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Fanfiction: Back to SG1 - Part I

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S6 The Other Guys
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sam/Jack UST. Team friendship. 
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Back to SG1


The scent of the candles surrounded him and Daniel Jackson found himself breathing in slowly to capture the taste of vanilla and raspberry. Across the floor, Teal’c sat deep in kel no reeem. The flickering flames cast light across his dark face and caught the dull gold gleam of his Goa’uld brand. The Jaffa’s eyes were closed but he sat with perfect posture; completely at ease with his body. Daniel settled into a similar cross-legged position and let himself relax in the company of his old friend.

Daniel felt his worry melt away with the slow burning wax. His friends were all safe. Their capture by Khonsu’s treacherous First Prime had been overturned by the actions of two enterprising, and frankly, unlikely heroes in the shape of Jay Felger and Simon Coombs. They had all made it safely home and Daniel felt the tension that had plagued him during the long hours of their situation finally roll away.

He opened his eyes and looked at Teal’c. He missed them all so much. He missed the intellectual sparring and understanding he shared with Samantha Carter; the banter and brotherly sniping of his friendship with Jack; the steadfast solidarity of Teal’c. He’d checked in with the others already; Jack was at home watching The Simpsons, and Sam was in her lab arguing with Rodney McKay on the latest X303 progress. Daniel had found Teal’c in the Jaffa’s quarters.

He felt Oma appear beside him and let his gaze drift across to her. She wore a simple white dress which pooled around her as she sat down. Daniel guessed she was checking up on him. He’d effectively told her in their last conversation that he had no intentions of letting go of his bonds with his friends. It wasn’t exactly in the spirit of Ascension. He remained silent and focused on the candle light.

‘Your friends survived without your help.’ Oma said.

Daniel was confident that Teal’c couldn’t hear them given that although they were in the Jaffa’s quarters, Oma and he were actually on a whole other dimension. ‘They did.’ He agreed and he was surprised at the acceptance that coloured his own voice.

Before his Ascension he often worried whether the team really needed him when they managed to pull off some miracle without him but all he felt this time was pride and relief that they were fine. Maybe it was the circumstances, he mused. It had been his choice to Ascend whereas it had never been a choice before. Or maybe the distance had helped him realise that even when they hadn’t needed him, they had always wanted him.

‘Yet you are here.’ Oma murmured. There was enough confusion in her voice that he smiled.

‘Just checking in.’ Daniel said mildly.

She opened her eyes and looked at him challengingly but he held her gaze.

A sharp knock on the door broke the deadlock.

Teal’c’s eyes snapped open. For a long moment, the Jaffa stared straight at him and Daniel held his breath wondering if Teal’c could actually see him. The Jaffa cleared his throat. ‘Enter.’

Jonas Quinn poked his head around the door. ‘Hey, Teal’c.’ His gaze snagged on the candles. ‘Sorry, I, uh, didn’t...’

‘You have not disturbed me, Jonas Quinn.’ Teal’c said, gracefully getting to his feet. He began to snuff out the candles. ‘I have finished my kel no reem.’

‘Great,’ Jonas smiled and jerked a thumb at the corridor, ‘want some dinner?’

‘Indeed.’ Teal’c cast another suspicious look in Daniel’s direction before he followed Jonas out and closed the door, plunging the room into darkness.

Daniel reached out with his mind and gently lit one of the larger candles. ‘I told you I wasn’t going to stop caring about them.’ He pointed out with a hint of exasperation. ‘But I haven’t done anything. I didn’t get them out of the cell. I didn’t even help Coombs find the right information on the Goa’uld computer. Like you said; it was all them.’

Oma remained silent.

‘I know you’re concerned because the Others will punish you if I help my friends.’ Daniel stated with some frustration. ‘I know and I don’t know how to convince you that I won’t break the rules.’ Although he wasn’t promising that he wouldn’t try to bend them.

Oma looked back at him evenly. ‘It is the nature of the wind to blow, the river to flow, the eagle to fly.’

And she believed it was in his nature to act. ‘If you’re so sure I’m going to screw up, then why not send me back?’ Daniel asked bluntly.

