Title: The Barista- Complete Season 3
Category: Drabble, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, MissingScene/Epilogue
Season: Season 3
Rating: PG - R
Warnings: Some language
Summary: Life as seen through the eyes of Daniel's Barista- All ten Season 3 vignettes together!

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).

Title: Barista 20-- Kidnapped By Aliens
Spoilers: Into The Fire
Rating: G
Category: General/Drabble
Author's Notes: just want to thank each and every one of you for reading and (hopefully!) enjoying this series. Kira and her wacky little vignettes have won THREE SG-1 Fan Fiction awards, and it couldn't have happened without you. **Curtsies deeply** Thank you from the bottom of my diet coke can!

June really is one of my favorite months out of the year; it stays sunny until well past 9 pm, the days are seldom overly hot and the cute biker boys come in every Saturday morning after their training rides. Have you ever *looked* at their legs before? Drool.

And speaking of drooling, where the hell is Daniel? I mean, the last time I saw him was just a few days after that embarrassing Mardi Gras experience. But now it's the end of June and the guy is still nowhere to be found!

I haven't seen Jack or Sam either, but considering they don't live downtown, that isn't so unusual. But Daniel? He usually comes by for coffee at least three times a week. Well, that is when he's in town. That guy sure does travel a lot. So much so that he actually lets me know occasionally when he'll be out of town for a day or two. Not all the time or anything, but if he knows he has a trip planned (apparently sometimes he doesn't know until he gets to work, how weird is that?!) he'll try and remember to tell me. Naturally he never lets me know where though...

But it's been over three months! I know it's rather morbid, but I've started reading the obituary columns. I mean, come on! I'm just the guy's Barista here; it isn't like anyone would ever notify me if he died or anything. Well Jack might. And probably Sam.. My mind instantly takes a left turn at good sense and imagines all three of them lying dead in a dark aboriginal jungle someplace. I quickly shake my head to dispel the image.

They are NOT dead.

I plaster on a happy smile as a customer (tourist) comes in and waves his hand in confused little circles at the above the counter menu and asks in a bewildered drawl, 'Which one of these is the real coffee?'

Why do I work here again?

I had just finished handing Mr. Texan his Grande Latté (or law-tee as the nice gentleman called it) when I felt Stefan give me a sharp nudge on my right. I turn towards him to see what he wants and follow his eyes as Stefan glances pointedly towards the door.


At least I think its Daniel. Man, as if I don't have enough dream fantasy fodder what with that birthday kiss of his; apparently Daniel spent part of his summer vacation getting a haircut.

A really, really nice haircut.

My face lights up like a kid at Christmas as my number one customer gives me a shy wave and gets in line. Told you he wasn't dead!

I quickly take the next order (double shot espresso with a dollop of whip cream) and bring my attention back towards Daniel. My smile slips a little as I really get a good look at him. Daniel doesn't look so hot.

I mean, of COURSE Daniel looks hot, but despite the really excellent haircut, Daniel looks like he's been through the ringer. He's rather pale (especially considering it's early summer), has a really odd red mark on his temple and I think I saw him limping slightly.

I finish ringing up the last customer and finally get a chance to see Daniel up close and in person. Allison taps me on the shoulder and gently pushes me over to the second register; her way of telling me to take all the time I need with Daniel, she'll handle the other customers. Coffee shop friends are the best!

"Hey stranger." I say giving Daniel a truly jaw-splitting smile. Damn if it isn't good to see him.

"It's good to see you again Kira," Daniel says warmly in return.

"So before I grill you on where the heck you've been for the last several months, how about I make you a drink?"

Daniel nods gratefully. "Triple tall mocha with extra whip." I raise my eyebrows slightly- that's a pretty hefty drink, even for Daniel.

"Yes, I'm sure," Daniel insists, as he notices my hesitation.

"You aren't under a doctor's care or anything are you Daniel?" I ask as I jot the order down on a cup and pass it over to Stefan. Stefan too gives Daniel a second glance- our Daniel doesn't usually order such rich drinks.

"Define 'care'?" Daniel asks looking slightly sheepish. And dammit, somehow he is managing to look extra yummy now that his hair is out of his eyes.

"Daniel! Do I need to call Jack?" I ask worriedly. I'm more than slightly taken back at how much I'm sounding like my mother at the moment. Daniel laughs.

"I'm fine Kira, really. Janet released me last night. I do have to return in the morning for a follow-up visit, but I'm fine. Really." I feel a little zing of pride knowing that I'm close enough to Daniel and his friends that I don't have to have it explained to me that Janet is his doctor.

"So what happened?" I ask as I give Daniel his coffee and lead him over to an empty table. I glance back and catch Stefan's eye; I hold up a hand- 5 minutes.

"Would you believe me if I told you I was kidnapped by aliens and cryogenically frozen?" Daniel asks. I stare at him in complete bafflement and slowly shake my head.

"Noo-oo." I say slowly, drawing out the word. "Although, I wouldn't put getting kidnapped by aliens past you, the whole cryogenic issue would be more tricky." Again Daniel laughs.

"You believe in aliens, but not deep freeze chambers?" He asks incredulously.


"Ok then!" He takes a sip of his drink and groans appreciatively. "Great coffee Kira!" Daniel! You've got to stop doing that! I give myself a mental shake and focus on the other random out-of-place elements that surround the good Doctor.

"Daniel, why did you cut your hair?" Daniel runs a hand self consciously through his shortened locks and gives a dry chuckle.

"It was definitely not my idea."

"The alien kidnappers did it huh?"

"Exactly." Daniel nods.

"What about the mark on your temple?" Daniel reaches up and touches the reddened mark on the left side of his face.

"Allergic reaction to a bug bite," he says after a moment's pause.

"Is that why you're so pale?" I'm totally being nosy here- but Daniel will stop me when I've gone too far.

"Really, really bad reaction." He deadpans. "Besides, I was just recovering from being cryogenically frozen and couldn't exactly resist."

"Resist getting bitten by a mosquito?" I clarify.

"I was too out of it to remember to apply my DEET."

"Uh huh." I say seriously not believing a word he's telling me.

"What about your limp?"

"Dang Kira! Is there anything about me you don't notice?!" Now it's my turn to blush a healthy shade of red. Uh no?

"I'm a people person Daniel!" I say in explanation. "I notice stuff like this!" And it's true really. I'm damn good at remembering wiggly little details that most folks usually forget. In high school, my career assessment test pegged me as a Private Investigator or FBI agent. My friends called me 'Scully' for months after that.

"Well Ms. People person, what's going on with the American University in Cairo? Are you still planning on going there next fall?"

Now it's my turn to look sheepish. This does not go unnoticed by Daniel.

"Kira?" Daniel prompts.

"Well, it's like this Daniel," I begin. "I could go in the fall and graduate next summer with two undergraduate degrees, OR I can graduate this fall, start Grad school in the Winter and head to Cairo with one of my favorite Professor's late Spring of next year."

Daniel looks at me with shining eyes and gives me a knowing smile. I doubt he'll actually say it, but I think he's impressed. It sure sounds a lot more impressive when I say it aloud! After crunching the numbers (I'll be in debt a whopping $43,000 by the time all of this is done) and messing around with the course loads, I was pretty much burnt out on the whole university experience. Ever since school ended last month, I've been pulling double shifts at the coffee shop and scoping out the town in search of a potential internships. I can't pull coffee forever you know...

"So what's your degree officially going to be in?" Daniel asks.

"Classical Studies." Did he really think I would be doing anything else? What other degree encourages you to take both Greek and Latin?

"And your minor?"

Krino*. Now I'm turning the color of real bad sunburn. "Archaeology," I mumble.

"Kira, did you just say Archaeology?" Daniel says, emphasizing the word.

"Uh huh." I say wishing I had a cup of tea or something to hide behind.

"Weren't you the person last winter that told me how boring you thought Archaeology could be? Something to do with old rocks and buildings...?"

"All right!" I exclaim tossing my hands into the air in defeat. "I was totally wrong in my original assessment of your field, ok?" Assessment? Since when did I start using the word 'assessment'? Damn, I really am a college student, aren't I?

Daniel gives me another big smile. "So what classes did you take?"

"Besides "Intro to Archaeology", I have taken "Cultural Representations, Beliefs and Practices" and "Origins of Civilization". I plan on taking "Lost Languages and Decipherments" next fall before I graduate."

"Impressive," Daniel says finishing off his coffee. Again I blush. Darnit Kira, you have got to stop doing that!

"And your Masters'?"

"Definitely History, a combination of Ancient and Early I think, although I haven't quite decided if the second MA will be in Linguistics or Archival Science."

Daniel whistles. "You're going to have your hands full, aren't you?" I shrug- no more than usual.. I feel a tap on my shoulder and turn around to see Allison. Oops- guess I used up my five minutes.

"Sorry Ali," I say apologetically as I grab Daniel's now empty cup and scurry off back to the counter. "Daniel I need to get back to work."

"No problem Kira, but I want to hear more later, ok? You still work most mornings?"

I nod as I relieve Stefan from behind the espresso machine. "Be nice," I whisper to Stefan as I pick up the cup in front of me and make out the order for a double tall Americano. Stefan gives me a "Who moi?" look and heads back towards the break room. I see him mouth 'Nice haircut' before he disappears.

"Still working mornings." I call out as I measure out two shots of ground espresso and tamp it down.

"I'll catch up with you later this week then," Daniel says from the far end of the counter as he makes his way towards the door.

"Try not to get kidnapped by aliens and flash frozen this time, ok?" I tease as I pull the shots.

"I sincerely hope not," Daniel says earnestly. "See you in a couple days Kira." With a final little wave he leaves.

I finish making the drink and had just started on the next one when I remembered. I'm not going to be here in a couple of days! I grit my teeth in frustration and give myself a mental slap. Oh well. I'll write a note and leave it for Josh, the guy taking over my shifts while I'm gone. It'll only be for three days- how much mischief can Daniel get into in three days? I pause to consider that thought and shake my head. I might have only known Daniel for a little over two years now, but already I was certain that if there is anyone out there who can get into more complicated problems than Daniel and his friends, I have yet to meet them.

A/N- Hwaaaah ahhhh. -- my attempt at manic laughter-- Foreshadowing!

DEET is super strong mosquito/bug repellant.
*Krino might be 'damn' in Ancient Greek- but it's hard to be certain...

21-- Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing, Oh My!
Spoilers: 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 kind of fun 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 was beginning to see a theme here in Seattle. Although the city as a whole seemed 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 found myself in the ancient history section and was eyeing some books on Mesopotamia. Eyeing being just about all I could do, as the books were a good seven feet up. 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 to face the smiling man holding my book. "Daniel?" I ask 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 answers matter-of-factly. 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 flashed 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 great." 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 say shrugging. 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 says as he unsuccessfully tries to hide a grimace. *Slightly* injured? Catching himself, Daniel backpedales. "Honest Kira, I spoke to he and Sam this morning. Both of them are doing great; 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 say with a playful smile on my lips. "Want to grab a cup of coffee?"

"I have a better idea Kira." Daniel says 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're sneaky 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 motioning 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 says in return as he steps into the bedroom. I remain behind in the shadows of the living room.

"Ops trained Daniel." Jack says as he 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 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 says 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 says 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 say stepping out from behind Daniel and giving the Colonel a little wave.

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

"No further than you." I say 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 says as he 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 thank you nod.

"Give me a little credit Jack!" Daniel says 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 as he closes his eyes briefly.

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

"I will be." Jack says simply. He gives Daniel another private look.

"Selmak has theories as to why 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 says 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 says smugly.

"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 says angrily. "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." Daniel clarified. I attempt to disguise my chukcle with a cough. Jack isn't buying it.

"Anyway," Jack says 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 says 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 once again sounding 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 bootlegged 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 says as he lowers himself onto the couch and begins to put on a pair of shoes.

"Uh...no." Daniel says as he hands Jack his sunglasses.

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

"Absolutely Colonel." I say in return.

"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 says turning towards me for confirmation.

"Yep, it's coffee." I say nodding. "Actually I agree with Daniel, its pretty good stuff."

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

"If you happen to drink coffee." I confirm.

"Kira," Jack says as we reach the elevator. "Can 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 WTO? The Seattle WTO riots happened in December 1999.

22-- Legacy Fallout
Spoilers: Legacy
Rating: PG
Category: General, Hurt/Comfort, a little angst

Mark my words, the next random act of violence is not going to come from a disgruntled postal worker, but rather from some poor overworked college student. I tiredly rub my eyes and glare back at the slowly blinking cursor in front of me. I wish they'd jazz up the speed on that thing or something.

Come on Meyers! Just one more sentence! I resist the urge to beat my head against the steel table (Prior experience has taught me that this actually hurts like hell). Ignore the mesmerizing blinking light and just type the damn conclusion!


Times like this I truly question my desire to pursue a career in academia; research papers are brutal! I really do enjoy doing all the reading (not that I'd admit that to my professors) and heaven knows libraries are my best friends, but writing down draft after draft of a 20+ page paper is just not my idea of a good time. I exhale with relief as the perfect sentence suddenly comes to me and I quickly order my fingers to type it out fast before the stray thought is gone. With great satisfaction I hit the save key and allow myself a small grin of triumph.

