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A Storm of Shadows
He’s the devil in disguise
A snake with blue eyes
And he only comes out at night
Gives you feelings that you don’t want to fight
You better run for your life
Carrie Underwood, "Cowboy Casanova"
Jack was sitting at his desk, albeit reluctantly, filling out just enough paperwork to keep things running smoothly when the phone on his desk rang. He kept writing as he picked up the receiver.
"O’Neill." He listened for a moment. "ID and everything checks out? Okay. Escort him to the visitors room and I’ll have Dr. Watson meet with him there." O’Neill suddenly stopped writing. "He’s a what? Oooookay. I’ll get her up there as soon as possible. Clear them for the mess hall on level 2."
Now this was interesting. Dialing the number, he waited.
"Jessie, it’s Jack. Whatcha doing?"
"Categorizing all those goodies SG-12 just brought back. Why?"
Jack could hear Cam’s voice in the background. "Mitchell there, too?"
"I need you both to head on up to the level one waiting room. They called down and said you have a visitor."
"Yeah. Gotta go; my other line’s ringing." And with that, he hung up the phone. Waiting a few seconds, he picked up the receiver and dialed another number.
"Walter? You know the security cam in the waiting room on level one? I’m going to need a copy of that feed. Today’s date. In fact, starting now, going for the next twenty minutes or so. Yeah. Thanks."
Hanging up the phone, Jack leaned back in his chair, a grin spreading across his face.
Jessie shook her head as she looked at Cam. "Jack wants us to go to the visitor’s room on level one. He says I have a visitor."
"No. And he didn’t say who it was, just that he wanted both of us to go."
Cam set aside the folder he had been looking through. "Well, let’s go find out who it is."
Taking the lift from level 18 to the surface didn’t take any time at all, which always amazed Jessie. Given the depths of where they were located, she naturally assumed it would take time to get topside, especially with the switch at level 11. It wasn’t long, though, before the elevator doors opened and they stepped off and started walking down the hallway.
"So, are we still on for tonight?"
Jessie smiled. "You bet we are."
They stopped and turned to see one of the airmen sprinting towards them. Cam turned to Jessie. "Go on ahead; I’ll catch up with you."
Jessie nodded and continued on down the hall.
The airman reached Cam, digging in his pocket at the same time.
"I’m glad I caught you, Sir. I’m going to be away for the next couple of weeks, and I wanted to return your booklet before I left."
"Thanks, Mahoney." Cam took the proffered item and slipped it into his pocket.
"I’ll let you know how the trip went when I get back."
"Have a good time." Turning around, Cam saw Jessie wasn’t too far ahead of him. Instead of calling out to her, though, he kept the short distance between them, admiring the way her cargo pants hugged the curves of her ass, the feminine sway conjuring up all sorts of thoughts of what he wanted to do to her that evening. He was so lost in thought he didn’t quite make out what Jessie said as she entered the waiting room, but he did hear a squeal of delight. Several more steps brought him in line with the doorway, where he stopped cold.
Jessie was hugging a man tightly, and his arms were around her. Cam was trying to wrap his mind around exactly what he was seeing when Jessie stepped back and saw him.
"Uncle Shay, I want you to meet someone. This is Colonel Cameron Mitchell."
Cam automatically stepped forward and shook the man’s hand, his eyes taking in the black cassock, the red sash and cap, as Jessie finished up the introductions.
"Cam, this is Uncle Shay, or more formally, the Monsignor Seanan O’Lanigan."
"When she was a wee girl, she couldn’t say Seanan, but she could get out Shay, so that’s what I’ve been called ever since," he said with a laugh.
"It…it’s a pleasure to meet you, s-sir."
Seanan grinned, more than used to those nervous introductions. "Not quite what you were expecting now, am I, son?"
"No sir," Cam answered truthfully. "Jessie didn’t mention having an uncle who’s a Monsignor."
Seanan laughed out loud. "Well, she was just bein’ naughty then. Actually, I’m a Roman Catholic bishop. We could call each other Monsignor and Colonel, but I think I’d prefer Seanan and Cameron, if that’s all right with you."
"Yes sir…I mean, Seanan. That would be fine."
