Summary: Cassie and Ronnie meet Cass' surrogate uncles.
The noises from the kitchen provided a comforting backdrop for the two young women in the living room. Unfortunately, it was not enough of a comfort to ease the tension in the blonde.
Cassandra Fraiser, home from college for Spring Break, was busy carving a path in the carpet between the couch and the front window. Every time she reached the window, she peeked through the sheers to see if a large pickup had pulled up yet. Every time she reached the couch, she smiled wanly at her girlfriend, Ronnie Stevens.
Finally Ronnie spoke up. "Hey, sweetie, even in this time zone 7 means 7. Not 6:30."
"I know. It's just that...these guys have been my family since...Hanka. Big brothers, uncles, sort-of dads, all rolled into one big group. And..."
"And you're scared shitless. Join the club. Remember when Louis found us making out in my living room? With his big mouth, I figured I'd been outed before I even had a chance to get used to this."
Cassie sat down and took Ronnie's hand. "Are you used to it now?"
"Oh yeah." Ronnie smiled and leaned over to kiss her girlfriend when Cassie shot to her feet. Glancing over, Ronnie saw her girl's parents entering the living room.
"Uh, we weren't doing anything, if that's what..." Cassie shut up as soon as she heard how much she sounded like a sixteen-year old.
Janet merely arced an eyebrow as she set a bowl of chips on the coffee table. Sam, following with a small bowl of dip, snickered. The two long-time lovers had pretty much come to terms with their daughter being involved with a woman. In truth, they found their daughter's reactions rather comical now.
Cass got up again and walked to the window then back to the couch several more times.
"If I didn't know better, I'd swear she had your genes," Janet declared to Sam.
"Huh? What did I do?"
Ronnie spoke up, "This is worse than the drive out here. She was so fidgety... We had to stop every half hour for a potty break, for cryin' out loud."
"Did not!" Cassie stated sharply.
Ignoring her love, Ronnie continued, "But at least she couldn't pace back and forth..."
At that point, a deep rumbling came from outside. Cassie, at the window, squealed and turned with a panicked look on her face. "They're here! They're early! Oh God..."
Grabbing Ronnie's hand, she tried to tug her girlfriend out of the room. "C'mon, let's go. We'll just go out the back and..."
With a stern look on her face, Ronnie shook her head and crossed her arms, after disengaging her hand from Cass' vice-like grip. "Nope. You're going to have to face them sooner or later."
"Bitch!" Cass whispered to her, the lack of venom in her voice taking the sting out of her words.
Ronnie smiled and whispered back, "I know you are, but what am I?"
The front door opened and Cassie moaned quietly. She was not looking forward to this.
"Hey there, fellow campers. I bring beer, champagne and fellow revelers to welcome home our favorite little girl."
"Hi, Uncle Jack," Cassie said as she wrapped him in a bear hug. She repeated the process with both Daniel Jackson and Teal'c. All three were dressed casually, Teal'c sporting a dark wool cap to cover his gold emblem. He also carried two bottles of champagne in one hand.
To the tall warrior, she added, "Like the hat..."
Teal'c nodded and blinked slowly in acknowledgment of her 'compliment'. "O'Neill says it suits me. DanielJackson seems to take great delight in it as well."
"Yeah it's you, Homey. So, where's this guy who's stealing our gal?" Jack asked loudly.
Sam decided to take point, "Sir, this is Ron Stevens."
Jack stood there with the case of beer hanging from one hand, the other frozen midway up from his side. Daniel stepped forward and shook Ronnie's hand.
"Uh, hi. I'm Daniel. Uh, Daniel Jackson. This is Jack O'Neill. And the tall, quiet one is Teal'c."
Teal'c repeated his slow blink and nod. "It is a pleasure to meet you, RonStevens."
Jack finally moved and shook Ron's hand. "Uh, yeah. It's...uh... Yeah, nice to meetcha..."
Several moments of silence ensued. Finally Ronnie spoke up. "So, Cassie tells me you're a general? And you're an archeologist?" Jack was staring again as Daniel nodded. "And, you, Teal'c? You're a...soldier?"
"Indeed. I have sworn my allegiance to..."