Oma looked at him solemnly. ‘Your fate is in your hands, Daniel.’

‘Right.’ Daniel tried to prevent the knot of anger forming in his gut. He refocused on the candle, trying to retain the relaxation he’d felt before with Teal’c. ‘So, you’re following me around waiting for me to screw up.’

‘Would you be surprised if I say that I am concerned for you?’ Oma replied, and he heard her anxiety, felt it.

They stared at each other again.

Daniel finally looked away. So she was protecting him. ‘Are the Others really so bad?’ he questioned. ‘Morgan seemed...’

‘Morgan,’ Oma interrupted, ‘is not one of the Others.’

‘Oh.’ Daniel assimilated that small nugget of information. He had thought the Ascended spirit of Morgan Le Fay had been one of the fabled Others when he’d met her some weeks before. He pushed the thought away and glanced back at Oma, catching the fleeting glimpse of worry that chased across her usually calm features. His conscience stirred.

The Others were capable of harsh punishments; their treatment of Orlin and the Velona had taught Daniel that. And he also knew if he broke the rules as Oma’s protégée, there was a real risk to Oma herself and the work she did in helping people like him to Ascend. She had only helped him because he had committed to releasing his burden – to letting go of the very bonds he now insisted he was keeping.

Daniel sighed. ‘I’m sorry.’

Oma tilted her head. ‘But you intend to continue on this path.’

‘If you mean do I intend to keep checking in on my friends, then yes.’ Daniel said firmly. He refused to budge on it. He wasn’t going to pretend that it didn’t matter to him what happened to them. Not after Jack’s experience with Ba’al.

‘Then you should be aware that I shall keep checking in on you.’ Oma said mildly.

Daniel nodded. He guessed it was only fair even if it did rankle.

‘Daniel,’ Oma reached out to him and he felt her power brush over his energy form, ‘I ask only to consider your journey. How can a man travel to his destination if he never leaves his home?’

There was a blur of white as Oma transformed and an instant later she was gone.

‘She asks an interesting question.’

Daniel spun around to look at his unexpected guest: Morgan. She looked the same as she had when she had appeared to him before; a forty-something woman with brown hair in a bob, and an enigmatic smile. He stared at her as she moved out of the shadows and into the puddle of candle light. ‘Morgan.’ He frowned. ‘How long have you, uh...’

‘Long enough.’ Morgan sank into the position Oma had vacated. ‘You should forgive Oma. She knows the punishments the Others can inflict only too well.’ Her lips twisted. ‘As do I.’

‘You’ve been punished by the Others?’ Daniel asked, curious to know more about her.

‘Actually, I was once their Enforcer.’ Morgan commented, adjusting her skirts so they covered her legs completely.

Daniel’s eyebrows shot up. ‘Their, uh, Enforcer?’

‘It was a long time ago.’ Morgan said dismissively.

‘But you’re not an Enforcer anymore?’ Daniel checked. ‘Or one of them?’

‘No.’ Morgan shook her head. There was a glint of amusement in her eyes as though she knew exactly how nervous she had just made him.

‘Why not?’ Daniel asked, his curiosity rising again.

Morgan sighed. ‘Let’s just say I didn’t complete a mission to their satisfaction.’ She held up a hand before he could open his mouth. ‘And before you ask why, it was because I listened to Galahad.’ She looked at Daniel with an odd expression in her eyes. ‘I’ve missed him.’

Daniel shifted a little uncomfortable at the intensity of her gaze. ‘Will you tell me about your time with Arthur?’ He asked eagerly instead. He longed to hear about it; the myths were fascinating but what was the truth?

‘I cannot.’ She said regretfully.

‘Really?’ Daniel check, genuinely disappointed. ‘I mean, why?’

‘It’s not allowed.’ Morgan replied. She looked briefly around the room. ‘It’s been a long time since I visited Earth.’ Her power drifted out and lit the remaining candles, brightening the room. ‘Oma was right, you know. You should consider your journey.’

Daniel shrugged. ‘I’m still...travelling.’ He replied, waving a hand at her. ‘Just visiting friends occasionally on the way.’

‘Or perhaps you have found your destination.’ Morgan said.

