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Fanfiction: Healing Trilogy - Part II

For disclaimers and author's note see Part I.

 

Part II: Dust Yourself Off

‘Well, I guess this wasn’t the new start you wanted.’ Janet Fraiser commented wryly, as she stripped the latex gloves from her hands and threw them in a bin.

Jack glowered at her.

‘How is he?’ Sam asked, gesturing at the unconscious form of Doctor Ambrose Kerry. There was a crease of worry between her brows.

‘He’s stable.’ Janet said, scribbling her latest observations and instructions on the clipboard at the end of the bed.

‘He’s unconscious.’ Jack argued, waving a hand at the archaeologist who had joined SG1 two days before.

‘He was struck by a heavy object, O’Neill.’ Teal’c pointed out although his dark eyes remained fixed on the man in the bed. There was a large purplish bruise forming on Kerry’s white forehead giving truth to the Jaffa’s statement.

‘He’s in a drug induced coma.’ Janet corrected swiftly, replacing the clipboard. ‘There’s some swelling in his brain.’ She raised a hand at the worried expressions. ‘Which is likely to subside given enough time and rest, and if not, we’ll operate.’

Jack sighed heavily. ‘How long?’

‘I can’t say for certain.’ Janet ignored his unhappy face. ‘But I wouldn’t expect him to be back in rotation for at least a month.’

The Colonel pushed a hand through his short grey hair. ‘I’m going to talk to Hammond.’ He turned and strode away before any of them could say something.

Evidently, Doctor Kerry’s status as a SG1 team member was at an end, Janet thought with dry amusement.

‘I will remain with Doctor Kerry.’ Teal’c said solemnly.

Janet nodded. She looked at Sam and jerked her head towards the door. Sam fell into step beside her and Janet waited until they were clear of the ward before she spoke again.

‘So what exactly happened?’ Janet let her amusement colour her tone.

‘We’re not entirely certain.’ Sam admitted. ‘I was performing some soil samples, the Colonel and Teal’c were doing a perimeter check, Ambrose was examining the ruins…and the next minute, he’s yelling. We all go running and he’s lying in a really deep hole with this massive log sticking out of the wall he was studying.’

Janet led the way into her office. ‘So it was some kind of defensive mechanism?’

‘That’s what we think.’ Sam dropped into a visitor’s chair while Janet served up two mugs of coffee. Sam accepted hers with a small smile of thanks.

‘I take it the Colonel will ask for Doctor Kerry to be reassigned.’ Janet sat down and took a gulp of the hot, strong liquid.

‘It wasn’t going well before…’ Sam waved vaguely with her mug. She sighed. ‘I think it’s because he’s too like Daniel.’

‘I guess that makes sense as he was Daniel’s named successor.’ Janet remarked.

Sam nodded. ‘The problem is that Daniel could get away with being the way he was with the Colonel because he was Daniel. Ambrose…’ she trailed away unhappily.

‘Isn’t Daniel.’ Janet supplied.

‘He was arguing for more time to study the ruins and the Colonel called him Daniel.’ Sam shook her head, her eyes staring into the depths of her mug. ‘You should have seen his face, Janet.’

Janet knew Sam wasn’t referring to Kerry. ‘There was always going to be a period of adjustment. You all worked with Daniel for a long time.’

Sam grimaced. ‘Well, I guess we’ll be adjusting with someone other than Ambrose.’ She looked up sharply. ‘He is going to be OK?’

‘Head injuries always need close monitoring.’ Janet said cautiously. ‘But the signs are positive and we’ll do our best.’

‘Maybe I should try the healing device.’ Sam’s gaze dropped to her mug.

Janet sighed and leaned forward, placing a hand on Sam’s arm. ‘It wasn’t your fault Daniel died.’

‘I should have tried to heal him when he first came back to the SGC.’ Sam muttered. ‘Maybe it would have worked.’

‘And maybe it wouldn’t.’ Janet said softly. She had been the one to suggest Sam try the healing device that Sam could use occasionally thanks to her brief time as an unwilling host to the Tok’ra Jolinar. She felt a twinge of guilt at the other woman’s pain.

‘My Dad got it to work.’ Sam said stubbornly.