"Uh, Teal'c. Let's get this stuff in the fridge," Daniel said as he wrestled the case from Jack's fingers. "Don't want them to get warm."
Teal'c nodded, leaving the large, green bottles on the coffee table.
"Uncle Jack? You okay?"
Jack blinked again and looked at his 'niece'. "Uh, yeah. I'm...good as...gold."
"General, have a seat," Sam gestured towards the sofa. "Wanna beer?"
Jack looked up, "Huh? Oh, yeah. Sure. Beer'd be great..."
Janet spoke up. "I'll get it. You guys relax. Ron, wanna give me a hand?"
"Sure," the young brunette agreed, following her girlfriend's mother into the kitchen.
Daniel had his head buried in the refrigerator, moving things around as he tried to fit the beer inside. Teal'c stood to the side, clearly amused by everything (at least to those who knew what signs to look for).
"Daniel, you can pull that large salad bowl out. And some of the dressings. That should give you more room."
"Oh, yeah. Thanks, Janet."
Ronnie took the bowl from Daniel and carried it over to the table. Teal'c took several bottles of dressing over.
"Teal'c... That's an unusual name."
Daniel quickly stood up, "Yes, yes it is. He's from...uh, Chulak. It's in...southern France."
'Like Remulak?' Ronnie thought as she nodded her understanding.
"Daniel, would you take some of the beer out to the others?" Janet asked.
"Sure," the bespeckled scientist said. He grabbed four bottles and headed out of the room after confirming he could give Cass one.
"Daniel, she's old enough. And you and the general were never too worried about her having beer before..."
"Uh, you know about that? Well, she was nineteen and...home. And..."
"Go." Janet shooed both men out of her kitchen. She turned to her guest. "Listen, Ron... I'm sorry about Jack's reaction."
"No, it's okay. Sort of like my uncle when he first met Cassie. Mom and Dad were cool about it. So was Louis. Uncle Jim was a little..."
Ronnie nodded. "Yeah, you could say that. He's kinda old-fashioned."
"So is Jack O'Neill. Give him time. Once he's used to the idea, he'll be behind you two hundred percent." Seeing the unasked question on Ronnie's face, Janet added, "Like Sam and I will be. Are. Almost are. No, we are."
Ronnie smiled. "Thanks Doctor. I appreciate that."
"Uh, yeah. About that. Just call me Janet, okay?"
Ronnie's smile widened and she nodded. Even with the newcomers in the living room and the awkwardness that was sure to ensue, she was feeling pretty good. Her girl's parents accepted her.
"Doc! And...uh... Get in here!" Jack bellowed from the living room.
The two returned to the living room. Jack was fumbling with a shrink-wrapped box of cheap plastic, stemmed glasses. Once he got it open, he set them on the coffee table and worked at the cork on the first bottle.
Intrigued, Sam asked, "Sir, why champagne?"
"Well, it seemed kinda fitting. Doc, cop a squat. I wanna propose a toast." Jack was standing, looking around at everyone, his gaze locked on Ronnie for a split second then moved on. "It's long overdue but..."
Daniel broke the dramatic pause. "C'mon Jack. Just tell 'em."
Glaring at his friend, Jack said, "I just received word. Doc, Carter, you both have been promoted. You are now full-bird colonels in the United States Air Force. Congratulations!"
Jack popped the bottle. Sam and Janet both looked around, surprise in their eyes. "Colonel?"
"Yep. It's long, long overdue. Some idiot in the Pentagon must've screwed up some paperwork." Jack didn't add that he was already pressing for speedier promotions to brigadier status for both women. Instead he passed plastic glasses around.
"To the newest colonels in the USAF!"
"Here, here!" Daniel agreed.
Congratulations and hugs were exchanged. Jack hugged every woman in the room. When he got to Ronnie, he shrugged and wrapped her in his arms for a brief hug.
Everyone sipped the champagne and all the Terrans were pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
"The general picked this out?" Sam asked Daniel. "No help?"
"No. At least not from me. And Teal'c, well he knows next to nothing about alcohol."
Later, as they sat down, Ron leaned over to her girlfriend and asked, "Does he always wear that hat?"
