Jackfic Archive Story

 

Crosswired: Birthday

by Twitchy and the Nut - otherwise known as Flatkatsi and Gumnut

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).


For once the summons didn't interrupt anything.

She had just completed a simulation run for a new naquadah reactor, when the phone rang. Landry was sharp and concise in his request and since she had been considering a well-earned break from her office, she took the opportunity and escaped to the briefing room.

What she didn't expect was to find Thor there with the general.

Oh crap.

She hadn't encountered the Asgard since the incident with the rose and, to be quite frank, she had avoided thinking about it, mostly because she was avoiding the possible implications.

Her stride didn't hesitate more than a microsecond, but her brain did start sprouting off scenarios involving kings, generals, alien commanders and lovelorn princesses.

She could even wear the tiara she had stashed away in her closet. Just excuse me, General, Supreme Commander, I need to dress for the occasion. Can't address being an object of alien affection while dressed in plain old khaki.

She blinked.

Her brain runneth over.

Perhaps she had been mistaken; there were always galactic misunderstandings to consider.

Or at least so she told herself.

Alien commanders and lovelorn princesses.

"Commander Thor. General." She nodded at both of them, professional to her core.

"Colonel, Commander Thor has requested to speak with you in private." The general smiled at her. "So I guess I'll leave you to it." He nodded to Thor. "Commander." And returned to his office.

Okaaay.

Sam stared at Thor. The little alien returned her gaze as serenely per norm.

Silence for a moment.

Snap out of it, Carter. It was all a mistake and would be cleared up with just a little explanation.

"Colonel Carter?" She couldn't help it, she jumped.

"Commander....what can I do for you?"

"There is a matter of some delicacy I wish to discuss."

"Yes?"

"I have been considering some human traditions, particularly those of this continent, and I was hoping you would be able to assist me in one small matter."

"Of course, anything I can do."

He approached her, those deep dark eyes of his reflecting the fluorescent lighting as he moved. They were quite beautiful.

Blink.

Pull yourself together, for crying out loud. Where the hell was General O'Neill when you needed him? The man understood Thor better than any human on the planet. He would know what to say.

But he was not here and at this moment she missed him more than ever.

"Commander-"

"What would be considered an appropriate gift for a human to express admiration?"

Admiration?

"Uh ..."

"Is it not the anniversary of O'Neill's birth today?"

Another blink and surprise was followed by relief.

But fast on its heels rode mortification.

She'd forgotten Jack's birthday. So wrapped up in work, she'd forgotten it.

Damn.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

"Yes, Yes, it is. I guess I forgot."

Thor frowned. "I had the impression that those who cared for an individual gave gifts to that person at this time."

"Yes, you're right. I've just been so busy ..."

"As have I."

She stared at the little alien. Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet. Uh huh, busy, no excuse, I getcha.

She held up a finger. "Could you wait here for just one second? I need to grab something. I'll be back in just a moment."

"Very well." And those stark, black eyes blinked calmly at her.

"Thanks." She threw herself down the stairs at a death defying speed, colliding with Siler, catching him off balance as he attempted the first step. The sergeant stumbled and lost his footing, landing rather inelegantly on his backside. The glare he directed at her was proof enough that he hadn't broken anything serious, but she paused long enough to make sure.

At least his eyebrow had mostly grown back.

But she mustn't keep the Supreme Commander waiting.

She made it to her office and in a desperate move to find anything, anything at all that could possibly be construed as a gift for her former commander, she turned it upside down. Brand new calculator. Yeah right. A subscription to the International Journal of Astrophysics. Get real, Carter. What the hell was a pair of socks doing there? Potted plant! Yes. She stared at the fern she had lovingly nurtured into long term survival several hundred metres underground.

No, she couldn't sentence it to certain death, no matter how desperate she was.

What the hell could she give him? There had to be something.

Blank stationery with the SGC logo header? That lowered her heart a notch. Gone was the time she'd receive memos hastily scrawled in his handwriting - 'Earth to Carter. Daniel and T would like to know if you prefer Thai or Chinese? If no communication is received within the next two minutes, I'm saying you said pizza.'

God, she missed him.

She shook herself. The Commander was waiting.

A thought occurred to her, hadn't she received, something from ... she shifted a pile of astrophysics books to one side, caught sight of one of Daniel's archaeology books. Shifted that, reached behind and opened the bottom drawer of one of her filing cabinets. Stashed right at the back where no one was likely to find it, yes! They were still there. She pulled out a box of chocolates.

The general was rather fond of chocolate. She grinned. So, they were in a pink box with a big red ribbon wrapped around it. They were still chocolates. The expression on his face would be priceless. She could see that smile, the humour behind those tired eyes.

God, she missed him.

But no time now for that. This would do for the moment. She could always claim it was a practical joke, but at least she had remembered his birthday and could follow it up later with something more appropriate.

She liked to see him smile.

She hurried back to the briefing room, this time avoiding Siler, but not the glare. The box of chocolates received a few interested looks, but she ignored them and climbed the stairs two at a time.

Commander Thor was exactly where she left him.

"I have a gift for General O'Neill. Would you be kind enough to deliver it for me?" Asgard, the intergalactic postal service.

Thor looked up at her with that earnest expression of his. "This is a gift you would give someone you admire?"

