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Fanfiction: Tricky Situations

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S6 Smoke & Mirrors
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sam/Jack UST. Jonas/Teal'c friendship.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.



Tricky Situations


There were many distasteful things Jack O’Neill had done in the performance of his duty and shaking Robert Kinsey’s hand ranked among the most distasteful. Jack didn’t linger after the end of the press conference. He marched through to the back entrance where he’d been told a car waited to take him to the hotel. He had no desire to be in the gloating presence of Kinsey a moment longer than he had to. The whole thing had been a farce. He surged through the corridors with determined intent, the glower on his rugged face keeping anyone from approaching as he pushed open the back door with relief.

Jack slowed at the sight of the NID agent leaning against the car and his lips thinned. The suited figure was smart and perfectly groomed. His dark hair combed back; his thin face serious.

Malcolm Barrett.

Samantha Carter had credited the NID agent with providing them with a lot of help during the investigation to clear Jack’s name and find out who had really shot Kinsey. Evidently she and the agent had spent a lot of time together and she had spoken of Barrett with warm respect. Jack wondered if that’s all it was.

He wasn’t jealous, Jack thought angrily. Carter could spend time with whomever she wanted; could date whomever she chose. She was single, free, unencumbered. She wasn’t his. He had made sure she had no idea he was still in love with her and, even if he suspected something of her feelings for him had resurfaced during his recovery from his experience as a Tok’ra host and Ba’al play-toy, he could be wrong. And even if he wasn’t, if she was moving on again from what she felt for him as she had done before, finding happiness elsewhere, then he was happy for her.

Right.

The thought did nothing to lighten his mood.

‘Colonel.’ Barrett straightened as Jack approached.

‘Agent Barrett.’ Jack greeted him stiffly.

Barrett gestured at the car. ‘Major Carter was delayed at NID headquarters providing her statement. I offered to collect you.’

Jack raised an eyebrow, pulled his cover from his head and made for the passenger seat. Barrett got in and quickly started the car. He eased the vehicle into the Washington traffic.

‘I wanted to thank you for today.’ Barrett said in the tense silence. ‘And to apologise for any inconvenience you’ve suffered.’

Jack raised an eyebrow. ‘And by inconvenience I presume you’re referring to my extended vacation in a military prison?’

Barrett blinked at his caustic tone. ‘Nobody in the civilian authorities was aware of the mimic devices, Colonel, and neither was I. You can’t deny it looked like you were guilty.’

He couldn’t deny it even if it burned his gut. At least Carter had believed in him. And Teal’c and Jonas although they’d both had questions.

‘He wasn’t dead which you knew.’ Jack pointed out. ‘And letting Kinsey get away with treason.’ He snapped at Barrett. ‘You going to apologise for that too?’

‘It’s a necessary evil.’ Barrett said evenly. ‘Kinsey was a bit player. We secured the men behind the operation.’

‘You mean Carter secured the men behind the operation.’ Jack corrected. Carter had told him about the mission to infiltrate the rogue NID. She had pretended to be Devlin using one of the manmade mimic devices. She’d led the four businessmen and one high ranking agent who led the rogue group into incriminating themselves. It had been risky but she had been determined to do it and had succeeded. Jack felt his anger start to give way to pride in Carter’s courage.

‘Major Carter has been invaluable.’ Barrett admitted.

Jack’s eyes narrowed at the admiration in Barrett’s voice. It looked like Carter had won another fan. Not that he was surprised. Carter was a beautiful, intelligent, sassy woman with a compassionate heart and a good soul. Who wouldn’t fall in love with her? Clearly not Barrett. Jack sighed inwardly.

‘You’re a lucky man.’ Barrett continued. ‘To have her as part of your team.’ He glanced across at Jack.

Jack examined Barrett’s sincere expression and nodded briskly. ‘She’s the best.’ And he was lucky; lucky to have her as a friend, as a team-mate, as part of his life – even if they couldn’t be more.

‘You two have served together for over five years, right.’ Barrett commented. ‘I understand that’s quite unusual.’

Jack shrugged. ‘It’s an unusual job.’ His clipped tone gave away his reluctance to talk about her, about their mission.