Teal'c cocked an eyebrow at them as Daniel quickly filled the momentary silence, "He's been...fighting a head cold. It's better if he wears the cap to...keep from...getting a chill."
"Indeed, I have been feeling most unwell," Teal'c agreed. A casual glance at Janet confirmed to her that there was no need for her usual professional response. However, a less than truthful answer...
"I...am concerned at a slight...uh, fever Teal'c had."
Cassie smiled. She never heard her mom hesitate unless she was hiding something. And none of them knew she had told Ron the truth about her origins and Teal'c's as well.
Nor were they aware how proud she was of her woman for not revealing her fascination with eating dinner with two off-planet people.
But she noticed that one of her uncles seemed edgy.
But nothing happened for the next hour or so.
However, as everyone sat at the dining room table enjoying their meal (roast beef, potatoes, carrots and onions with gravy, and salad), Jack had to get it out of his system.
"So, you two...uh..."
Cassie finally held Ronnie's hand, on the table rather than beneath it, and smiled, "Yes. Ronnie and I are..."
Jack held up his hand, stopping her. "Yeah, I got the picture." His gaze alternated between Sam and Janet at the heads of the table. "This is all your fault."
"Jack!" Daniel exclaimed.
"O'Neal, that is uncalled for," Teal'c growled.
"Sir!?! How is this our fault? And where is there fault?" Janet demanded.
Sam sat there, her face expressionless but the tension was evident. Her eyes were ice blue - a dangerous color for her.
"Well, if it wasn't for you two shacking up... Where do you think she got the idea?"
"General..." Sam said in a low voice.
"Carter, come on. She sees you two and thinks... Well, after the whole Dominic thing, I guess I can... But, this?"
Cassandra slammed her hand down on the table and stood up. "Don't. Say. Another. Word."
Jack looked up, shock and surprise all over his face.
"Mom and Sam have nothing to do with this. Nothing! They have never been anything but loving parents. All of you have been. And I'd hoped you'd be more supportive, considering all you've done for them since they were able to be honest about their life. But to say that they're at fault... To even imply that there's anything wrong with Ronnie and I... Goddamnit! I will not sit here and listen to this archaic crap!"
Cassie stormed from the room. The sound of the kitchen door to the garage opening and then slamming shut was followed by the sound of the large garage door opening. As if to punctuate that, tires squealed out of the garage and into the street.
Jack sat with a stunned what-did-I-say look plastered across his face. He opened his mouth to speak when Janet held up her hand.
"Aaaah-aah! Don't even..."
Sam reached over and touched Janet's upraised arm, "Janet?"
Janet, her face aflame in anger, shook her head.
"Jeez, Doc, you know I didn't mean anything..."
"Then why did you say it, Jack?" Daniel asked.
"I dunno. Just being... I dunno."
"You were being thoughtless and inconsiderate, O'Neal."
"Alright. Alright. I'll go get her."
Sam started to say something but a look from Daniel hushed her. She merely glared at the general as he headed out to his truck.
Momentarily unseen by any of the others, Ronnie had her face buried in her hands as she quietly cried.
* * *
Jack headed to some of the obvious places including the park where he'd given the orphaned girl her first pet. After that was the retro soda shop in old downtown Colorado Springs.
He drove for nearly an hour before he remembered the converted road house in the hills west of town. Not the kind of place he liked but he remembered hearing Carter tell Daniel about going there with the doc.
Driving by the gravel parking lot slowly, he saw Fraiser's old Celica sitting in front of the place. He u-turned in the middle of the road and parked next to it.
As he got out, part of him couldn't help but admire how well-maintained the little car was. 'Carter knows her cars. And her bikes. And her Stargates... Enough. Focus Jack. Focus,' O'Neal told himself as he paused before the door.
Finally, taking a deep breath, Jack pushed open he door and entered.
* * *
Ronnie stood and left the dinning room. Janet indicated silently that everyone was to stay where they were.
Janet entered the kitchen to find Ronnie standing with her back to the room. Her shoulders were hunched and shaking a bit.
Walking up, Janet put her hand on the girl's back and whispered, "It's okay. No need to cry."