‘You mean here?’ Daniel laughed softly. ‘But that’s, I mean, I left because I know it isn’t my destination.’ He smiled sadly. ‘I don’t belong here.’

‘Then why are you here?’ Morgan prompted.

Her gentle words impacted with the force of a punch. He didn’t have a response for her. He turned away and let his eyes settle on the flame of a candle. ‘You believe Oma made a mistake Ascending me.’ He spoke his realisation out loud into the silence.

‘I believe you are worthy of Ascension, Daniel.’ Morgan replied. ‘But I believe the rules are there for a reason. That you cannot let go of the bonds you have with your friends is perhaps one indication that you were not ready and Oma should have known that.’

She was right, Daniel mused. ‘Maybe I wasn’t ready.’ He admitted. ‘And maybe holding onto the bonds I have will ultimately be a bad thing, I don’t know. What I do know is that Ascension...feels right. That I’m meant to do this.’ He gestured at her. ‘Either way Oma isn’t to blame.’

Morgan nodded slowly. ‘Perhaps you are meant to do this.’ Her sight turned inward and Daniel felt a frisson of unease as though she could see something in his situation that he couldn’t. ‘And perhaps Oma’s judgement was right about you.’

‘But?’ prompted Daniel as she hesitated to continue.

‘Her judgement isn’t always right.’ Morgan said quietly.

Daniel searched her expression for more of an explanation and found none. He gave a huff of frustration. ‘And you don’t think her judgement was right when she helped me Ascend.’

Morgan smiled. ‘I disagree with her reasons to Ascend you.’

Daniel stared at her. He had asked Oma once why she had Ascended him and her answer of ‘balance’ hadn’t really provided him with any illumination. ‘Does it matter?’

‘If her reasons had more to do with her than you; yes.’ Morgan stated bluntly.

He suddenly wasn’t sure he wanted to discuss Oma’s intentions with Morgan. Whatever the state of his relationship with Oma, he owed her a great deal – both for Shifu and himself.

Morgan’s face lit up with amusement. ‘You’re very loyal, Daniel.’ She placed a hand on his arm and he felt the ripple of her power. ‘And I won’t make you choose. Be careful.’

She disappeared in a shimmer of light that blew out the candles and left Daniel sitting in the dark.

It was, Daniel considered with a hint of humour, only fitting; he couldn’t remember being more confused. Maybe Morgan had a point about Oma’s motives; maybe Oma had a point about his own. Maybe he should be more concerned that he couldn’t let go; maybe he should focus on his journey more.

Daniel let out a heavy sigh.

He reached out with his mind and lit a candle. He meditated on the flame, hoping to attain some of the quiet contentment that had filled him before the arrival of the Ascended women.

o-O-o

Tell me what you know!’ Herak’s demand echoed across the throne room.

Jack writhed in pain as the stick hit him again. ‘I don’t know!’ He managed to get out.

His vision darkened.

The throne room disappeared and Ba’al leered over him. ‘Tell me what you know!’

The pain stick descended again...

The loud ringing shattered the nightmare into smithereens as Jack’s eyes snapped open. He slapped one hand over his face, futilely trying to rub away the dream and the last vestiges of sleep as the other hand blindly sought the cordless phone he kept in the bedroom. His fingers eventually landed on the plastic casing on the floor beside his bed and he picked up the phone, pressing the answer button.

‘O’Neill.’ He barked.

‘Colonel,’ General Hammond replied evenly, ‘I’m sorry to disturb you so early...’

Jack lowered his hand to look at the clock; oh-five-hundred. ‘’S OK, General.’ He mumbled. ‘What’s up?’

‘I need you back at the SGC ASAP.’ Hammond informed him. ‘Colonel Sumner’s wife has been involved in a car accident.’ He sighed. ‘It’s serious.’

Which meant Sumner was being recalled from the Alpha site and Hammond needed him there, Jack realised. He was the only other Colonel at the SGC with detailed knowledge of the set-up.

‘SG1 will accompany you to the Alpha site where you will assume command with immediate effect.’ Hammond continued confirming Jack’s surmisation. ‘Your team are being notified now. Departure time is set for oh-seven-hundred.’