‘Your father is hosting a Tok’ra symbiote with years of experience in using the device.’ Janet squeezed Sam’s arm before withdrawing. ‘You don’t even remember Jolinar using it, do you?’

‘No.’ Sam admitted. She shifted on the chair. ‘I haven’t had any flashbacks for over a year.’

Janet nodded. Sam had suffered in the wake of shooting Jolinar’s mate, Martouf; the memories of the symbiote spilling over and consuming Sam. Selmak had healed her, replacing the barriers between Jolinar’s memories and Sam’s own mind. Sam had rarely been bothered by her Jolinar memories since. ‘Even if you had been able to make it work, Sam, I’m not certain the outcome would have been any different than when Selmak tried.’ She tapped her mug thoughtfully. ‘Maybe it’s better that Daniel Ascended if the alternative was him continuing to suffer from the effects of the radiation sickness in some way.’

‘I keep telling myself that.’ Sam said.

Janet smiled sadly. ‘How’s that working out for you?’

Sam gave a short laugh. ‘It’s not.’ She shook herself. ‘He’s still gone.’

‘I miss him too.’ Janet said.

Sam looked at her as though hesitant to share her own feelings before she nodded slowly. She took a gulp of her drink. ‘How’s Cassie?’

The mention of her daughter had Janet sighing loudly.

‘That good, huh?’ Sam said.

‘She’s taken this so badly.’ Janet frowned. ‘She’s acting out; staying out beyond her curfew, talking back to me.’ She shook her head. ‘This last weekend, she came home drunk.’

‘Drunk?’ Sam’s blue eyes widened.

‘Drunk.’ Janet repeated. Her free hand clenched into a fist on her thigh. ‘Thank God for Dominic. He brought her home.’ Cassie’s boyfriend had given her a stumbling explanation of a party and how he’d only realised Cassie had been drinking something other than Coke when her behaviour had gotten a little wild. ‘I spent most of the early hours of Saturday morning watching her throw-up.’

‘It’s normal for teenagers to experiment with alcohol.’ Sam murmured. ‘I remember after my Mom died drinking my Dad’s favourite bourbon.’ She pulled a face. ‘I got so sick it put me off for a long while.’

‘I know and I’m trying hard not to overreact but…’

‘But you’re her Mom. You’re allowed to overreact. You should have seen my Dad with me.’ Sam tried a smile. ‘You want me to talk with her when I play chess with her next?’

Janet nodded quickly. ‘Please.’

‘OK.’ Sam promised. She put the mug down and stood up, stretching. ‘I’d better get back to the lab.’

Janet waited until she left before she turned back to her computer to start writing up her report on Doctor Kerry.

She paused and reached instead for the photo of Cassie on her desk. She ran a finger over the glass, over Cassie’s young features. They’d been doing so well, Janet thought tiredly. But Cassie had been through a lot; Niirti, the evacuation to the Alpha site when Earth had been in danger of being destroyed, Daniel’s death…it was a lot for a young girl to deal with.

It was a lot for anyone to deal with. Janet replaced the photo. She was struggling herself. She missed Daniel too; missed his friendship and advice. Her lips twisted. He would have known what to say to Cassie, how to help her heal. Janet rubbed her nose. She had to hope Sam would get through to her. She ignored the jealousy that flickered through her at the thought. It didn’t matter if Cassie listened to Sam and not to her, Janet told herself briskly; all that mattered was that her daughter had someone who would help her through her pain. Janet reached for her keyboard and pushed away the abstract thought of who would help her through her own.

o-O-o

Go home.’

Jonas frowned at the slip of paper that had been placed in his locker while he had showered. He darted an anxious look around the empty locker room. It wasn’t the first note he’d received in the month he’d been assigned to the SGC. There was a small pile of them in a drawer in Daniel Jackson’s office where he had spent most of his time. They all said the same thing more or less; they wanted him to leave. The notepaper was SGC standard issue; the ink a black biro; the writing always in block capitals, non-descript and unidentifiable.

