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Fanfiction: The Wrong Timeline - Part I

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S4 Chain Reaction
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Hammond/Team friendship.  Mild Sam/Jack UST.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

The Wrong Timeline

On Track


The large back yard was filled with people drinking, laughing and enjoying the excuse of a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon barbeque to forget that they were fighting a war against an ever increasingly powerful alien enemy. George Hammond gazed at the scene with approval from his position at the kitchen window.

It had seemed only fitting and right to celebrate his reinstatement as Stargate commander after the attempt by the NID to depose him in favour of a more hard-line toady. Colonel O’Neill had suggested a barbeque might restore troop morale after the rigid formality of General Bauer. Hammond suspected the very blatant celebration was also O’Neill’s way of sending a message to the NID; a message that usually consisted of a one fingered gesture. Hammond agreed wholeheartedly with the Colonel’s sentiment and given what he suspected Jack had risked, it seemed churlish to refuse a request for a barbeque.

The chill of the NID’s threats against his family – the threats that had forced him into retirement came back to him unwillingly. They had scared the life out of him. He knew the NID was capable of murder; he knew the lives of his two little granddaughters didn’t count to them. If the threat had been to him, he would have stayed but his family hadn’t chosen his profession or the dangers that went with it. He hadn’t needed a second warning; he had immediately retired. He had also truly believed the men and women he had left behind would be more than capable of holding the frontline.

Maybe he shouldn’t have been surprised that Jack hadn’t let it go. He didn’t know the details of how Jack had got the damning information against Senator Kinsey, didn’t want to know, but he suspected it had skirted close to the edge especially as the disgraced Colonel Harold Maybourne was involved. That evidence had helped secure the safety of Hammond’s family and led to his reinstatement. They would hold onto it just in case it was needed again in the future. His eyes roamed over the gathered personnel, their sometimes familiar, sometimes unfamiliar family members and found the Colonel.

Jack stood off to the side of the gathering. He seemed relaxed; one hand in the pocket of his baggy khaki cargo pants with a loose blue shirt that suggested comfort was more important than fashion to him. He dangled a beer bottle in his other hand, occasionally raising it to take small sips. He had been watching the impromptu game of volleyball that had broken out – the Marines were winning – but Hammond realised that the Colonel’s attention had wandered. Hammond followed his gaze and his eyes landed on Major Samantha Carter.

The young blonde Air Force officer stood with Janet Fraiser and the doctor’s adopted daughter, Cassie. All three were laughing, their faces lit up with an unhidden merriment that brought a smile to the General’s face. It was no wonder the Colonel’s attention had been caught, Hammond mused. There was something so wondrously female in the interaction between the three that a man couldn’t help appreciate it. He wasn’t surprised to see O’Neill walk across the yard to join them. He wondered whether he should be worried as he saw Jack gravitate immediately to Sam’s side; the light touch on her bare arm, the way she turned and smiled up at him so welcomingly. But in a blink of an eye, the glimpse of that something that worried him disappeared, replaced by the professional distance their ranks and relationship required. It was replaced so quickly that Hammond questioned whether he had actually seen anything else at all. He sighed and pushed the thought away, inwardly acknowledging he preferred the blind ignorance that allowed him to keep the two officers assigned to SG1.

As though his mind had conjured them up, the remaining members of the premier team joined the military personnel. Hammond had to smile again at the Jaffa’s outfit. Teal’c was dressed in a bright Hawaiian shirt and baggy shorts. His red baseball cap that hid the gold symbol on his forehead was the exact colour of the dominant shade in the shirt and matched the trim on the shorts. It was quite a fashion statement. Daniel Jackson, by contrast, was dressed more conservatively in jeans and casual shirt.

Something settled in Hammond’s heart. He had officially reassigned them all to SG1 as his first act in returning. Despite the circumstances that had led Hammond to temporarily retire, it had still been a shock to hear from Jack that his successor had disbanded the team. They worked together so well; complemented each other so well, he couldn’t ever imagine the four of them not being together. Earth needed SG1; Hammond had no doubt about that.

A cheer went up.

Hammond’s eyes snapped away from his flagship team to the other side of the yard. The Marines had won the volleyball. High fives and back-slapping was the order of the day for the winning team; groans and headshakes of disbelief from the losing. He turned away from the window, retrieved his beer bottle from the counter and headed out into the sunshine.

He found his feet taking him across the lawn and patio to where SG1 stood together. They all turned to greet him and Sam moved closer to the Colonel to allow Hammond to step into the informal circle.

Hammond smiled and motioned at them apologetically. ‘Don’t mind me. I didn’t mean to interrupt.’

‘Carter was just telling us that she’s buying a house.’ Jack explained. His brown eyes twinkled at Sam.

She rolled her blue eyes at her CO before turning to Hammond. ‘I’ve been thinking about it for a while, sir.’

‘It’ll be cool.’ Cassie piped up. ‘I can come over and hang out.’

