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Happy Gen Fic Day, Stargate fandom!

Title: Time Share (O is for Old Age)
Author: kalquessa
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Genre: Gen, Character Study. Humor? Angst? A little of each? Not sure.
Word Count: 948
Characters: Jack, mini!Jack
Season/Spoilers: "Fragile Balance" in particular, Season 10 in general
Rating: G
Warnings: Beta? What is this "beta" of which you speak?

My contribution to Fig's Jack Alpha-Bits challenge. O is for Old Age. I left this until the very last minute, so I have no idea if it's any good, and I'm sure it could have really used a beta to bang commas into place. All the same, I rather like it. Dedicated to my sister-in-law Curly, who suggested I watch "Fragile Balance" for inspiration when I said I couldn't think of anything Jack-centric to write.


"Anything biting?"

The question is accompanied by footsteps on the lake's pebbly shore, and Jack reflects that if his mind hadn't been a million miles away, he would have heard someone approaching sooner. He looks up and sighs, a sound halfway between annoyance and resignation. He really could have lived the rest of his life quite happily without ever again seeing the young man coming toward him, but the universe has been at pains before now to make it clear that his luck just isn't that good.

"I thought we agreed not to keep in touch," he grouses.

"Hey, it's not like I planned this," the clone replies. "You're not the only one with a holiday weekend to kill. You're also not the only one who caught that huge bass here back in '82."

Jack glowers.

"Okay," the younger man concedes with a roll of the eyes, "maybe you are the only one who actually did that, but I remember catching that thing as well as you do. Better, probably," he adds with the ghost of a smirk.

Jack does not deign to reply, choosing instead to glower some more, though it doesn't seem to be having a the desired affect: the younger version of himself drops a cooler next to Jack's and starts unfolding an impressively battered camp chair. Jack wonders how his clone has managed to break the chair in so thoroughly given that the guy has only existed for going on four years. Teenagers must have more time to go fishing than two-star generals. Jack thinks he might be a little bit jealous.

"So is anything biting?" the clone asks again.

"No," Jack's reply is loaded with annoyance, and not because of the derth of fish.

"Well that was never really the point, anyway, was it?"

"The point," Jack says dryly, "was to have some time and space to myself for a few days."

"Hey, nobody's making you stay," the clone shrugs as he starts to unpack his rod and line. "There's a whole lot of lake, if you want to go see if the bass are biting somewhere else."

"I'm not moving because a copy of myself decided to fish here today."

"My sentiments exactly." The clone pops a can of Coke as if to punctuate the statement.

Jack scowls. "And what do you mean you remember catching that bass better than I do? I was the one who was actually there."

"Maybe so." The clone pauses in the process of assembling his fishing rod to tap his temple, grinning. "But my memory hasn't started succumbing to the ravages of time, yet."

"Hey, no part of me is succumbing to anything any time soon, thank you," Jack snaps.

"Whatever you say," the clone laughs. "Far be it from me to argue with a man of such advanced years." He casts his line and sinks into his camp chair without any of the knee-popping or stiffness that Jack usually has to deal with. Okay, so maybe Jack's more than a little bit jealous.

They sit in silence for a good long while, eyes on the still surface of the lake. Jack finishes his beer and pulls a new one from the cooler. He's taking a long, moody pull on it when he catches sight of the clone's face; the guy is staring at Jack's beer with an unguarded look of reverent longing. When he notices Jack's eyes on him, he snaps his attention back to the lake, face blank. He takes a disconsolate sip of his Coke. Jack tries to relish the younger man's discomfort, but after a long moment he sighs and pulls the last beer from the cooler and shoves it wordlessly at the clone without looking at him.

"Thanks." The word is mumbled, hardly loud enough to register over the soft sounds of the water, but the grudging gratitude in it is clearly audible. Jack takes another drink of his own beer.

"You know," Jack offers after another long pause, "Daniel tried to convince me once that having you running around was a sort of immortality because my memories and ideas and what-have-you would survive me, at least for a good thirty years."

"You tell him that's a load of crap?" the clone asks.

"Yeah, pretty much," replies Jack, and takes another swig. He lets another several minutes go by in silence before saying, "Hey, tell me something."

"What?"

"When Charlie turned six, what kind of cake did we have at the party? I can't remember."

The clone freezes, face carefully neutral, and studies Jack for a minute before replying. "Yellow. Sara made yellow cake. Chocolate frosting." When Jack simply nods and does not reply, he adds, "Her parents got him a wiffleball set. After all the party guests left, you and Charlie played with it until Sara made you stop because it was way past his bedtime." No one else would notice the conscious effort that goes into saying "you" instead of "I" but Jack does. The clone drops his eyes to his lap, then smiles suddenly. "That punk Henderson kid from across the street ate too much cake and had to go home sick halfway through the party."

"That I remember," says Jack, matching the clone grin for grin.

The clone's smile becomes more serious, and he asks, "Anything else you want to know?"

"No," Jack shakes his head, and then: "Thanks."

"Sure thing. Thanks for the beer."

"No problem," Jack replies, and puts on a smile that is faintly smug. "I guess there are some advantages to old age."

The clone downs the last of his beer, and toasts him with the empty bottle. "Touché."

