise you it'll happen I'm afraid. I still need to write Teal'c's Behind The Scenes story and there's that whole work/school thing as well. Oh, and finalizing all the details for my vacation this summer. These things take time I'm afraid. If anyone has a spare robot or clone, I'd be more than happy to borrow it/him/her for the month!

Completed April 25, 2004

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