Ronnie turned, her face was a mask of anguish as she tried to talk, "Y-y-yes, th-th-there isss... It's m-m-m-my f-f-fault. I-I-I m-m-m-made C-c-cass come here. Now, wo-wo-one of the people in her life is... And he's b-b-blaming you..."
"No, sweetheart," Janet cooed, wrapping her arms around Ronnie. Ronnie held on as if for dear life. "It's not your fault. Jack O'Neal is just a pig-headed Irishman."
Stroking the girl's brown hair, she continued, "He's really not a bad guy. And he does support Sam and I. But..."
Janet's pause was enough to cause a tear-stained face to look at her. The older woman smiled and whispered, "Just wait 'til his next physical..."
Ronnie laughed in spite of herself. Her lover had told her about Janet's carefully concealed but wicked sense of humor. And her methods of extracting some revenge for slights to her family and friends. (Unless said friends were to be the recipients of said revenge.)
"Paybacks are..." Janet said.
"...a bitch," Ronnie said.
Janet, with a nasty smile, added, "And so am I...
"C'mon, let's go see the others. They were all pretty upset when you ran in here. Okay?"
Ronnie nodded and followed Janet back into the dining room. Still sitting at their places were her girlfriend's extended family. All were smiling encouragingly at her, even Teal'c after a fashion.
* * *
Jack glanced around the dark saloon, seeing looks ranging from interest to irritation from the various customers. No sign of Cass though so he headed for the bar.
One of the patrons, at a table with some friends, seemed to have more than a passing interest in Jack. He watched him walk towards the bar. Getting up, he ambled over.
"Hi. New around here?"
Jack looked at the leather-clad 'cowboy' who sat next to him and shook his head, "Sorry. Not interested."
"Your loss," the man said before heading back to his table. Jack could hear them chuckling.
Thankfully, for Jack, the bartender came over and he could ignore the men at the table. "Help you?"
"Uh, yeah. Gimme a Bud. And have you seen a young woman? Light brown hair, early twenties?"
"Buddy, if you're looking for that kinda action, you're in the wrong joint. And, it may not be my place to say but aren't you a little old to be chasin' young tail like that?"
Jack turned red, whether from anger or embarrassment no one who didn't know him could say. In a tight voice he said, "She's my niece. I'm looking for her to... Just gimme the beer."
"Sure. Here ya go. Your niece you say? Would she be upset by any chance?"
Jack looked at the bartender sharply. "Yeah! You've seen her?"
"Try one of the booths in back..."
"Thanks." Jack tossed him a five. "Keep the change."
As Jack walked away, the bartender shook his head and muttered, "Big spender." He tossed the fifty cents in change into the tip jar near the register.
In the back, oblivious to the overpriced beer, Jack saw a familiar head. She was staring at the wall, her face shiny with hastily swiped tears.
"Uh, is this seat taken?"
Cassie looked up. "Aren't you afraid you'll get infected and jump Daniel?" she said savagely.
"I deserve that, I guess. Look, I was outta line. I'm sorry. It's just that I never knew..." Jack shook his head and sat. "It's just that you never... Well, you know."
"No. I don't. What? I never kissed a woman? I never went down on..."
"HEY! No need to get all graphic on me."
"Why not? You're always making snide comments about watching Mom and Sam. You wanna watch us too?"
"Hey! Don't ever say anything like that to me again! I love you like a daughter. I could never even imagine such thing! And, as for your mothers, that's always been kidding around. I was never serious.
"Sure, like most guys I kinda like the idea of two hot chicks together but...not you. Not your moms either. You all mean too much to me and... Aw shit."
It was Cassie's turn to look chagrined. "I'm sorry. I'm just so angry with you. And with Mom and Sam. And..."
"Sam and the Doc? Why them?"
"At first, they were...not really receptive to Ron and I. Now, it's like they're just going through the motions. But they still don't accept us."
Jack shook his head, a small smile on his face. "Not true. I've known those two women for a long time. And I know when Carter is playing me for a fool. The doc, on the other hand...
"But they love you. And they want you to be happy. I'm surprised you haven't seen it."