He pressed his lips together as he stared at the note. He wasn’t naïve enough to ignore the underlying threat behind the words. There was a definite ‘or else’ missing at the end of the sentence. It wasn’t the first time in his life he had bullied. He’d been a thin, scrappy child with more brains than brawn. His smarts had made him an obvious target. Usually he’d found a way to charm the bullies somehow but then he’d always known who they were. He was at a loss to identify the culprits behind the notes mainly because there were so many candidates.

He had known his remaining on Earth wouldn’t be welcomed but he had hoped with time that people would be more open to him being around. With the exception of a few, most of the personnel on the base continued to give him a wide berth. Jonas was a gregarious soul and while he may only have had a few people he could name as friends to leave behind on Kelowna, there had been colleagues and associates to socialise with. He had never realised how much he enjoyed that human contact until it was gone. Jonas sighed. He had made his decision the moment he had stepped through the wormhole and left Kelowna. And even if he could return home, he wasn’t certain he would. In any case, he couldn’t go back – something his mysterious stalker seemed oblivious to, or perhaps, simply uncaring.

Perhaps he should inform someone, Jonas considered seriously. No. The denial was automatic and a shade panicked. He had just completed his probationary period. If he brought the notes to the attention of General Hammond, the SGC commander, could change his mind and exile Jonas to one of Earth’s allies. No, thought Jonas seriously, he couldn’t risk his place. He would handle it. Eventually the perpetrators would tire of their game or he would find out who they were and discuss it reasonably with them.

At least he was putting on some muscle which would alleviate the idea he was physically weak, he mused. He had asked Teal’c to help him prepare for the possibility of one day joining a SG team, and the Jaffa had been only too happy to assist. The physical workouts were painful but they worked. He could see there was already some definition to his arms, legs and torso.

Jonas refolded the paper neatly and slipped it under a can of shaving foam to keep it safe while he dressed. He towelled dry and pulled on a pair of briefs before dragging on green BDU pants. He transferred the note to a pocket and reached for a second towel to dry his hair. The new short style still caught him off guard occasionally but it made him feel less of an outsider.

The locker room door burst open and Jonas jumped. He watched wide-eyed as Colonel O’Neill stormed through followed by Teal’c.

The Colonel barely glanced at him, snatching his ever present olive cap from his head and running a hand through his grey strands. ‘Do you believe that woman?’

‘I do not.’ Teal’c growled unhappily. The Jaffa caught Jonas’s gaze and inclined his head.

His move had the Colonel looking towards Jonas and nodding cautiously. ‘Jonas.’

‘Colonel.’ Jonas wondered what their female team-mate had done to warrant the outburst.

The locker room door was flung open for a second time and a pretty brunette stormed in, followed by a harried looking Sam.

Jonas hurriedly held up a towel in front of his naked chest.

‘Doctor Hayworth, this is the men’s locker room.’ Sam protested.

‘Colonel, I need to speak to you.’ Hayworth marched up to the military man and pointed a finger at him.

Jonas wondered at her bravery.

‘Oh for crying out loud!’ Jack snapped with annoyance.

‘You can’t simply yell at me that I’m no longer on SG1 and then walk off without an explanation.’ Hayworth argued. She crossed her arms; her green eyes flashing angrily.

‘Yes, I can.’ Jack argued as he continued undressing as though to prove that she was completely meaningless to him. ‘That’s the way the military works, Doctor.’

‘I’m not military.’ Hayworth rejoined.

‘That is painfully obvious and I would think so is the reason you’re off the team. You endangered all our lives back there.’ Jack shot back.

Hayworth stabbed a finger at him and whirled away. ‘I’ll take this up with General Hammond.’

‘You do that!’ Jack yelled after her.

‘Sorry, sir.’ Sam apologised, blowing a breath through her teeth. ‘She got away from me.’

‘Not your fault, Carter.’ Jack waved his t-shirt at her. ‘We’ll see you at the debriefing.’

‘Sir.’ Sam turned and suddenly caught sight of Jonas who gave a weak smile.

‘Hi.’ He said. He could feel his skin turning a furious shade of red.

Sam’s lips twitched although he didn’t know whether it was because of his state of undress or at his evident embarrassment. ‘Jonas.’ She closed the door on her way out.

The Colonel headed immediately to the showers and Jonas was left with Teal’c.

