Rascals - Chapter 15

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"Perhaps we should wait - it's still early and they're probably tired from yesterday." O'Neill said, when no one had answered their knock on the door.

"I want to see my little girl is okay - I can't believe what you're telling me happened is true." He shook his head. "It sounds crazy."

"It's true, Jacob. Unfortunately." Hammond confirmed.

"Well, look at it this way, Jacob, you'll get to raise her all over again." O'Neill grinned.

"Are you implying I didn't do a good enough job of it the first time?" He gave O'Neill a hard look. It was obvious he was not in the mood for humour.

"Ehh, that's not what I meant." O'Neill smiled sheepishly.

"Good." Jacob nodded, then opened the door.

He stepped into the semi-darkness, as the room was only illuminated by the night lights. He pushed the switch and flooded the room with light.

"What the devil happened here?" Jacob exclaimed, looking over the place.

In one corner was a pile of empty candy bags and chocolate wrappers. Plastic cups and bowls were everywhere, and several opened bottles of soda stood on the table, except for one that lay on the - empty - bed that was closest to the door. He gaped at it all.

Recovering, Jacob took a couple steps into the room and spotted an empty bottle on the floor. Most of the contents must have run out, as there was a large, wet spot under the bottle, colouring the beige carpet light green there. He picked up the bottle and looked at the label.

"Creme de Menthe." He shook his head as he spotted several other bottles, all open, but thankfully still having most of their content, except a bottle of 'Blue Curacao' which was noticeably less full. He looked to the bed furthest from the door, where four children were sleeping closely together, none of them paying any attention to the adults.

"Crap." O'Neill said.

"Colonel? They were your responsibility!" Hammond said angrily.

"I don't know how they even got their hands on any of this stuff!" O'Neill said, incredulous.

"Jack!" Jacob turned to O'Neill, looking part furious, part disbelieving. "You let my little girl - and she is little again..." He stopped to look at the sleeping, blond-haired girl, looking exactly as he remembered. "...you let her drink alcohol! You let all of them drink alcohol! How old are they? Five? Six? Are you crazy? And all that candy and soft drinks can't be good for them either!"

"Dad?" Sam said sleepily. She rubbed her eyes and sat up. "Dad!" She smiled, then moaned. "My head hurts! And my tummy!"

Sam's movement woke up Martouf and Garshaw, who had been sleeping on either side of her. They both began to wake up slowly, looking as if they tried to remember where they were. Daniel just mumbled something and turned over on his other side, still sleeping.

"Kiddo..." Jacob looked at her, slowly shaking his head. "This is very strange..."

Sam crawled out of bed and went straight to Jacob, throwing her arms around his legs.

"Missed you!"

"I missed you too, sweetie..." He stroked her hair, again feeling the weirdness of the situation. "Are you okay?"

"My head hurts a little - and my tummy feels funny. I don't think I should've eaten seven bars of chocolate."

O'Neill winced and threw Hammond a quick glance. "Where did you even get all that?"

"An unlocked closet in the supply room. We were exploring." Martouf said. He jumped out of bed too, going to Jacob. "Hello, Jacob."

"Martouf." Jacob nodded to him. The energy signature from a symbiote coupled with his appearance being enough to recognize him. Selmak noted in an amused tone that she found the clothed mouse on his pyjamas funny. Mickey Mouse, Jacob told her, distractedly, before addressing the child again. "Are you and Lantash okay?"

"We're fine - mostly." He touched his stomach. "Lantash already filtered out the alcohol, but we ate too much candy. He's fixing that now."

"Why were you all in the same bed?" O'Neill wondered.

"Daniel tipped over a large soda in the other, so we all decided to sleep in the other bed." Martouf said.

"Yeah, it was much nicer - and warmer." Sam said.

"Very nice - not at all like in the Jaffa." Garshaw agreed, smiling happily. "It's nice to have friends - and playmates." She got out of the bed as well, then looked around for her new stuffed toy. Finding it, she stepped up to Jacob.

"This is Mister Fluffy." She held out the plush rabbit. "He and I - and Yosuuf - are ready to return to our duties in the Tok'ra council."

Jacob looked at the little girl in the pink, ruffled nightgown, with a big happy kitten on the chest. "I...think it would be...safer if you stayed here for now." He was not sure how to react. Besides, Selmak was laughing so hard in his head that it hurt.

"Un-scheduled, off-world activation!" Harriman's voice sounded over the public announcement system.

Jacob hurried to the gateroom, telling Sam and the other children he would be back soon. He had been eating breakfast with them - not that they were very hungry after their late-night party - and had then returned to their quarters with them.

He had spent some time talking to them about what had happened. He had quickly realised it was true what the Tok'ra healers had found. They had all their memories, knowledge, personalities, feelings...everything was as their adult selves.

However, they seemed to access that knowledge as an afterthought, and reasoned and behaved in almost every way as children of six years of age would. Very smart six-year old children, but children nonetheless. Both he and Selmak agreed they would all be safer here at Stargate Command than at a Tok'ra base.

Sam might want her father around, but then he would just have to visit more often. It was simply too dangerous on a Tok'ra base - who knew when there would be a Goa'uld attack and they would have to evacuate? Besides, with no doors, there was also no way of keeping them out of laboratories with dangerous chemicals and such, and they had amply proven their ingenuity and will to explore and find what they wanted.

He hurried through the door, into the gateroom, shortly after the Stargate had shut down and the guests - Tok'ra - had already descended the ramp. Hammond was greeting them, together with an apprehensive looking O'Neill.

Both Jacob and Selmak felt their hearts sink when they saw the little blond-haired girl with the Tok'ra, wearing what looked like a too big, oddly-shaped, shirt. That is, it was too wide, but not too long. It must have been too short to cover her stomach before. She held on to her skirt to keep it up. It, also, was too wide, but too long.

O'Neill and Hammond both looked at the little girl with some trepidation.

One of the adult Tok'ra - Malek - stepped forward.

"We bring you information uncovered about the alien device on the planet you have designated P3X-739. Also, this Anise and Freya, the...leader of our group of scientists. I believe you have met. The council has decided she will benefit from staying with...with the other children." Malek looked guilty. "The tunnels are not a safe place for children, and someone would have to be assigned to look after her. No one can be spared for that duty just now."

Jacob smiled at Selmak's comment about Freya's clothing almost fitting her better now.

"So, you're just going to dump more of your problems on us? Why am I not surprised?" O'Neill rolled his eyes.

"That is not nice! I was trying to help!" Anise pouted.

"We will of course take care of Anise and Freya." Hammond said, quickly. "You said you had found more information about the machine?"

"I was the one to find it!" Anise proclaimed, proudly.

"Yes." Malek agreed. "She was in charge of the mission and had manage to uncover several things before she...um...accidentally activated it."

"If you will all come this way. Doctor Fraiser and several of our scientists will be very interested to hear what you have learned." Hammond turned to O'Neill. "Perhaps you could take Anise and Freya to the quarters the other children are sharing?"

"Yes, sir." O'Neill said, looking less than thrilled.

"No! I am the scientist in charge, so I will be at the meeting!"

Hammond sighed and looked at her for a moment. "Very well. Follow me."

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