Barrett nodded in reply and fell silent. He reached over and switched the radio on. ‘Do you mind?’

Jack shook his head. The radio would fill the silence and preclude talking. He didn’t feel the urge to speak. He let himself sink further into the seat cushions. He was tired. The military prison he’d been held in pending transfer to the civilian authorities was still a prison and he hadn’t slept well during his incarceration. He’d woken with nightmares – Iraq, Ba’al...everything had been mixed up and thrown together. Then there was the relentless institutional tedium of exercise breaks, meals, interaction with other prisoners. Jack had kept to himself but he hadn’t won any friends that way. He was fairly certain that had he stayed he would have been targeted at some point. The only thing that had kept him going was the knowledge that his team were working to get him released.

He pushed away the thoughts. He wasn’t a prisoner any longer and as soon as the civilian authorities had been informed by NID of the cover story – his involvement being part of a sting operation – he had been released. Unfortunately, Kinsey had apparently woken from his coma amid the excitement of the second assassination attempt by Devlin. Jack would have preferred it if the politician had stayed unconscious as Kinsey’s recovery had meant the press conference which had been hastily scheduled. Jack had spent the night on a transport to Washington, had spent the better part of the day being shuffled from the White House to the Pentagon for meetings with various Important People before being delivered to the hospital for the press conference. As though the cosmos had picked up on his thoughts, he suddenly caught his name on the radio.

Senator Kinsey thanked Colonel O’Neill for his part in the operation the details of which have not been disclosed for security reasons. The Colonel was present at today’s press conference. In other news...’

Jack made a small sound of disgust.

‘It was the easiest way of publicly clearing your name.’ Barrett said mildly.

Jack glared at him, stung by the faint hint that the press circus had been for his benefit. ‘Let’s get one thing straight: I only participated in the dog and pony show back there because I was following a direct order.’

‘The Air Force’s reputation along with your own was smeared when you were accused and arrested, Colonel,’ Barrett pointed out, ‘the President was keen to undo the damage.’

Jack grimaced. He’d originally heard the arguments why he’d had to stand beside Kinsey from Hammond...

No, absolutely not.’ Jack stated firmly. He wasn’t taking part in some public grandstanding with Kinsey; no way.

He had just been officially released and was back in uniform. He had been told to report to the warden’s office and had half-expected to see his team there to pick him up. Hammond had been a surprise visitor and when he’d learned why it had been Hammond, he hadn’t been pleased.


I’m sorry, Colonel, but the President is ordering you to take part in the press conference.’ Hammond looked apologetically at him.

I’ve spent the last week in prison accused of something I didn’t do,’ Jack pointed out brusquely, ‘and now I’m expected to stand beside that lying piece of slime and make nice?’

The President is aware of the injustice you’ve suffered, Colonel, and he believes this will help to clear your name.’

I’m not bothered about my name.’ Jack said.

There’s also the matter of how your arrest, wrongful as it was, has damaged the reputation of the Air Force.’

Hammond stated firmly. ‘The quickest way to undo that damage is good publicity. This press conference with Kinsey affords us the chance of doing that with minimal effort.’


I think I prefer prison.’ Jack bit out.

Hammond sighed. ‘Jack, if it were up to me I wouldn’t ask you to do this. I agree that asking you to share a stage with Kinsey is tantamount to rubbing salt in the wound here. But it’s not up to me; it’s an order from your commander-in-chief, and one supported by the Air Force Chief of Staff. You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it, and believe me when I say the SGC could do with the good will your agreement and participation will give us in return.’


Politics, Jack thought disgustedly. In the end he had acquiesced because of politics; because the SGC needed the brownie points. And it had worked if his meetings with the President and the Joint Chiefs had been anything to go by. All had thanked him profusely for taking part in the press conference; he’d been thanked less for saving the world.

‘You’re really not bothered if people continue to think you’re an assassin?’ Barrett said with a hint of disbelief.

Jack didn’t bother to reply. The truth was that he was an assassin – had been in the past even if it had been under orders. And he firmly believed Kinsey could have made the same statement outlining the cover story without him standing next to the Senator like the latest fashion accessory.