Groaning a little I stand up and rotate my neck first one way and then the other. Ouch! I'd like to say I'm getting too old for this, but most likely I just forgot to move in the last 4 hours. What can I say? I'm single-minded.

I wasn't actually scheduled to work today, but Victor had an emergency he needed to take care of in Denver. And although the store certainly can get by without my presence, Victor insisted that a manager-like person should be around just in case. Personally, I think he's just over-reacting to the almost-robbery we had last week. There weren't any managers on duty that day and the baristas in attendance really freaked (rightfully so!) when a guy waved a gun at them and asked for all their money. Luckily for us, the would-be robber was an idiot and didn't confirm before he pulled out his gun that the store was empty. Turned out that an off-duty cop was using our bathroom. He came out, saw the gun and immediately talked the guy into giving himself up. Happy ending for all, but Victor is still a little freaked. As are Tina and Mary Sue.

I look up and make contact with both of the women. Tina gives me a thumbs up. Like I said, they really don't need me here. But if Victor feels the need to pay me $11 an hour to just sit in a corner and do my homework—well, who am I to complain?

My stomach suddenly growls loudly and I realize that I haven't had anything substantial to eat in over 6 hours. Oops. I eye my laptop and question leaving it behind to forage for some food next door. Instantly I decide against it. There is no way I am letting this paper out of my sight. Not after all the work I did to come up with this idea of mine! Well, maybe I had a little help…

I remember talking with Daniel about the paper over coffee in Seattle. Seeing as I had just decided what I was going to write about (The impact of early Greek civilization on emerging Indo-European cultures) I was quite enthusiastic in my descriptions of how influential those fifth century BCE* guys really were. At one point I swear I saw Jack roll his eyes and mumble something about "scientists". Daniel just chuckled and continued talking with me about Assyrian and Mesopotamian societies. It felt wonderful to hammer out ideas and theories with Daniel and idly I wondered just what it really was that he did for the Air Force and if they had room for another linguist or social scientist. I'm pretty certain my parents would freak if I joined the military, but talking with Daniel reminded me once again how much I really love history. If I can find a job that challenges me even half as much as my conversations with Daniel, I'd pretty much be in seventh heaven.

But I digress.

Food! I need to get some food. I honestly attempt to stand up and go, but my eyes flicker back towards my laptop and I can't help but sit back down. I turn it back on with the idea of proofing it just one more time before grabbing a bit to eat. My eyes gaze across the Times Roman 12 point font (double spaced) and I am only a paragraph into it when I glance up and catch sight of a military guy standing in line. Instantly I smile and think of Jack and Daniel. So maybe I can't talk myself into leaving and getting some much needed food, but at least I have the good sense to stop working and allow myself a little people-watching break.

The guy is pretty ordinary looking in his pressed navy-colored slacks and funny looking cap. He doesn't look like a soldier exactly, but is definitely decked out in some kind of regulation clothing. He looks tired standing in line for his coffee and I watch as he lifts up a small cassette recorder and mutters a few words into the microphone.

The guy is almost to the front of the line when suddenly his phone begins to ring. I know one day it will be pretty normal to hear cell phones ringing right and left, but it still strikes me as strange when a phone goes off when someone is standing in line for their morning latte. What could possibly be so important it can't wait until you are back at home or work? I sigh and shake my head; I got used to pagers, I'll get used to cell phones. The man mutters an apology (at least he has manners) and steps out of line taking a few steps towards my direction. He looks at the caller ID on his phone and closes his eyes momentarily. Doesn't appear to be a call he wants to take…. Geeze guy- just don't answer the damn thing! It's not as if phones can track you or anything…

"I was really hoping to have a cup of coffee first Colonel." The man mutters tiredly as he presses a button on his phone and holds it up to his ear.

"Doctor McKenzie." He says authoritatively into the phone. Doctor huh? Wouldn't that be a hoot if he knows Dr. Fraiser? I watch as Dr. McKenzie grimaces a bit and holds the phone a few inches away from his ear as the person on the other end of the phone lets loose with a barrage of angry sounding words. I can't understand exactly what is being said, but man, that guy on the other end of the phone sounds pissed.

Dr. McKenzie waits a good 10 seconds or so before interrupting. "And a good morning to you to Colonel." He says calmly with a note of condescension in his voice. I sigh. One of those people. The kind who thinks the world revolves around them. I know I'm not being fair here, I just hate it when someone talks down to me, and am automatically irritated at this unknown Dr. McKenzie for talking down to a guy who apparently has just called him up to yell at him. Hmm, maybe I take that back. What sort of person calls another guy up just to yell at him? If I were this McKenzie guy, I'd hang up, finish my coffee and then give this guy a call back.

I can't hear what the reply is, but I betcha anything the Colonel on the other end isn't wishing the good doctor a good morning.

"I take it Colonel, you heard about the meeting scheduled for later this morning..?" Dr. McKenzie says into the phone. An angry retort is bellowed back at him.

"Colonel, you know very well why we need to do this." He says calmly. This doc is reacting a hell of a lot calmer than I would have. The guy on the other end is obviously pissed beyond words at the moment and Dr. McKenzie is trying his best to be patient. He listens for a few seconds and then shakes his head. "Colonel, I am in a public place at the moment and cannot address those points directly." Huh? This guy is playing the military secret trump card that Daniel and Jack pull on me all the time. Wonder if McKenzie works up at Cheyenne? Wouldn't that be funny if he was talking with Colonel Jack?

I scoff at myself and shake my head. Right Kira. As if there aren't dozens of colonels over there. Hell, he might be talking to someone in Washington DC for all I know.

"Colonel O'Neill, I am going to need you to calm down!" McKenzie says forcibly as he rubs a spot between his eyes with his free hand. Holy shit! It is Colonel O'Neill he's talking with! Briefly I tell myself that there are probably one or two other Colonel O'Neill's out there and this just might not be my Colonel Jack on the other end But who am I kidding? Only my Colonel O'Neill is irreverent enough to call a guy up just to yell at him.
"Yes, Colonel you will." McKenzie says with finality. "As I told the General, you are very welcome to sit in with Dr. Jackson as I.." Apparently this isn't what Jack wanted to hear, for he interrupts the doctor yet again.

"Yes Colonel, it is necessary. I know there were extenuating circumstances in what occurred these last few days, but I still feel that there are inherent risks with your work that must be assessed…" Jack so does not like that.. Even 20 feet away I can hear some distinct indignation.

"I know that Colonel," McKenzie says with growing frustration. "You and I both know that the other members of your team have unique…traits that Doctor Jackson lacks." See? My Colonel Jack.

Unique traits?

"Unlike the rest of you, Dr Jackson has never…" McKenzie pauses and darts his eyes furtively around the room. Right. Like a bunch of career coffee drinkers are *so* scary. Quickly I divert my eyes and begin typing something completely random onto my paper. Hey! Is it my fault the guy is talking loud? It's not like my sole purpose in life is to eavesdrop on customers…

"Colonel, I cannot get into this with you now as I am in a public place I only wish to talk with Dr. Jackson.."

"No Colonel." McKenzie says with a heavy sigh. "I do not plan to drug him." What?! Instantly the hairs on my arms stand straight up and I unconsciously scooch my chair back slightly in an attempt to hear just a little bit more. Who the hell is this doctor?? Doesn't he know that Daniel had a substance abuse problem in the past? I might not know what he was addicted to last year, but it sure as hell was something. He definitely doesn't need some doc to pump him full of anything new.

"Colonel," McKenzie says with finality. "We will not have this conversation on the telephone. You are welcome to make an appointment with my assistant or come by with Dr. Jackson at 13:00." Before Jack can say anything in return, McKenzie hangs up and walks back over to the coffee line. Guess the guy has some cojones** after all. Hanging up on an angry Colonel is definitely not something I would do.

Feeling pretty apprehensive (for Daniel's sake) and more than a little hungry, I power down my computer (yet again) and put it back into it's case. I had just finished zipping it up when I hear the front door open and spy a very familiar figure in khaki and chambray. Holy Crap! I haven't a clue what went on between Daniel and this Dr. McKenzie fella, but it sure as heck can't be good.

Instantly I go on the offensive. With McKenzie back in line and looking at the menu on our wall, I decide to try and distract Daniel. Wish I could do what he did to me last January…but I think a quasi-passionate kiss in the center of a coffeehouse would attract attention, not deflect it. Quickly I toss my sweater onto the laptop (yeah right, as if that could hide this monstrous thing!) and high tail it over to Daniel.

"Hey Daniel!" I say enthusiastically while trying to keep my voice down.

"Hi Kira." Daniel says in return as he stops for a moment and gives me a small smile. I refuse to look overly concerned, as I take in his pale complexion and the way his hands tremble just a little. He's wearing a dark long sleeve sweater, and I can't help but imagine dozens of little puncture marks marring his otherwise perfect skin. I bite my lip to stop the urge to cry. Hormones totally suck.

Daniel of course sees right through me, and his brow wrinkles in concern. "What's wrong Kira?"

"I.." Before I even get a chance to try out my lame excuse, Daniel catches sight of the one man he never expected to see in his coffee shop. The look Daniel gives McKenzie as he turns around holding a steaming cup of drip coffee was cold. Glacial cold. The doctor looks surprised to see Daniel and more than a little wary.

"Dr. McKenzie." Daniel says in a low, strained voice as he levels his baby blue eyes on the doctor. I have seen Daniel go through the gamut with his emotions, but never have I seen him look so angry. Whatever this McKenzie guy did to him, it was bad.

"Dr. Jackson." McKenzie says cautiously in return. The two men regard one another silently for several long moments. Those proverbial pin-dropping moments you read about in books? This was so one of them. God, the suspense was killing me, and I just stepped into the situation. Finally McKenzie blinks, ending the standoff between the two men.

"So how are you feeling Daniel?" The doctor asks in an honestly concerned voice.

"As if you don't know." Daniel growls in return. My eyes widen a little at Daniel's tone. Whoa! Remind me never to get Daniel mad at me.

"Dr. Jackson," McKenzie replies in a strained voice. "I was only doing what I thought was best."

"What you thought was best?!" Daniel spits out, face reddening in anger.

"Daniel, if you'd stop for a minute and listen.."

"No you listen Doctor." Daniel says becoming more and more irate. "I don't like you! I don't respect you and I sure as hell don't want to see you in my coffee shop less than 24 hours after *begging* you to release me from a mental institution!"

Mental institution?!

"You and your single post-doctorate degree, had me diagnosed, drugged and carted off to an asylum within 48 hours of becoming symptomatic!"
"Forty-Eight hours." Daniel says again enunciating the time frame very clearly.

McKenzie has the good graces to look chagrinned. I just stand there completely stunned by what I have just heard. "Daniel," He says softly, "you know there were extenuating circumstances.."

"No!" Daniel yells exploding with anger and causing everyone in the room to stop what they're doing and stare at the two men. Daniel takes a deep breath. "No." He repeats quietly this time, clenching his fists and making eye contact once again at the doctor.

"You," Daniel continues pointing a long tapered finger at the psychologist. "Are very much aware of what I see and do. And for you and Frasier to deem me schizophrenic..?" Daniel pauses a moment to rein in his emotions. He takes another deep shuddering breath and I feel the edges of my eyes prickle with moisture. God! What in the hell did they do to Daniel?!

"In my book McKenzie, what you did to me was near criminal." Daniel says with finality, all his anger and emotion now spent. I can tell from the look on Dr. McKenzie's face, that there was plenty more he wanted to say to Daniel, but I guess a public coffee shop isn't the place to do so. He takes a tentative step towards Daniel, and after assessing that Daniel wasn't going to deck him one, opens his mouth to say one final thing.

"I'm truly sorry for what happened Dr. Jackson." He says. "We can talk more about this later this afternoon." Whether McKenzie was finished talking or not is not clear, as Daniel just gives him a curt nod and turns away.

"I bet you are." I hear Daniel mumble as he walks over to the rather slow moving coffee line (everyone was still pretty much eavesdropping on their conversation). I watch as the Doctor puts on his overcoat. He is about to exit when he turns back around.

"Go easy on the caffeine Dr. Jackson." He says with some authority before turning back around and walking out the front door. God, am I ever grateful that Victor asked me to work today.

"Daniel?" I ask quietly as I walk up beside him and place a hand on his arm. I am not exactly thrilled to feel a faint trembling beneath my fingertips. Whether it's from adrenaline or drugs is unclear.

"Sorry Kira." Daniel says giving me a weak smile. as he audibly exhales. "I didn't exactly plan on running into the man who had me committed against my will at a coffee shop." Now it's my turn to pale considerably. Forcibly committed?

"Want to talk about it?" I ask softly. Daniel shakes his head no.

"Not really." He says hugging his arms to his chest and turning away in order to look at the drink board. I nod my understanding and continue to stand with him in line.

"Jack called McKenzie right before you walked in." I say conversationally.

"Really?" Daniel says still staring at the reader board. I nod.

"Yep. He yelled at McKenzie so loud, the entire coffee shop heard his opinion of the good doctor."

"Such a shame." Daniel says drolly cracking a small smile.

"Are you going to be ok, Daniel?" I ask taking Daniel's hand in mine and giving it a small squeeze.

"I'm going to be fine Kira." Daniel replies finally turning around and looking at me. "It's been a rough couple of days, but outside of dealing with McKenzie this afternoon, everything is pretty much back to normal."