‘Sounds like it was an eventful mission.’ Jonas remarked as he lowered the towel and reached for a fresh black t-shirt.

‘Doctor Hayworth and Colonel O’Neill had a disagreement over how to proceed.’ Teal’c explained, satisfying Jonas’s curiosity. ‘Doctor Hayworth ignored O’Neill’s order and was captured by the natives.’ He glowered. ‘She was also ungrateful at being rescued despite the risk we incurred.’

‘Ah.’ Jonas pulled a face. ‘I guess finding someone to join your team isn’t easy.’

‘It is not.’ Teal’c agreed dryly as he started to undress. ‘What of you, Jonas Quinn? Did you not expect to hear today in regards to your probation?’

‘I passed.’ Jonas told him with a wide smile. He shut his locker. ‘I want to thank you for everything, Teal’c.’

The Jaffa nodded.

Jonas waved goodbye to him and walked out, heading for the office. He had managed to make his way through many of Daniel’s journals but he still had more to read. They were fascinating. Each was like an incredible story of adventure and camaraderie. The journals increased his desire to join a SG team. He couldn’t help but think that maybe if he did then he’d find the same feeling of friendship, of rapport that Daniel spoke about in his journals whenever he commented about his team-mates.

The office was quiet. Jonas hadn’t disturbed any of Daniel’s belongings and he was aware some of the more personal items had been removed before he had taken residence. He breathed in the scent of old books and let the muscles in his shoulders relax. He opened the desk drawer and gently placed the note on top of the others. He stared at the stack of paper for a while before he shut the drawer. He wouldn’t let it bother him, Jonas thought determinedly.

He grabbed a handful of grapes from a fruit bowl, picked up the next journal he had laid out ready and began to read. Within minutes, his mind was embroiled with the story of Seth, and the threatening notes were forgotten.

o-O-o

Sam gazed at the teenager sprawled across the floor on the other side of the chess board. They had settled in Cassie’s room after Janet had left them alone, taking their usual places on the floor with Cassie’s dog lying on the bed watching them with bemusement. Sam worried her lip with her front teeth as a fresh wave of guilt washed over her. Between missions and emergencies, it had been three weeks since she had promised Janet that she would talk with Cassie. According to the doctor, Cassie’s behaviour had continued to deteriorate. There had been another drunken incident following a movie night with friends, and Janet suspected Cassie was hitting her liquor cabinet.

The problem was that Cassie wasn’t exactly sending out welcoming vibes. When Sam had turned up, Cassie had acquiesced to the chess match with a teenager’s brisk rudeness that had Sam reconsidering whether Cassie would pay anymore attention to her than Janet. But Sam had promised Janet so she would try. Unfortunately, she had no idea how to start.

Cassie moved her knight.

Sam didn’t just want to mention Daniel or drinking alcohol out of the blue. She picked up the juice and took a long gulp. Why had she thought she would be any good at this, Sam wondered. Why had Janet thought Sam would be any good at it?

‘So how come you’re on Earth?’ Cassie asked suddenly, breaking into Sam’s thoughts. ‘Mom said yesterday you’d gone on a mission and weren’t due back.’

Sam countered with a pawn. ‘Captain Jenkins fell sick and we had to come home early.’

It hadn’t really been Alan Jenkins’ fault, Sam thought with some amusement. The local food had been a bizarre array of insects, all served with an alcoholic brew that smelled like stale urine. She pulled a face. She figured Jenkins had wanted to prove to the Colonel that he had balls by eating and drinking everything. Unfortunately, all Jenkins had proved to their CO was a serious lack of judgement especially since he had emptied the contents of his meal on the Colonel’s boots. The memory brought a smile to her face.

‘What?’ Cassie demanded as she spotted the merriment on Sam’s face.

‘I was just remembering how Jenkins threw up on the Colonel.’ Sam said. She paused as it occurred to her the story could be a good opener.

‘He really threw up on Jack?’ Cassie asked.

‘He really did.’ Sam nodded. It had gained the Captain a one-way ticket off SG1. ‘We were visiting P7Y542. The natives there are friendly but they don’t have a great deal. The meal was,’ she gave a wicked smirk, ‘interesting.’ She waggled her eyebrows.