She smiled slightly. "Well, it's not flowers or anything, but yes."

Thor fingered the ribbon. "Thank you for your assistance, Colonel Carter"

"You're w-" The gate klaxon suddenly drowned her out and a moment later, Landry came tearing into the room. She frowned. "Please excuse me, Commander." And she joined the General in another perilous plunge down the stairwell.

She hoped Siler wasn't in the way this time.

She didn't even notice the flash of Thor's exit.

-o-o-o-

A flash, a blink, and yet again General O'Neill's favourite alien materialised in front of his desk. Right on to the toes of the Director of the CIA.

It was all Jack could do to not laugh out loud as the rather pompous man hopped rapidly sideways, his eyes wide in fright.

Definitely something to describe to Kerry Johnson next time he saw her.

Finishing his business with the Director only took a moment, as the man was already edging toward the door, clearly not wanting to encounter an even more up front and personal example of the type of situations the Head of Homeworld Security had to deal with on a daily basis. Jack grinned at the retreating back, doubting there would be any more need for marking of territory.

Jack closed his office door and turned back, opening his arms wide in greeting.

"Thor - long time no see. I sit by the phone, but you never call, never write."

"I have never written, O'Neill, nor have I called. There could be no purpose served by your sitting beside your telephone waiting for me to do so."

It was as if the years had dropped away and a large Jaffa, naive in the ways of Earth, was standing in front of him. Things had certainly changed. Teal'c was as capable of holding up his end of a conversation now as a native of the planet - at times even more capable.

Damn, but Jack missed his friend's rather unique wit.

He stopped a short distance from the little grey Asgard. "What I was trying to say, buddy, is that it's good to see you, and that you should come by more often." He gestured towards the seating near the window. "What can I do for you?"

Folding his small body into the chair, Thor shuffled a little on the soft cushions, almost as if he was moulding them to fit his form. It was a minute or so before he replied, looking up into Jack's eyes with an unexpectedly intense expression.

"I am not here on official business, O'Neill."

"You're not?" Jack was rather taken aback and sat up a little straighter. Not that he didn't enjoy the Asgard's visits, but they did tend to be restricted to matters of rather weighty importance, rather than social calls.

Instead of explaining further, Thor continued to stare at him, the alien's expression one of considered concentration. After a moment, its intensity had Jack shifting in his seat, decidedly uncomfortable. What was up with the little guy?

"I understand today is the anniversary of your birth?"

The question, coming as it did from left field, had Jack stunned into silence for a moment. He gathered his wits and nodded.

"Yes. It's my birthday."

Not that anyone would notice. There hadn't even been cake.

He shook off that sad little thought, and waited.

"I have brought a gift."

There was a flash of intense light and each of Thor's hands filled with an object.

A large heart-shaped, pink box, tied with a bright red bow.

And single red rose, glistening with dew.

The general's brain seized up completely.

Thor held the box and the bloom out, clearly wanting him to take them.

"These are for you."

This was beyond weird.

One, very, very long word pushed its way through the sludge filling his head.

Okaaaaay...

Some sort of autopilot system took over and Jack found his hand reaching out to take the box before he could stop it. The same autopilot kicked in once more to compel his tongue and mouth to form another single word.

"Thanks."

Under the watchful eyes of the Asgard, his fingers twitched on the big red bow, pulling at it until it separated. The ribbon was on the floor and the lid was off the box before the brain he was now convinced had suffered some sort of seizure had caught up with his actions.

He looked down.

Yeap - just as he had expected.

Chocolates.

Or at least, something that once resembled chocolates, but were now fallen in craters, speckled with flecks of white. Okaaay...

He forced himself to look over at the small alien staring at him from the nearby chair.

"This is ... unexpected."

At least his brain seemed to be working again.

Until he found himself confronted by that intense stare once more, Thor's eyes slowly looking him up and down, as if examining him in some unknown capacity. What was the alien thinking? And why was he staring at that?

"You are one year older, O'Neill?"

Huh?

"Ah ... than I was a year ago ... yeah, I suppose."

"You are very well preserved for your age."

Okaaay. He was about to reply with his standard response of 'crunches' - a private little joke assured of getting a laugh, at least from Carter, but thought better of it. He so didn't want to explain that to Thor, let alone demonstrate.

"Thanks."

"Chocolate is one of your favourite foods, is it not?"

Jack nodded, hoping Thor wasn't expecting him to try one right now. The confectionary was in serious need of a decontamination chamber.

"That is good."A pause. "And the flower? I truly wanted to express the admiration I have for you."

O'Neill's eyes widened just a fraction more. "Oh. Oh, yes." He took the neglected stem from Thor's hand and looked it over, giving the appropriate murmurs of appreciation while his brain fried itself. "Thank you very much."

Then, as if now the gift had been delivered and his visit was over, Thor rose. Jack parroted the move, stumbling to his feet.

"I shall take my leave now, O'Neill. I hope to see you again ... soon." Again those eyes looked him over and Jack fought the urge to step backwards.

But then with the customary flash of light, the Asgard was gone.

Leaving General Jack O'Neill standing in the middle of his office, box of desiccated chocolates in one hand, a single red rose in the other and a brain doing its best to work out what the hell had just happened.

-o-o-o-

FIN.


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