Jackfic Archive Story

 

Closed Doors General Jack Year Three - Part Fourteen

by Flatkatsi

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).




"General O'Neill?"

The knock was tentative, unsure and the voice barely carried through the solid door. It was however, enough to cause me to look up from my book. I felt a flash of annoyance for a second, before I carefully placed a bookmark between the pages of the novel, closed it and put it on my coffee table. By the time I reached my front door my face was set in a stern frown.

"Yes?" I didn't recognise the man standing, sheltering under a large black umbrella. The umbrella wasn't the only thing that was black. The color was carried through to practically everything about the tall figure. Black suit, black shoes, black hat, black skin. The only relief from the black was the pristine white shirt adored with a plain black tie. The whole 'Men in Black' scenario was so blatant that I was totally unsurprised by the large black car parked across the road from my gate.

"If you wouldn't mind coming with me, sir?"

I raised an eyebrow and gave him a stare that should have sent him scurrying. Unfortunately the impact was rather lessened by having to look up at him instead of the other way around and he just gave me a somewhat embarrassed half smile.

"Perhaps you'd like to tell me who the hell sent you and where you want to take me. Then we'll discuss whether or not I'll come with you and whether I need a jacket." I kept my tone even and made a show of looking at the sleek sedan, then gave him another glare. "Doesn't look like your car is wheelchair compatible. Someone obviously didn't do their homework."

He didn't give me a straight answer, just muttered an "Excuse me for a moment, sir," and hurried off down the drive. Another man, almost a clone of the first, except for his pale complexion, hopped out of the vehicle as he approached and they had a quick conversation under matching black umbrellas, which culminated in my original visitor taking a cell phone from his jacket pocket.

I couldn't hear the conversation, but judging from the expression on his face, it wasn't a pleasant one. The other man stood beside him, watching me the whole time. His posture I think was meant to be intimidating, but after so many years of being friends with Teal'c, just looked a little silly to me. Teal'c had cornered the market on intimidation.

I decided not to make it easy for them, so I turned and shut the door, and went back to my book.

It was a good five minutes before the sound of an engine wafted though the tightly closed window. I wheeled myself back up the newly installed ramp, looking out just in time to catch a glimpse of the sedan disappearing down the street.

Looked like things were finally beginning to happen.

I took my notebook from beside the phone and made a few calls.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

This time the knock was firm.

The conversation after the door was opened was clearly audible to me where I sat in my now accustomed place across from the fireplace.

"We would like to speak to General O'Neill."

"What about?"

"It is a private matter."

George and I exchanged looks. I gave a quick shake of my head as he began to get up, and raised my voice, interrupting.

"Let them in, Major."

Two men entered. One I recognised as the man who had stayed with the car, and the other was an older man, slightly built, but with an air of confidence that fairly yelled experience.

He was the one that spoke. "General O'Neill?" I nodded confirmation and he continued, holding out a badge. "Agent Richard Burroughs, FBI. As I was explaining to the major, I'd like to speak with you privately, sir."

"What's this about, Burroughs?" I gestured for him to come forward and he did so, the other, as yet unidentified man, staying back, surveying the room as Major Swift moved around him to stand between Hammond and myself.

Burroughs gave a pointed look at my companions.

"Anything you have to say can be said in front of these men, Agent Burroughs. Now - what is this all about?"

"I have some questions for you about General Peter Ramsey."

I heard George move in his chair, but didn't look over, keeping my attention on the FBI man. "What about Ramsey?"

He looked surprised at my obviously hostile tone, but I saw no reason to hide my loathing of the man.

"I understand you served with him?"

"Yes. What about it?"

"Would you have any knowledge of his whereabouts?"

"Right now? No. Doesn't he live in Washington? And why are you asking me? What's all this about?"

"When was the last time you saw General Ramsey, sir?"

I sat back and frowned, letting Major Swift take over.

"Why are you asking the general these questions?"

I decided to offer an explanation. "Major Swift is my lawyer, Burroughs. Perhaps you'd like to answer him?"

"Your lawyer, General? Your lawyer happens to be visiting when we arrive?" His scepticism was obvious.

General Hammond took his turn. We had our tag-team responses working perfectly. "I think we all know that isn't the case. After your men's visit this morning General O'Neill made a point of finding out just whom he was dealing with and decided to be prepared. He called myself and Major Swift."