‘Oh.’ Cassie smiled. ‘You mean interesting.’

‘Insects mainly.’ Sam continued cheerfully.

‘Yuk.’ As she expected Cassie pulled a face.

‘And then there was the drink.’ Sam motioned with her glass. ‘Some kind of potent home brew. It was green and smelled awful.’

‘Green.’ Cassie frowned.

‘Jenkins had everything.’ Sam shook her head. ‘He didn’t know when to stop.’ And maybe she didn’t either, Sam thought as Cassie shot her a look. Uh-oh. Busted.

Cassie sat up. ‘Mom told you, didn’t she?’

Sam decided denying it would only lead to more trouble. ‘She mentioned you got drunk at a party a while back.’

‘Geez.’ Cassie rolled her eyes. ‘It was once.’

‘Once?’ Sam couldn’t help the question that sprang to her lips.

‘OK. Twice, maybe.’ Cassie admitted. She glared at the chess board. ‘I don’t know what the big deal is.’

Sam raised an eyebrow, trying for an impression of Teal’c.

‘It didn’t mean anything.’ Cassie folded her arms over her chest and scowled at Sam. ‘You can’t tell me you never got drunk when you were my age.’

‘You’re right.’ Sam admitted. ‘I did get drunk. I helped myself to my Dad’s bourbon.’ She watched as a flicker of guilt drifted across Cassie’s face. It looked like Janet had been right about Cassie helping herself to the spirits in the house. She kept her eyes on Cassie. ‘It was just after my Mom died.’

Cassie stiffened. ‘This has nothing to do with Daniel.’

Sam remained silent.

‘It doesn’t.’ Cassie insisted. Her young face filled with anger. ‘Not everything is about him.’ She lurched to her feet and stormed out. The dog followed her.

‘Well,’ Sam murmured to the empty room, ‘that went well.’ She pushed herself off the floor. She headed out after Cassie. She’d heard the thump of feet on the stairs and knew they’d gone down. She made her way to the lower floor and listened for signs to where Cassie had gone. She hadn’t heard the front door so…she made her way through to the kitchen. The French windows leading out to the garden were open and Sam made her way to them hesitantly.

Cassie was out in the garden. She had walked to the end and sat on the bench beneath an old tree. She was hunched over and looked miserable. The dog sat beside her as though trying to comfort her.

Sam made her way over to her slowly. She sat down and wished for a moment that she’d stopped to throw her jacket on over her jeans and sweater. ‘You’re right.’ She murmured gently. ‘Not everything is about Daniel.’ She looked away, back toward the house, trying hard to keep her own emotions under control, before she gathered her courage again and turned back to Cassie. ‘You want to tell me why you’re drinking?’

‘Why?’ Cassie snapped. ‘It’s none of your business.’

‘You’re hurting, Cassie.’ Sam contradicted her firmly. ‘That is my business.’

Cassie squirmed on the bench. Her arms were tightly folded around her thin body and her face was turned mutinously away from Sam.

‘Is it school?’ Sam asked. ‘Or Dominic?’

‘No!’ Cassie shook her head. ‘Dominic’s been great especially since…’ she suddenly looked at Sam. ‘Why did he go away?’

Sam sighed, knowing Cassie meant Daniel. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Didn’t he want to be with us anymore?’ Cassie asked bluntly.

‘Oh, Cass.’ Sam couldn’t stop herself from reaching out and pulling her into a hug. She was grateful when Cassie responded. Sam wrapped her arms around her and held on tightly as they both cried.

‘I keep thinking he must have hated us if he wanted to leave so badly,’ Cassie sobbed, ‘he must have hated me.’

‘He didn’t hate us.’ Sam pulled back long enough to look Cassie in the eye. ‘He definitely didn’t hate you.’

Cassie nodded slowly. ‘Then why did he leave?’

Sam wiped furiously at her own damp eyes for a second. The question was one she had struggled with herself since Daniel’s death just as she had also struggled to come to terms with knowing Daniel hadn’t confided the unhappiness he had apparently felt before his Ascension to her. ‘I think it was just something he had to do, Cassie.’

‘I don’t understand.’ Cassie sighed.

