Title: Gone Fishin’
Characters: Jack O’Neill, Dean Winchester
Category: Gen, Crossover
Rating: T/PG13 (language)
Spoilers: Previous story in the series, SG-1 3.09, SPN 1.17.
Summary: Just a couple of guys and a lake that supposedly has fish in it, somewhere.
Word Count: 1635
Disclaimer: Can you really own the force of nature that is JacknDean? You may as well try to catch a war in a bottle. And why would you want to? Much more fun to let them roam free.
Author’s Note: Sequel to “Corner of Your Eye,” but should be readable without reading that one first. Set before “Cold and Lonely Watch.”
Jack smacked his lips in contentment, giving the fishing pole a little wiggle to keep the bait moving around under there, just enough to tempt the fish. It was a great day, not hot yet, but the sun was bright and the clouds were small. They sat on the dock with a cooler of beer and soda between them, just two guys and a lake.
“…I totally won that one, what with the Nair and everything,” Dean finished his story with a laugh, recounting a prank war he and his brother had fought. “I don’t think Sam has forgiven me for that, to this day, but it was his own fault, always keeping his hair girly and long like that. Man, I think Dad had me doing extra PT for a month, though.” He chuckled again, tipping his beer to his mouth.
Jack glanced over at his companion. After much persuasion, Dean had agreed to wear a baseball cap in deference to the sun, but refused sunglasses, so Jack could see how clear his eyes were, how unshadowed and content. Extra PT for a whole month sounded pretty harsh for such a harmless incident, at least to Jack, but Dean looked completely unbothered by the memory. No, this was a fond one, a good story.
“How old were you?” Jack asked.
“Uh. Fifteen I think? Sam was old enough that he was starting to get the harder drills, too, but I don’t think it was much older than that.”
“You know, when I first met you, I thought you had been in the marines or something. I guess you were, just unofficially.”
Dean sat up a little straighter, pleased and proud at what must have sounded to him like praise. “Yeah. Dad knew what he was doing. We learned everything we needed to know.”
Jack looked back over the lake, deliberately keeping his face smooth, just listening to a buddy recite fun stories from childhood. He didn’t want Dean to stop talking, now that he was so willing to open up, to share. But the more he heard about how Dean and his brother had grown up, the less he liked it.
It made him think, with an unpleasant swirl in his gut, of the planet where Apophis had been training a bunch of young boys—kids—to impersonate the Tau’ri and infiltrate the SGC. Jack always hated the missions that involved children, and there had been a bunch of them over the years. It wasn’t right, turning youngsters into adults like that, forcing them to kill. He never would have wanted Charlie to grow up like that.
He was starting to understand why Sam Winchester had left.
Dean didn’t see it that way, obviously. In his eyes, his dad was a hero and could do no wrong. He had embraced their crusade from a very early age, willingly following his father down, no matter how dark the path got. He would not take even the hint of a criticism at all well. So Jack kept his mouth shut.
And really, it wasn’t like he had any right to criticize. Yeah, Dean’s childhood had been extreme, but so were the dangers his family had faced. Dean hadn’t said it in so many words, but Jack gathered that it had been some sort of supernatural menace that killed his mother, probably when he had been quite young. If Jack had seen his wife killed by something that shouldn’t exist, known that his kid was in danger, he wouldn’t have reacted very well, either. Probably would have gone just as far off the deep end, would have done anything and everything it took to keep Charlie safe.
He would have done his damnedest not to drag his son into the same obsession, though. Kids deserved more than that. And he definitely wouldn’t leave his boy behind, just split without a word, especially when it was clear to anyone who had eyes to see that the kid just wanted to be with him, watch out for him, make sure he was okay, because the poor guy had already lost too damn much.
“I’ve won plenty of prank wars, myself,” Jack said instead. “Me and my buddies at my old work. Salt in the coffee was probably my favorite. You shoulda seen Daniel’s face.” He smiled broadly at the memory. “Wish I’d had a camera on me. And there’s the thing we had going with the post-it notes…”
They kept trading stories, swapping tales. Turned out that both of their Sams were equally inventive and cruel when it came to pranks… Sam Winchester had taken great glee in freezing every last pair of underwear Dean owned in a huge block of ice. But that didn’t hold a candle to Sam Carter’s version of the same trick.