"And you are?"

"Lieutenant General George Hammond."

Burroughs couldn't conceal his shock. He stiffened and looked like he was fighting the urge to snap off a salute. My suspicions that he was ex-military looked to be correct.

"Why don't you sit down, Agent Burroughs, and tell us exactly what you want to know and why." I waved a hand at the couch and smiled disarmingly. "We seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot. Your peoples' visit took me a little by surprise as I haven't a clue why I was being asking to accompany an FBI agent somewhere. I think you can understand my caution under the circumstances."

Burroughs gave a small nod of agreement and took a seat, but I noticed he didn't relax into it; instead he sat on the edge, still clearly ill at ease with the situation.

"Some coffee? That's if your companion wouldn't mind making it? I'm sure he can find everything he needs in the kitchen without any help."

"Sure." He nodded at the other man, who scowled back. "Fielding."

Casting a very black look at me, Fielding stalked into the kitchen and soon I heard the sound of opening cupboards - a few more than was necessary to find the makings for a few coffees, but I had nothing to hide so I didn't comment.

"Can we get back to the matter in hand?" Major Swift came over to sit beside Burroughs, who shifted uncomfortably.

He nodded. "Very well. I'll come straight to the point. General Ramsey has disappeared and General O'Neill's name was one mentioned as of possible interest in the case."

I wasn't surprised at that. It wasn't a secret that Ramsey and I weren't on the best of terms, especially after his remarks about me had been overheard at the match at Peterson.

"I assume foul play is suspected, or you wouldn't be here."

The agent nodded again at Swift's comment, but directed his next words to me. "When was the last time you saw General Ramsey, sir?"

I made a show of thinking about it, waiting a suitable length of time before answering. "A few months ago - at a shooting competition here in the Springs."

"And you haven't seen him since?"

"No."

"You're sure of that?"

"Quite sure."

Fielding reappeared at this point, dumping a tray with a dripping coffee pot and four mugs onto the table with a show of displeasure.

I smiled over at him. "You're not having one, Agent Fielding?"

"No thanks. Do you mind if I use the facilities?"

"Knock yourself out. Second on the left."

I waited until he had left before giving Burroughs a grin. "Not exactly subtle. He won't find anything, you know. There's nothing to find. I don't know anything about Ramsey's disappearance. Not that I care. The world would be a much better place if that bastard wasn't in it."

"Sir!" Swift looked positively appalled.

"Oh, come on, Major. It's obvious the FBI knows I have no love for Ramsey, otherwise they wouldn't be here. There's no point pretending."

"Even so, sir, I'd suggest you just answer Agent Burroughs's questions."

I opened my mouth to protest, but shut it again at George's warning "Jack." I nodded and accepted the coffee he held out to me.

"Perhaps we could move things along a little faster if you gave General O'Neill an idea of the timeframe involved. When was General Ramsey's disappearance noticed?"

The agent leaned forward, poured himself a coffee, and sat back, taking a sip before answering. "Last week. Monday night."

"Well then." George glanced over at me as he spoke, and I turned away, but still listened to his explanation. "General O'Neill was in the hospital last week. There is no way he could have anything to do with General Ramsey's disappearance. I suggest you look elsewhere for the culprit."

I couldn't help myself, the loathing rising again inside me. "Don't look too hard. They did everyone a favour."

"Jack - please!"

This time I did more than turn away. I put my mug down, pushed myself over to the window and looked out at the garden, losing myself in the scene, but still allowing their voices to keep intruding.

"How long was the general in the hospital?"

"Several weeks."

"What happened?"

I listened.

"We think it was a car jacking gone wrong. He doesn't remember much of the incident."

"His legs? Can he walk at all?"

"Both his kneecaps were smashed." I closed my eyes at the despair in George's voice. "It's doubtful he'll ever walk again. The damage was too extensive for replacements. So, you see - General O'Neill could have had nothing to do with your investigation."

There was a silence that lasted several minutes. I waited to see who would be the first to fill it.

"Seems a little drastic for a car jacking."

"It's purely supposition. General O'Neill recalls being forced off the road and waking up several hours later in an abandoned warehouse in a bad part of Washington. He managed to contact a member of his staff, using his cell. He's lucky to be alive."

