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Title: G is for Growing Up for Episode Tied Alphabet Soup

Author: Thothmes

Season: Five. The episode is Rite of Passage.

Warnings: Ummm... Why are you reading this if you don't want to be spoiled for Rite of Passage? That said, no big spoilers

Disclaimer: Okay, so I sent them off to games. I sent them out for a night at the opera. Fortunately I didn't have to pay for any of the tickets, and that's good because I'm not making any profit. They don't belong to me, but I do like to make sure that they have some fun, so I'm taking them out for a spin.






G is for Growing Up



When it came to her uncles, Jack was the one with the season tickets, mostly for sports of various kinds. There were the Broncos in the fall, the Rockies in the summer, and of course the Avalanche through the winter, and when Cassie had come along, within a year, he had converted all those season tickets into season tickets for two. Mom had worried a bit about how much it was costing him, and sometimes she worried about the weather between Colorado Springs and the various venues in Denver, but one look at the two of them faces still showing traces of ketchup and mustard from their hot dogs at the Rockies game (apparently there was an Earth rule about that too) and wearing identical grins, under identical caps, and she’d folded. It was so wonderful to see her new daughter, who was still struggling with her loss, acting like a normal, care-free child. All the same, Janet was never quite able to figure out on those occasions which one was really more of a child. Sometimes she suspected it was the one with the graying hair.

But there was another set of season tickets, and those ones were a secret. Mom could know, but Cassie was absolutely not to share word of them with the rest of SG-1, not even Sam. Jack had season tickets to the opera. It was an easy secret to keep. The music, by itself would have been dismissed by her new classmates as desperately uncool, and there was nothing Cassie wanted more than to fit in, to be normal, unremarkable, just like everybody else. Well, as unremarkable as someone with hair her color could be, anyway. So when Jack took her for the first time, Cassie was expecting to have to spend an evening working desperately hard not to fidget. Boy was she wrong.

On the drive to Denver, all dressed up in their best clothes, Jack in an elegant and simple black tux with amazingly shiny black formal shoes, and Cassie in a new deep green satin and velvet dress with its matching headband, frilly white ankle socks, and black patent leather mary janes, Jack had told her the story of the opera that they would be seeing. Then he handed her little book, and told her it was a libretto. On one side were the words as they would be sung, in Italian, and on the other were the same words translated into English.

“You won’t need that, though. These days they have a screen where the English scrolls by as they sing it, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the stage.”

Then they got there, and there were all the people dressed in their fanciest clothes, the women a swirl of color and ornament amidst the dark suits and tuxes of the men. The theater was just as fancy, and when the curtain rose, the scenery, the costumes, and the acting, and yes, even the music, kept her in thrall from beginning to end. The kids at school would never understand. Opera was so cool! Some of the stories were silly and unrealistic, but there was so much passion, so many dark and dangerous things, so many plot twists. It was better than vampires and werewolves. Cassie was hooked.

So when Jack stopped by the Fraiser household to mention that the tickets for the Metropolitan Opera’s annual trip to perform in Denver just happened to fall on Cassie’s sixteenth birthday, it was clear to both Cassie and her mom that he didn’t expect that to be a problem. What could be better than a birthday outing, preceded by a birthday dinner at a swanky restaurant in Denver with Janet and Sam? Present opening and cake could be at home after.

This was a disaster. Cassie had been spending the last few weeks casting out looks, racking her brains for witty things to say, sending out feelers through mutual friends, and hoping, always hoping, and it looked like if things kept going the way they were trending, by her birthday she and Dominic might be an item, and not just rather flirtatious friends. She was bound and determined that she was not going to be sixteen and unkissed. Surely that would be a violation of an important Earth Rule! Given the prospect of spending an evening with Uncle Jack, or the possibility of spending it with Dominic, with his twinkling eyes, and his long, thick lashes, and his jeans that fit just so…

It was an easy decision.

“I’m sorry, Uncle Jack” she said. “You go and have fun. I know Pagliacci is one of your favorites. I kinda want to have a quiet birthday here, just me and mom, and maybe Sam and” more quietly “Dominic.”

“Dominic, is it?” said Jack, as always, picking up on the thing nobody wanted him to notice. “Okay. Have fun.”