‘Understood, sir.’ Jack replied briskly, forcing himself to sit up. ‘I’m on my way.’

‘Very well, Colonel.’ Hammond signed off and Jack hit the button to end the call. He tossed the phone onto the bed carelessly and rubbed his hands over his face. He grimaced at the lingering edge of dread his nightmare had left him with and pushed himself out of the warmth of the tangled bedcovers.

He made for a shower, welcoming the rush of warm water over his body. He focused on getting through his ablutions as quickly as possible. The soap ran over the faint red mark the pain stick had left and the sting made him wince; the memory of his nightmare poked at him.

Not thinking about it, Jack thought determinedly. He didn’t want to acknowledge it had happened even. His experience with Ba’al had left him plagued with nightmares but they’d eventually faded during the weeks of his recovery and he wasn’t pleased to see them return.

His jaw firmed as he left the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He gazed in the mirror and smothered the lower half of his face in shaving cream. The shave was efficient and brisk. He rinsed off the remaining soap and patted his face dry.

Mackenzie had warned him that the nightmares would likely reoccur in times of stress as though Jack didn’t already know the drill; it was natural, normal. Jack’s face screwed up at the thought. He threw the damp towels on the floor of the bedroom and began to dress.

It might be normal but that didn’t mean he liked it, Jack thought irritated. And he knew exactly what had triggered him off again: the damn mission to see Khonsu. He rolled his dark eyes as he fastened his pants and reached for a warm sweater. Damn Tok’ra. The entire thing had been their idea. What was it the guy had said?

A way to put our recent misunderstandings behind us and show trust in each other.’

Jack snorted. There were no misunderstandings in his mind. Kanan had used him just like Jolinar had used Carter and Lantash had used Elliot. When it came right down to it, apparently a snake was a snake.

He stuffed his feet into his boots and yanked on the laces. OK, maybe the exception was Selmak. Jacob Carter certainly seemed to enjoy their relationship but Jack still wasn’t completely convinced about the rest. He headed out of the bedroom without turning on a light, shrugged on his jacket and picked up his keys.

The fresh air hit him like a bucket of cold water. It was freezing. Jack swore and hurried to the truck. He climbed on board, turned on the engine and set the heater onto maximum. The windshield was iced up and he knew it would take a while for it to defrost. He tapped the steering wheel impatiently.

If he was being honest with himself, Jack knew it wasn’t just that the mission had gone FUBAR. He had kind of expected it: it was the Tok’ra after all. No, what made it worse was their escape had come down to the help of two bumbling scientists. It wasn’t exactly a story that highlighted SG1’s overwhelming coolness and he refused to believe that if Felger and Coombs hadn’t been along that SG1 wouldn’t have made it home. Carter would have thought of something – or Jonas. The Kelownan was working out well and there was no doubt that he was smart as a whip.

His conscience twinged.

Jack couldn’t deny that despite their clumsy stumbling into the mission, Felger and Coombs had made a difference. They’d ultimately had a lot to do with SG1’s escape from Herak; they’d released the team from the cell, found them weapons and gotten them out of the pyramid. Jack pulled a face. As much as he hated to admit it, SG1 owed their lives to the two scientists.

He’d thanked him.

He had.

After Hammond had reamed them out for following SG1 in the first place instead of following the order to get their butts home, both he and Jack had thanked them for their efforts and acknowledged their role in the rescue.

The windshield was clear. Jack gunned the engine, threw the truck into drive and pulled out of the driveway. Hammond had suggested putting them two scientists forward for an award and Jack had stomped on that. Sure, it had worked out but they really didn’t need to encourage the civilians into disobeying orders.

Not that it had ever stopped Daniel.

Damn.

Jack sighed as he made the turning onto the main road. He missed Daniel, missed his friend fiercely. He had stopped wondering whether Daniel had truly been with him during his time with Ba’al; he wanted to believe that Daniel had been there and that was enough for him. Jack just couldn’t help hoping that Daniel would turn up again.

Soon.

Any time now would be fine with him.

Jack snorted. No matter how much he might want it he had a feeling Daniel wasn’t going to drop in again. He had a feeling the archaeologist had taken a big risk just to be with him in Ba’al’s cell and Jack appreciated that; appreciated that Daniel hadn’t left him alone.