The car pulled up in front of the hotel and Jack suppressed the sigh of relief as he caught sight of Carter on the steps waiting for them. She was in uniform just as he was, her blonde hair hidden by her cover and her body covered by the standard issue blues. She looked stunning. She smiled brightly at him, pleased to see him. Her attention was on him as he exited the car and he was inwardly delighted that she ignored Barrett except to give him a brief nod of acknowledgement.

‘Sir.’ Sam said. ‘It’s good to see you.’

‘Good to be seen, Carter.’ Jack replied lightly, his mood lifting. ‘And, hey, good job on the sting. I heard you got them all.’

She beamed at him and he smiled back at her, some of his tiredness dissipating.

‘Speaking of which I should get back to the NID.’ Barrett said, interrupting the moment.

Sam turned to the agent. ‘Thanks for the backup and the help.’

‘Thank you.’ Barrett said formally. He held onto her hand. ‘I hope we get the chance to work together again.’

Sam nodded briskly and pulled her hand back.

Barrett turned to Jack. ‘Colonel.’

‘Barrett.’ Jack waved at him. ‘Thanks for the ride and for the, uh, help.’

Barrett gave a half-smile. His eyes drifted back to Sam but he turned and made for his car. They watched him leave before Jack jerked a thumb at the hotel and Sam nodded in agreement.

‘Your bags were delivered earlier, sir.’ Sam informed him. ‘I took the liberty of getting you checked in.’ She reached into her purse and handed him a card.

‘Thanks.’ Jack took it from her as they crossed the marble lobby to the elevators.

‘You’re just down the hall from me.’ Sam explained. ‘I’m in 201; you’re in 205.’

Jack nodded.

‘We’re scheduled to fly back to Colorado from Andrews tomorrow.’ Sam informed him. ‘There’ll be a car here for us at oh-six-hundred.’

The elevator doors slid open and they stepped into the empty compartment.

Jack checked his watch. It was early. The press conference had been scheduled so it could hit the evening news. He glanced at Carter and wondered if he should invite her to dinner. They both had to eat. It could be deemed inappropriate the two of them dining alone together if they were on personal time, Jack mused, but there was nothing wrong with two colleagues who happened to be stuck in the same location having a meal together; they did it all the time at the SGC.

‘We should probably get an early dinner, Carter.’ Jack said, framing it as though there was no question about them eating together. ‘Meet you in the lobby in thirty minutes?’

Sam’s eyes widened with surprise and it suddenly occurred to Jack that despite the professional goodbye to Barrett in front of him, they may have made arrangements to meet later.

‘Unless you have plans?’ He added quickly.

‘No.’

The word rushed out with a haste that inwardly had him cheering. No plans. No hot date with Barrett.

‘I mean,’ Sam hurried on, ‘I just didn’t know if you’d want company after today.’

He hadn’t. Sitting in the car on the way back he’d been looking forward to a beer and a shower, room service and watching something mindless on TV. He shrugged and gave her the same reason he’d come up with the idea in the first place. ‘We need to eat, right?’

‘Right, sir.’ Sam gestured at her door. ‘This is me. I’ll see you in the lobby.’

Jack wandered up to his door and unlocked it. He stepped inside the room and took a brief inventory; bed, bedside tables, wardrobe, desk, chair. The room was a standard layout. He spotted a duffle and a dress bag lying on the end of the bed.

The dress bag contained his spare uniform and he was pleased that he would have something clean to travel in the following day. He hung it up in the wardrobe and turned to the duffle. He unpacked jeans, a t-shirt and shirt, recognising them as his own clothing, and vaguely recalling Hammond had told him Teal’c had packed his things for him. He picked up the toiletries bag and checked everything was present before he strode into the en-suite shower room.