Sam stroked Cassie’s hair back over her shoulder. ‘You remember when we were in the bunker and I stayed with you?’

‘Of course.’ Cassie nodded.

‘I stayed because I just knew I had to stay.’ Sam said. ‘And I think that’s how this is for Daniel with Ascension. I think he just had to leave.’

‘I felt that when I was changing with that illness.’ Cassie remarked. ‘But I was wrong.’

‘And maybe Daniel will be wrong about this.’ Sam concurred. ‘But maybe it’s something he has to try.’

Cassie sighed and snuggled into her. ‘I miss him.’

‘Me too.’ Sam kissed the top of her head.

‘You think he misses us too?’ Cassie asked.

‘I do.’ Sam said, and as she spoke the words she knew it was the truth. Daniel loved them and he had lost them all with his decision. Perhaps Ascension was something Daniel had needed to do but it had cost him a great deal. They had lost him but at least they still had each other. She hadn’t forgiven Daniel for Ascending; was still mad at him in truth but she could feel the edge of her anger draining away with her realisation. She hugged Cassie again.

‘I’m sorry.’ Cassie said. ‘About the drinking. I just…it made me forget and I felt happy.’ She grimaced. ‘Except for the, you know, throwing up part.’

‘Alcohol does that.’ Sam agreed. ‘It can help make you feel happy and sometimes it makes you feel sad. Too much and all it does is make you feel sick.’

‘I won’t do it again.’ Cassie promised.

‘You will.’ Sam laughed briefly. ‘But maybe wait until you’re legal next time?’

Cassie nodded. ‘Deal.’ She sighed heavily. ‘I guess I need to apologise to Mom too.’

‘Oh yes.’ Sam agreed fervently. ‘That you do.’

‘Can we go down to the store?’ Cassie asked. ‘Maybe I can buy her some flowers.’

‘I think she would love that.’ Sam got to her feet. ‘Go and wash your face, and I’ll drive you.’

Cassie took a step away before she abruptly spun around and embraced Sam tightly for a moment before spinning away again, rushing across the lawn and into the house.

Sam blinked back fresh tears and started across the grass. She needed to wash up too, she realised. God, she missed Daniel. She scowled at the thought. Daniel was gone but Cassie needed her. That was what she had to focus on; her grief would wait.

o-O-o

Daniel watched from the tower as SG1 approached the Abydonian encampment. He knew they had returned for a celebration of his life at Kasuf’s request. It was good to see them again, Daniel mused. He had tried to stay away from his former team-mates after their last visit to Abydos. He missed them too much. Every time he laid eyes on them, he questioned what he had done and thought about going home.

‘They come to honour your life.’ Shifu commented. He looked at Daniel. ‘It saddens you.’

‘I’m not sure my life deserves to be honoured.’ Daniel muttered sharply.

‘You are a good man. Do you not believe you deserve their regard?’ Shifu asked.

‘I’ve hurt them.’ Daniel said simply. He could feel their pain again. It was more of a deep ache than the sharp bite it had been before but it was there, lurking in each of them. He shifted restlessly.

The past month had been good. He and Shifu had explored Abydos. He’d shown Sha’re’s son the ruins where Sha’re had taught him Abydonian and he had taught her how to read the writing that covered the walls. He’d taken Shifu to the caves where Skaara and Sha’re had hidden him, Jack and the others. He’d told Shifu of how they had liberated Abydos from Ra; how he and Jack had fallen into friendship, how he and Sha’re had fallen into love. He had spent time with Shifu in the room covered with Stargate symbols and had known for the first time just how few were documented there.

The time with Shifu had given Daniel a staggering measure of peace about his time on Abydos. He had rediscovered his love for the planet, remembered his marriage with a heart filled with love rather sorrow. Somewhere in amongst the sharing, he had also started to regain his balance about what had happened to Sha’re.

He would always blame himself for unburying the Stargate but perhaps he had forgiven himself for what had come after. He knew that Apophis would have brought a ship regardless of the gate; perhaps not that day, perhaps another. But Apophis would have come. Maybe if events had gone differently, Sha’re would not have become the host to Ammonet but Daniel couldn’t shake the sense that events would have gone much the same.