He wondered if Daniel had paid any of the other members of the team a visit. Had Daniel dropped in on Carter after her experience with the snake in Steveston? Or had he checked in with Teal’c? A part of Jack wanted to ask them but he knew himself well enough to know he would never do it.

The road was slippery and he focused his attention on the drive. It was a familiar road and Jack could feel the last remnants of the nightmare fade away in the quiet of the early morning.

At least, he considered wryly, the nightmare hadn’t starred one of Kanan’s memories about the symbiote’s lover Shallan where he substituted a certain blonde Air Force officer for Shallan and himself for Kanan. Those had been disturbing on a level he really didn’t want to think about.

Jack sighed. He had resolved to move on from his feelings for Sam after he’d been forced to kill her to save the base but he had failed spectacularly. It seemed his love for her was solid as a rock and about as immovable. He had tried to hide it from Carter though, to allow her to move on. And he thought she had but ever since he’d returned from Ba’al...

He should never have allowed her to stay with him during the sarcophagus withdrawal or to comfort him about being a host. It had created too much intimacy between them. He was almost certain her old feelings for him had resurfaced.

Which was bad.

Even if deep down it thrilled Jack to know Sam felt the same.

He made the turning into the checkpoint and waited while the guard checked his ID and waved him forward. Jack frowned. Carter had gotten past her feelings for him once; she could do it again. She deserved to be with someone who she could actually be with; someone who could give her a family, make her happy. Jack didn’t truly believe he was that guy. He had baggage, lots of baggage; from his past marriage, from his son’s death, from his time in Special Ops...from Ba’al. She deserved someone better.

Moreover, he had to protect her. The time with the computer entity had driven it home to him how she could be targeted if one of their enemies figured out his feelings for her. It had been a miracle Carter had survived and he wouldn’t put her through it again; he knew he couldn’t go through something like that again.

He found a parking spot and turned off the engine. Nope. Distance was needed but not too much. He didn’t want to make the same mistake he’d made the year before and create so much distance he’d lose her friendship. He hoped he’d gotten the balance right over the last few weeks while they’d waited for the call to meet with Khonsu; he’d asked her to specifically keep an eye on Jonas, stay with their newest member. It had meant Jack was teamed with Teal’c and his interaction with Carter was minimised.

Jack pushed open his door and heard the roar of a motorcycle. He turned to find Carter racing into the parking lot, swinging into a space with more grace than she should have been able to muster given the power of the bike and the speed she was going. He waited for her, carefully making sure his admiration for how her leathers hugged her trim form was hidden as she stowed the helmet and ran her hand through her tousled hair.

She shot him a smile as she walked over to him. ‘Sir.’

‘Carter.’ Jack spun in the direction of the base and she fell into step beside him. ‘Nice wake-up call?’ He inquired teasingly.

Sam’s lips twitched and she ducked her head. ‘Do you know...’

‘Alpha site.’ Jack anticipated the rest of her question.

She held her questions until they were through the first checkpoint and into the elevator. ‘Has something happened?’

‘Sumner’s being recalled for personal reasons.’ Jack briefed her. ‘I’m temporarily in command.’

Sam nodded. ‘You do know the set-up better than anyone else, sir.’

Jack shrugged. They’d worked hard to set up the current Alpha site. He’d figured building it with its focus on providing a joint location for Earth and Jaffa forces was the only way to keep Teal’c on the team when he’d become the de facto leader of the rebel Jaffa. But he was proud of the achievement. They had a real working training camp at the Alpha site.

‘Except Teal’c.’ Jack replied to Sam.

She smiled. ‘He’ll be pleased to spend the time with Bra’tac and Rya’c.’

Jack nodded. The elevator opened and they exited, pausing to sign in again before taking the second.

‘You want me to continue keeping an eye on Jonas, sir?’ Sam asked crisply.

‘That would be good.’ Jack agreed mildly, keeping his eyes affixed to the floor indicator to prevent himself from stealing glances at the way she looked in leather. ‘Teal’c will be busy with all his Jaffa friends and I’m going to be up to my ass in paperwork.’