He stripped and stepped under the hot spray with a sigh. For a long moment he let the water cascade over him before he picked up the mini bottle of hotel shampoo and squirted the contents into the palm of his hand. He washed his hair briskly and turned his attention to his body. It felt good to be clean. He grimaced. The travelling and the endless meetings had made him feel icky but shaking Kinsey’s hand had left him feeling dirty. He turned the shower off and got out. He brushed his teeth and shaved quickly at the sink. He ran his hand over his jaw and grimaced at the bristles that he hadn’t caught but eschewed redoing it.

It wasn’t a date, Jack reminded himself grimly. It was two colleagues having dinner together. That was it.

Nothing more.

He dressed quickly, resolutely not paying attention to his appearance than he would if he was going out for a meal with Teal’c. He slipped his wallet into the inside pocket of his jacket, checked his watch and left the room. He smiled as Sam’s door opened and she stepped out. Perfect timing, he thought.

She’d changed into jeans, a pale pink sweater and a denim jacket. She looked gorgeous and he let himself look over her appreciatively while her attention was taken up with checking her door was locked.

‘Ready, Carter?’ Jack asked briskly.

‘Ready, sir.’

If she was disappointed that he didn’t comment on how she looked she hid it well. She gave him a sunny smile and fell into step beside him as they made for the elevators.

‘I don’t know if you had somewhere in mind, sir,’ Sam began as they began the descent down to the lobby.

‘Nowhere.’ Jack admitted. ‘You?’

‘There’s a good steakhouse not too far from here.’ Sam said. ‘It’s not fancy...’

‘Neither am I.’ Jack quipped. ‘Steak is good.’

The place was in walking distance. It wasn’t a particularly cold evening and Jack enjoyed the feel of the breeze against his skin. It felt good to be outside after days of being locked in a cell. They walked in silence but it was comfortable, familiar. He inched closer to her as the crowds got bigger and she inched closer to him. They didn’t touch but their strides matched, their arms brushed each other occasionally with a casual intimacy; their bodies signalling they were together in a way that had others diverting around them.

The place was as devoid of frills and pretensions as Sam had promised. Jack felt the tension roll off his shoulders the minute he entered. The tables were solid wood, scarred and worn but clean; the leather booths in good condition but clearly aged. They were shown to a booth away from the window towards the back and Jack slid into his seat with an appreciative sigh. He shrugged out of his jacket and watched as Sam did the same.

‘Good choice.’ He commented as he scanned the menu quickly and flipped it shut again. He figured he’d go for steak and fries.

Sam smiled. ‘Glad you like it, sir.’

If it was anyone else he’d have told her to drop the sir. They were ostensibly off-duty. Other team leaders didn’t keep the same formality – and neither had he; not until he’d fallen in love with an officer under his command and she’d fallen in love with him. If Sam was moving on, if she believed he had already moved on, maybe there was nothing wrong with a little informality...or maybe not. Maybe he still needed the semblance of distance; the reminder that their working relationship came first.

He cleared his throat. ‘So, your old stomping grounds I presume?’

She lifted and dropped one shoulder in a cute little half-shrug. ‘When I was stationed at the Pentagon, my Dad used to bring me here sometimes when he visited me.’

‘Dad has good taste.’ Jack remarked.

The waitress stepped up. ‘Can I take your order?’

Jack indicated for Sam to order.

‘Steak, please. Rare.’ Sam closed her menu. ‘With a baked potato and house salad.’

‘Anything to drink?’ The waitress asked.

‘Beer, please.’ Sam handed her the menu.

‘Same for me.’ Jack said, handing over his menu with a smile. ‘But I’ll have mine with fries.’

‘Sure thing.’ The waitress disappeared.

Jack gestured at Sam. ‘So, I never got the chance to ask you what you and the guys got up to while I was in Minnesota.’

Sam filled him in on the two weeks he’d spent fishing in the wait for their meal and continued as they began eating. Her stories were heavily edited in case they were overheard but he heard the pride in her voice as she recounted the few SG1 missions that she had led while he’d been away and he let himself relax and enjoy her animation. He asked her questions; got her thinking about some of her strategic decisions; was pleased by her answers.

Sometimes, Jack mused as he sliced off another section of steak, he wondered if he and Hammond were doing the right thing keeping her on SG1 when it was clear Carter was ready for her own command. He recalled Barrett’s observation on the time SG1 had served together; it was unusual to be assigned to the same team for over five years.

