Nothing Special
by CJay

"I just don't understand you Cassandra Fraiser. Pete is a great guy, why can't you give him a break?" Sam demanded, hands on her hips, her expression a mixture of demand and plea.

Cassie strolled along the booths checking out the array of goods for barter and sale, considering her answer to Sam's loaded question.

She loved the flea market. Her Mom used to bring her here the first weekend of every month and the two would check over the wares admiring the unusual bits and pieces, giggling over the bizarre and sighing over the sublime; occasionally one or all of her 'uncles' and Sam would join them and they'd make a day of it.

A day, which usually ended with Uncle Jack tormenting Uncle Danny about some obscure item he would purchase; after haggling mightily and joyfully with some equally euphoric salesperson or another.


"Admit it Danny boy, you're a pack rat." Jack taunted, eyeing Daniel's latest find with thinly veiled contempt.

"Am not." Daniel protested red-faced.

"Are too." Jack smirked.

"Not." Daniel dug in his heels.

Jack strode on smugly, his long legs eating up the distance between them. "Are."

Sputtering, Daniel chased after Jack. "Am not."

"Are too." Jack tossed over his shoulder.

Janet Fraiser laughed lightly. "Boys play nice."

Biting back his next denial, Daniel drew himself up with dignity. "I'll have you know Jack O'Neill that this is a rare find."

Relenting a bit, Jack eyed the ratty bundle clutched in Daniel's arms. "Of course it is Danny," he agreed softly. "They always are."

Jack took a good look at the moldering cloth in his friend's arms, it looked like any other rag to him, but if it made Danny happy it was worth the ridiculous price the erstwhile scholar had finally paid for it.

"But, did you have to argue with the man for over an hour? Some of us are hungry." Jack added with a long-suffering groan.

Jack's exasperated eyes wandered over the booth directly behind his friend and stopped short. There gleaming in the sunlight lay a vintage rod and reel, not just any rod and reel, but an exact duplicate to those once owned by his long deceased and beloved grandpa. Picking the dazzling gear up carefully, Jack ran a loving hand along the rusted metal of the reel.

How many days had he and gramps spent lounging on the dock, tying flies - they'd been inseparable once upon a time, yep, inseparable. The price tag hanging from the rod read two hundred dollars.

Jack took a good look at the man behind the booth. The older man's clothing had seen better days. The gaunt face stared calmly back at him, its brown eyes held a message of quiet acceptance and regret.

Without batting an eye, Jack pulled out his checkbook, writing out a check, he then slapped the bank draft into the waiting hands of the elderly gentleman. "Five hundred bucks enough?"

Nodding happily, the silver haired man pocketed the crisp paper.

Jack tucked the reel into his left pocket and nestled the rod in the crook of his arm. Ignoring Daniel's superior expression, he led the little group away from the long line of booths toward his truck.

"Is 'five hundred bucks' a fair price for the badly damaged article you now possess, O'Neill?" Teal'c wondered, the concept of purchasing discarded possessions still new to him.

"You don't understand T', this gear is special." Jack muttered quietly.

"In what way O'Neill?" Teal'c persisted

"Teal'c if a person finds something rare, something he treasures, no price is too great." Janet Fraiser whispered, her gaze resting lovingly on her daughter.

Teal'c drew his massive form up into one of respectful dignity and understanding bowing his head, the cowboy hat currently residing on his pate tipping slightly. "Indeed."


"Cassandra, I asked you a fair question, I deserve an answer." Sam's annoyed voice drew Cassie back to the present with a start.

Smiling wistfully, Cassie took Sam's hand. "I'm sorry Sam, really I am. It's just that Pete is nothing special. Mom always said that only someone rare and special deserved your love. And Pete, well Pete is ordinary." Cassie answered honestly.

"Ordinary!" Sam echoed with chagrin.

"Yes, ordinary." Cassie confirmed. "Oh, he's bright and shiny, like a new rod and reel, his lines aren't tangled and there aren't any dents in his wood or rust on his chrome; all the parts work perfectly. However, he lacks character. He's nothing special."

Stunned, Sam gaped at her adopted niece. She sounded just like Janet.

Cassie colored a bit, she hated to be rude, but Sammy had insisted on an answer. "I'm sorry Sam, I don't mean to be unkind, but we both know it's true."

Hooking her arm through Sam's, Cassie pulled her along. "Come on, forget I said anything. It's your decision after all not mine. No matter what you decide, I'll support you."

Sam patted Cassie's hand. "I know you will kiddo… I know you will."

The End

October 23, 2004. From the vacuous vault of Cjay's mind. For Jolene, angler, author and friend.