"That's good." I say releasing his hand as Daniel gets to the front of the line and places his order. (Double tall Americano- half caff, half caff-free) Tina gives Daniel his drink with a smile and Daniel puts $2 dollars into the tip jar (one for each of them).

"How's that paper coming along?" Daniel asks as he walks over to the condiments counter and puts a little cream into his coffee.

"Just finished actually." I say sheepishly pointing to my poorly covered laptop in the corner. Good thing this isn't a high crime area (random hold-ups not withstanding).

"I'd love to read it Kira."


"Absolutely!" Daniel says with real enthusiasm. "You have a genuine grasp of antiquities Kira and I'd love to see what you put together on the emergence of early Indo-Europeans." I stand there grinning like an idiot.

"I'm not certain if I'll be going out of town later this week, but why don't you email it to me and I'll take a look at it as soon as I can?" Daniel takes a small notebook out of his pocket and jots down his email address.

"That would be great Daniel!" I gush as he hands over the paper. Sure, he's helped me with papers in the past, but never has he had a chance to look at a long research paper in its entirety. This paper was truly going to be proofed! My smile fades a little as I realize Daniel is about to leave and go meet that man.

"Have Colonel Jack sit in with you this afternoon Daniel." I say suddenly. Daniel instantly knows what I'm talking about but instead of acting relieved or interested, he tenses up again.

"I'm a little mad at Jack as well Kira." He says softly.

"He let you go." I say suddenly understanding.

Daniel nods. "He allowed McKenzie and his band of quacks take me away."
I bite my lip and tell myself to just shut the hell up. I don't know anything about this.

Naturally I don't listen.

"I'm sure he wouldn't have let you go unless it was for your own good Daniel."

"I know." Daniel says with a sigh. "Jack's a pretty smart guy Kira, but this was something he knew nothing about and the only thing he could do was trust in what the doctors were saying." There was something about the way Daniel said ‘doctors' that caused my ears to perk up.

"Janet too?"

"Janet too." Daniel replies curtly.

"Janet's a medical doctor, right?" I ask; Daniel nods. "So she was probably relying on McKenzie and the other Psychologists for her information, right?" Daniel nods again briefly before turning it into a definite no.

"She should have known Kira. They all should have known. People don't just suddenly develop severe changes in their brain chemistry. There usually is a reason."

"And everyone agreed with McKenzie's reason." I supply.

"And everyone was wrong." Daniel finishes.

"You're here now." I counter.

"I got better." Daniel says shrugging.

"And they believed you?" I ask.

"They had to." Daniel says with a humorless chuckle. "Once Jack came by and saw that I was more or less back to my old self, he insisted they release me. I think threats of bodily harm were used…"

"So in the end, Jack did believe you."


"I bet he feels pretty horrible for what happened Daniel."

"Him and me both." Daniel says with another sigh. "I need to go Kira." Daniel says sounding like a convicted man going to his execution.

"Let Jack sit in with you Daniel." I ask again. "I think only you might prevent him from knocking the Doctor's lights out."

"You're probably right." Daniel says heading towards the door. "But I'd sure like to see it!" He says turning towards me and offering a genuine smile.

"Take care Daniel." I say reaching up and giving him a brief hug. Daniel's arms tighten around me and I swear I hear someone sigh behind the espresso machine. My long-standing crush on Daniel is not a secret.

"Thanks Kira."

And with that Daniel exits the coffee shop and heads back to his life in that stuffy old mountain up the street. I am certain he'll be ok and my stomach suddenly growls quite loudly in agreement.

"I'm going, I'm going." I mutter as I quickly stash my laptop in the back room and head out to get me some food.

"I'll be back in 15 I tell the girls as I leave the shop and head towards the deli down the street. I pass by a vendor selling cayenne pepper oil and make a mental note to pick some up on my way back.

I know exactly what to add to the good Doctor's coffee the next time he comes into the shop.

A/N: Hope you liked it. I know adding a couple extra pages in length can't make up for not posting for two months, but I hope it helped at least a little…

I'm off to my first ever Stargate convention (I'm such a nerd) but will hopefully use part of the time to work on both another Barista and finish off Imbroglio. School will be ending in mid December and I plan on writing up a storm during those three weeks of freedom.

Hmmm- I think I need to work on my melodrama a little…

* BCE- Stands for Before [the] Common Era. This is the standard academic way of denoting the years prior to 0. BCE=BC and CE (Common Era) is another way of saying AD.

** cojones- Spanish (maybe slang?) for balls.

Completed November 15, 2003

23-- Bar Talk
Spoilers: Point Of View
Rating: PG
Category: General, Humor

I know this type of thing happens all the time, but I really never thought it would happen to me- at least not at the still nubile age of 21.

I've been stood up.

I swirl the watery cream remaining in my white russian and contemplate heading home. Ever sat by yourself in a semi-crowded bar? Give it a shot sometime and see how much of a loser you feel like. I self-consciously straighten my knee length black dress and vow to never go on a blind date again. Or at least not one arranged by a casual acquaintance.

I sigh again and look around the comfortably furnished room. Well at least he picked a good bar. I can't help but smile to myself as I recall the last time I had been to O'Malleys. I seriously doubt I'll ever have another birthday party that will top that one! Hey! Maybe I'll get lucky and run into Daniel? I blush as I remember that rather fabulous dip and kiss he gave me last year. Daniel and I never really talked about it but apparently Stefan has the photos to prove it wasn't just an alcohol-induced fantasy. He only showed them to me once before tucking them into his back pocket and telling me I'll get them all later. Tease. Big, fat, faggy tease! Wonder how his boyfriends put up with him? I'm sure the fact that Stefan is in fact gorgeous, thin and has a smile that would melt icecaps has something to do with it. Bastard.

I shake myself out of Daniel memory number 21 and wonder if maybe I'll see Jack or Sam? Heck, I'll even take their friend Murray right about now.


Like they have nothing better to do than hang out at O'Malleys on a Wednesday night. I sigh and signal the barman for my tab. He's been looking at me a little funny all evening and I wonder if he thinks I'm underage or something. Nope. Not this time buddy. I sigh and chew on my remaining ice cubes.

God, I hate dating.

I had just bent down to get my purse when I hear them.

"We're not going to talk about it Daniel." Jack?

"Talk about what Jack?" Daniel!

"Exactly." Jack says with a finality that prohibits further discussion.

"Colonel. Dr. Jackson." The bartender says noticing Jack and Daniel. Wow. Guess the guys come in here more often than I thought. I debate whether I should make my presence known, but I'm kind of getting a kick out of seeing the ‘Jack and Daniel Show' in secret. Besides, I'm a good 4 stools down and a rather amorous (and tall) couple is sitting next to me blocking any real view Jack and Daniel might have of me. Plus there's the fact that I'm all dressed up and the guys aren't probably expecting to see their barista at 10 pm at their local haunt.

"Hey John." Jack says amicably as he and Daniel sit down at the edge of the bar.

"Your usual?" John asks.

Jack must have nodded. "Yeah- and some Bushmills on ice."

"Whiskey, Jack?" Daniel asks.

"You have a problem with that Daniel?" Jack counters.

"I'll be right back with your drinks Colonel. Daniel, you want a cider?"

"Sissy girly drink." Jack mutters under his breath. I can't be sure, but I think Daniel shoots Jack a dirty look.

"I'll have a glass of whatever amber you have on tap."

"Way to be a man, Daniel!" Jack declares. "Before you know it, you'll have chest hair and everything!" I snort loudly and quickly look down just in case they glance my way. I knew Jack had a sense of humor, but I never realized it was this evil. He and Stefan really should talk.

"Shut up Jack." Daniel says as if he's heard all of this before. "At least here I can count on some decent beer here and not that crap that you usually drink at home."

"Budweiser is not crap." Jack states authoritatively. "It's a good honest American beer.."

"That tastes like camel piss." Daniel finishes.

Before Jack can counter with what I'm sure would have been another zinger, the bartender returns with their drinks. I quietly order another one of my own and sit back and listen in.

"So." Daniel says taking a small sip of his beer and giving Jack a sideways look. "Dr. Carter."

Dr. Carter? Is he talking about Sam? But wouldn't he have said ‘Sam' or ‘Major Carter'?

"Daniel." Jack says in that scary quiet voice of his taking a sip of his whiskey.

"Yes, Jack?" Daniel replies clearly not deterred.

"We're not going there." He gives Daniel a very pointed look and I can almost imagine Jack holding up a finger or two in admonishment.

"Going where, Jack?" Daniel questions innocently. Even I can tell he is just being a smart ass.

"God, I hate it when you do that!" Jack declares loudly with a huff. He lowers his voice again. "There is nothing to discuss Daniel, so can you just drop it." Idly Jack grabs a handful of peanuts from the bar and dumps them on a napkin. He places two side by side and then flicks one quite soundly in Daniel's direction where it bounces off of his right cheek.

"Dammit Jack, that hurt." Daniel says testily rubbing his cheek.

Jack sounds contrite. "Sorry Daniel. I forgot." I steal another glance in their direction and am surprised to see a rather nasty looking abrasion on the side of Daniel's face. Man, being an archaeologist is rough! It looks like Daniel has been in an accident of some kind. Well, actually, it kind of looks like he was in a fight.

And I don't think Daniel won.

"You really need to learn to duck." Jack says affectionately eyeing Daniel's face as he takes another drink of his beer.

"Against 12?" Daniel counters.

"Couldn't have hurt."

"Right. I'm sure that would have made all the difference." Daniel says wryly.

"At least they didn't break your glasses this time." Jack continues. Daniel chuckles and then grimaces slightly as it obviously caused his face discomfort. Wonder what happened?

"You should hear my optometrist Jack! He thinks I'm the clumsiest guy on the planet!"

"You mean you aren't?" Jack counters obviously enjoying the little Dr. Jackson ribbing session.

"Not on purpose!" Daniel says whining a bit. "Is it my fault it seems to be a galactic rule to pick on the guy with glasses?"

"You could wear your contacts more often?" Jack offers helpfully.

"Jack, I'm an archaeologist- sticking a piece of plastic in my eye and then running around in the very gritty elements is just not my idea of a good time."

"So, what is your idea of a good time Dr. Jackson?" Jack asks with a grin. I can see that Daniel is now starting to get annoyed.

"Doctor. Carter." Daniel says enunciating the title and looking at Jack triumphantly as he takes another swig of his beer. Who the hell is this Dr. Carter person?! Jack is obviously annoyed that Daniel chose to bring back this topic of conversation.

"Drop it Daniel." Jack says looking down and swirling the ice around his glass.

"I'm just saying Jack that you didn't exactly pull away."

"Daniel, we are not going to discuss it." Jack replies clearly meaning every word. Whoever this Dr. Carter is or was, Jack clearly is uncomfortable talking about him.

Or her.

"Jack, have you at least talked to Sam about it?" Hmm. Now this is getting interesting.

Jack guffawed. "Right Daniel. ‘Hey Carter- listen, about that kiss I shared with your Doppelganger..' I'm sure that would go over really well." WHAT? Doppelganger? Does Sam have a twin sister or something? Wait a second, did Jack just say kiss?

"This is hard for her too Jack."

"Daniel," Jack says turning around in his stool to face his friend head on. I resist the urge to duck knowing that he can't possibly see me through the other couple. "What Carter and I have to deal with is absolutely nothing compared to what Dr. Carter went through. What Dr. Carter is going through right now."

"So you're saying it was a pity kiss?" Daniel probed.

"She kissed me Daniel." Jack says in exasperation.

"And you didn't exactly pull away Jack."

"For crying out loud Daniel, the woman just lost her entire…" He pauses considering his words. His voice softens noticeably. "She had just lost everything Daniel, I wasn't going to make it harder than it already was." Daniel ponders this for several seconds and nods.

"So what did you and the General talk about?" Daniel asks causally. Jack shoots Daniel a look that would wither lesser men and attempts to change the subject.

"Hockey scores."

"Uh huh." They sit for several moments in compatible silence.

"I seriously don't see Carter that way Daniel." Jack says finally.

"You sure?" Daniel asks without a hint of sarcasm. Jack sighs.

"Yes, I'm sure." Jack says sincerely. "I really am Daniel. I think I convinced Hammond but you'll need to talk to Carter and make sure she's ok with the whole thing."

"You can't?"

"I'm a Colonel Daniel- I delegate." Daniel rolls his eyes. Even from across the bar I could see him roll his eyes.

"This isn't something you should delegate Jack."

"This is something I totally need to delegate Daniel." Jack counters. "It's creepy enough as it is without getting Carter all weirded out…"

"I think we're a little too late for that Jack."

"Yeah." Jack agrees finishing his scotch and starting on his beer.

I stay at the bar for another 30 minutes or so catching snippets of their conversation as I try to ignore the rather blatant pick up lines that are coming at me from all sides. If the guys weren't old enough to be my father I might have been flattered.


I decide it's time to go when I notice that Romeo and Juliet (the couple on my left) are getting ready to leave as well. I don't want to risk having Jack and Daniel see me, so I pay my bill and gather my things. My back is turned away from the bar as I put on my sweater and catch one final snippet of conversation.

"Jack?" Daniel asks in a tone of voice that indicates he is seriously going for the jugular. It's that voice that says ‘I'm going to say something you really aren't going to like and there's nothing you can say to stop me.'