Carter had a couple of years as a Major under her belt; her field experience was second to none; her fitness and performance reps among the highest in the SGC. In some ways, keeping her on SG1 might be detrimental to her development and career prospects. He took a gulp of beer. On the other hand, Carter had the best scientific mind in the SGC – if not on the planet – and as her CO he believed she was too valuable to the team to lose. Hammond wouldn’t allow it either for the same reason. The General firmly believed in SG1 retaining its unique mix of skills and experience.

Still, Daniel’s departure and Jonas’s inclusion had shown that skills could be replaced – not entirely, not completely, but certainly to an acceptable level. Jonas was making a good contribution and he’d built good relationships with Teal’c and Carter. Jack couldn’t help but notice that somehow between his leaving for Minnesota and his return, the hint of reservation in Carter’s voice when she spoke of Jonas had disappeared; there was no more doubt or hesitation. It wasn’t the close bond she had shared with Daniel but there was respect and some sisterly fondness, Jack realised.

He picked up his beer again. ‘Sounds like Jonas is settling into the team nicely.’

‘He is, sir.’ Sam replied confidently, confirming Jack’s thoughts about her view of their newest team-mate.
‘He’s definitely making a good contribution.’ Her gaze darted to his questioningly. ‘Don’t you think so?’

Jack nodded. He caught the flicker of something that drifted across Carter’s delicate features before she could hide it. ‘What?’

She gave a small smile and shook her head. ‘It’s nothing.’

‘And yet it’s clearly something.’ Jack pointed out, half wanting to let it go and half curious to know what was bothering her.

Sam hesitated and picked up her own beer, taking a healthy gulp of Dutch courage before she set it down again. ‘I do feel like Jonas is part of the team now but...’ she looked away from him to her plate, pushing a lonely piece of salad leaf through a pool of dressing.

‘But?’ He asked gently.

‘Admitting that out loud makes me feel like I’ve given up on Daniel coming back.’ Sam admitted quietly.

‘Ah.’ Jack had no idea what to say to her. He knew she had hoped that because Daniel had Ascended rather than died, that he would miss them and return to his mortal form. Jack hadn’t been so hopeful but then Jack had been the one Daniel had asked to stop treatment so he could Ascend. He’d been given the opportunity to say goodbye to Daniel in a way Sam hadn’t.

‘Sorry, sir.’ Sam gestured at him regretfully. ‘I shouldn’t have mentioned it.’

‘It’s OK, Carter.’ Jack cut in. He’d pushed her away in the immediate aftermath of Daniel’s death and while they had repaired that hurt, he was determined not to do it again. ‘For what it’s worth, I don’t think admitting out loud that you feel Jonas is part of the team means you’ve given up on Daniel coming back.’

‘You don’t?’ Sam asked, looking at him.

‘No.’ Jack said firmly. ‘I think it just means that you feel Jonas is part of the team.’

Sam smiled. Her expression lightened and he felt a rush of satisfaction that he had been the one to do that; to ease her grief. Their eyes held and Jack felt a frisson of panic race along his spine.

‘Finished?’ The waitress thankfully interrupted them and they briskly ordered dessert and a second beer each. Jack steered the conversation back to work and the X303. He loved seeing her lit up with enthusiasm; her face alive with passion and intelligence.

‘I still don’t know why they won’t let me call it the Enterprise.’ Jack complained as he dug into his chocolate sundae.

Sam smiled. ‘Teal’c suggested the Millenium Falcon.’

‘I’m shocked.’ Jack muttered making her laugh. They were both only too aware of the Jaffa’s fascination with Star Wars.

A throat being cleared beside them had them both looking around in surprise. An elderly couple stood there, smiling nervously. The old man was hunched over, covered in liver spots and had only a wisp of white hair on his head. He was dressed in pants that seemed hitched up to just below his armpits and a thin shirt. A cream coloured polyester jacket covered him. He kind of reminded Jack of Ernest Littlefield or an older version of the barber he sometimes dreamed about. The woman was younger but not by much; dumpy in the way that suggested she had long ago given up worrying about everything going South. She was dressed in a wild floral print and had a matching cream coloured polyester jacket. Her face was hidden behind blue oversize glasses that made her glassy eyes huge.