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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maychorian
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
Wow. Funny and hard and poignant. So, so awkward, having a young clone of yourself hanging around. Of course Jack gets all prickly--both 'em. But that last moment was very nice. Thanks for the fic!
kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad it worked, I wasn't sure it would, since I hadn't had time to back away from it at all before posting. Jack tends to treat duplicates of himself as competition for the role of the Best Jack or the Real Jack, or something. So I figured they'd both be kinda prickly, but they each had something the other needed, too, as it turns out. *grin*
suzannemarie
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
Aw, this is lovely. That's a nice touch with the birthday party slant.
kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was pretty happy with how that bit came out, I was worried that it would go too angsty and head-shrinky, but I should have had more faith in Jack's ability to avoid that sort of thing. *grin*
izhilzha
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Aw, I love this! Both Jacks, meeting up in a completely logical way, and bristling at each other but still understanding each other far too well.

kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm glad you like it! I thought of you while I was writing it, since we talk off and on about writing fic with mini!Jack in Washington (which we should still do at some point when we're both less swamped).
sg_betty
Oct. 27th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
They were both totally Jack. How annoying for them! Good character study!
kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
How annoying for them!

*laughs* I suspect this is part of why Jack hates having himself duplicated: normally he doesn't have to put up with himself.

Thank you!!
sg_fignewton
Oct. 27th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
"Hey, nobody's making you stay,"

::sporfles::

No one can out-snide Jack! Except Daniel. And, of course, Jack. :)

...And then this takes a ninety-degree turn into angst, which, of course, is also very Jack.

A nice look at who Jack is. Or will be. Or whatever. :)

kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
A nice look at who Jack is. Or will be. Or whatever. :)

*laughs* Yeah, I think it's that last thing.

Thank you for once again running this challenge!
supplyship
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
Jack will ALWAYS be hardest on himself, and you capture that beautifully. That the two of them sort of circle each other for a bit before diving headfirst into angst is just so... Jack. A really nice moment, M!

Tiny little thing - "...concedes with a role of eyes.." role should be roll
kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! For the head-pats and the typo-spotting. I knew there would be something like that in here. *goes to fix*
lokei
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Oh my. Jack and Jack-clone stories always break my heart. You did a lovely job with this one.
kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed! (Love the icon, by the way. Possibly my favorite "Window of Opportunity" quote.)
thraesja
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
"I'm not moving because a copy of myself decided to fish here today."
"My sentiments exactly."


Ah, the joys of two Jacks arguing with each other. You really did a nice job of capturing his voice in this. Twice over, really.

"You know," Jack offers after another long pause, "Daniel tried to convince me once that having you running around was a sort of immortality because my memories and ideas and what-have-you would survive me, at least for a good thirty years."
"You tell him that's a load of crap?" the clone asks.
"Yeah, pretty much," replies Jack,


Sweet. Jack's truly talented when it comes to being able to avoid being deep while simultaneously being...deep. Daniel should really count himself lucky he's not here for this conversation.

And, oh man. The inhumanity of not being able to buy beer for going on four years. My heart goes out to poor mini!Jack.

kalquessa
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
Jack's truly talented when it comes to being able to avoid being deep while simultaneously being...deep.

So true. *loves him*

And, oh man. The inhumanity of not being able to buy beer for going on four years.

I know, I felt so bad for him! Poor mini!Jack! A life without beer is...well, I won't say "no life at all" because there is still pie. But still.
neiths_arrow
Oct. 27th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
Too precious! Snark for snark - they each get a point with extra points for style. You had me laughing out loud in a couple spots. I think the rest of the team would pay for the best seats to watch this exchange. Thanks!
kalquessa
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Thank you! I felt like they both deserved to get at least one good dig in.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
that whole part about charlie's birthday cake & party got to me. very nice story
kalquessa
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I appreciate the feedback.
kerravonsen
Oct. 28th, 2008 06:20 am (UTC)
Aww. Though not too soppy, good. (slaps Jack on the back, as he would not like to be hugged)
kalquessa
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
Heh, yeah, can't get too soppy with Jack. Hugging is only for extreme situations of near- or return-from-death. (*grin* And thank you!)
lavenderlocks
Oct. 28th, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
I love clone!fic - just to see if Jack can outsnark himself!

This is lovely, thank you
kalquessa
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
Anytime Jack is in the room with a duplicate of himself you can expect some quality cranky snark. *grin* Thank you!
majorsamfan
Oct. 29th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
HeeHee...Jack getting a taste of his own medicine! But also poignant and thought-provoking.

Wonder which one of them would have a better chance of getting lucky with Sa--the ladies?

And can you imagine five or ten years down the road, Sara O'Neill running into a young version of her ex-husband? Would she call Jack?
samantilles
Nov. 12th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
it would only make sense that they would eventually succumb to their true loves and perhaps meet up again.
"Hey, nobody's making you stay," the clone shrugs as he starts to unpack his rod and line. "There's a whole lot of lake, if you want to go see if the bass are biting somewhere else."
Absolutely Fabulous!!! The kid is probably even more snarky having to relive high school a second time... except now he's up to date with all the rad putdowns... (while old!Jack may never throw down with a "yo mama" clone!Jack just might bust it out--and give old!Jack a heart attack...

(Deleted comment)
kalquessa
Dec. 22nd, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I was pretty pleased with how this little ficlet turned out. I enjoy writing Jack, so it was fun to write two of him. *grin*
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