‘Yes, sir.’ Her voice was filled with amusement and for a brief second he allowed himself to look back at her and share a smile. The elevator stopped and the doors opened. Jack waved her out first, taking advantage to literally watch her six – he was only human. He had just smoothed his expression when she turned back to him.

‘Meet you in the infirmary for the pre-mission checks, sir?’ Sam inquired.

He nodded and she walked away to the female locker room. Jack shook his head. Distance, he reminded himself. He needed distance.

o-O-o

Simon Coombs was going to kill Jay Felger.

He really was.

It was bad enough that Jay had dragged them into following SG1; bad enough that Jay had inveigled him into a risky rescue that had almost gotten him killed (although, OK, they had rescued SG1), but Jay had spent every waking second blabbering about it or daydreaming about it since.

The daydreaming Simon could handle. Jay was a dreamer. It was just him. Nothing that could be done about it; it just was. Most of the time Simon didn’t even mind Jay’s dreaming so it wasn’t that which had driven him to murderous intentions. The blabbering however...

Jay had talked about their adventure to everyone at the SGC since their return from the planet. Nobody had been safe; not Sergeant Siler, or Sergeant Harriman. Simon even feared Harry the Janitor hadn’t been missed in Jay’s urge to recount their heroics to anyone who foolishly stood still long enough for Jay to begin talking. He was certain that if he did kill Jay he would have a strong defence for certifiable homicide or insanity.

Simon wondered why he was surprised. Jay loved being the centre of attention. Their adventure was a godsend to Jay whereas Simon would be quite happy to have never talked about it – never have mentioned it ever again. He liked the anonymity of the crowd; to fade into the background.

There was also the small matter of Jay’s babbling turning them into the joke of the SGC. The story had been more and more embellished with each telling and Jay didn’t seem to realise that some of the military guys clearly believed Jay had made the whole thing up. No doubt they figured it was more likely that SG1 had rescued them.

Well, who could blame them, Simon thought as he made his way down the corridor to the locker room. He didn’t even recognise the tale Jay had spun the last time he hadn’t been able to get away in time. Simon sighed. Maybe it was time for him to go back to Yale; back to the halls of academia where he could pretend that he didn’t know the world was at war with aliens and that the reality didn’t live up to the perfection of the Star Trek’s Enterprise.

Simon sighed as he realised that the locker room was already heaving with people despite the early hour. He and Jay were meant to be returning to P4X233 to finish up the ring transporter study only they’d gone from the flagship team escorting them to the more lowly number 20 all in the space of a few days.

Simon caught sight of Colonel O’Neill across the room as he made his way to his own locker. He opened it, taking his glasses and perching them on top of the metal cabinet before he began to undress. He hated locker rooms. They brought back too many memories of high school where he had been the fat geeky kid surrounded by the trim athletic bodies of jocks not to mention the resulting bullying. He pushed old memories and hurts aside, focusing on getting dressed.

He tuned out the banter of the military men around him; absently wondered where Jay was and why Colonel O’Neill was there; thought through the calculations on the power ratios for the ring transporters; considered whether there was time to grab breakfast. Simon fastened up his boots and reached for his glasses. His hand found only the flat surface of the metal locker.

‘Looking for something, Doc?’ The young Lieutenant on SG20 grinned at him blurrily. He held up Simon’s glasses.

‘Bentley.’ Major Keegan’s chiding voice travelled across the small space between the lockers.

Simon tried to ignore the way his heart was pounding. This wasn’t high school and he wasn’t the fat geeky kid anymore. ‘My glasses, Lieutenant, if you please.’

‘Maybe he’ll give them back to you if you regale us with the story of how you saved SG1.’ Cannock slid in snidely. He grinned conspiratorially at Bentley.

Oh yes, Simon thought tiredly, it was going to be a joy to be marooned on a planet with them for five days.

‘Or are you actually prepared to admit you guys made the whole thing up?’ Bentley needled.

Simon gave a huff of frustration but a quick glance at Keegan showed him to be uncaring about the situation and even somewhat amused.

‘Aw, come on.’ Cannock grinned at Bentley. ‘Don’t you know Coombs is coming along to protect us?’