Janet and Sam exchanged a wry look.

‘I have to find somewhere I want to buy first.’ Sam pointed out gently.

‘So what type of house do you want?’ Daniel asked before Hammond could ask the same question. The archaeologist held a full bottle of beer in one hand; the other was pulling at the label absent-mindedly.

Sam shrugged. ‘I hadn’t really thought about it.’ She admitted. ‘I’ve just decided to do it.’

‘So why the sudden decision?’ Janet asked curiously.

A hint of embarrassment coloured Sam’s cheeks. ‘Well, like I said I have been considering it for a while as I don’t really like my apartment but,’ she sighed, ‘my Dad staying on his vacation really decided me.’ She gave a self-conscious smile. ‘The apartment’s too small for both of us when he visits.’

‘You should have said.’ Jack chided her, nudging her elbow with his beer. ‘You could have stayed at my place.’

They all looked at him pointedly.

‘I mean,’ Jack corrected hurriedly as Hammond’s blue eyes remained on him, ‘that you and Dad could have stayed at my place. Together. Or,’ he added brightly, a thought occurring to him, ‘we could have swapped.’

Sam ducked her head to hide her smile.

‘Jacob’s more than welcome to stay with me in future.’ Hammond added, deciding that ignoring Jack’s comments was the best option. ‘I have plenty of room.’

‘Thank you, sir – sirs.’ Sam said. She gestured with the glass she held. ‘But it’s not the only reason. I just think it’s time I bought somewhere.’

‘Well, there’s a lot to consider.’ Hammond advised. ‘If I can help at all…’

‘Thank you, sir.’

Daniel adjusted his glasses thoughtfully. ‘And you really have no idea what kind of house you want?’

‘Not really.’ Sam said breezily.

‘Make a list.’ Janet advised. ‘Or you’ll end up with something you really don’t want or can’t afford.’

‘And take someone with you when you view.’ Hammond added.

‘Is it not safe?’ Teal’c asked seriously. His dark eyes landed on Hammond’s.

‘Well, that is one consideration,’ Hammond said, ‘but it’s also useful to have a second pair of eyes.’

Teal’c squared his shoulders as though preparing to enter a battlefield. ‘I will accompany you, Major Carter.’

‘I’ll come along too.’ Daniel offered. ‘I’ve got lots of experience after buying my apartment.’

‘An apartment isn’t like buying a house.’ Jack argued. ‘Carter needs someone with house-buying experience.’ He turned to her. ‘I’ll come with you.’

‘Buying an apartment is just like buying a house.’ Daniel retorted.

‘No, it isn’t.’ Jack said.

‘Yes, it is.’ Daniel shot back.

‘No, it isn’t.’

‘Yes, it is.’

‘No…’

‘Gentlemen.’ Janet stared at them pointedly and jerked her head at Cassie who was giggling at their antics. Both men looked suitably abashed.

‘I’ll be happy to have you all along.’ Sam said soothingly to her team-mates.

‘Photo?’ Walter Harriman interrupted the group, lifting his camera.

Hammond smiled. ‘Why not?’

They shuffled closer and smiled as Walter snapped the photo and moved on.

‘Hey, O’Neill,’ Major Griff jogged up to them and nodded an acknowledgement to the General, ‘how about a friendly game of volleyball? SG1 against a team of the finest Marines?’

Jack glanced over to find the Marines standing by the volleyball net with expectant grins. He shrugged. ‘We’ll pass.’ He made a sweeping gesture at SG1. ‘We’re just enjoying the party.’

‘Well, if SG1 are afraid of a little competition…’ Griff taunted.

Jack gave a long suffering sigh. ‘In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re not exactly dressed for it.’

Griff shrugged. ‘Are you really telling me that you’re forfeiting because Carter’s wearing a dress, Teal’c’s in drag and you and Jackson are squares?’ The Major needled. He suddenly seemed to realise how far he’d gone as he took in Jack’s expression which was only surpassed by Teal’c’s glower. ‘Uh, Colonel?’

Hammond smothered a chuckle at the anxiety that chased across Griff’s face.

The members of SG1 looked at each other; silent communication passed between them quickly but Hammond could almost hear the words.

Can we take them?’ Jack asked.

Yes.’ They all answered.

‘SG1 is not poultry.’ Teal’c declared forcefully, turning back to Griff. The outrageous outfit suddenly appeared completely appropriate warrior gear as he stalked towards the net.

Daniel smirked at Griff’s taken aback expression. ‘He means we’re not chicken.’ He patted the Major’s arm and headed off after Teal’c.

Jack smiled at Hammond. ‘If you’ll excuse us, sir. SG1 have to teach the Marines a lesson.’

Sam rolled her eyes and drained her glass, handing it to Janet. She took a moment to slip off her sandals and fell into step beside Jack as they walked over to join their team-mates.

