Jack and Sara
Author’s Note: Thanks very much to my Beta’s, Letomo and EllandrahSylver. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# This is not a part of any of my current series. It is one of the plot bunnies that has been driving me crazy and keeping me from writing Waifs and Strays. (Well, that and Flu.) Each chapter in this ‘story’ depicts a different family/person who did not adopt Faith in the Buffy-verse. Some of them already have sequels, at least in my mind… Jack and Sara Boston, 1987
Boston’s South Side was not Jack O’Neill’s favourite part of the city. It was old and it had, in places, a certain style, but it also had far too many things that reminded him forcibly of the things that could have been, and the things that were. He might not have been in the Air Force if his life had been more like the ones he saw here, before his eyes. And those were also the things that were. He’d been assigned to Hanscom to assist in developing and implementing a number of technological advances in radar and sonar equipment. Air-based sonar, combined with satellite surveillance, could be a game changer when the Air Force was engaging submarines. Jack had jokingly stated that they might use it to find their own stealth planes. And suddenly someone had remembered that ‘Black’ Jack O’Neill had a Masters in aviation technology, and had once written an essay on the use of bats in the detection of enemies. *That was a joke, fer cryin’ out loud!*
Jack sighed. DARPA had no sense of humour, that was clear.
Sara on the other hand, had taken to Boston instantly, and Jack doted on his newly pregnant wife. Sara also liked to cook, a fact that Jack appreciated, despite his complaints he didn’t get to barbeque enough meat. Sara’s joy in cooking, added to the fact that the South Side held a large number of small shops that sold ingredients that were hard to find, led Jack here, driving his car slowly, rather more slowly than he liked in a neighbourhood with streetwalkers, looking for Hong’s Fish Market. And, yes, that was a set of blue lights behind him. Jack sighed and pulled over, lowering the window.
“Good evening, sir. Might I ask what you are doing here?”
Jack looked up at the police officer rather sourly. “Looking for Hong’s Fishmarket.”
The police officer blinked. “That’s two streets over, that way.”
Jack looked at the scrawled note and sighed. “Pregnancy is not good for her handwriting.” He muttered to himself.
The officer coughed, apparently hiding a smile. That’s when the gun shots rang out. And the screams. Jack froze and reached for his weapon. The police officer did the same, running towards the sounds, Jack followed quickly. The police car drove after them, the cop’s partner behind the wheel and calling in the shooting.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” The cop asked Jack, angrily.
“Major Jack O’Neill, Air Force. That was a kid screaming in there. I’ll cover your sixes, keep an extra eye out. I’ve done it before. And trust me, I know how to use this.” Jack tapped his gun.
The cop sighed. “Well, I suppose we can do with an extra pair of eyes. Stay in the street, please, Major.”
Jack nodded. “I will, officer…” Jack looked at the name plate and smiled. “Jameson.”
The man smiled back and then headed into the alley that he felt the gunshots had come from. A fire escape, old and rusted, ran up one wall, past five floors of lighted windows. Jameson’s partner followed, nodded at Jack and slowly went up the rickety stairs. Suddenly more gunshots rang out and a child screamed.
Jack winced. There was the sound of breaking glass from the second storey and a man cursing and then something fell from the fire escape. Instinctively Jack dove to catch it. He hit the ground hard, absorbing the impact of his own dive and the fall. And then he realized that he’d caught a child. A young child, five or six, dark haired and with the old eyes that Jack really did not want to see on a little girl. Dark brown. She looked a little like Sara, Jack noted. Except for the blood on her pinched little face.
His shoulder ached where it had hit the uneven pavement. He rose, staying near the wall, located his gun, and went to pick it up. The little girl was stiff and frozen in his grip. He heard the sound of feet on the fire escape and saw Jameson hurry down, his face anguished, only for the man to relax when he saw the little girl in Jack’s arms.
“We need to get her to the hospital. But I caught her.” Jack gently ran a hand over the girl’s back. She was stiff, and obviously frightened. She wore a ripped shirt, her feet were in socks and a pair of faded PJ bottoms, too large for her, hung from her skinny hips. Her eyes were huge and brown and fixed on the window.