‘I’m sorry, son, but Hester thinks you’re the Colonel who shot the Senator only didn’t.’ The man said, his expression apologising for what he clearly believed was a waste of time and unwarranted interruption.

‘He is, Bill. Look! It’s him.’ Hester smiled at him. ‘It’s you, isn’t it?’

Jack looked at Carter desperately unsure what the hell he did. There had been nothing in his briefings with the Very Important People to cover being recognised in public.

Sam pinned a smile on her face. ‘I told you that you looked just like him.’

‘Right.’ Jack said, taking her lead. Deny everything: good plan.

‘But...’ Hester’s eyes narrowed on him behind her oversize glasses. ‘I could have sworn it was you. You have the same nose, I’m sure of it.’

‘Sorry, ma’am.’ Jack replied politely.

‘Come on, Hester.’ Bill propelled his wife away from the table.

‘But, Bill,’ she protested.

‘I don’t know why you wanted to meet that Colonel fellow anyway. He didn’t actually shoot the guy, more’s the pity.’ Jack overheard Bill whisper as they left.

Jack’s eyes darted back to Sam’s. The look of incredulity on her face probably matched his own, he thought as he grinned at her as she began giggling.

‘Did I tell you about when I took Teal’c and Jonas out for pizza?’

He shook his head and listened as she regaled him with the anecdote of her night out with the rest of SG1. He pushed his empty dish away as she neared the end of the story and raised his eyebrows as she informed him of Jonas’s decision to begin dating.

Her eyes were mischievous. ‘He’s doing research into Earth courting rituals.’

Jack almost choked on the last of his beer. ‘That’s so...’ he tried to think of a suitable description, ‘Jonas.’ He finished.

Sam chuckled again – no doubt at his perturbed expression. And he was perturbed – not only at the thought of the Kelownan dating, because he really didn’t want Jonas distracted, but mainly because the whole subject of dating was straying too close to the topic that he and Carter always avoided. He was saved from having to say anything more by the waitress. He requested the bill and stopped Carter as she went to pull out her wallet.

‘I’ve got this.’ Jack said.

Carter frowned. ‘Sir...’

‘Expenses, Carter.’ Jack pointed out and she subsided. It wasn’t a date; he wasn’t treating her. Of course the likelihood of him actually claiming the meal back was fairly remote but she didn’t know that.

They stepped out of the restaurant and into the fading evening light. Jack drank in a deep breath of air. He looked at Carter, reluctant to let the evening end. ‘Walk?’

‘Sure.’ Sam agreed. ‘I could do with walking off the ice-cream.’

They set out at a slow pace, happy to amble along without a direction in mind. Eventually, they found themselves wandering into Constitution Gardens as the sun set. They merged along with the other tourists, taking in the sights; happy to soak in the atmosphere.

Eventually, without discussion, they halted by the Wall commemorating the Vietnam Veterans. Jack’s eyes scanned the names until he found the one he was looking for; James O’Neill.

Jack breathed in deeply. He rarely thought of Jimmy. There had been years between him and his brother, enough years that they hadn’t been close. Jimmy had been gone by the time Jack was twelve, he had signed up for the military as soon as he’d graduated high school. Jack had vague memories of thinking his older brother was cool...then as Jack had hit his teens Jimmy with his military haircut and adherence to duty had been not cool...and then he’d been gone. His mother had never recovered from the loss; had hated it when Jack had been accepted into the Academy.

Beside him, Sam shivered as the evening air shifted temperature and washed over them coldly. If it had been a date he might have put his arm around her; might have tucked her up close to him; might have been tempted to talk about Jimmy and how he’d half-signed up to honour the memory of his brother. How sometimes he’d seen glimpses of Jimmy in Daniel; how much he missed them both.

But it wasn’t a date.

‘We should get back.’ Jack said, keeping his regret and disappointment out of his voice.