Daniel’s lips twisted. Jack had told him once that he would begin to trust himself again, and Daniel was surprised to find that it had happened without him noticing. Maybe it was because he had rediscovered himself again in the sands of Abydos. He’d just had to die and Ascend to make it happen. He swallowed his laughter.

Suddenly, he wanted – needed – to see his team. He let himself shift from the tower; he centred in on Jack, and found himself in Kasuf’s tent. He stayed hidden but drank in the sight of them.

Sam looked pale but her hand was steady on the juice she drank down gratefully. Her blue eyes were watching Jack. She was worried about him, Daniel realised. He caught glimpses of her thoughts; how hard the ceremony was going to be for Jack, how he’d only agreed because Skaara had asked, how much Jack missed Daniel.

Jack’s own thoughts gave truth to Sam’s worries. He hadn’t wanted to attend but hadn’t been able to say no to Skaara, how he wanted to be anywhere but Abydos and the memories of Daniel.

Teal’c sat by Jack’s side. Guarding him, Daniel realised. The Jaffa was uncomfortable in the tent, all too aware that it had been he who had taken Sha’re’s life, who had stolen Sha’re and Skaara away to become hosts.

Daniel let his eyes drift to the fourth member of the team; his replacement. He wondered briefly what had happened to Doctor Kerry who had been his named successor. In hindsight, he wasn’t certain Ambrose would have been his choice. The man in front of him was military, Major Robert according to the name stencilled neatly over his pocket. He remembered him vaguely. He had only just transferred when Daniel had Ascended. There was an arrogance about him that stirred Daniel’s guts especially when he saw how Robert’s eyes followed a young Abydonian woman as she left the tent.

He wasn’t the only one who noticed, Daniel surmised as he caught Sam’s unhappy expression and the way she exchanged a look with Teal’c. It appeared Robert’s card had been marked. Daniel knew the glee wasn’t mature but he revelled in it anyway.

‘You do not like him.’ Shifu commented, folding his robes neatly around him as he sank to the floor.

Daniel followed his example. ‘No. I don’t.’

‘Because he takes your place?’ Shifu inquired.

‘Because I think he’s losing the fight with the evil in his subconscious.’ Daniel said with a smile, tucking his own robes around him.

Shifu smiled happily. ‘I see.’

Daniel reached out and patted his shoulder. He turned back to the quiet gathering where stories of Daniel’s exploits were being told. He winced as Jack began to regale them with Daniel’s first encounter with the Abydonian wildlife. ‘Maybe we should leave.’

‘I am staying.’ Shifu grinned at him. ‘I want to hear their stories.’

They sat for a long while listening. Occasionally, Daniel would murmur a correction in Shifu’s ear or laughingly protest when a story made gentle fun of him. A few hours passed and Daniel was stunned anew at how much his team-mates truly cared for him.

Robert suddenly got to his feet and excused himself. Daniel frowned as he watched the man leave. Galia, the young grand-daughter of one of Kasuf’s many sisters, had just departed the tent to gather more food. She was young and beautiful with dark hair that fell to her waist and dark, shy eyes.

Daniel let Shifu know he was going to leave for a moment and followed the Major. He watched as Robert followed Galia. He felt his anger begin to stir as Robert’s intent to get Galia alone became obvious.

As she entered a store for flatbread, Robert’s opportunity opened up and he took it. He quickly followed her inside and shut the door; barred it. Daniel no longer needed to worry about doors and he followed.

‘You’re a pretty little thing, aren’t you?’ Robert’s lips curved in a cruel smile. ‘Maybe the old guy will give you to me like he gave his daughter to Daniel. What do you think?’

Galia took a step back and shook her head, not understanding the words but understanding all too well the threat of him.

He grabbed her and Daniel felt the power crackle through him.

‘You cannot interfere.’

Oma’s sudden presence startled Daniel.

He stared at her before turning back to the horrific tableau that remained frozen in time in front of them. ‘You can’t be serious.’

‘You know the rules, Daniel.’ Oma retorted. ‘This is not your concern.’

‘She’s helpless and he’s going to hurt her.’ Daniel argued. ‘We can’t just sit back and do nothing.’

