“Three hours, Daniel!”
That is what he said, wasn’t it? Three hours.
“You know, in my defence Jack, I did say about three hours.”
“The emphasis being on the ‘three’, Daniel. Not four plus!”
We left our London campsite about four and a half hours ago and we managed to get all of sixty miles down the ‘motorway’ before coming to a complete standstill. Nothing’s moving and there’s solid traffic as far as the eye can see. I’ve even switched the engine off now and we’re all kicking back in the RV while Carter makes some coffee.
“I should never have put you in charge of the map, Daniel. That was a worse mistake than the time I asked you to help me clear up my backyard.”
Mission after mission does tend to leave one’s yard looking a bit worse for wear. I had snakes in my shed, ivy growing up my clothesline, ants setting up camp on my deck, and God only knows what was living in my rose bush. I just wanted to spend a few hours weeding, mowing, and generally making it look less like the monkey enclosure at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, before we settled in for pizza, beer and hockey.
But, oh no. That wasn’t enough for SG-1’s archaeologist. He wanted to discuss my new and improved backyard. He wanted to research it. He wanted to plan it and design it. He even spent a whole weekend meticulously excavating it.
“Hey! I did find your Grandfather’s pocket watch, that you’d lost six years ago, buried in that excuse for a flower border, Jack.”
“That’s not the point.”
“Really. Well, I think your yard looks great now, and you obviously do too or you’d never have invited General Hammond round for your last barbeque.”
“Daniel, do you realise how embarrassing it is to go to the nursery, only to have everyone point and laugh at you when your very male friend shouts loudly across the room, ‘Jack, would you like a fast growing Golden Rod? It would look great with your gorgeous white Ass.’”
“Hey, it’s not my fault that lady chose that exact moment to bump into me. It was only a slight pause, Jack. I did say ‘Aster’ a couple of seconds later.”
“Not before the checkout guy slipped me his phone number!”
“He did not!”
“I can’t believe you said that, Jack.”
“I can’t believe just how bad you are at navigating, Map boy.”
“My navigating is just fine. Not surprisingly, huge random traffic jams don’t appear on a standard printed road map.”
“Yeah, well… uh… can you hear singing?”
Weird. Carter seems to be softly serenading Teal’c by the coffee pot. Quite theatrically, I might add.
Uh oh, she’s pointing at me.
“Clowns to the left of me…”
And at Daniel.
“…jokers to the right…”
And back to Teal’c.
“Here I am stuck in the middle with you.”
Oh, ha ha. Very funny.
“I spy with my little eye something beginning with... C.”
Yep, we’ve been reduced to this. Five solid hours of stationary traffic and we’re so bored even Eye Spy seems appealing. After Teal’c apparently eye-spied a giraffe, we had to take a few minutes out to explain the rules, but now he’s spied a fly and Carter’s spied a fish. I’m not kidding, the kid in the car next to us has a fish on his lap - accident waiting to happen if you ask me.
Now, it’s Daniel’s turn, so this could be anything.
Stop looking so smug, Daniel! The fact that he’s won every round so far has only fuelled my desire to beat him once and for all and wipe that ‘you can’t defeat me’ look off his face.
“That wasn’t a guess, Daniel. I was simply exclaiming my frustration. Besides, if you can eye spy crap, we have a real problem.”
Did he just giggle? He did. He just giggled.
“Um... how about... Carter?”
“We have cake?”
See that face light up. Like a kid who’s just realised they’ve got an extra big birthday present they never knew they had.
“So, how can I eye spy it then?”
“Hey, I know… chess?”
“How about Colonel?”
Ooh, good one Carter.
Ooh, bad one Carter.
“Ha ha, I’ve got it!”
Crap! I give up.
“It’s ‘crossword’, Jack.”
Crossword? Oh, of course it is. This is Daniel after all.
“Okay, my turn. I have tanned with my little hand, something beginning with… D!”
“Jack! No! Don’t you dare! JAAACK!”
“Jack, I’m hungry.”
Here we go. I was wondering when this would start. That was always the first thing Charlie, and probably just about every other kid on the planet, complained about. That and needing the toilet at the most inopportune times.
I know what you’re thinking. Daniel might be a skinny little runt and never seems to eat a lot, but contrary to popular belief, he is a nibbler. Little and often is Daniel’s philosophy, which of course, means that by now, he’s well past his designated snack time. I’m actually quite impressed with how long he’s lasted.
“Yeah, I’m hungry too, Sir.”
Great, now they’re all complaining. You see, that’s where I differ from the rest of my team. I’m far too chivalrous, gallant and mature for all that. You certainly wouldn’t catch me complaining about being hungry.
“Can we eat your Jaffa Cakes, Teal’c?”
Ooh, looks like Danny’s walking on the wild side.
“Under no circumstances would I permit that to occur, Daniel Jackson.”
“Okaaay. What about your chocolate, Sam?”
Or perhaps he just has a death wish.
“No way, Daniel! That’s mine. Why don’t we eat your potato chips?”
“What potato chips? I didn’t buy any.”
“Yes you did.”
“No I didn’t.”