She nodded her agreement and they turned to retrace their steps. They were silent on the walk back, both lost in their own thoughts. The sky was completely dark by the time they entered the hotel. Jack stopped briefly as Sam unlocked her door. If it had been a date, he considered sadly, they would have been kissing already, hands fumbling to find the key card and get inside where the fumbling would be altogether different...

‘Goodnight, sir.’ Sam said quietly.

‘’Night, Carter.’ Jack watched as she stepped inside and shut the door. He reached over briefly but stopped short of the wood. He dropped his arm abruptly as though he suddenly realised what he was doing and spun around to enter his own room.

He didn’t bother with a light. He made for the bathroom, dealt with his night time routine before he stripped and crawled into bed. He lay awake in the darkness despite the tiredness that weighed down every limb.

o-O-o

Teal’c rested his Staff weapon on the floor of the SGC as he came to a halt in front of the commander of the SGC. ‘It is done, General Hammond.’ His mission to deliver Doctor Langham to the Alpha site was complete. He was unhappy at the idea of allowing the scientist to go there but it had been part of the deal that they had made for information regarding the mimic devices and the rogue NID operation. He had been assured by Colonel Riley’s greeting of Langham that the scientist would be treated appropriately as a prisoner during his tenure at the Alpha site.

‘Thank you, Teal’c.’ Hammond said.

‘Have you heard from Major Carter or Colonel O’Neill?’ Teal’c asked as they began walking from the gate room.

‘They left Andrews on schedule this morning.’ Hammond confirmed. He paused beside the doorway to the control room. ‘Have you and Bra’tac determined a date for the meeting you plan with the Free Jaffa?’

Teal’c inclined his head. ‘It will take many weeks to arrange.’ Although many Free Jaffa had chosen to camp with those he led, there were many who remained secreted away in the rest of the galaxy.

‘Keep me appraised, Teal’c.’ Hammond requested. ‘And if you need any assistance...’

‘Thank you, General Hammond.’ Teal’c said gratefully.

They parted and Teal’c handed over his weapon and headed for the infirmary for his post mission check. The General’s offer was appreciated but it was one they would refuse because the Jaffa needed to do meet alone if they were ever going to stand beside the Tau’ri as equal partners. Bra’tac had been keen to assemble as many of the Free Jaffa as they could for months to discuss strategy and plans. Teal’c had agreed but quietly asserted the timing was not right. Primarily because he could not see how he could spend time away from SG1 while they were grieving for the loss of Daniel Jackson.

That had changed though. Both his team-mates continued to miss their former team-mate, as did Teal’c, but the raw hurt and loss had eased into the gentler ache of absence and memory. Moreover, he believed that with Jonas Quinn much more settled into the team, his own occasional absence would not be missed.

The logistics of the Jaffa meeting, the details of the preparations he and Bra’tac would need to embark upon filled his head as Teal’c completed his checks, showered and changed before going in search of Jonas.

The Kelownan had taken up residence in Daniel Jackson’s old office and Teal’c found him there with Nyan, the Bedrosian archaeologist who had joined the programme in their third year of exploration. The two were huddled over an ancient scroll.

Teal’c stood just inside the doorway and waited for them to notice him. He smiled as he observed their complete fascination with the unusual language, the way that they exchanged theories. He eventually cleared his throat.

‘Teal’c!’ Nyan smiled happily.

‘How’d it go at the Alpha site?’ Jonas asked, straightening.

‘I delivered Doctor Langham as ordered.’ Teal’c replied.

‘I heard about your interrogation.’ Nyan said. ‘It sounds impressive.’

Teal’c raised an eyebrow.

‘It was very impressive.’ Jonas said. ‘He didn’t even have to say anything.’ He looked at the Jaffa with a wide grin. ‘You have to teach me how to do that.’

‘You can learn everything you wish to know from watching Star Wars.’ Teal’c said firmly.

‘You used the Force?’ Nyan said excitedly. ‘Jedi mind tricks?’

Jonas looked at him sceptically. ‘You’re kidding, right?’

Teal’c remained silent.

‘He’s kidding.’ Jonas said to Nyan. He looked back at Teal’c. ‘Kidding, right?’