Cassie looked up at her adopted uncle. "So they're okay with us?"
"Well, let's just say that it's a good thing I'm not involved with either one or I'd be sleeping on the sofa for a long, long time."
Cassie laughed, her heart suddenly lighter. "I guess I couldn't really get past the looks on their faces when I..."
* * *
"...introduced Cass as my girlfriend. Mom and Dad were stunned. And I thought Louis' eyes were gonna pop put of his head."
"Who's Louis?" Daniel asked.
Ron shook her head, "He's my irritating younger brother. Always the smart-ass, scheming class clown. But for once I had him speechless." She chuckled and went on, "He did get me back. He wrote a song for our band that... Well, let's just say that it won't be played for any under-18 crowds. AND, I refuse to sing it!
"Naturally, since it embarrasses me, Cassie loves it!"
"Why?" Teal'c asked. Even after all these years, he never quite got a lot of human interaction.
Daniel looked over, "I'll explain it later."
"Both you and O'Neill have told me that many times. And many times you have both failed to enlighten me."
Sam got the conversation back on track, "So, your band... What do you play?"
"Mostly alternative stuff. Lotta covers but some of our own too. It's a quartet, me, Louis, Tweens, and Margo. A lead guitar, a bass, keyboards, and drums. And all of us take turns as lead singer.
"We mainly play in some small bars in Evanston and on the North Side. Never really make much money. We just have a good time."
"And that's how you met Cassie?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah, we were playing and I saw her and..."
* * *
"...I can't explain what it was but once we got together, we clicked. You know?"
Jack, remembering the way Sam and Janet were before anyone, including them, knew what was going on, nodded. "Oh yeah. Friends then..."
"Lovers. Yeah. That's it exactly. If we hadn't been such close friends in the first place, we definitely wouldn't have... You know."
"Yeah, I do." Jack thought about his ex-wife, sorrow welling up at what they had and lost but thankful she was still such a good friend. And he remembered another woman on another world that befriended him when he thought he was lost.
He looked off into the distance, blinked several times and then gazed at his 'niece', "Never lose that. If you're best friends with you're gir...significant other, that's worth all the heartache and trouble."
"Thanks, Uncle Jack." Cassie placed her hand on Jack's, squeezing gently. "So you approve?"
"You don't need my approval."
"But I want it."
"Then you got it."
The two smiled at each other. Then Cassie said, "And you'll like Ronnie when you get to know her."
"Okay, but let's not push it. Alright? Want another beer? Then we better head back."
"Sure. To both. You buying?"
Jack pulled out a twenty and said, "I buy, you fly."
* * *
"...in a flash," Ron said as she headed for the kitchen.
"So? How are you two dealing with it?" Daniel asked.
Sam glanced at her old friend, "What do you mean?"
"C'mon, Sam. I know this had to be a shock to you. Even considering your own relationship."
"Daniel's right, Sam. This was a shock. And one, I'm embarrassed to admit, we handled badly."
"Janet!" Sam said quickly. "We didn't act like the general at all!"
"Not as pigheadedly, maybe. But there were raised voices, hon."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Sam turned from her soulmate to her friend, "So, Daniel, yes we did handle this badly. But I like to think we've gotten better."
"Alright Janet, I never expected our little girl to be involved with another woman but I think I'm handling it okay."
Janet shook her head in resignation. Her love would come around. And she knew she would too. 'Hell, I'm almost there now,' she thought.
"You know, Jack may... No. Never mind."
"What Daniel?" Janet asked.
"Uh, it's just that... Well, Jack did have a point about you two."
"What?!?" Sam burst out.
"Well, seeing you two in such a comfortable, loving relationship may have given Cassie the encouragement she needed."
"Are you saying she's gay because we are?"
"No Sam. No one makes anyone gay. I'm saying that she probably felt more comfortable with her relationship because she saw how we all came to accept yours. And I bet she naturally assumed you'd accept it wholeheartedly."
"Not exactly, Doctor," Ron said, standing in the door with three beers. "She was pretty..."
* * *
"...damned nervous coming here. I didn't know how Mom or Sam would take this."
"What about me?"