“What’s that you stuffed down your pants then?”
“What’s that you shoved down your bra?”
Mmm, as entertaining as this is, and as much as I’d like to see this latest sibling spat play out, perhaps I should intervene.
“I don’t have anything shoved down my bra, Daniel. Except a couple of energy sweets.”
“It’s something they told us to do at the Academy; keep a couple of energy sweets in your bra for emergencies.”
Oh my God, she’s delving in there for them! Woah! That’s way more than I wanted to see!
“You know, if you’re stranded or captured with no food or supplies, you have something to keep your blood sugar levels up. It’s an important survival tip.”
Mmm, I must have missed that lesson.
“So, what’s down your pants then, Daniel?”
“Besides the obvious, Sam?”
“It’s only a power bar.”
“I’ve done it ever since I was a kid. I used to always keep a power bar in my bag in case I was ever really hungry. But, when my foster Mom found out I was stealing my foster Dad’s power bars, I had to discover a more covert place to hide them.”
Holy shit, now he’s got his hands down his pants! No! Daniel, don’t do it!
“We can share it if you want, Sam.”
“Uh, no. I don’t want something that’s been down your pants.”
“Well then, I don’t want something that’s been down your bra.”
Mixed together with moody, arms crossed, sulky, pouty, cut the atmosphere with a knife, silence.
“I’m still hungry, Jack.”
“Yeah, me too, Sir.”
I should have brought my Zat.
“I am now most satisfied. Major Carter’s brassiere sweets and Daniel Jackson’s underwear bar were most delicious.”
Eeeeww, that’s just gross.
“Jaaack, I really need to go to the toilet.”
Woah, now that really did just give me flashbacks to when Charlie was little. Just substitute Dad for Jack, keep the slightly whiney tone, and it’s spot on. I had a feeling this was coming. Daniel’s been squirming in his seat for some time now.
“Why don’t you just go then, Daniel?”
“Why? We’re in an RV. We’re lucky enough to have our own toilet, unlike all these other poor bastards stuck in their cars.”
“We said we wouldn’t go in the RV toilet unless it was an emergency.”
“Well, considering we haven’t moved an inch in five hours, and there’s no civilisation in sight, I would say this constitutes an emergency.”
“Just GO, Daniel!”
“Fine, but you’re emptying the waste tank!”
Now there’s a sight to behold. Of the last few years that I’ve known Daniel and Carter, I never knew they could play soccer. Daniel’s pretty good too.
About half an hour ago, we had a knock on our door from some kids asking if we’d be interested in making up a team for a bit of impromptu motorway football. Daniel and Carter jumped at the chance and are now racing around cars trying to get the ball between two trucks.
The police walked by too just to let us know that an overturned truck, which subsequently spilled its load right across the highway, caused the whole traffic jam. He assured us that the whole thing had been cleared now, and we should be on our way within the hour.
That was forty-five minutes ago, and I can see vehicles starting to move in the distance, so I’d better get the kids in.
“Daniel, Carter, time to move out!”
Woah! More flashbacks!
“No buts, guys, traffic’s moving.”
That’s better Carter, even if the tone was less than enthusiastic.
"Have fun, Major?"
Mmm, Daniel, I notice, is still not coming in. He’s out there talking to a group of guys.
“Daniel, move it, buddy!”
“Hey, I think your Dad is calling you, Daniel.”
“Oh, he’s not… uh, yeah, but he can wait for a minute.”
What the…? Take it easy, O’Neill. Just sit down and take a deep breath.
Okay… to be honest, this isn’t the first time someone’s mistaken Daniel for my son. I suppose he does seem a bit… lost and innocent, sometimes, and he does look kinda young for his age, so I guess it is understandable… to a point. Hey, I’m looking pretty good for my age too, you know! But, this is the first time Daniel’s not fervently denied it, usually by verbally removing his ‘attacker’s’ balls, pickling them in vinegar, and leaving their ears bleeding from a string of curses that would make even the queen of blaspheming, aka, my mother, turn in her grave. So, why would he do that?
Now, I’ve had plenty of time to think about this whole father/son thing since the first time it happened, and although I’ll never admit this to anyone, there is a teensy weensy part of me that isn’t adverse to the assumption. You know how it is; childless parent transfers their nurturing fatherly energies onto an orphaned, troublemaking, altruistic younger friend. At least, that’s what they said at my last psych evaluation. Teal’c has become like a brother to me, but I admit it, Daniel, and to a large degree, Carter, are my surrogate pesky kids. I love ‘em, for better or worse, and I’d do anything for either of them.
Of course, in true O’Neill style, of which Mama would be proud, I found an upside to this surrogacy stuff. With great parenting power comes great responsibility. Commencing evil laugh! Ha ha ha! Like any good parent, I have the God given right to inflict permanent, soul-destroying, and severely devastating embarrassment.
Warning! Paybacks for the whole fag and spotted dick incidents are imminent, Dr Jackson! I told you you wouldn’t even see me coming. You have two seconds to escape the line of fire!
Too late, Dannyboy!
“In the future, make sure you use the damn air freshener when you visit the can. Oh, who are your friends?”
