Title: Barista 34 -- Simple Pleasures
Season: Season 4
Spoilers: 0405- Window of Opportunity
Category Humor
Rating: PG

Author's Notes: I swear the idea for this story has been in my head for ages. Not wanting this series to be anything but canon, I wasn't going to go into the whole Jack/Sam kiss thing. What I did want, was to write a little something for Jack. After all te poor guy just went through how many months of monotony?? The story idea is mine - some of the ingredient suggestions might have come from others. *eg*

I am having such an odd day.

On the ride into work, my front tire blew. Now this alone isn't so odd, but I swear as it blew, I knew it was going to happen. Kinda a déjà vu kind of thing; only multiplied by a factor of ten or so. Yeah, it was that intense.

I'm a good 20 minutes late for work, and apologize profusely to Victor before washing up and putting on my apron. Victor actually isn't mad - which in itself is a little unusual. And then he tells me (smiling slyly) that there is something he needs for me to do. Now, you can argue that I did indeed know that today was barista training day, but seeing as how I wasn't the one scheduled to train them, I didn't really give it much thought. But, at that moment, I knew Victor was going to ask me to be the trainer. Knew it, knew it, knew it.

Déjà vu.

And so I, lucky me, get to train newbies. Joy.

The good news is that explaining the importance of timed espresso shots and the differences in coffee grinds actually takes up most of my morning. I know I may bitch about training, but I think I actually do a fairly decent job. I do enjoy explaining things to folks, but I'd much rather it be on something, say, more important than the difference between a French roast and an Italian roast. 22 ½ years old and already I'm jaded.

I'm just about to take a break (the "kids" having been sent to lunch a few minutes earlier) when I hear a familiar voice.

"Allow me, ma'am."

I turn towards the voice, and spy a very chipper Jack O'Neill holding the door open for a 20-something young woman. She giggles at Jack's chivalry.

"Anyone else want in or out while I have it open?" he asks the room politely, shifting the brown bag he's carrying from one arm to the other. Hearing no response, Jack walks through the door and saunters over towards the front counter.

"Hiya Kira!" I don't think I have ever seen Jack sound so darn. happy! His eyes are twinkling with pleasure and he is looking around the shop as if he hasn't seen it in ages. Which is ridiculous as he and Daniel stopped by after work just last week. Suddenly my eyes open wide and I can feel my eyebrows nearly disappearing into my hairline as I realize what this means: Jack has a girlfriend!

I mean it makes sense, right? Twinkle in his eye, bounce in his step - Jack's gotten lucky! I'd be jealous, except I'm way beyond thinking of Jack as the "tall cute guy". Oh Jack is attractive all right, but I would feel pretty creeped out if I thought of him in that way. Jack's way more the father-like figure for me. It's one thing to have a crush on my cute 40-something professor at school, but seeing as how I don't actually know the guy makes it all right.

Hey, it makes sense to me, ok?

"Hi Jack," I answer with just as much enthusiasm. "Having a good day?"

"The best," Jack replies, giving me a large smile. Jack doesn't do big smiles often, so I'm standing firm in my assumption that he a new girlfriend. "Anyone I know?" I fish.

"Anyone you know, what?" he answers, sounding confused. He sets the bag down on the counter with a loud clunk.

"Your new girlfriend, Jack," I reply patiently. "Anyone I know?"

"I don't have a new girlfriend," he insists, looking bemused.

"Promotion?" I try again.

"Nope," Jack says, shaking his head.

"Pay raise?"

"Uh uh."

"Discovered a new deep space telemetry astral body?" I'm still highly skeptical about what Jack does up there in Cheyenne Mountain, but "officially" he does work on this deep space project. Somehow.

"That's more Carter's area, actually," Jack replies jovially. His eyes are still dancing around like he can't think of anything better to do than argue with me about why he's happy.

"Kicked some deep space telemetry's alien ass?" I try again. Hey! If Daniel can use the 'alien' line, than so can I.

Jack laughs. "Not this week."

"All right, I give up!" I announce, throwing both hands into the air. "Why are you in such a darn good mood, Jack?"

"I'm just having a darn good day, Kira," Jack replies. He takes a deep breath and blissfully inhales the aroma of fresh ground coffee. "Your coffee smells damn good."

Before I can comment on that rather odd comment, Daniel comes bustling into the shop. In his arms are three bags of groceries.

"You owe me coffee, Jack," Daniel insists, as he sets the bags down on a table.

"Did you get everything?" Jack asks eagerly, sticking his nose into first one bag and then another.

Daniel begins listing items off on his finger tips. "Red peppers, yellow peppers, portobello mushrooms, wild onions, cherry tomatoes."

"What about the steaks?"

Daniel rolls his eyes. "I wasn't finished yet, Jack." He starts counting off items on his left hand, "six t-bone steaks, five pounds of potato salad, blue and red jello and two six packs of beer."

"Wow," I say. "That's impressive."

"And heavy," Daniel adds, massaging his right bicep.

"What about the fruit?" Jack asks impatiently. "I want a pomegranate!"

"Jack, have you ever even tasted a pomegranate before?" Daniel asks, smiling.

"No, but I read up on them a bit during one of my "off" loops," Jack explains.

Off loops?

"Jack, I can't believe you just said that!" Daniel admonishes, looking shocked.

"Oh, give it a rest, Danny," Jack replies cheerfully. "Kira already knows we use weird military jargon all the time. I think she's used to it." He gives me a look. "You're used to us making no sense at all, right?"