"Yes, Daniel?" Jack replies cautiously.

"Obviously you prefer blondes." Daniel states matter of factly.

"Daniel…" Jack begins tiredly. I take it we're back to that woman Jack kissed. Oops- sorry Jack. I mean the woman who kissed Jack.

"And of course, it's also blatantly apparent that you like tall blondes…" Blatantly apparent?

"Shut up Daniel."

"Outside of Kynthia of course, but there was definitely an extenuating circumstance surrounding that."

"Shut *up* Daniel." Jack tries again.

"But what I really want to know," Daniel continues pausing only long enough to insure he has Jack's complete attention. "Is whether you prefer her with long or short hair?"

"Check!" Jack shouts as I open the door and exit the bar.

Author's Musings (the extended version): For those unfamiliar, Bushmills is indeed a pretty good whiskey. (If you actually like whiskey) And an amber is a type of beer somewhat between a lager and a stout. I guess a bitter would be a pretty good approximation. Only a good tasting bitter!

I promised this series wouldn't get shippy, and I think I managed to remain true to the show (Roxie, you just let me know, ok?) BUT I *am* a shameless shipper and after watching this episode again, I realized that this is really where it all began. Sure Jack got an eyeful when SG-1 was captured by Hathor at the end of Season 2- but he was pretty much just being a guy oogling at a semi-clothed woman. The hug shared by those two in "Into the Fire" was pretty impressive, but I'll chock that up (if a non-shipper forces me to) to the fact that Jack had just risen from the dead and emotions were a bit…er…high.

But everything changed with this episode (IMO). Jack truly was confused about the possibility of him and Sam being together. You can totally see it on his face throughout the ep. And after the cat was let out of the bag with Kawalsky's "You think I would let my best friend's wife go back alone?" crack? Oh yeah. Now we have Sam completely confused as well and both of them are now considering the possibility. One alternate reality was a fluke, but two...? This is my attempt at playing with that. I seriously thought Jack needed to talk about what happened after this episode and Kira just happened to be the little lady to overhear a bit of it. *G*

Completed December 25, 2003

24-- Comfort Food
Spoilers: Forever In A Day
Rating: PG
Category: General, Angst

Author's Notes: You guys know how I like to shake things up every now and then right? Well for this little Barista, we're going to try a little third person POV. Kira and her usual 1st person observations will return next time.

Sam parked her bike a few blocks from the shop and pulled off her helmet. Running a hand through her hair, she secured her bike and stashed her helmet in the lock box. Feeling a little uncomfortable walking across a crowded arcade dressed in leather, Sam skirted the public square and walked down a back alley towards Victor's coffee shop.

She was still more than a little irked at Janet for making her leave base last night. So what if she had been hovering around Daniel's side for the last 72 hours? Her plants had once survived almost 2 weeks without water, they could survive a couple of days. Why'd she have to leave and not the Colonel? And what about Teal'c? Sam was certain Janet would never ask Teal'c to leave.

Teal'c. She had tried talking to Teal'c several times in the last few days but he remained as stoic as ever- maybe even more so. He would sit for endless hours staring at Daniel in silent mediation. Sam couldn't tell if he was kel'no'reeming or simply thinking. She knew she couldn't possibly imagine how Sha're's death must be effecting him. Hopefully the Colonel had been able to get him to talk. "Right." Sam muttered audibly to herself shaking her head. As if the Colonel was Mr. Communication himself. No, talking about issues and feelings was something Daniel did. And it scared the hell out of her that he wasn't doing so now.

Sam looked at her watch and determined that she still had two hours to kill before Janet would allow her on base. That should be plenty of time to pick up what was needed. Comfort food. Lots and lots of comfort food. And in Daniel's case comfort food was not comfort food without coffee- specifically, Kira's coffee. Sam couldn't think of anything Daniel might like better than a nice bag of freshly ground coffee from his favorite coffee shop.

As she stepped through the front door, Sam suddenly frowned in realization. What had she thinking? Coffee and chocolate walnut cookies couldn't possibly offer Daniel any semblance of comfort! Nothing could alter the reason why Daniel was stuck in the infirmary with a large blistering burn etched into his forehead and an impossible weight upon his heart. This was ridiculous! Sam turned to leave.

"Hey Sam!" Kira called out cheerfully, catching sight of the tall blonde major walking through the front door.

"Almost made it." Sam muttered to herself as she did her best to appear happy to see the young Barista.

"Hi Kira." Sam said flatly. Try as she might, she couldn't sound carefree and happy in her greeting. Kira picked up on Sam's mood straight away.

"Sam, what's wrong?" Not only was Sam not smiling, but she looked like she had just lost her best friend. Instantly Kira paled. Ohmygod. Daniel! Where was Daniel? She glanced outside to confirm that Daniel really wasn't with her.

"It's about Daniel isn't it?" Kira asked softly trying to quell the feeling of dread pooling in her stomach. Sam nodded and clenched her jaw tightly to keep the tears that threatened to fall at bay. She was not going to lose it in a coffee shop!

"I'll be right back Sam." Kira said in a rush as she walked briskly towards the back room blinking rapidly. She had no idea what was going on, so it was no good to get all upset now. She did know that there was no way she was going to talk to Sam while she was slated to work the espresso machine.

"Louise!" Kira called out as she spied her friend crouched down on her knees counting coffee cups. "Can you come out and cover the bar for a few minutes?" Louise took one look at her friend's pinched face and nodded.

"Just let me wash my hands." Louise said heading towards a small sink in the corner.

"Thanks Louise." Kira said to her friend as she untied her apron and headed back towards the store. "I'll come in on Saturday and finish up the inventory." She called out behind her as she made her way towards Sam. Her voice sounded so calm and normal and Kira marveled at her ability to remain rationale when inside she was ready to burst.

"Don't worry about it Kree." Louise said as she walked towards the register. It didn't escape Kira's notice that Sam visibly tensed at the sound of Kira's nickname. What the hell was with these military sorts and ‘kree' anyhow? "Take all the time you need."

"Would you like anything to drink?" Kira asked leading Sam to a quiet table in the back of the store. She suddenly felt the need to delay the discussion with Sam. God. What if Daniel had died? He couldn't have died, right?


"I'm fine Kira." Sam said shaking her head no.

"No Sam, you're not." Kira said shaking her head. Something was seriously wrong and she needed to find out what. But first…

"Well, I need something to drink, can I bring you something as well?"

"Sure." Sam agreed recognizing the need for Kira to do something. "A cup of coffee would be great." Kira turned around to stand up only to have Louise set down a cup of both tea and coffee in front of them.

"It's just black." Louise explained to Sam as she pushed the cup towards her. "I knew what Kree here would want and I just assumed that you weren't one of those weird people who don't like coffee."

"I'm not weirdn" Kira said absently cupping the warm drink with both hands.

"Sure you're not Kree." Louise said rolling her eyes. "Being Assistant Manager of a coffee shop and not drinking coffee is perfectly normal…" She said under her breath as she walked back to the register.

"When did you become Assistant Manager Kira?" Sam asked taking the opportunity to make small talk.

"Sometime last year." Kira said off handedly as she sipped her tea. "Sam," Kira said looking up and meeting Sam's eyes, "What happened to Daniel? Did he have another accident?"

"Kind of." Sam said looking down at her coffee. Kira resisted the urge to make another smart-ass comment about government agencies and their weird secrecy issues. The look on Sam's face was enough to convince her to just let that little bit of intrigue go for the moment.

"Is he in the hospital?" Kira asked trying to keep calm; Sam nodded.

"Is it serious?" Sam bit her lip considering what to tell the obviously distraught young woman. Suddenly a voice was heard across the room,

"Carter, what the hell are you doing here?" Jack O'Neill boomed out from the front of the store.

Sam whipped her head around and stared in disbelief at her disheviled CO still dressed in base attire.


"Carter?" Jack asked still confused as hell at seeing her sitting with Kira. This place wasn't anywhere near where Sam lived.

And, hold on, was she wearing leather?

"Who's with Daniel?" Sam said standing up suddenly and swaying slightly at the sudden movement. She couldn't bear the thought of her friend waking up alone. She really hoped the Colonel had missed her little wobble. Sam made a mental note to grab an apple or something. She hated the fact that her body seemed to have something against low blood sugar.

"T..Murray." Jack said quietly grabbing a seat neat to the two women. He hadn't missed how crappy Sam looked (leather pants not withstanding) and hoped the little woozy spell there was simply from standing up too quickly. "What are you doing here Sam?" Jack asked gently, completely ignoring Kira for the moment. "Have you eaten today? Didn't Fraiser order you to head on home?"

"I did go home Sir." Sam said scrupulously, completely ignoring the Colonel's first comment.

"To change apparently." Jack said with a slight cock of his head as he gave Sam a quick once over; Sam had the good graces to blush.

"I just felt so useless Sir." Sam explained. "I needed to process everything that had happened."

"And you felt the need to do that in leather Carter?" Jack asked smiling slightly.

"Motorcycle Sir." Sam explained.


Kira had patiently listened as Sam and Jack talked, but now she was growing anxious. "What the hell happened with Daniel?" She asked more sharply then she intended.

"Carter?" Jack queried.

"I haven't really said anything yet Sir."

"Would you guys just stop and tell me what's going on!" Kira said angrily. "Daniel is obviously hurt, now can you guys tell me how badly?!" Jack exchanged glances with Sam and silently agreed to be the one to fill her in.

"You knew that Daniel was married, right?" Jack asked. Kira nodded.

"Three days ago Daniel's wife Sha're was killed." He explained softly. Sam closed her eyes at the unwanted vision of Daniel lying curled up on his side, reaching out towards the still body of his wife.

Kira blinked not quite comprehending what Jack was saying. "Daniel's wife was killed." She repeated, still confused. What had Daniel's wife had to do with Daniel's injury?

"I don't understand," Kira said looking first from Jack and then back to Sam. "If Daniel's wife was killed, how did Daniel end up hurt?"

"He was there Kira." Jack explained patiently. "He…Things happened that were out of Daniel's control and while Daniel was…" Jack growled in frustration- he so hadn't planned on having to explain this to someone not affiliated with the SGC. He unhappily played his trump card. "What happened is classified Kira." Jack said with another sigh watching the look of hurt and frustration flash across Kira's face. "Just know that Daniel was seriously injured while trying to get his wife back." That was the honest to god truth. The fact that he was trying to get his wife back from the Goa'uld enslaving her body was something he just couldn't explain.

"Is he going to be all right?" Kira asked in a small voice looking down at her tea.

"Yes, he is." Jack said pointedly looking at both Kira and Sam. "In the meantime," He continued trying to put a positive spin on the day's events, "it looks like Major Carter had the same idea I had with bringing Daniel some of your coffee."

"It won't bring Sha're back Sir." Sam said sadly shaking her head.

"No, it won't Carter." Jack agreed seriously. "But it might make Danny smile a little- even if it's just for a moment. And that's all we can hope for right now."

"Yes Sir." Sam said with another sigh. All of this was just too messed up. Teal'c shooting Sha're? How had Daniel been able to forgive him so completely?

"You sure he's ok?" Kira asked again needing to hear it again from Jack.
"He'll be fine Kira." Jack said resting a hand on the young woman's shoulder.

"I'll go get you some coffee then." Kira said standing up and heading towards a very confused looking Louise.

"Better make it decaf!" Jack shouted over his shoulder.

"Colonel Jack," Kira called out as she looked up from a large bin of coffee beans. "Daniel has been injured at least four times since I've known him. Don't you think I know by now what he can and can't drink after an injury?" She gave Jack a small smirk and dug back into the bin.

"Carter, there is something fundamentally wrong with a Barista knowing about Daniel's medical conditions." Jack griped stealing a sip of Sam's coffee.

"Damn, that's good." Jack said taking another large gulp.

"Sir!" Sam chastised.

"Don't think I missed how you neglected to answer my question about food Major." Jack said handing back the nearly empty cup to Sam.

"No Sir." Sam said resisting the urge to slouch down in her chair like a truant schoolgirl.

"Carter, you need to eat."

"And you need to shower." Sam said in return. Seeing the look of shock on her CO's face, Sam added, "Sir."

"Excuse me Major?" Jack said bristling.

"Colonel," Sam said gently running through the 10 sure-fire ways to disarm an angry CO. "It's obvious that Janet sent you home for a rest as well. Judging from your attire, you left in a bit of a hurry that's all."

"All she said was that I'd feel better after I spent some time at home." Jack paused and looked at Sam was a twinkle in his eye. "I had planned to go home, shower and change and then head straight back."

"Very sneaky Sir." Sam said with a small smile. She seriously doubted whether Janet would let Jack back into the infirmary if he returned so quickly.

"Here you go!" Kira said suddenly surprising both Jack and Sam. "1/4 pound freshly ground decaf Sumatra/Columbian and a little packet of those chocolate covered espresso beans Daniel likes so much." Her voice drops to a whisper as she leans her head in. "They aren't decaf, so hide them from Doctor Janet."

"Will do Kira!" Jack says affectionately as he gathers up the small bundles.

"I got here first, Sir." Sam says as she reached into her jacket pocket for her wallet.

"Yeah, but I just drank all your coffee Carter." Jack said pulling out his own wallet and handing Kira a $20 bill. "Keep the change Kira."