Strike one! Daniel looks like he’s been stuffed!
Yep, his new ‘friends’ are grinning too.
I can see Daniel’s composure slowly returning, along with his classic, ‘what just happened?’ look.
“This is.. uh.. John, Sean and Mark. They’re on a road trip to Scotland.”
“Cool! Hey, have you asked their opinion about your little problem?”
“My… little problem?”
Oh yeah, deer in the headlights.
“Yeah, I told Murray for you, and he said not to worry, and that wet dreams are quite normal for a single guy your age. Great news, huh!”
Strike two! God, this is fun!
Yep, the three stooges here are giggling like teenagers, and Daniel’s doing a great impression of ‘speak no evil’.
“So, John, Sean and Mark, how was your soccer game?”
“Uh, yeah, it was good. We won.”
Was that too Mr. Burns?
“I noticed Daniel here took a little tumble. You didn’t hurt yourself did you, Danny?”
I’ll just check him over, brush some dirt off his knees, and just a little ruffling of the hair should do it.
“If you’d just tied your shoelaces properly, Danny, you’d never have fallen over, you know.”
Yep, there’s that scarlet colour that Daniel wears so well. Oh, and the appearance of ‘hear no evil’. Victory will be mine!
“Well, traffic’s moving guys. Daniel, it’s time for us to get going.”
Wow, I really don’t think I’ve ever seen him move that fast! With a mumbled, ‘see ya, guys,’ he’s fleeing the scene like a good little puppy.
Now, for my encore.
“Oh, and Daniel, I got you another pack of chocolate chip cookies to replace the ones that Murray ate, so let’s keep the tears to a minimum tonight, okay buddy?”
YES! See no evil! He shoots, he scores! I think my work here is done.
We made it! We’re here. It took us just over nine hours instead of Daniel’s estimated three, but screw it. We had fun today.
Our campsite’s really nice too and there’s even a small fishing lake here. I am definitely going fishing tomorrow. All day. And no one is gonna stop me!
We had hotdogs for dinner and played a quick game of cards. It’s getting pretty late now, so Teal’c’s kelnoreeming and Carter’s asleep in the chair. I think she’ll be okay there. I have covered her with a blanket.
I’m trying to finish this damn crossword and Daniel’s just lying on his bed thumbing through a magazine. He’s actually been a bit quiet tonight, but that’s not really all that unusual.
He forgave me pretty quickly for my payback. He even saw the funny side, especially after I presented him with a little present. Word of advice with Daniel; always have a little gift on standby for instant forgiveness. I think it might stem back to his days as a foster kid. I get the impression Daniel never really got any presents ‘just because’. I used to buy little surprise gifts for Charlie all the time.
Daniel’s face lights up like a Christmas tree whenever I get him a gift, and today was no exception. I bought him a t-shirt from London that says ‘Instant human – just add coffee’.
Right, twelve down. ‘One may have got lineages sorted out.’
What the hell kind of clue is that?
“Um… I’m sorry about… uh… not correcting that guy when he said you were my Dad.”
I daren’t ask him why he did it. I’m not so sure I want to hear the answer.
“I… uh… it’s just that I’ve never been on a vacation like this before. You know… as a family. It’s… uh… nice.”
Yup, that’s why I didn’t want to know. I knew from Daniel’s files about his less than stellar childhood, but I never really wanted to think about what that actually meant for Daniel. I know, I can be a real jackass.
“There’s a reason I chose ‘crossword’ for my eye spy…”
“I… I just wanted to say... uh… thanks for everything, Jack, and that I’m really eight across.”
Eight across? The clue says ‘the sad antonym state of a sandboy’.
The sad antonym state of a sandboy?
I don’t get it.
“You don’t get it, do you Jack?”
“Well, you know what antonym means, don’t you?”
“Uh, yeah, it means the opposite, doesn’t it?”
“Yep. How many letters does it have?”
“Um… five, and the last letter is a ‘y’.”
“Okay, what’s the antonym of ‘sad’?”
“Uh… happy? But what’s that got to do with a sandboy? Other than the fact you’re a certified desert nut and sand lover yourself.”
“There’s a saying ‘happy as a sandboy.”
Oh! The answer is ‘happy’. I’m grinning. I can’t help it. I’m really grinning. Daniel’s happy. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him actually say that before. I can see him smiling at me in the darkness.
“Thanks for taking us on this trip, Jack.”
Don’t choke, O’Neill.
“You’re welcome, Danny.”
“So, we can go to Stonehenge tomorrow, right?”
“Yep, we can do anything you like.”
To hell with it, I can always go fishing the day after.
The End… for now!
|Genres:||Friendship, Holiday, Humor|
|Series:||Those Pesky Kids!|
|Summary:||Jack POV/Humour. The journey continues as Jack takes the kids across England. Or at least, tries to!|
If you haven't already, you might want to read 'Those Pesky Kids' first. This story will make far more sense if you do! ;-) Enjoy! x
Author's Chapter Notes:
Feedback would be greatly appreciated! Please let me know if I brought a smile to your face! Thanks for reading. x
Chapter End Notes:
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