“Liquid nitrogen?” Dean sputtered at the telling, rapidly breaking down into a fit of giggles. “Oh, man, she got you good!”
“Oh, yeah. Broke into my house and everything. Every single sock I owned.” Jack grinned. It was funny now, hadn’t been so much at the time. “I had to call Walter to do a Target run for me, or I wouldn’t have been able to get to work. Would have made Carter do it, but she was off—off-base by the time I realized what she’d done. At least I was a general by that point, so I had lackeys to order around.”
“I thought you said Daniel was the worst when it came to this stuff.”
“Still true. He wasn’t quite as brutal as Carter, but he was way more…creative. He’d wind you up for days, just grin that wicked little grin when he thought you weren’t looking, and you knew he was planning something awful. God, I lived in fear for weeks at a time. It was almost a relief when it finally happened, every time. Except that it wasn’t, because it was horrible.”
“Heh. If my dad had ever joined in, I bet he would have been like that, too. He’s a crazy calculating son of a bitch.” Dean’s grin softened slightly, his eyes far away over the lake.
Jack snorted, a sound that could be taken as laughter or agreement, and wiggled his pole again. Still not a nibble. Too bad. He’d really been hoping for fresh fillets for dinner tonight.
“Hey, are there any fish in this lake?” Dean asked suddenly, giving his own pole a shake. “We’ve been sitting out here for hours now and I haven’t even seen a jumper.”
“Yeah, there are fish in the lake.” Jack nodded firmly. “I saw one once.”
“Once? How long ago was it?”
“Um. Not that long.”
Dean narrowed a suspicious glance over at him, mouth twisting. “Have you ever caught anything here?”
“Patience, grasshopper.” Jack stretched his legs out, propping his current soda on his thigh. “The point of fishing is not to catch fish. Those are merely bonus. The real benefit of fishing is the lack of doing. You look like you’re working hard to earn your supper when you’re really just sitting on a dock drinking beer. So, relax. Find your Zen or something. We have all day and we might as well be fishing.”
“Yeah, you’re a real fountain of wisdom over there, old guy.” Still, Dean seemed to take the advice to heart, tipping his head back against his lawn chair and closing his eyes.
Jack drank his soda and looked over the lake, keeping a corner of his eye on a certain stretch of trees over to the right. Definitely something going on over there, had been for quite some time. He didn’t want to mention it to Dean, though—the young man seemed so at peace, finally, it seemed a shame to break it.
“Hey, Jack,” Dean murmured, his lips barely moving. “Edge of the lake. Between two and three o’clock. You see that?”
Jack kept himself from jerking a look over at him. “Yeah, actually. Someone’s been watching us.”
“I noticed like an hour ago. Was waiting for you to catch on.”
“Well, I noticed way before that. Just didn’t want to bother you.”
“Yeah, sure. Whatever you say.” The corner of Dean’s mouth curled up in a smirk.
“I did. I definitely saw it.”
“Uh huh. You keep telling yourself that.”
Oh. The kid was winding him up. Jack leaned back in his chair with a small chuckle. “Well, I’m sure it’s nothing. Probably just that Tony Gunder kid from down the road.”
“I dunno, old guy. Didn’t look like a kid to me.”
“Tony’s a big kid.”
“I think it’s probably a hostile. We should go flush him out.”
“Kid, do you see hostiles everywhere? This is cabin country. No ninjas hanging out in the woods, I promise.”
“What do you want to bet that I’m right and you’re wrong?”
Jack glanced over at him. Dean still lounged in the chair, loose and relaxed, eyes closed, a faint smile on his lips. Damn, he was really sure of himself. “Fifty bucks.”
Dean scoffed. “Just money? Dude, that’s nothing.”
“Okay. Fifty bucks, and loser washes the dishes for as long as you stay here.”
Dean opened one eye to look at him, assessing. “Okay.” He extended a hand, and they shook on it.
Jack wanted to be right. He wanted to prove to this young soldier, this warrior of a battlefield that no one ever saw, that he was free to relax and let go here. Jack’s cabin was supposed to be a place where nothing ever happened, just lazy days and fishing for no fish.
“What do you say we do some knife-throwing practice later? Give whoever’s watching us something to think about.”
Dean grinned at this, real and true. “That sounds awesome.”
Yeah. It did.
Next story: Cold and Lonely Watch