"Thanks Jack." Kira said giving him a small smile as she walked the officers out. "Tell Daniel to get better soon, ok?"

"I'm sure he'll be by as soon as Fraiser and her goons release him Kira." Jack said as he opened the door for Sam and himself.

"So Carter," Jack said as they walked down the alleyway towards Sam's bike. "What do you say to meeting up for a bite of lunch before heading back to the SGC?"

"Only after you take a shower," Sam said with a twinkle in her eye resisting the urge to wrinkle her nose. "Sir."

Completed January 10, 2004

25-- Slip of the Tongue
Spoilers: Past and Present (311), Jolinar's Memories (312) and The Devil You Know (313)
Rating:PG-13- Kira says a naughty word and Jack...well, you'll see.
Category: Definitely humor. I think the late nights and diet coke consumption are starting to wreck havoc here.

Author's Notes: In my defense, I just have to say, that Jack's reaction to his little play on words was exactly the same as mine. It was an accident people! I didn't mean to get all er. well.um. Oh, you'll see! Let me just say it was truly an accident in typing and I realized that if I could type it wrong, Jack sure as hell could say it wrong!

The universe is out to get me. That's all there is to it - the universe is just plum out to get me.

First, I find out that I will actually not be graduating this fall as previously planned, then my roommate tells me she is moving back home to save on rent and to top it all off, there seems to be problems with my student visa for Egypt next Spring! And if that wasn't enough, it also appears like my favorite archaeologist is avoiding me! Seriously. Daniel seems to be going out of his way to avoid me and I don't have a clue why.

I continue muttering to myself about the unfairness of the life, the universe and everything as I get the store ready for opening. Till? Check. Cups and condiments stocked? Check. Toilet paper in the bathroom? Check. Time to let the games begin. I unlock the front door and really wish I were back in bed instead of here. Boy! Talk about a girl down in the dumps. I'm so not going to get good tips today. Maybe I shouldn't have taken Rachel's shift?

Right Kira. Like you'd possibly turn down a girl who's Grandfather just died? Right.

Sunday is definitely not my usual workday and I'm not sure what to expect as I open the door wide and let the late autumn sunshine filter in. Sure it's a bit chilly still, but I just want to air the place out a bit before closing the door and jacking up the heat.

I'm nursing a cup of tea when he walks in; the great invisible Daniel Jackson himself. He's looking a little worse for wear (what the hell does he do down in that mountain?!) but generally ok. I might be imagining things, but I think that weird looking bug-bite thing is back as well.


"Hi Daniel." I say. Damn, if I didn't startle the hell out of him. Daniel jerks at the sound of my voice; he really is avoiding me. Obviously he chose to come into the shop on a Sunday, as this is a day I normally wouldn't be here.


"Hey." Daniel replies quickly getting himself under control. He briefly makes eye contact with me before checking out the ever so interesting checkered linoleum floor.

"How are you doing?" I ask nonchalantly tilting my head to the side to try and get a better look at the side of his face. Yep- that bug bite on his temple is back. It's not as red as the last one, but it's definitely there.

"Fine." Daniel replies in a noncommittal voice. Really. Fine, huh?

"Uh huh." I answer back as I go to the espresso machine and pull him a double shot. "How does a tall Americano sound?" I ask.

"Sounds great." Daniel says looking up and catching my eye again briefly before turning back away. We stand in silence for a few seconds before Daniel says something.

"So how's school?" He asks interested yet strangely aloof. It's so weird. It doesn't seem like Daniel's mad at me or anything, but he's definitely uncomfortable around me, and I haven't a clue why.

"Ok." Two can play at this game.

"Sorry I haven't been around to help lately." Daniel begins apologetically.

"Yeah," I say handing Daniel his coffee. "Why is that Daniel?" I don't release the coffee when Daniel grabs hold of it and he looks up with me confusion.


"So you do remember my name?" I joke releasing my hold on the coffee. Daniel looks at me sorrowfully and shakes his head.

"I'm sorry." He whispers. My name is decidedly absent from his lips again. What the hell is going on?

"Daniel?" I ask again touching his arm lightly. "What's going on?"

"Umm." Maybe Daniel would have explained on his own, but neither of us will really know as just then the sound of a voice being cleared was heard behind us. We both whip our heads around to find one amused looking Colonel.

"Daniel." Jack says good-naturedly giving his friend a nod before turning his eyes on me. "And Ki-ra." He gives me a big grin and I swear I saw him wink at Daniel before sauntering over to the register. Well a saunter with a definite limp attached to it. Wait a second! Jack has that same damn bug-bite looking thing that Daniel has.

"Seeing as Danny-boy is already here, I think I'll pick up some coffee for Sam and Murray."

"Jack," Daniel says sighing. "What are you doing here?"

"I thought that would be obvious to a multiple PhD-bearing guy like yourself Daniel."

"Jack." Daniel says again shaking his head. "You followed me, didn't you?"

"Now why would I do that Daniel?" Jack asks all cotton-candy sweet.

"Because." Daniel replied petulantly. Funny how a guy who knows as many languages as Daniel, (I had him pegged so far at 11) could revert back to a 6 year old school kid around Jack. "How's the leg?" He asks trying to change the subject.

Jack glances down at his right leg, "Ah, you know how it goes." Jack said shrugging again. "Dr. Selmak repaired most of the damage, but Janet wants another week of PT." Jack says shrugging. "It looks fine, just feels stiff."

"Dr.Selmak huh?" Daniel said with what looked like a smile.

"Hey, you're the one who.."

"I know, I know." Daniel said holding up his hands to stop whatever it was that Jack was going to say.

"Sam comes back today, right?" Daniel asks.

"Yep." Jack says accepting two lattes that I had just whipped up. "Thanks Kira." Jack says politely. He looks at Daniel. "So what did Ki-ra get you Daniel?" Jack asks eyes all smiling.

"Very funny Jack." Daniel replies looking everywhere but at me.

"Is there something I'm missing here guys?" I ask.


You can guess who said what. I sigh and shake my head. "Daniel, is there something I did to make you angry at me?" I ask trying really hard not to take all of this personally. I can feel my lower lip start to tremble and I damn the pair of them for coming into the shop before I had drunk my required three cups of caffeinated tea. Tears are prickling the edges of my eyes and I suddenly realize I'm going to get my period in a few days. Fucking hormones!

"Daniel," Jack chastises at seeing me so upset. "This isn't Kira's fault." He puts down his coffee and comes over and gives me a slight hug. "Daniel is having girl issues Kira." He says giving me a small smile before releasing me.

I sniff. "Is that why you've been avoiding me Daniel?" I ask thinking back to that evening at the bar when he commented about my hair. "Because I remind you of your wife?"

"Sha're?" Daniel says taken back. "You don't remind me of Sha're Kira." His voice softens at the sound of her name and he gets a sad wistful look about him. "You heard about that, huh?"

"I'm really sorry about your wife Daniel." I say. Even if he is acting like a jerk at the moment, I am truly sorry Daniel lost his wife.

"Yeah, me too." He says softly.

"So why have you been avoiding me?"

"Jack?" Daniel asks looking at his friend.

"Don't look at me Daniel." Jack says shaking his head. "You're the peach eater around here..." Suddenly Jack's jaw drops off his hinges as his eyes widen in shock. His face breaks into a huge grin and he starts laughing. Well snorting really.

"Oh God, Daniel, I didn't mean it like that. I have no idea if.."

"Please stop Jack." Daniel says painfully struggling not to smile himself as he shakes his head in disbelief.

"Although, come to think about it, I bet we did have some security cameras down there."

"You are an incredibly crass and vulgar man Jack O'Neill." Daniel says chuckling to himself. "And if any tapes should happen to find their way into the hands of Feretti and his friends, I will personally tell everyone about.." He pauses and gives me a little glance. "Let's just say 421 and leave it at that."

"You wouldn't?!" Jack says aghast.

"Just try me Jack."

I can only stand there and shake my head; they're at it again. Talking weird secret stuff that I don't have a clue as to what it means. Still, it is damn entertaining and it seems to have broken through Daniel's awkwardness around me. I think.

"You ok Daniel?" I ask again.

"Fine, Kira." Daniel says looking at me with apologetic eyes. "Trust Jack to make me see the humor of the situation."

"Always trust Jack, Daniel." Jack calls out from the condiment area.

"Sometimes trust Jack." Daniel replies pulling out a $20 and handing it over to me and telling me to keep the change. They really should stop doing that. I must have 'earned' over $100 in tips from these guys just this year alone!

"Mostly trust Jack." Jack says modifying his earlier statement.

Daniel thinks for a moment and then replies, "Usually trust Jack when a gun is pointed at you."

Jack shakes his head and they're back to square one. "Always trust Jack when a gun is pointed at you."

They're still arguing over trust, guns and now something about snakes..? I close the door behind them and smile to myself. Maybe today won't be such a bad day after all.

More Author's Notes:

I so had fun with this one guys (as if it isn't obvious!) I am still flabbergasted that the name i gave my poor innocent Barista turned out to be 'the destroyer of worlds' and Daniel's one-time lover. I mean, come on- What are the odds?! I swear I hadn't seen this episode before I started writing the series. Poor Kira.

Let me know what you think and maybe I won't have to wait until spring break to post again. Apparently fic writing is an incredibly powerful procrastinating tool..*G*

Oh! I have no idea what Jack did on '421-I just know Jack has probably done all sorts of stupid things off world, and I'm certain Daniel is keeping track. Hey! That's a challenge out there!! Someone write a story that has Jack doing something incredibly stupid off world!!

And finally, if you are curious, the last thing Daniel said to Jack was: "Usually trust Jack when a gun is pointed at you and snakes are in the grass." *G*

Completed January 19, 2004

26-- Three Questions
Spoilers: 100 Days (317)
Category:General fluff, humor


"Come on Victor!" I implore my boss as he dumps several boxes of Christmas decorations at my feet. "It isn't even Thanksgiving [1] yet! It's too early for…" I waive my hands distastefully over the boxes, refusing to look down. "This." I finish with a frown.

"It's Wednesday afternoon Kira." Victor say jovially, completely unaffected by my outburst. "You close," he continues. "Which means you need to decorate the store after you lock up so that it will look nice and festive come Friday." He gives me a final wink, grabs a package of chocolate covered espresso beans and saunters out the front door.

You know, if I didn't love the guy, I'd really hate him about now. Wonder if it's too late to switch shifts…? I kick the boxes into a corner and dejectedly make my way back to the bar. Stefan is just finishing up a caramel mochachino and shoots me a look somewhere between amusement and pity.

"Not On Your Life." He mouths as he hands the drink to a customer. Damn. I was really hoping to get his help on this. I raise my eyebrows hopefully at Marcella and give her my best doe-eyed 'help me' look. Marcella just shakes her head and laughs as she counts back change to another customer.

I dejectedly plop myself down in a chair near the back of the store and wonder if I wasn't working with a queen if my powers of manipulation would still work on men. Probably not. I just don't seem to have that inherent ability to look innocent.

Daniel has that look.
Daniel might help me.

Daniel just walked in through the front door! I quickly jump to my feet and can't help but smile. I hadn't seen my favorite customer for a couple weeks now and was wondering what he was up to. Contrary to what Stefan may think, I don't actually lust after Daniel anymore. Really! He has more or less left my fantasy world and is now just considered a really good friend. A good friend who happens to look really good in jeans and has the softest lips I have ever drunkenly laid my lips on.

I'm really not helping myself here, am I?

Daniel still hasn't caught sight of me yet, and I take a moment to really look at him while he talks to Stefan. He looks tired. Thankfully, he doesn't appear bruised, drugged or hurt in any way. Just tired. Tired and worried.

'Dr. Jackson!" Stefan says loudly sending me a not so secret smirk.

"Hi Stefan." Daniel says amicably giving Stefan a small nod.

"Happy Thanksgiving." Stefan continues. "Have any big plans for gobble-gobble day?"

"Huh?" Daniel asks looking a little confused. "Oh, right. Thanksgiving." He gives a little shrug. "I had forgotten all about it actually."

"Forgotten Thanksgiving!?" Stefan says feigning shock. "Man, where have you been these last few weeks?" He looks at Daniel gravely and stage whispers, "You aren't one of those freaky vegetarian types are you?" Obviously that last line was for my ears. Stefan thinks my vegetarianism is "odd and unnatural". This coming from a man who has dated more men than I have!

Daniel shakes his head, "No, I'm not a vegetarian." He says continuing to look uncomfortable. I recognize this as "Daniel Discomfort Look #3"; the look that says, 'there is a perfectly reasonable explanation here, but I can't really share it with you' look. Betcha he was out of town again. Simple, really.

"Oh give it a rest Stefan!" I say coming around the counter and rescuing Daniel. "The guy travels a lot for work, and I'm guessing he was simply out of town and hadn't noticed what holiday was coming up. Right Daniel?

"Exactly." Daniel says nodding. He gives me a thankful smile and asks Stefan for a triple tall Americano.

"For here or to go?" Stefan asks.

"I'll drink it here actually." Daniel says nudging my shoulder. "That is if a certain Barista can sit with me for a bit." I blush (only a little) and nod. "I haven't had a chance to really talk to you in weeks Kira." Daniel explains as we walk towards a table near the windows.