"Oh, absolutely, Jack!" I reply, laughing. "You guys often make no sense whatsoever. Don't worry about it!"

"See?" Jack says, pointing his thumb at me, "no sense whatsoever."

Daniel sighs loudly. "Sam is picking up the ingredients for the fruit salad, Murray is bringing some home specialty dishes, and Janet said that she and Cassie will be bringing the dessert."

"Desserts," Jack adds. "Desserts, plural, Daniel." He whips out his cellphone and begins to press some buttons. "Do I need to remind Fraiser?"

Daniel reaches out and snatches Jack's phone. "Desserts plural, Jack," he placates. "Janet heard your "orders" as well as everyone else. She's going to bring at least two different fruit pies, a plate of brownies and a chocolate cake."

Jack nods. "That should work for the time being," he muses.

"Party?" I ask.

"Sort of," Daniel replies a little awkwardly. He has that look on his face that always preludes a really big whopper; a cross between looking constipated and an epiphany.

"You saw us last week, right?" Daniel continues. I nod. "Well, during that week, Jack here participated in a.ummm.a sensory deprivation experiment."

"Really?" I ask, interested. I had read something about those weird water-filled tanks that prevent external feelings of any kind. Part of me finds it fascinating; the other part of me thinks it would be a horrible experience.

"In a manner of speaking," Jack replies, giving Daniel a funny look. I swear I saw Daniel shrug slightly.

"Let's just say, Kira," Jack adds, "that it feels like I haven't had any good food or drink in months." I take a moment to mull that over. It certainly would explain Jack's desire for all those fresh vegetables. I stand up on my tip toes and try to peek into Jack's brown bag. I knew Daniel bought the vegetables, and Sam was getting the fruit - what did Jack buy?

"What's in the bag, Jack?" I ask, eyeing the 'Louie's Liquor Store' logo on the outside.

"Would you believe wholesome fruit juice and milk?" Jack replies. I laugh and shake my head.

"Not for a moment."

"Months without good food and drink," Jack replies, as he reaches into the bag and pulls out another brown-bagged bottle of something or other.

"You know Daniel's favorite coffee drink, Kira," Jack says cheerfully, "but I bet you don't know mine." He taps the bagged bottle lightly. "Guess."

I smile at the challenge. "Well, obviously that bottle didn't come from the Wholesome Foods shop down the street.." I begin. Jack shakes his head. "And you did say something about your favorite coffee drink.." Jack nods.

"Whiskey," I guess. Jack doesn't strike me a sweet coffee drinker, so that ruled out Baileys or Kahlua. It had to be whiskey and Irish Coffee.

"What kind of whiskey?" Jack shoots back. Oh give me a break, Jack! As if I know anything about whiskey!

"Single malt?" I try. Jack shakes his head.

"That's scotch, Kira."

"Jack, I think I'd be worried if Kira could name whiskey brands off the top of her head." Thank you Daniel!

"It's Jameson's," Jack says, showing me a bit of the label. "Triple distilled and the best whiskey ever for Irish coffee.

"I see," I say, smiling at Jack's enthusiasm for his whiskey. "Well then, we should probably get you some coffee to go with that whiskey."

"Absolutely!" Jack says, nodding his head vigorously. "Get Daniel here whatever he normally drinks, and I'll take two half pounds of a good dark-roasted coffee." I lift an eyebrow at Daniel.

"Ground for drip," Daniel mouths. I smile.

As I'm getting Daniel a double tall iced latte (it is summer, after all) and Jack his coffee, I can't help but watch Jack as he stares around the room people-watching. I notice that Daniel is watching Jack as well. Both of us are clearly getting a kick out of seeing Jack so.. buoyant.

"I know you both are staring at me," Jack says in a sing-song voice, as he watches a young mother with her newborn. He turns to Daniel, "I'm just enjoying things, that's all."

"Nothing wrong with that, Jack," Daniel agrees, nodding. "We're just used to the 'Colonel Hard-ass' persona, so this is a bit of a trip."

"Colonel hard-ass?" He repeats. I giggle. "Carter doesn't call me that, does she?"

"Of course not, sir." All three of us whip our heads around to see Sam Carter standing in the doorway, her arms laden with grocery bags. She's wearing a strappy sundress and sandals and doesn't look military-ish at all!

"Did you get everything, Carter?" Jack asks, standing up and relieving Sam of one of the grocery bags.

"Even the pomegranate sir," Sam replies, smiling. "Hi, Kira," Sam says, catching my eye.

"You weren't part of the sensory deprivation experiment were you, Sam?" I ask. Sam looks first at Jack and then Daniel before slowly shaking her head no. I chuckle to myself as I take in her confusion.

"Would you like a coffee, Sam?"

"No offense Kira," Sam says, "but I'm saving myself for a cold beer."

"Amen to that," Jack adds.

I finish grinding the coffee and ring Jack up. "Enjoy the rest of your afternoon, guys," I say, giving them a wave. I'd love to see a picture of Jack taking a bite of that pomegranate. Wonder if anyone will tell him he's supposed to peel it first..

"It's the simple pleasures, Kira," Jack replies, opening the door for Daniel and Sam. He gives me a little two-fingered salute and merrily follows his friends outside into the late afternoon sunshine.

Maybe sensory deprivation isn't so bad after all.

More Author's Notes:

Thanks to Susan for beta'ing, my unlikely reviewer for the idea of Jack's favorite drink, Neurospych for her unintentional suggestion of a pomegranate. {g} and Deb for pointing out that Colorado doesn't have a state-run liquor board!


Completed November 7, 2004

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