Oma regarded him sombrely. ‘Daniel, you cannot interfere with the lower planes.’

‘I can’t just watch him rape her.’ Daniel said passionately.

‘And what would you do?’ Oma challenged him just as passionately. ‘Would you strike him down?’

‘Yes!’ Daniel said.

‘You would kill him.’ Oma pointed out. ‘Is that a just punishment for something he only might do?’

Daniel felt the impact of the question. Was death a just sentence for an intent to do harm? He’d never been an advocate of the death penalty. He’d always believed that the majority of criminals could be rehabilitated. Yet he had been prepared to kill Robert who had not yet actually committed a crime. He had been about to act as judge, jury and executioner. He paled.

‘There is another way.’ Oma placed a hand on Daniel’s shoulder and took him outside the store.

Teal’c stood there. He must have followed Robert, Daniel considered with relief.

‘Watch.’ Oma said as time engaged again.

Teal’c’s head snapped to the store at the sound of a cry. He made for the door and listened intently for only a second before he shifted and rammed his full weight against the wood. It gave way with a resounding crack.

The Jaffa took one look at Galia, lying on the floor, with her robe torn before he turned a furious glower on Robert.

‘Hey!’ Robert held up a hand. ‘I was just being friendly and she…’

Teal’c didn’t listen; he simply moved. His arm snapped out and his hand took hold of Robert’s throat.

Galia ran out. Her cries brought other Abydonians running to the store and finally, the rest of SG1.

‘What the hell is going on?’ Jack demanded.

Skaara placed an arm around his distant cousin and listened as she babbled an explanation in Abydonian. ‘Galia says the one Teal’c holds tried to attack her; Teal’c saved her.’

Kasuf gestured angrily. ‘He must be punished.’

‘Oh, he will be punished.’ Jack’s voice was dangerously quiet. ‘Kasuf, I’d like to apologise from bringing this vermin here, but I’m afraid that I have to request that you leave his punishment to us.’

Kasuf looked from Jack to Teal’c and back. Whatever he saw in the depths of Jack’s eyes convinced him. ‘You will punish him.’ He dispersed the rest of the crowd, quickly. A woman gathered Galia up and hurried her away but Skaara remained.

‘Teal’c.’ Jack said softly. ‘Let him go.’

Teal’c released Robert who dropped to his knees and clutched at his throat.

‘What will you do with him, O’Neill?’ Skaara asked.

‘What I’d like to do is beat him senseless.’ Jack shoved a hand through his damp hair and sighed heavily. ‘What I’m going to do is take him back to Earth and put him in a cage.’ He waved at Sam. ‘Carter, have you got some restraints?’

‘Yes, sir.’ Sam pulled them out of her ever present bag and quickly tied Robert’s hands behind his back.

‘Get him on his feet.’ Jack ordered.

Teal’c placed a hand under Robert’s arm and pulled him up.

‘You can’t seriously believe the natives instead of one of your own people.’ Robert finally spoke. ‘She attacked me. I’m innocent.’

‘Right.’ Jack said derisively. ‘Because following young girls into dark storerooms and grabbing them shouts innocence like nothing else.’

Robert sneered at him. ‘You can’t tell me you haven’t taken advantage of some of the local talent when you’ve been off world.’

Jack’s eyes went black and deadly. Robert’s wisely snapped his mouth shut. Jack turned back to Skaara. ‘We have to take him back and deal with this. Tell your father that we’re sorry we can’t stay for the rest of the ceremony.’

Skaara sighed. ‘You will be missed, O’Neill.’

Jack nodded. He hugged the young Abydonian man fiercely. ‘Take care.’

Daniel watched as SG1 led Robert away from the encampment and back to the Stargate. He turned back to Oma. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘It is all too easy to interfere especially when you see an injustice.’ Oma said softening with his evident contriteness. ‘But if you use your powers as though you were a God, judge those below as though you were a God, even if you intent is good, eventually you become…’

‘No better than the Goa’uld.’ Daniel completed. ‘I understand.’

Oma nodded and smiled. ‘Then you are ready for the next stage of your lessons.’ She held out a hand to him and he took it with trepidation. He only hoped he was as ready as she believed him to be.

Continued in Part III.

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