Hammond offered Cassie his arm. The young girl giggled but happily hooked her own around his. Janet smiled and walked beside them as they headed over to watch. The inclusion of SG1 was gathering a larger crowd to the make-shift court.

Siler raised his glass at the General. ‘Great barbeque, sir.’

‘Thank you, Sergeant.’ Hammond’s pale blue eyes twinkled and he gestured where SG1 was having a conference in the middle of their half. ‘I have a feeling its about to get a heck of a lot more interesting.’

‘I think this may be a fight SG1 can’t win, sir.’ Janet noted as the Marines took their positions.

‘They’ll win.’ Cassie said confidently. SG1 were her heroes; the concept of them losing was unthinkable to her.

Hammond let his eyes rest on the Marines. Four relatively young guys; all were wearing shorts and sneakers, and two had stripped their t-shirts to reveal muscular chests and six-packs. They were garnering more than a few admiring glances from the ladies in the crowd. Fit; athletic and, as Marines, fiercely competitive. Hammond moved his focus back to SG1.

Four mismatched people; a Jaffa, a veteran Special Ops Colonel, a genius archaeologist and an Air Force Major with a specialism in astrophysics. It shouldn’t have worked, that curious mix of warriors and scholars, yet it did. Hammond could see it in action on the volleyball field as they all silently nodded as Jack finished talking.

‘You know, honey, they might not win.’ Janet said as the Marines won the first four points.

‘They always win.’ Cassie defended them heroically.

Hammond figured she had a point as he saw the barest signal between Jack and his team as they resumed their places. Shift of tactics. They had learned whatever they had needed in those first four skirmishes.

The volleyball sailed over the net between Daniel and Teal’c. Daniel moved back as Teal’c moved forward so much faster than his size suggested he could. Teal’c tapped the ball back to Daniel who simply pushed it immediately forward; Sam vaulted into the air and slammed it into the ground on the other side of the net directly in the middle of the four Marines. It was a shot that had a precision of angles and symmetry worthy of an astrophysicist.

Jack was smirking; they’d won the serve.

Four points later and the Marines clued into SG1’s strategy; they won the serve. SG1 shrugged and regrouped. Hammond dimly heard betting in the crowd around him; money being placed on either side as more points were won and lost on both sides. The game was compelling. Despite their seeming disadvantages, SG1 was keeping pace with the Marines. Still, level on points and with only two points to the winning score, the Marines had the serve.

Jack held up a hand and pulled his shirt, still buttoned, over his head, tossing it to the side of the court; Daniel followed his example while Teal’c stripped down to a tank top. Stripped, the perceived physical differences between the two groups disappeared. Each of the SG1 men revealed toned, lean muscle that spoke of tensile strength. Even Daniel radiated physicality in direct contradiction with his slightly geeky look. There were a few wolf whistles; Daniel blushed as Teal’c raised an eyebrow.

‘Hey,’ yelled one of the Marines, ‘if you think this is going to distract us you’re mistaken! Now if Carter wants to strip…’

SG1 turned as one to glare at the young Marine who laughed.

Jack rolled his shoulders and stabbed a finger at him. ‘Now, for that, I’m going to let Carter kick your ass.’

Sam grinned at her CO; a wild spark flying into her blue eyes as the Marine served. She punched the volleyball across the net. Somehow the shot suddenly dipped and caught the young Marine in a part of his anatomy that had every man wincing, Hammond included.

‘Now that’s got to hurt.’ Siler said in sympathy as the Marines claimed a foul.

‘Aw, come on!’ Jack complained, waving across the court. ‘It was headed for the ground. He got in the way.’

Hammond wondered whether Sam could have calculated all the angles that precisely; the flight of the ball, the Marine’s likely angle of attack. She looked innocent, standing there in her now grass-stained summer dress; all wide-eyed confusion and false remorse. Hammond smothered his grin; Sam was that brilliant.

Griff, refereeing, awarded the serve to SG1. The Marines were clearly sulking as they resumed their positions.

Hammond’s lips twitched and he leaned down to whisper conspiratorially into Cassie’s ear. ‘I agree with you. They’ll win.’

‘Sir?’ Janet said with a laugh.

He smiled as SG1 took a point and his hand rested lightly on Cassie’s shoulder. One more needed to win the game. He saw the looks that passed between SG1. Total agreement; total cohesion. A bond he’d seen the first time he’d ever met them back in 1969; a bond on a level that only a few could ever understand. But more than their commitment to each other, Hammond saw in their faces the commitment to the game and the outcome; they’d looked just as equally serious when they had saved the planet.

Nope.

When SG1 worked together; once they set their minds and hearts on something, it was game over for their enemy. In his considered opinion, the Marines had no hope.

Hammond smiled as Jack sent the ball sailing perfectly over the net like it was a grenade into a Jaffa patrol, as the Marines scrambled to catch it before it detonated and failed. ‘They’re SG1. I’d never bet against them.’

Continued in Part II.

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