Cassie smiled, "I was pretty sure how you'd handle it. But, I guess I hoped we might not have to find out."
"Hey, Kiddo, your moms love you. So do the rest of us. If you're happy, that's all that really counts." Jack stopped as if surprised at his own words. Taking a quick slug from his bottle, he added, with a smirk, "You know who's the most upset, don't you?"
Cassie frowned and shook her head.
"You'd never know it from that stone face of his but I kinda suspect he always wanted to get you and Riy'ac together..."
"Oh, come on, Uncle Jack. You're pulling my leg."
"Okay. Maybe a little. Whaddya say? Wanna finish these and head back? Maybe your moms haven't thrown out the rest of my dinner yet."
Cassie laughed, "If they did, I'll scrounge some leftovers for ya. I thinks there's some old pizza in the fridge."
"If they even let me in the door."
"Well, if I put in a good word, they will probably..."
* * *
"...forgive him?" Ron asked.
Sam smiled and Janet nodded. "If he brings her home in one piece, we'll see..."
Sam added, "And she's not still mad at him."
"Just wait until his next physical though..."
Daniel shuddered at Janet's implied threat. Teal'c looked on, his stoic expression showing little of the amusement he had enjoyed for most of the evening. The Tau'ri were indeed different from virtually every other race, human or not, they had encountered.
"Perhaps talk of vengeance should wait until O'Neill has..."
* * * * * *
"...returned to the house?"
Nodding, Cassie took a big swallow and finished her beer. Jack stared at the girl as she quietly belched.
"Sorry, Uncle Jack. Guess I spent too much time with you growing up."
"Hey! Whatever you do, do not say that to your mother...mothers! I'm in enough trouble as it is."
"Sure. Let's go."
Outside the bar, the sky was a deep purple as the sun had fallen behind the Rockies. Cassie stopped Jack and hugged him.
"What's that for?" Jack asked. Not that he was complaining. He loved the girl before him like a daughter.
"For coming after me. For being willing to give Ronnie and I a chance. For being such a good uncle all these years."
"Sheesh! You make me sound old!" Jack looked around quickly, he was nervous being in public in front of a gay hangout. "Let's get you home. You okay to drive?"
"Two beers in an hour and a half? After all that food? Yeah, I'm fine. Anymore and I'd be calling a cab but I'm good."
"I'll follow anyway."
Cassie beamed. "Thanks. You're always..."
* * *
"...looking out for her," Daniel said to Ron. "He's just very protective."
"Well, she's definitely worth protecting," Ron replied. She didn't notice the looks shared by Sam and Janet but her mind would've been more at ease.
"I believe that O'Neill found Cassandra," Teal'c stated.
"Yeah?" Sam said.
"Or two people driving identical motor vehicles have pulled up in your driveway," the tall alien said.
"Teal'c, good use of sarcasm," Daniel said.
"Mom? Sam? I'm sorry." Cassie came in and hugged both of her mothers. "I was upset and I didn't want to give any of you a chance."
"A chance?" Sam asked.
"Driving back here, I realized I was expecting you to condemn our...relationship. So I never gave you a chance to see our side."
Ronnie came up and hugged her girl, "They do. They definitely do, sweetheart."
"Uh, mmm, can I, uh, come in?"
"What do you have to say for yourself, General?" Janet demanded. She wasn't giving him an inch...yet.
"I...I'm sorry. For all of it. It's not your fault about these two. And there's nothing wrong with it anyway - even the military finally agrees with you."
"And...?" Janet prompted, knowing there was more.
"And, I think we should give these kids a chance to...to be themselves. The hell with everyone else."
"Permission to enter, General," Janet smirked.
"Want me to nuke your leftovers, Uncle Jack?"
Jack nodded, "Not just yet. I'd like to get to know this young lady you brought home. See if she meets my standards..."
A chorus of groans resounded in the living room as Jack looked up, saying "What? What'd I say?"
* * *
Before the end of the week, everyone had fallen in love with Ronnie and given their blessing to the two young lovers.
And Jack O'Neill managed to get them to promise that he'd still get to give the bride away.
Well, one of the brides anyway.