The security guard handed Cam the clearance from General O’Neill.
"It looks like General O’Neill gave permission to go to the mess on level two. Jessie, why don’t you take your uncle for a cup of coffee, and catch up some? One of the guards will accompany you, and will serve as escort back here when you’re done."
"You want to come with us?"
"I’d love to, but I’ve got to get back and check on some things."
Seanan looked at Jessie, inclining his head towards Cam. "Is this the young man Peggy told me about?"
"Yes, Uncle Shay."
Seanan turned his attention to Cam. "This evening is too short of notice, but I expect you to be at Jessie’s tomorrow around 6. That way we can get to know each other better."
Poor Cam looked like he’d swallowed something wrong, as much as his throat convulsed with that proclamation, but he did manage to get out "Yes, sir."
Seanan took Jessie’s hand and tucked it into the crook of his arm. "Now, young lady, why don’t we see how good the coffee is here?" Escorting Jessie from the room, the security guard close behind, Seanan smiled at Cam.
"It was nice meeting you, Cameron."
"Yes sir, uh, Seanan. A pleasure meeting you, too."
Jessie gave Cam a sympathetic look as they walked out of the room, before whispering to Seanan, "Uncle Shay, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were deliberately trying to scare him."
Seanan chuckled. "Awww, Jessie, I’m just having a wee bit of fun. Besides, if he’s worth his salt, it’ll take a lot more than me to scare him off."
It was a few hours later before Cam caught up to Jessie again, where she was finishing up her itemized list. Walking in, she had her back to him and obviously hadn’t heard him. Staying as quiet as possible, he moved until he was just over her shoulder.
"A Catholic bishop?" he murmured in her ear.
Jessie jumped and yelped at the same time.
"Damnit! You scared the hell out of me!"
He leaned closer. "That’s not the only thing I’m gonna do to you," he said as he curled his fingers like he was going to tickle her.
"Sir, you’d best behave yourself," she said, one eyebrow arched.
"For now," he replied, dropping his hands. "So, were you gonna tell me?"
Jessie had a sheepish grin. "Eventually. I just didn’t think you’d be meeting him anytime soon."
Cam sat down in the chair, leaning back and looking up at her. "And Peggy would be…?"
"My mom. Maggie, Peggy, all nicknames for Margaret. Uncle Shay is her brother."
"Ummmm." He placed his hand over his face, looking at her through his splayed fingers. "And Uncle Shay has been sent in to grill me?"
Jessie shrugged. "No, I don’t think Mom and Dad sent him; it’s obvious they already love you. As soon as Mom told Uncle Shay I was engaged, he would’ve booked the next flight out. He has an uncanny knack of reading people…he didn’t think too highly of John."
"Well, that’s a good thing. So, what should I expect?"
"He’ll just want to sit down and talk with you, get to know you better. If you really want to score brownie points, though, bring a bottle of Irish whiskey with you."
She grinned. "My uncle may be a bishop, but he’s also a bit eccentric. He enjoys his Irish whiskey."
"Well, he’s very tolerant of other religious views. Even though it was the Catholic faith that called to him personally, he’s always felt there are many roads to the same destination."
She shook her head. "Nope. I remember when I was younger, and we got to talking about God. We were out in the garden, and he had cut a rose for me. Holding it, he asked me, ‘what if I call this a flower, or rosa, or fleur, or fiore? Would that make it different?’ I told him no, they were just different words for the same thing. And he said, ‘Exactly. All the different religions, whether they use the name God, Allah, Goddess, Yahweh, whatever term they use, it all represents the same thing, the Creator. We have the same destination, we’re just traveling different paths.’ He’s been viewed as a rebel in the Catholic church, but he has such a kind heart, and connects with people so well, it’s allowed him to rise to the position he now holds."
That made Cam relax a little. "Irish whiskey?"
"Yes, all the better if it’s one from the Jameson line. It’s a favorite."
Cam grinned. "Now I know where you get it from."
"Uncle Shay and I may share our tastes in liquor, but he could drink me under the table any day."
"Remind me to eat something before I come over." Jessie’s laughter was infectious, and she soon had him chuckling along with her.
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