We sit down in the comfortable lounge chairs and I can't help but blurt out the first thing that pops into my head, "Rough day at the office?" Daniel looks at me with one of those coy, 'what do you know' looks of his. I just shrug. "You look tired Daniel."

He sighs. "I am tired." He pauses contemplating his next words. "Jack's missing Kira."

'Missing?" I repeat. As in missing in action? Dead? A myriad of emotions play across my face and Daniel gently places a hand across my own before I can truly reach panic mode. "He's not dead Kira; just missing."

"Oh." I say softly letting that knowledge sink in. Stefan comes by and gives Daniel his coffee. He must have recognized that we were talking about something serious because for once in his life he didn't crack a joke.

"Missing," I repeat. "Do you know where he is?"

Daniel pauses for a moment to again contemplate his answer. "Yes. We think we do."

"But.." There's always a 'but' when it comes to Daniel and his friends.

"But we can't get to him right now." There is obviously way more to the situation than Daniel can probably tell me and although it's killing me not to ask for more details, I know Daniel is letting me know all he can.

"Oh." Big talker Kira. I am pretty much confused here as it seems to me that if they know where he is, why don't they just go in and get him? Obviously I don't know the full story. I never do.

"It's complicated, Kira," Daniel says softly taking a drink of his coffee. "You know I'd tell you more if I were able too." I nod; I know that.

"The military totally sucks Daniel." I say as I slump my shoulders in defeat.

"Don't let Jack here you say that Kira!" Daniel says smiling. "He really is hoping you'll join the Air Force."

I guffaw loudly and shake my head. "Daniel, I am *never* going to join the Air Force." I say forcibly.

"Good!" He says taking another sip. "Jack owes me $10!"

"You bet on me?" I ask incredulously.

"Oh we bet on just about everything." Daniel says eyes twinkling.

"You have a very strange job Daniel." I say finally.

"That I do." Daniel agrees with a chuckle. "So, how's school?" He asks changing the subject. I still want to know more about Colonel Jack, but I guess I can take comfort in knowing that Daniel and Sam will do everything they can to bring him home.

"Actually.." I say straightening up a little. "I'm graduating in a few weeks."

"You are?" Daniel says. "That's wonderful Kira!" If we were standing, I think he would have hugged me. Damn. Missed opportunity! Hey, I might not lust after the guy, but I can still appreciate a Daniel hug, can't I?

"If you had asked me last month, I would have spun this long sob story about how I was 4 credits shy of the 180 credits needed to graduate."

"So what happened?" Daniel asks.

"What happened is that my advisor went to bat for me and managed to convince the Graduate Committee that the time I spent abroad between high school and college should count for something." I give him a big grin. "Apparently exploring Iraq al-Amir [2] is good for four credits! I wrote a 15 page paper on my observations about the region and voila!"

"You never told me you went to Jordan!" Daniel says sounding a little amazed.

"You knew I traveled to the Middle East though, right?" I asked. Maybe he didn't remember? I mean talking with Daniel about Egypt seems like it happened ages ago. Can't believe it was almost three years ago.

"Sure, I remember that." Daniel says waggling his eyebrows up and down. "Back then you had a crush on me."

"Daniel!" I say blushing.

"Yes, Kira?" Pure innocence. Yep- Daniel Jackson does indeed have that innate innocent look.

"If you must know, I still had a crush on Colonel Jack back then." I don't feel the need to tell him that it was only a few weeks later that my er...perfectly normal, er..thoughts about him began.

"Jack?!" Daniel repeated loudly. "But he's old enough to be your father!" Did he have to shout it out so loud the rest of the coffee shop can hear? Geesh.

"Thanks for pointing that out Daniel." I say resisting the urge to find a nice mound of sand to bury my head into.

"Jack." Daniel repeats still chuckling to himself.

"Daniel," I say sternly. "You are not to repeat that to Jack!"

"Please?" Daniel implores. Man, Daniel should really bottle this power of persuasion thing he has going! Maybe he should work as a U.N translator or something- I bet he could persuade just about anyone to do anything. Hey! Maybe I can turn this around to my advantage.

" What will you give me in return Dr. Jackson?" I ask coquettishly.

"3 questions." Daniel replies instantly. "I'll answer any three questions you have about me.." I open my mouth to ask what I am *really* dying to know when Daniel puts in the obligatory caveat. "But, you know there are issues relating to National Security that I just can't talk about."

Damn. So close! Still, there are one or two things Daniel has never told me that shouldn't be a big dark secret.

"Agreed." I say pulling my chair closer and getting comfortable. "Question number 1- How many languages do you actually know Daniel?"

"Speak, read, or write?" Daniel asks. My eyes widen.


"That would technically be three questions Kira; how many languages do I speak; how many languages do I read and how many languages do I write?"

"Oh no you don't!" I quickly reply. "I'd like to know all three, but this is just one question, so if you don't want to tell me how many languages you can read or write, let's just stick to speaking."

"Ever consider the legal profession Kira?"

"Answer the question Daniel."

"Fine. I'll tell you all three for the price of one question. I am knowledgeable in 29 languages. I speak 27, can read 29 and can write 24." Holy crap. My mouth drops open on its own accord and I stare at him in awe. Daniel, you are my hero! My linguistic hero!

"Kira?" Daniel asks worriedly. "You ok with this?"

"Ok with you being probably the smartest guy on the planet?" I retort. "Sure, why not?"

Daniel's turn to snort and shake his head. "I'm not the smartest guy on the planet Kira."

"Pretty damn close!"

"Not even remotely close." Daniel qualifies. "I'm just good with languages."

"I'll say!"

"What's your second question?" Seeing as I'm still reeling from the first question, I'm a little at a loss for words. Daniel knows twenty-nine languages?!


"Gimme a second here." I say holding up a hand. I shake my head and realize what I want to ask.

"How did you and Jack meet?" Daniel rubs his forehead and thinks for a minute.

"There will be holes in this one Kira, but that's because some of it falls under that "national security" thing, ok?" I nod. "But I'll tell you what I can.

"About 5 years ago, a lovely older woman came to me one day and asked me to help translate something. The something in question actually belonged to the military and I had to sign a gazillion papers before they'd let me see it."

"What was it?" I asked.

"Is that question 3?" I opened my mouth to say yes but Daniel quickly shakes his head. "That's one I can't answer for you Kira." I nod; I didn't really think he could.

"I set to work on translating the artifact and what I found made a lot of people nervous." He pauses and looks at me. He knows that I was dying to ask what it was, but he also knows I won't. It's obvious that this is the big National Security thing that he can't talk about.

"Jack was actually called in to lead a team to find out more information about the people who made the artifact."

"This is where Egypt comes in, right? Where you met Sha're?"

"Umm- sort of." Daniel says uncomfortably. "All I can tell you Kira is that we traveled a very far distance and met some people we had never met before."

"Wow. That must have been really cool!" There I go sounding like a little kid again.

Daniel chuckles. "It was pretty cool." He paused in memory. "I think even Jack in all his bad-ass military posturing thought it was cool as well."

"Jack's not a military bad-ass!"

"He was then Kira." Daniel says softly. "The Jack O'Neill you know now, isn't the same one I met back in 1995."

"What happened?"

"That's Jack's story to tell Kira." Daniel says gently. Oh. Ok.

"But you liked each other, right?" I ask.

Daniel shakes his head. "Jack pretty much had me pegged as a geeky scientist, which I technically was, and didn't want anything to do with me. He couldn't stand having a "civilian" on his team."

"So what changed?" I asked. "I mean, obviously you and Jack are good friends now."

"Oh, you know how it goes- I save his life, he saves mine. Things like that."

"Wow." I'm just about to ask another question when his phone rings.

"Sorry Kira, but I need to answer this." He stands up and walks with his cell phone towards a corner. He isn't necessarily trying to hide his conversation from me, just trying to be polite and not disrupt others in a public place. I bet if it wasn't 13 degrees outside, he'd be taking his conversation out there.

"Hello?" He answers as he holds the phone up to his ear. "Hi Sam," he says before pausing to listen. "Yeah, I'm just on my way in- you still there?" Longer pause. "Sam," he admonishes gently. "You need to go home and rest." Daniel shakes his head. "No. Resting on base is not the same thing…" Daniel rolls his eyes. "No, I haven't been talking with Janet. I mean, of course I've been talking with Janet, but not about you." I see Daniel flinch slightly as he says that and bet he *has* been talking to Dr. Janet about Sam.

"We're just worried about you Sam." Daniel continues. "It's been three weeks and you haven't.." Sam must have interrupted him because Daniel's sentence is completely cut off.
" Yes, I know you're the only one who…" Again, Daniel is unable to finish what he has to say.

"Sam, we're going to get him home." Daniel says finally. Suddenly it clicks; they're talking about Jack. Sam continues to talk for a bit and Daniel exhales softly and nods. "Yeah, I can do that for you Sam, but wouldn't you rather have Janet.." Sam says only a few words before Daniel nods again. "That's right I had forgotten. When is she supposed to return?"
Sam doesn't say much more before Daniel agrees. "Ok. I'll swing by your place before heading in. Can I bring you anything else? Coffee? Chocolate covered espresso beans?" He smiles as he listens to Sam's answer. "Well of course I know those are my own favorites." He looks over at me and winks.

"Seriously Sam, I'll pick you up one of those thick corned beef sandwiches you like from Hank's Deli." Sam obviously isn't so crazy about that idea. "I don't care if you're not hungry Sam, you need to eat. And I bet hank's corned beef is a little more appetizing then Lt. Rodriguez' canned bean casserole." Daniel looks at his watch. "I should be there within the hour." Pause. "Bye Sam." He turns his phone off and turns back to me.

"Sorry Kira, question number 3 will have to wait until next time. I need to get going. Sam asked me to pick up a few things from her house before heading back to base."

"On the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving?" I ask a bit surprised that he would even think of returning to work.

"Afraid so." Daniel says apologetically. "If Janet returns home on time, I'll insist on taking Sam to her place for Thanksgiving with Cassie. But if Janet is delayed… well I'll just stay and keep Sam company." He gathers his coat and returns his empty coffee cup to the busing area.

"Great Americano Stefan!" Daniel shouts over the din of the espresso machine as he shoves a couple dollars into the tip jar. Stefan smiles and nods his head in thanks. Daniel puts on his coat and has his hand on the front door when I realize what I want to ask him for my third question.

"Daniel!" I call out. He stops and turns around. "My third question- it's a quick one."

"Go ahead." Daniel says a little cautiously. I know he's thinking that whatever question I ask will either be another "national security" question or else something long and complicated.

"Will I ever find out what it is you actually do?"

"You know what I do Kira, I'm an archaeologist and translator."

"Daniel." I admonish. "Translators do not routinely get beaten up or drugged or.." I resist adding 'kidnapped by aliens' although I want too.

Daniel holds up a hand to stop me. "I see your point."

"Well?" I ask again putting my hands on my hips. "Will I?"

"You know what Kira?" Daniel answers seriously as he opens the door. "You just might."

Hee hee! You like? Please le me know as I'm always afraid my Barista stories will one day fall flat and everyone will go running away in fright. Or something like that. Writers are a very insecure lot!

[1] Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November. It's one of only 7 or so universal American Holidays (some only have 6, and others 8). That's right kids, we in the states only get seven paid holidays a year. Needless to say, I'm jealous as heck at the rest of the world for getting more time off then me. [Up]

[2] A set of ancient caves near Amman, Jordan [Up]

Completed February 29, 2004

27-- Graduation Day
Spoilers: vague reference to 100 days (317)
Rating: PG
Category: A little angst, a little humor, a lot of Kira TLC


Ever have one of those days where you find yourself wallowing in self pity and have no desire what so ever to feel better? The kind of day where you are certain there's some cosmic conspiracy to make you feel as miserable as possible? That's the kind of day I'm having today. I resist the urge to let out a big breathy sigh. With my luck, the moisture-laden sigh will saturate my scarf, freeze solid, and then slowly melt down my shirt causing me to catch pneumonia. I'll probably spend a week in intensive care.

Like I said, I'm really into self pity at the moment.

I quicken my pace even though I have no destination and try not to look at all the shops decorated for Christmas. Although I might not have enjoyed decorating Victor's in late November, I do have to admit it sure is pretty around here when there's snow on the ground and everything is lit up for the holidays. I find myself starting to feel better and instantly give myself a mental shove- I don't want to feel better. I don't want to think of gingerbread men and good will towards man. What I want is for someone to have figured out that as of today I'm officially a college graduate!

Damn. I may not have a problem wallowing, but I do have a problem with crying and I can feel some serious tears trying to emerge. Happy thoughts Kira! Happy thoughts! Or at least moderately unsad thoughts? I feel a few stray tears slide down my cheeks and brush them away angrily.

This really isn't working. I thought taking a walk might make me feel better, but instead it seems to be making me even more upset than I already am. It's Saturday afternoon and all I see around me are a lot of frantic, yet happy-looking Christmas shoppers. I can't decide if I'm thankful I'm not one of them or bummed that I never was. Growing up Jewish in a predominately Christian neighborhood wasn't really all that fun. Sure, it's great to bring a dreidel to class and tell the story of Chanukkah-but come on! You can only do that so often, right? Having a totally minor holiday tucked next to a major religious one completely sucks. It's bad enough that everyone just *assumes* Chanukkah is huge because it's the same time of year as Christmas, but once you throw in all the carols, candy and gift-giving-well, if you're me, this pretty much guarantees you turn into a Scrooge this time of year.