‘What’s going on here?’ O’Neill’s voice surprised Simon into looking behind him.

The Colonel was looking at Bentley; his brown eyes guarded.

Great, Simon thought, just what he needed; the Colonel joining in was too much.

‘Just having some fun, Colonel.’ Bentley replied with a cheeky grin at O’Neill.

‘Maybe I didn’t make myself clear the first time,’ O’Neill began softly, clasping his hands behind his back, ‘what I meant to say was: what the hell is going on here, Lieutenant.’ He yelled the last part and all of SG20 snapped to attention. The locker room fell silent.

‘Sir, I was just...’ Bentley stumbled over his words as he sought to explain his behaviour.

‘Just what, Lieutenant?’ O’Neill pushed. ‘Showing what a complete ass you can make of yourself?’

‘Sir; yes, sir.’ Bentley didn’t even try to argue. He looked terrified.

Simon couldn’t blame him; O’Neill was glowering at the young man furiously.

‘The glasses.’ O’Neill stated.

Bentley held them out and the Colonel snatched them out of his hands. He handed them to Simon.

‘Thank you, Colonel.’ Simon took them gratefully and put them back on his face. He blinked as everything came into focus again.

‘You’re welcome, Simon.’ O’Neill said politely.

Simon started; he hadn’t realised the Colonel even knew he had a first name. His sight restored he could make out the angry tick in the Colonel’s jaw and he wasn’t immune to the apologetic glance for help that Bentley shot at him. ‘No harm done.’ He hastened out.

O’Neill ignored him and turned to the SG20 leader. ‘Keegan. You and your,’ he paused as his eyes slid derisively over Bentley and Cannock, ‘men are escorting Doctors Coombs and Felger?’

‘Yes, sir.’ The Major answered briskly.

O’Neill took a step towards him; he was almost in his face. ‘I’m very fond of Doctor Coombs. He risked his life to save my team. If he comes back with so much as a paper cut, I’m going to be pissed. Do I make myself clear?’

‘Yes, sir.’ Keegan nodded.

O’Neill let his eyes slide back over SG20 before settling again on Simon. ‘Simon.’

‘Colonel.’

O’Neill sauntered out as though nothing had happened and the locker room suddenly shifted back into motion, a low hum of conversation breaking out.

Bentley’s young shoulders sagged and he looked ruefully at Simon. ‘I, uh, I’m sorry, Doc.’

‘Me too.’ Cannock hurried out.

‘As I said,’ Simon responded easily, ‘no real harm done. Let’s forget it.’

Keegan gave him an appreciative smile. ‘That’s very generous of you, Doctor Coombs and I want to assure you; we have your back.’

Simon nodded, flushing a little with all the attention. He closed his locker and locked it.

‘So, you really saved SG1?’ Bentley asked eagerly.

Simon shot him a look but the young man simply looked back at him with curiosity.

‘Yes, we did.’ Simon replied. ‘Although I assure you it was more by luck than judgement.’

As though to prove the veracity of his statement, the locker room door was flung open and Jay barrelled in.

‘I know, I know, I’m late,’ Jay said as he made for his locker, ‘but the guard had so many questions and I realised I hadn’t really explained about the bit with the force-shield and how we managed to get that down before so...’

‘Jay.’ Simon interrupted the flow before his friend could get going. ‘Enough.’

‘But I...’

‘Enough.’ Simon insisted. ‘I don’t want to hear another word about that mission.’ He patted Jay’s arm and ignored his friend’s shocked face. His didn’t think his refusal to listen would keep Jay quiet for long but perhaps it would be long enough for Simon to lose the urge to zat him. ‘However,’ he continued, ‘Lieutenant Bentley and Sergeant Cannock want to hear everything.’

Bentley gave him a horrified look and Keegan smirked as he nodded an acknowledgement that the punishment was just and apt. Picard couldn’t have done any better, Simon mused delightedly. He made for the door.

He closed it behind him and breathed deeply, a smile drifting across his plump face. Simon figured if Jay was going to tell SG20 everything then he definitely had time for breakfast. Maybe the mess would have the raspberry jam pastries he so enjoyed...

Continued in Part II.

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