Teal’c simply allowed a small smile of satisfaction to cross his lips.

o-O-o

Daniel watched as Herak, Anubis’s First Prime, ordered the door to the sacred temple of Hathor blown up. He stayed hidden in the gathered, frightened populace, wrapped as they were in robes similar to those he had worn on Abydos.

Herak had evidently been rewarded for killing the Tok’ra Khonsu, Daniel mused, even though he had failed to hold onto SG1. He bent his head quickly to hide his face as a Jaffa approached. He raised it again just in time to see the blast.

The thick wooden door splintered outward and there was a cry as the people at the front of the crowd ducked. Daniel brushed his mind over the sharp shards blunting them and making them harmless. The only injuries would be a few bruises.

What did Anubis want, Daniel wondered. What was so important that he had sent his most important Jaffa to such a backwater planet?

Herak entered the temple and Daniel eased away from the crowd and shifted back onto the Ascended plane. A mere thought later he transferred his presence to the stuffy, dusty hall within the temple. A giant statue of Hathor looked down from a pedestal. He shuddered. He really didn’t need a seven foot reminder of the Goa’uld Queen.

‘Find it!’ Herak shouted as the Jaffa streamed through the open door.

Find what, Daniel mused. He kept himself hidden from view as the Jaffa searched around him, tearing down walls and overturning monuments.

‘Master Herak!’ A young Jaffa called out suddenly. He raised up the box he had unearthed.

Herak strode across and opened it, struggling momentarily with the lock. Daniel moved closer, grateful for the cloak of invisibility that Ascension had given him. His eyes widened at the circle of gold inset with an amber crystal. It reminded him of the Eye of Tiamat that the Russian team had tried to recover.

‘We have found it!’ Herak said with satisfaction. ‘Our Lord Anubis will be pleased.’ He took the box from the young Jaffa and marched out leaving a devastated temple in his wake.

‘Fascinating, isn’t it?’ The elegant clipped tones of Morgan Le Fey commented behind him.

Daniel turned to greet her with a smile. ‘Morgan.’

‘Doctor Jackson.’ Morgan said formally. She was perched on top of a high bookcase, dressed as always in a modest white dress, her legs crossed primly.

‘Do you know what that was?’

‘Do you?’ countered Morgan.

‘It looked like an Eye.’ Daniel said. He shifted through space again, traversing the distance between them to sit beside her on the bookcase.

‘The Eye of Hathor.’ Morgan agreed. ‘There were many Eyes created to power the weapon.’

Daniel’s eyes widened. ‘What weapon?’

‘An Ancient weapon.’ Morgan replied. ‘One capable of destroying all life on a single planet.’

‘And these Eyes power it?’ Daniel frowned as the frightened inhabitants of the planet slowly began entering the temple. They couldn’t see him or Morgan and he watched as they cried over the destruction Anubis’s Jaffa had left. ‘Anubis knows must know where the weapon is or...’

‘He knows how to build it again.’ Morgan supplied. ‘He’ll need six Eyes and they were distributed among the Goa’uld as ornaments. He has only one.’

‘But he’s going after more.’ Daniel concluded. The people slowed filed out, weeping and whispering that the Goddess would surely destroy them with the ruin of her temple.

‘There are only five more left.’ Morgan said. ‘His search has only just begun.’

Daniel sighed, frustrated. He couldn’t share his knowledge of Anubis’s movements with Earth; couldn’t forewarn them. He had been unable to step in and stop the Jaffa from harassing the people in the crowd, unable to stop them finding the Eye. He turned to Morgan. ‘How do you know all this?’

Morgan looked at him. ‘That’s not really the important question.’

‘What is?’ Daniel asked.

She smiled enigmatically. ‘How does Anubis know all this?’


She disappeared in a gentle swirl of light, leaving Daniel alone in the destroyed temple and her question echoing in his mind.

fin.


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rachel500
Dec. 2nd, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I admit if I'd known what I was taking on when I started Aftershocks I might not have even begun! But I do enjoy doing them. :) Glad you enjoy them. :)
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