A college educated scrooge.

A freshly-turned 22 year old college educated scrooge.

I find myself walking even faster and blink rapidly in an attempt to keep those stray tears from falling. With my luck, my eyelashes will freeze together and I won't be able to see. I'll run into a tree or something.

Did I mention the self-pity?

"Kira!" A voice yells behind me. I don't know who is calling my name but you know what? I don't really care. I'm in deep hurt mode at the moment and don't want to talk to anyone. Where are my powers of invisibility when I need them?

"Kira!" The voice behind me says louder. I know I'm being stupid, but I still continue to walk briskly forward. I know it can't be Stefan as he's in St. Thomas of all places. Wanted to celebrate the Millennium surrounded by mai-tais in the Caribbean. Oh, hey. Yet another thing to feel bad about- it's the dawn of the 21st century and I don't have a boyfriend. Maybe I'll get lucky and everything will stop at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999.

Death by Y2K bug.

"Kira?" The voice says quieter this time as a hand reaches out and gently forces me to stop. Slowly I'm turned around. I'm so busy feeling sorry for myself that it doesn't even dawn on me who had stopped me until I look up.


One slightly breathless concerned looking Daniel Jackson. He looks down at me with concern and something that looks a little like understanding. I can only give him a watery shadow of a smile. Daniel gives me a genuine one in return, and there isn't a darn thing I can do to keep my eyes from overflowing with tears.

"It's ok, Kira." Daniel says as he pulls me into towards him. For several longs second Daniel hugs me tightly as I hiccup into his chest and try to get my emotions under control. I wish I were a Vulcan.

"Kira," Daniel whispers into my hat-covered head, "happy graduation."

This time I don't even try to hide the sobs as I cry into his wool coat. The only person to remember my graduation is my coffee guy! I may consider Daniel a good friend, but it isn't like we go clubbing together or anything. He will forever be my coffee guy and it seems only my coffee guy remembered that today was the last day of my undergraduate life.

"Let's get you inside." Daniel murmurs leading me across the street towards a café. "It is freezing out here and I think your eyelashes might be sticking together." I let out a sound somewhere between a sob and a laugh, and desperately wish I had some Kleenex in my pocket.

Apparently, besides speaking a gazillion languages, Daniel is also a mind-reader. He hands me a clean handkerchief as we step inside the café. We are led to a corner table near a window and the waitress hands us some menus as Daniel orders a hot chocolate for me and a coffee for himself.

"Hope you like hot chocolate." Daniel says smiling at me warmly. I can only nod as I blow my nose loudly and take off my hat and coat. The waitress quickly returns with our drinks and I sigh contentedly as I sip the warm beverage. I've stopped crying and although I'm certain my eyes are red and puffy and my nose is bigger than Rudolph's, I seem to have gotten my emotions back under control.

"Everything always seems a little better with chocolate." Daniel says cupping both hands around his coffee.

"You're drinking coffee." I say pointing out the obvious.

"I'm not the one in desperate need of cheering up." Daniel says lightly. Before I can reply, the waitress returns. I order some homemade vegetable soup and bread, while Daniel goes for the clam chowder.

We sit in companionable silence for several seconds before it dawns on me what has just happened. "Daniel?"


"How did you know I just graduated?" Before he can reply I ask another question. "How did you know where I'd be? How come you didn't ask why I was upset? How.."

Daniel holds up a hand and gives me another small smile. "Now I know what Jack must feel like when we're off.." He pauses for just the slightest of seconds before continuing. "Off on a mission and I ask a lot of questions."

"I always have questions." I reply truthfully.

"Me too Kira." Daniel says with a small smile.

"Speaking of Jack, have you found him yet?" Daniel's eyes dim with regret and I wish I hadn't asked the question. "No, not yet." He answers sadly. "But Sam is really close to finding something that is certain to help him." An astrophysicist is going to find something to help her captured commanding officer? Is it just me, or does that seem kinda weird?

I am trying to put my thoughts into diplomatic words when Daniel abruptly changes the subject. "Do you have it yet?" He asks.

"Have what?"

"Your diploma." He explains looking at me carefully for a reaction.

Oh. That. "No." I reply shaking my head in the negative. "They'll mail it to me in a couple of weeks after they are certain I don't have any overdue books or anything."

"Ah, I'd forgotten about that." Daniel nods knowingly.



"How'd you know?" I don't have to clarify what I mean- he knows.

Daniel shrugs. "It really was just dumb luck finding you." He says taking another drink of his coffee. Daniel wrinkles his nose slightly and mutters, "Not as good as yours." I smile appreciatively and make a motion with my hand telling him to continue.

"I was at the university library last week and heard some students talking about how Monday was the last day of the quarter. I remember you telling me that you would graduate at the end of this quarter and I just put two and two together."

"But how did you know?" I ask again.

"How did I know you would be wandering the frigid streets of Colorado Springs feeling alone and a little sorry for yourself?" I do a lousy job at trying to hide my blush and look down at the checkered tablecloth instead.

"Yeah," I say finally. "That."

Daniel shrugs and takes one of my still cold hands in his own. Although the cocoa has done a pretty good job of warming me up on the inside, I'm still pretty cold on the outside. "I knew Kira, because I've been there."

Naturally, the waitress chose that exact moment to arrive. She set down our soups quietly and said she'd be back with more coffee in a moment. I asked for a cup of hot water.

"Just hot water?" Daniel asks raising an eyebrow.

"I'm cold." I reply unnecessarily. Besides, I like drinking hot water. At the very least, it gives me something warm to cup my hands around. We each take a couple spoonfuls of our soup before Daniel continues.

"I graduated from New York University in December 1982." Daniel says quietly. 1982? But that was nearly 20 years ago! Daniel must have been..

"I was 17 Kira." He says giving me a little chuckle. I guess he could see my brain trying to do the math.

"You graduated from college when you were just 17?!" This guy really was a genius.

"Yeah." Daniel says nodding. "I kind of did high school and college all at the same time. My foster parents did attend my high school graduation in June earlier that summer, but they didn't really remember my college one."

"How could they not know?" I ask completely wrapped up in Daniel's story and oblivious to my own. Where were Daniel's real parents?

"It really wasn't their fault." Daniel says in their defense. "I become their foster kid when I was 15 and all I ever did was go to school. When I wasn't at high school, I could be found in a lab somewhere at NYU. They were aware that I planned on continuing my education and weren't too concerned about the details."

"Sounds lonely." I say quietly.

Daniel shrugs. "It was. Sometimes. But mostly I remember loving the learning. Everyday I learned something knew and I was determined to make a difference in the world. To make my parents proud of me." Daniel fidgets uncomfortably. "I never told you about my parents did I?" He asks softly. I shake my head.

"They were killed in an accident when I was 8." Daniel says quietly. I feel my eyes fill with tears again.

"Daniel, I am so sorry!"

"Yeah," Daniel says nearly inaudibly. "Me too."

"Anyway," Daniel continues trying to get back to the original point. "I finished up the last of my credits right before Christmas and there wasn't anyone I could really talk to about it. I came home to leftovers and my foster parents building a crib for their new baby."

"It was just a stupid undergraduate degree." I say trying not to let it get to me. Daniel's story was slowly becoming way too familiar. "It doesn't really mean much if you're just going to go on and get another degree."

"Maybe." Daniel says nodding. "But it's your first degree Kira, and that'll always the one you'll remember most." I shrug noncommittally.

"Where are your parents Kira? I bet they're very proud of you."

I shrug again. "They're on a cruise in the Bahamas." I explain. "Back in September it looked like I wouldn't be graduating until March, so my parents bought tickets for a cruise over the holidays. Once they heard that I would be graduating earlier, they tried to change their tickets. I told them not to worry about it and go have their cruise. After all, it isn't like there's a graduation ceremony or anything-that'll be in June with everyone else. All I get today is a little piece of paper that says I have completed 180 credits."

"And how do you feel about that?" Daniel asked sounding suspiciously like a shrink.

"I didn't think I'd care so much Daniel.' I whisper. "I honestly thought this would just be the first of many degrees I might get and I honestly wouldn't care. I made certain that this whole degree-getting thing just wasn't a big deal. My parents.."

"Your parents are very proud of you." Daniel says finishing my thought with a knowing nod.

"Very." I say smiling. I'm an only child and my parents pretty much went nuts when they heard I was accepted to graduate school." It's a good memory and helps to ease me out of my dark mood.

"What about your friends?" Daniel asks. Instantly the dark mood returns.

"It's December 15th Daniel! Everyone is home with their families!" I reply a little sharply. Daniel's face falls a little and I mentally kick myself for being the fool. Not only does Daniel apparently have no parents, but now his wife is dead and his best friend is missing. Some Christmas he's having. God, I'm a horrible person aren't I?

"He'll be home soon though, right?" I say trying to make the best of a really awkward situation.

"Yes," Daniel says with conviction. "He will."

We spend the next 30 minutes or so talking about school and birthdays. It was Daniel's fault for wishing me a happy birthday and asking me how I spent my glorious 22nd.

"Well, it wasn't nearly as eventful as last years." I reply using every ounce of my being not to lick my lips.

"I imagine not." Daniel replies chuckling. Daniel insists on paying for lunch and we get up to leave. As I am pulling on my coat, Daniel leans over and gives me a very chaste kiss on the side of my cheek.

"Happy Graduation. Kira." He says giving me another hug. I wrap my scarf around my neck and we exit the café together.

"Daniel?" I ask as we head off towards his car. Daniel had offered me a ride home and it was too darn cold to refuse the offer.


"I liked the birthday kiss better."

Completed March 15, 2004

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

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

29--Airport Delay

Spoilers: Crystall Skull (321), Nemesis (322)
Category Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Rating: PG-13

I tell myself that it is way too early to ask if we're there yet, but it is taking all of my self control to keep my mouth shut. I fiddle with the dials on the radio and after two sweeps of the choices available, turn the static off with disgust. Times like this, I really hate living in the mountains. Wonder if we're there yet…

I sneak a glance at my driver and am not surprised at all that he's trying hard not to smile. Nice to know I can be so entertaining at such an early hour.

"You're dying to ask, aren't you?" He asks me with twinkling eyes. You know if he wasn't so darn cute and one of my favorite people, I just might give him a flippant answer.

"Even if I were to say yes," I begin, deciding that I feel like giving a flippant answer anyhow. "It would be yes for something completely different and not for whatever it is you're thinking about." Even to my ears I sound like a complete spoiled brat. Maybe I should just ask if we're there yet and get it over with.

"You won't miss your flight Kira," Daniel says giving me a reassuring smile.

"I know Daniel," I answer grudgingly. "I'm always like this before a big trip. I'm sorry if I'm so snarky."

"Snarky?" Daniel asks giving me a funny look. "I might know a couple of languages…"

"Like 30?" I offer.

"I might know a couple of languages," Daniel repeats, completely ignoring my outburst. "But I'm not familiar with the word, snarky." Man, Daniel can sure be tenacious when he wants to. Betcha Jack really likes that.

"Snarky?" I repeat. "You have to know what snarky is." I mean, come on! Who on this planet doesn't know snarky? I bet they even have an equivalent to it in Russian!

"Afraid not." Daniel replies shaking his head. "Now, when used in the context of your sentence, I am going to assume it means cranky and a little anxious, but I would definitely challenge you if you tried to place the word in a scrabble game."

Note to self: Never play scrabble with Daniel.

"You play scrabble?" I actually love the game, but I bet Daniel is like Grand Master good. Although, come to think of it, do they have Grand Masters in scrabble?

"Sam and I enjoy playing," Daniel replies with a chuckle. "I use perfectly legal archaeology and anthropology words to frustrate her, and she uses perfectly legal physics and astronomy words to frustrate me!"

"What about Jack?"

"Jack likes to play words like snarky and insist that they're real," Daniel says giving me a pointed look. I knew I liked Jack for a reason!

"Remind me to play scrabble with Jack sometime." I laugh.

"Not with me? Kira, I'm crushed." Daniel says, feigning offence.

"I'm afraid I have an ego Daniel, and you'd crush it between your multi-doctored fingers if I played with you." Daniel starts to laugh, but suddenly grunts in pain and clenches his teeth.

"Daniel, you ok?" I ask. He of course can't tell me exactly what he had been up to for the past week or so, but he did let it slip that there was a bit of a radiation scare at work. He's not dying of radiation sickness, is he?!

"I'm fine, Kira," Daniel replies not too convincingly. "I just shouldn't have drunk so much coffee on an empty stomach, that's all," he adds lamely.

Oh really? Since when? "I offered you a bagel..."

"I know." Daniel replies shrugging slightly. "I just wasn't hungry Kira."

"You sure you're all right Daniel?" I look at Daniel critically, and realize that he is looking more than a little flushed.

"Positive." Daniel gives me a reassuring smile. "So tell me again about what you're going to be doing in Cairo." That's right! I'm on my way to the airport to catch a flight to Egypt! This is so cool!

"I'm going to be studying Pre-Dynastic history at the American University in Cairo, and spend some time working on a dig in search of the lost libraries of Alexandria." Is it possible to make something sound cooler, just by saying it aloud?