“Mommy?” she whispered.
Jack looked at Jameson, who shook his head. Jack winced.
“Mommy’s busy right now, honey. I’m Jack, and I’m gonna take you to the hospital, okay?”
“Can’t,” the little girl stated flatly. “Mommy can’t ‘ford it.”
Jack smiled, but it was not a happy smile. “Well, I’ll pay for it. Don’t worry, Mommy won’t mind.”
“Mommy told me not to go with strangers,” the girl said, looking at Jack.
“I’m not a stranger, I’m Jack.”
“You’re a stranger. Just like the man that hurt Mommy.”
Jack shook his head. “No, no I’m nothing like that man. Now, this is officer Jameson, and he’s gonna call an ambulance and then we’re gonna go for a ride in it, is that okay? Or in my car, or Officer Jameson’s car.”
The little girl pouted. “Doncha have a motocicle? I like motocicles!”
Jameson exchanged looks with Jack. Jack shook his head. “Sorry, kid, no motorcycle. Do you have a name?”
The girl looked at him, thoughtfully. “Faith.”
“Well, Little Faith. You and I are gonna go to the hospital and then we’ll see that you get some sleep.”
“I want my Mommy!” Faith declared, looking up at the window.
Jack and Officer Jameson exchanged looks again. Jack sighed. “Faith… I’m afraid mommy won’t… She isn’t…”
“Mommy’s hurt bad, isn’t she?” the child with the too-old eyes asked quietly.
“Yes, she is. But she isn’t in pain,” Jack replied.
“Like Grandma? Mommy said that grandma didn’t have any pain anymore? Mommy won’t be in pain anymore? The bad men won’t hurt her?” Faith pressed.
Jack swallowed a lump. “No, they won’t hurt her anymore.”
Faith looked at the window. And then at Jack. “I s’pose we can go to the hospital then. Grandma went there when she had pain, and Mommy said she went to sleep and then to eat with God. That’s good, isn’t it? I can go to sleep, and eat with God and Mommy and Grandma.”
Jack winced. “I don’t think so. I don’t think… No. No you won’t.”
Faith’s lip wobbled. “But… I want my Mommy!”
“You’ll get a new Mommy, and a Daddy too. Don’t worry,” Jack soothed her, as he carried her to the police cruiser. He made to put Faith in the back, but she clung to him fiercely. He tried to disentangle himself, but she wouldn’t let go. He sighed and then looked at Jameson. Another cruiser pulled up.
Jameson looked at one of the patrolmen and waved him over. “This is Major O’Neill, and that’s Faith. Why don’t you drive the Major and Faith to the ER, Connelly?”
Connelly looked at the frightened girl and nodded. “Sure. Keys?”
Jack nodded at his pocket. Connelly took the keys, let Jack and Faith into the back and drove off.
Jack stood looking at the little girl on the bed, wearing a hospital gown several sizes too big to replace her blood spattered clothes. The doctors had found old and new bruises, cuts and sprains. She was sleeping, and whimpering while she slept. He felt a hand move into his and Sara stood next to him.
“Is that the girl the heroic Air Force Major saved?” she asked gently.
Jack didn’t smile. “I didn’t save her. All she’s got to look forward to is a foster home. She’s a Southey. She’ll end up on the streets, like her mother.”
Sara reached out. She did not hug him. Jack winced as her hand connected with his cheek, hard. Sara had never, ever hit him before.
“Jack O’Neill, do you really think so little of me?” she asked angrily. “I saw you on TV, that girl in your arms. I know that look, Jack. You want to take her in, but you think I won’t. Well, you’re wrong! That girl will have a mother again and she will never be a streetwalker. And she’ll have a father, even if he is a bone-headed idiot!”
Jack blinked. Then he relaxed, the tension he’d been feeling since he first knew that Faith was all alone in the world leaving him. “I love you Sara. I’m sorry. You know me better than I know myself.”
“You’d better be, Jack O’Neill,” Sara threatened. Then she sniffed. “And I bet you didn’t get my cod either.”