"The police have no leads?"

"No, none."

"Could I have the name of the person he contacted?"

I held my breath.

Swift answered. "The incident has been fully investigated by both the Air Force and the civilian authorities. We can give you copies of their reports. Why don't you read them before you start rehashing the whole thing." He lowered his voice and I heard them stand. I was about to turn when George appeared at my side, putting a hand on my shoulder.

"You okay, son?"

I gave him a weak smile. "Yeah. Just peachy." I turned, about to go back to the others, but he pressed his hand down.

"Wait. Let Swift handle it."

"Burroughs wants to speak to Daniel."

"He can if he insists, but I don't see that it will be necessary." He released the pressure and moved forward to where I could see him better. "God, Jack, when I think how much you argued against having that locator chip installed. . . "

"Yeah, well. . ." I ran my hand over my face. "It still seems a bit '1984ish' to be tagged like that. Between the Asgard and my own government I feel like I can't take a crap without someone watching. Although I suppose it might as well be removed now. It's not like I'm going likely to be going anywhere anymore."

He frowned. "All Doctor Jackson had to go on was your caller ID on his cell when he came back to his hotel. You hadn't left a message. Without that chip, you'd be dead. As it was, it was lucky he was in DC and was able to get to you so quickly. So, what say we leave it in for a bit longer, okay son?"

I nodded, already tired of the topic and seeing no point in arguing. "Yeah, whatever." I spun the chair, finding Swift and Burroughs had moved into the hallway, leaving George and I to our private conversation.

I rolled towards then, grimacing inwardly as they both gave me matching pitying looks.

"So what's the verdict, guys? I killed Ramsey and buried him in my backyard then cleverly snuck back to my bed in ICU? Or maybe I tackled him from my wheelchair and threw him in the hospital furnace when he came to visit me, us being such good friends and all?"

Burroughs frowned down at me sternly. "This isn't a laughing matter, sir. A man is missing and we have to assume foul play."

"And I tried to explain to you earlier - I don't care. Whoever did it deserves a medal." I know my hatred was obvious, but I didn't try to conceal it.

Swift stepped between us. "General O'Neill has answered all your questions. I suggest if there is anything you want clarified, you contact me on this number." He handed Burroughs his card. "Where is Agent Fielding?"

"Here. Sorry about that. Stomach problems." Fielding came out of the bathroom, making a show of zipping his fly.

I didn't even pretend to believe him. "Really? I hope you left everything as you found it. I wouldn't want to have to tidy up after you. Major, please show them out. I have better things to do." I spun and headed for my bedroom.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Another knock, this time light, and my bedroom door opened.

"You need a hand, Jack?"

For a second I thought of refusing, but I knew George was already feeling bad enough. He had been a tower of strength over the past weeks, taking time off to stay with me through every agonising step of my recovery. When SG-1 had been put back on the offworld roster, it had been George who sat with me. He had been there when I heard the news about my knees, waited while Doctor Kasanji visited and talked me through it, supported me in my decision to not try an operation that would have little chance of success and might, at best, leave me maybe able to walk with crutches after months of physio.

He had been a true friend and one that deserved more from me than I was capable of giving.

"Thanks." I held out my arm and let him take it, swinging myself on to the bed and trying not to show the pain it caused. "Being suspected of murder is very tiring."

"Murder?"

"That's what it came down to." I watched his expression change, going from indignant to thoughtful. "If it makes it any easier, George, I swear I have no idea where Ramsey is."

"You don't need to do that, son. I don't for one moment think you had anything to do with it. Ramsey has made a lot of enemies over the years."

I nodded then found myself yawning. "Is Major Swift still here?"

"Yes. He was hoping to speak to you, but I'll tell him to come back another time."

"Thanks." I yawned again. "Will you thank him for me, please?"

"Will do, son. Is there anything else you need?"

I couldn't help my bitter reply. "Nothing that a few hours sleep and two new kneecaps won't cure."

There was a pause then George bent down and tugged my shoes off, before tucking the blankets around me. "You get some rest. I'll be here when you wake up."

My eyes were already closing, but I managed a few more coherent words. "You don't have to. . . "

"I know, Jack, but I'll be here anyway."

I drifted off into a dreamless sleep, my conscience completely clear.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo


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