"I knew you couldn't stay away from archaeology!" Daniel says smugly.

"Daniel," I reply patiently. "I'm going to be studying history and looking for clues as to the whereabouts of a 2500 year old library."

"Like I said," Daniel replies. "Archaeology"

"Are we there yet?" I ask aloud as I look out the window.

We had driven in affable silence for five minutes or so when I notice Daniel wince again. His torso-area does a crazy dance thing and I swear he clenched every muscle in his body at once. Something is wrong.


"Kira, would you mind if we stopped at the next exit so I can get some antacids or something?" Daniel asks, slowly exhaling from what must have been a very painful stomach cramp.


"Yeah," Daniel says putting on his blinker and taking the next exit. "I really shouldn't have eaten so much at Jack's BBQ last week." I don't fail to notice that Daniel didn't even pretend to wait until I answered him.

"That was last week Daniel!" Gas doesn't last a week, does it?

"You obviously haven't had Jack's secret-family recipe ribs.." Suddenly both of his hands cradle his middle and Daniel cries out in pain.

"Daniel!" I cry as I grab the wheel. There is no way this is a minor thing; Daniel needs a doctor. Thankfully, we had just finished the sharp turn that exits tend to have, and was about to stop at a light when Daniel cried out. His hands are still wrapped around his middle and he looks like he's about to get sick.

"We uh... should stop," Daniel says awkwardly, as he takes control of the steering wheel again.

"There's an AM/PM over here on our right." I point towards the bright blue store just in front of us. Without a word, Daniel drives the car into their parking lot and pulls into a stall in the far back. He has only just turned off the ignition when suddenly he fumbles with his seat belt and yanks open the door. I cringe as his body heaves first once and then twice. I have actually never seen anyone get sick other than myself before and really hope I never see it again.

"Daniel?" I ask softly as he wearily pulls himself back upright and releases a shaky breath.

"I actually feel much better," Daniel says with a weak laugh. Without opening his eyes, he reaches out and pats my leg reassuringly. "Just give me a minute and I'll be ready to head back out."

"I don't think so!" I say hotly. There is no way Daniel is going to drive me or himself anywhere. I already am reaching into the backseat for my purse; time to call in reinforcements.

"Kira, I'm fine." I have to admit, he does sound better. Still—it just isn't normal to have severe stomach cramps and throw up in AM/PM parking lots!

"It really must have been something I ate." He is sounding quite rationale and sincere, but there is not way any of this is normal. "If you can just run in and get me a little package of antacids; that would be great." He gives me another reassuring smile and I nod ok.

I grab my purse and head into the store. The moment I am out of Daniel's line of vision, I reach for my cell phone and dial information.

Knowing exactly what and who to ask for this time, I quickly am patched through to Jack's office. I glance at my watch as I listen to the phone ring, cross my fingers that Jack is an early bird.

"O'Neill." I exhale a breath I didn't know I had been holding. Jack doesn't sound tired, or angry or really much of anything. Guess 6:45 in the morning is a normal time for him.


"Kira?" Jack asks after a moment. "Aren't you supposed to be in Egypt or something?" Despite the circumstance, I can't help but get a little happy-glow; Jack remembered that I'm heading to Egypt!

"Daniel's sick," I say cutting to the chase.

"Sick?" I can just picture him taking his feet off his desk and sitting up straighter. "What do you mean sick?"

"Stomach pains, nausea, and I think he might have a fever as well."

"Dammit, Frasier said he'd be fine…" Jack mutters to himself.

"Not the radiation!" I stutter.

"Dammit, Daniel!" Jack swears as I hear him pushing some additional phone buttons. "Kira, if Daniel doesn't learn to shut the hell up, I'm going to have to bring you in for a debriefing." As much as I am curious as to where Jack and Daniel work, I suddenly I don't think I'd like to see it via an interrogation.

Oh God! Is radiation sickness contagious?

"Jack..?" I ask feeling more than a little scared.

"Hold on a sec, Kira." In the background, I can hear Jack barking out order for someone to find Doctor Frasier. "Have her call me the moment she gets in." I hear him say.

"No, it isn't contagious," Jack finishes, as he returns to my part of the conversation. Wow. Guess colonels are really good at reading minds and anticipating questions. A phone rings in the background and in seconds I'm on a three-way conference call with Dr. Frasier and Jack.

"Colonel?" Dr. Frasier asks. "What's going on?"

"Daniel's sick," Jack replies succinctly. "Kira?"

"Kira?" Dr. Frasier repeats sounding pretty confused.

"Hi," I say anxiously, wondering if I really shouldn't give up the charade of buying antacids and go check on Daniel. "Daniel was supposed to drive me to the airport this morning, but has been having really bad stomach pains. When we stopped he got sick. He says he just needs some antacids or something similar, but I think he's really sick."


"It isn't what you think Colonel," Dr. Frasier answers instantly. "I promise you, it isn't that." She pauses as if considering, "Kira, did you notice if Daniel ate anything this morning?"

I shake my head even though they can't see me. "No, ma'am," I reply. "In fact, Daniel said he wasn't hungry when I offered to buy him a bagel with his coffee."

"Describe his stomach pains for me."

"Real sudden and sharp. At first he just gritted his teeth, but this last time he actually cried out and doubled over clenching his stomach. After we pulled over, he got sick and now says he actually feels better." My turn to pause. "I don't think he's better Dr. Frasier. He looks a little flushed, but I don't think he has a major fever or anything."

"Colonel, how did Daniel seem last night? Did he eat anything out of the ordinary?"

"A bunch of us took Dr. Frasier's daughter Cassie to see a movie last night." Jack explains to me. "Actually Doc," Jack says sounding a little worried, "Daniel didn't eat more than a few bites of bread. He made some lame joke about still being full from my BBQ last weekend."

"He said the same thing to me," I add forlornly.

"It isn't food poisoning," Dr. Frasier diagnoses. "But other than that, I won't know until I see him. "It could be the flu, but the symptoms don't seem to be in the right order…"

"There's an order?" Both Jack and I repeat at the same time.

"Kira, how's Daniel doing now?" Dr. Frasier asks.

"I'm currently in the store and Daniel's in the car. If I go outside and check on him, he'll know that I've called you."

"Do it," Jack orders. Orders. And get this- I don't hesitate for a moment.

"Daniel?" I ask softly as I open the door. He has unfastened his seat belt and tilted back his seat a bit. His face is anything but relaxed-looking and his hands are resting protectively against his stomach, a bit to the right actually…

"Jack!" I whisper as I quickly step out of the car. "Has Daniel ever had his appendix out?"

"Appendix?" Jack repeats.

"No," Dr. Frasier interjects. "Daniel has not had his appendix out."

"A friend of mine from school had hers removed last Christmas. The way Daniel seems to be favoring the right side of his stomach got me to thinking about it."

"Appendix?!" Jack repeats again.

"Kira, put Daniel on the phone," Dr. Frasier asks.

I open the door back up and call out to Daniel.

"Hi, Kira," Daniel says opening his eyes and giving me a weak smile. "Did you get the antacids?"

"No," I reply feeling guilty. If it turns out that Daniel does just have heartburn or gas, I'm going to feel really bad about all of this. "I have Dr. Frasier on the phone." I say offering him my cell phone.

"Janet?" He asks confused. I nod and give him the phone.

"Janet?" He repeats into the receiver. "Why are you calling?"

I don't hear Dr. Frasier's answer, but listen as Daniel says yeses and nos and does a lot of frowning. He isn't too happy to hear either Dr. Fraiser or Jack's voices. I don't hear the specific question, but I do hear Daniel say, "I'd really rather not." He pauses to listen to something, and sighs as he hands me the phone. "Kira, Janet wants to talk to you." Clearly he isn't thrilled with what she's going to tell me.

"Kira, listen carefully," Janet begins. "I need for you to gently press on the right side of Daniel's stomach directly above his waist band. His appendix is actually located below that, but I don't think either one of you would be comfortable with going lower."

"You have that right," I murmur blushing.

"You're looking for any inflammation or swelling. If he does have appendicitis, it may be obvious."

"Ok," I say. "I have to set the phone down for a minute."

I set the phone down and look at Daniel apologetically. "You ready?" I ask. Daniel nods and lifts up his shirt slightly. Ah, man! He has ripples! The first guy I'm going to touch with actual abdominal muscles and it is to see if he's sick. Life is so unfair.

"It's ok Kira," Daniel says as he sees me hesitate. I might like the view, but I definitely don't enjoy the thought of hurting him. Very, very gently I place the fingertips of my right hand above his waist band. Daniel lets out a small sound and closes his eyes. I move my hand a little to the right and very, very gently splay my fingertips across his stomach and press down.

Daniel screams.

I instantly remove my hand as tears threaten to spill out. Oh my God, I just made Daniel scream. With shaky hands, I grab the phone as Daniel positions his body away from me and becomes even more protective of his middle.

"Daniel.." I begin into the phone.

"We heard Kira," Jack replies softly. "Janet is on the phone with 911 now. She thinks his appendix has already ruptured and there was nothing you could have done differently."

"Will they be here soon?" I ask taking a shuttering breath. I made Daniel scream. Just thinking about it causes me to cry.

"They'll be there soon," Jack confirms.

"Will you stay with me until they get here?" I ask as I continue to stare at Daniel and his trembling body.

"I'll need to switch to a cell phone so I can drive up to the hospital, but I'll be here Kira."

"He's in a lot of pain," I say hiccupping into the telephone. I can't help it! Daniel might be dying right next to me and I can't do anything to help him. "I'm sorry," I sob.

"Kira, it's ok," Jack says gently. "He'll be ok."

"Promise?" I ask knowing full well that Jack O'Neill has no control what so ever over Daniel's apparent appendicitis.


"So, how's he doing?" Jack asks, as he finds me in the waiting room drinking a weak cup of tea. He's dressed in a funny-looking blue jump suit and has an anxious look on his face.

"They took him into surgery about 20 minutes ago." I reply, filling him in on everything that has happened in the last 90 minutes. "They weren't really supposed to tell me anything, but seeing as how we already suspected his appendix, they confirmed it for me. It had probably burst this morning." Tears once again, threaten to spill.

"He'll be fine, Kira," Jack says leaning down and giving me a big hug. "He has been through way too much to let a simple thing like appendicitis get him down." I nod into Jack's chest and have no doubt what so ever that he's right and Daniel will be fine.

"Hey," Daniel says semi-drugged as he blinks owlishly in my direction. No one had given him his glasses back. "You're still here."

I nod and bite my lip hard to keep from crying. The surgery went fine and Daniel's ruptured appendix had been removed without any complication. Still, this had happened while he was driving me to the airport.

"Not your fault you know," Daniel insists, eyeing the cup of ice chips on the table next to him. I put several chips on a spoon and carefully feed them to Daniel. "God, you can't believe how good these things taste after surgery," Daniel says as he closes his eyes and sighs contentedly.

I'm a little disturbed that he's had enough surgeries to make a comment like that.

Daniel opens his eyes and squints around the room. "Where's Jack?"

"He just went for some coffee," I reply. Daniel nods and closes his eyes again. Suddenly he snaps them back open. "You're still here!"

I smile and nod. "I'm catching a flight tonight to NY and will arrive in Cairo tomorrow."

"I'm sorry Kira."

"Daniel!" I admonish. "You had a burst appendix! If anyone should be sorry, it's me for having you drive me to the airport."

"Can we just agree that it's no one's fault?" Jack interjects from the doorway. "Honestly, what is it about kids these days and guilt?"

"Hey," Daniel says squinting up at Jack.

"Hey," Jack replies. Oooo- big talkers these two.

"Kira Meyers?" I turn around and see a military guy in the doorway.

"Can I help you?" I didn't park illegally or something did I?

"I'm here to give you a ride to the airport ma'am." Instantly I shoot a look at Jack.

"Hey! It's the least I can do for keeping an eye on Daniel yet again."

"I thought we established this wasn't my fault." Daniel says sounding a little hurt.

"It isn't your fault Daniel," Jack confirms. "It honestly seldom is your fault, but that doesn't mean I'm not displeased when these things happen to you when someone is around to watch your back.

I smile.

"You'll take good care of Daniel while I'm gone, right?" I ask Jack. "Make sure he eats, takes his vitamins and doesn't exceed the Daniel recommended dosage of 300 mg of caffeine a day?"

"Will do!" Jack says cheekily. "Come here." I walk over and Jack gives me a big hug. He releases me and then grabs me again and gives me another one. "That's from Daniel," he whispers.

"Take good care of yourself Kira," Daniel says in a slightly slurred voice as his eyelids begin to droop.

"You too, Daniel," I say. "I expect at least one email reply a month. I know you guys travel and such—but let me know every now and then that you're alive and kicking ok?" Daniel nods and then loses his battle to keep his eyes open and falls into a light sleep.

"Ma'am?" The military guy says from the doorway. Oops. I had forgotten all about him.


"Bye Jack."

"Bye, Kira." Jack gives me a final nod, as he takes a seat next to Daniel's bed. I steal another look at Daniel and then head off with my personal chaperone. It is damn nice having Jack and Daniel as friends.

Completed May 28, 2004

Notes: And so we come to an end of the Chapter 3 Barista stories. Season 4 will continue sometime in late July, 2004.

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