He made for the door, and Cassie, feeling that maybe she’d been a little mean, headed for her room. Uncle Jack hadn’t shown any disappointment, but if he hadn’t felt it, how come Mom had felt it necessary to stop him at the doorway with a hand on his upper arm?

“She has to grow up sometime, Jack” she said softly, but not so softly that Cassie couldn’t hear.

“I know that!” was all he said.

Cassie got her small gathering, with the guest list she was hoping for. She didn’t have to worry that her fair complexion would give her away with a blush of mortification when one of the mean girls at school accused her of being “sweet sixteen and never been kissed,” because she had been kissed, and she could honestly say that sparks flew. Yeah, Dominic would like it if she said that.

The problem, was when Nirti was in the SGC, when Cassie had been scared, so scared, Jack had been there, big, competent, confident, and nice. Cassie felt the little seed of guilt start to put down roots. Dominic was alluring, but Uncle Jack was family. The opera night was over. It was too late to fix it. Best to say nothing. Bringing it up would just make Jack feel bad all over again, right?

It was funny, Cassie mused, not ha!ha! funny, the other kind, how grown and sophisticated she thought she had been at sixteen. She’d been so silly, so immature. Not that she was the ultimate in sophistication at twenty-two, but she really wasn’t a kid anymore. And there it was, that guilty feeling the memory of that birthday always brought up again. There were worse things she lived with, but it would be nice if she could get rid of it.

She pulled out her phone, and typing on the virtual keyboard with the practiced dexterity of someone who had spent several hours a day texting for many years now, she began to do some internet research. She had an idea. She’d see if it was feasible, and if things looked hopeful, she’d make arrangements for real.

A few minutes later, she made a phone call.

“O’Neill!” came the voice on the other end.

Cassie grinned. She loved the way that bark turned to warmth when he realized it was her, and it always did.

“Hi, Uncle Jack!” she said cheerfully. “Do you get season tickets to the opera, there in D.C.?”

“Sure do. Don’t always make it. Things come up, but I have ‘em.”

“If I happened to be in town for the weekend on the 29th, is there any way you could manage to get a ticket for me to see Pagliacci with you?”

“Already have one.”

This was a problem. Did this mean that he had a date lined up?

“I wasn’t expecting anyone,” he offered. “The ticket’s yours.”

In the taxi, on the way home, Cassie pronounced it the finest production of Pagliacci she’d ever seen.

“It was a good one,” Jack agreed.

“Who do you usually go with?”

He shrugged with careful casualness.

“No one.”

“But then why did you have two tickets?”

“I was waiting for you to grow up,” he said. “And there you are, all grown up. Guess it’s time for me to start thinking about finding a old folks home and taking up shuffleboard.”

And the guilt she’d been growing and nurturing so long withered away, and in its place sprang up pride and affection. There was no one she’d rather hear call her grown up.

“When I come visit, will you teach me how to play?” she asked.

“Only if you promise not to beat me!” he answered. “It’s not nice to pick on the feeble-minded.”

Cassie hit him.

“Hey!” he said, and tapped her back.

That was the start of a free for all.

The cabbie had never seen such elegantly dressed people, just returning from the opera for Chrissakes!, act quite so much like a couple of eight year olds. It sure looked like fun.



Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
drewandian
May. 27th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC)
<3

I saw Carmen at the Met back in '96 (part of a college marching band trip when I marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade) and while I've never been a huge fan of the opera, there was something magical about actually being there and seeing it live. This fic brought back all those memories and the warm fuzziness the experience gave me...Thank you for that! :)
nymaeria
May. 27th, 2014 12:32 pm (UTC)
So sweet! I love it!
wanderingsmith
Nov. 6th, 2014 12:37 am (UTC)
Sometimes she suspected it was the one with the graying hair.
only sometimes? gettin' soft doc....

Jack had season tickets to the opera.
oh. my. .....

how come Mom had felt it necessary to stop him at the doorway with a hand on his upper arm?
:( poor jack.

but Uncle Jack was family
good girl

it would be nice if she could get rid of it.
..jack has birthdays too

“The ticket’s yours.”
awww :( {hugs Jack}

It sure looked like fun.
:D:D
smiling wide in RL too! that's a nice warm feel. nice deep breath of simple pleasure
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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