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Fanfiction: Facing the Consequences

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S7 Fallout
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sam/Jack UST.  Sam/Pete.  Jonas/Kianna.  Allusion to Teal'c/Other, Daniel/Sha're, Daniel/Linea, Jolinar/Martouf.  Sam & Janet friendship. Some adult themes; mention of rape.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.

Facing the Consequences

There was a security force waiting for them on Langara.

Jonas Quinn sighed when he saw it but he couldn't blame Commander Terra for her diligence. Kelowna had essentially harboured a Goa'uld spy for months. He sneaked a look at Kianna Seer and saw her pale in the face of the wall of military uniforms lined up in the sterile gate room.

'Commander.' Jonas gestured in a sweeping move of his arm toward the soldiers. 'Is this entirely necessary?'

Terra's lips flattened. 'Are you certain the Goa'uld has gone?'

Jonas looked again at Kianna, half-expecting her to speak. She remained silent; a demure expression on her face that he couldn't remember seeing before. The thought unsettled him. 'She's gone.'

Terra dismissed all but one of the guards with a brisk nod of her head, the light catching on the copper strands of her short cap of red hair. 'General Garratt has insisted that Kianna be assigned a guard.'

Kianna flushed a pale pink stain that travelled up her neck and across her face. 'You do not believe that I am myself again.'

'It's a precaution against such an event.' Terra agreed, holding Kianna's pointed gaze with one of her own. 'It's also a precaution against someone attacking you. Garratt and the First Minister have classified the information regarding your situation but there are many who are aware; some will not understand that it was not you but an alien within you.'

'She's right.' Jonas said softly. He reached out a hand to Kianna but dropped it uncertain his touch would be welcome. 'I have a guard and I know how irritating it can be but it could save your life.'

Kianna's hands fisted by her sides. 'Very well.' Her lips quirked into a grimace. 'I remember how Terra pushed you out of the path of a bullet not so long ago.'

Jonas nodded because Terra's action had saved his life and earned her a promotion. Someone had tried to shoot him. He'd sprained his wrist in the incident but had otherwise been unharmed. Kianna had been beside him when it had happened. Her memory of the event would have been as a helpless bystander; a host trapped within her own mind by the Goa'uld who had taken over her.

'What is to happen to me?' Kianna asked bluntly. She lifted her arms; crossing them tightly across the borrowed t-shirt.

Terra shook her head. 'The First Minister has left this matter up to Jonas.' Her hazel eyes filled with compassion but whether for Jonas or Kianna, Jonas couldn't tell. Maybe it was for both of them. As his personal guard, Terra was only too aware of the personal relationship Jonas enjoyed – had enjoyed – with Kianna.

'We don't exactly have a protocol for this.' Jonas admitted. He tried to recall what Samantha Carter had told him about her experience after Jolinar. The two events were not dissimilar; perhaps he could draw on the precedent from Earth. He motioned at Kianna. 'Do you want to go home to your apartment or would you prefer your quarters here? Maybe we could…'

'No,' Kianna broke into his babbling, 'I want to go home.' She looked down at the floor and Jonas was struck again at the submissive body language. It seemed so unlike her yet he knew he was thinking of the Goa'uld.

The thought discomfited him. 'Terra will arrange it.' He said gently. 'I'll talk with you in the morning about your work assignments and…'

'I'd like to talk with you now.' Kianna surprised him with the demand. Her head snapped up and he met her eyes nervously.

'Are you sure because…this has been an ordeal for you and I can't imagine being around me is easy.' Jonas sighed, aware that part of the reason he was asking had more to do with his unease than his concern for hers.

Kianna's head tilted sideways like a bird examining a tuft of grass. 'That's why we need to talk.'

Jonas nodded swiftly, hiding his own feelings of wanting to flee; to go and lose himself in the latest data on the drilling operation and to see whether they had truly saved their planet. But he knew he owed Kianna a conversation and perhaps it was for the best that it happened sooner rather than later. He gestured at Terra and she swept away to organise the transport.

The journey was made in silence. Jonas couldn't help but think back to everything the Goa'uld had said; what little Kianna had said already about her experience. There were contradictions in both accounts. He couldn't tell what was the truth, and what was fiction.

Kianna's apartment building was close to the government building that housed the Stargate and Jonas appreciated its simple style and stylish secure grounds. He had spent a lot of time in Kianna's home during the previous few months and he gave a frown, realising that it might be the last time he visited the comfortable and welcoming apartment. The last flights of stairs were made with that disappointment in his mind and weighing on his heart.

Terra moved ahead to open the door and confirm the apartment was safe. Kianna stepped through the entrance tentatively; a hand reaching forward to stroke at the pale wooden jamb before she made her way fully inside.

Sunshine warmed the room in a golden glide that lit up the pale green walls and warmed the golden wood of the flooring.

'It feels like I left such a long time ago.' Kianna murmured. She slowly walked a circuit of the main living area; the kitchenette off the back, the small wooden dining table just in front of it; the big comfortable brown sofa in front of the hearth.

Jonas remembered dinners softened with candle-light; the feel of Kianna's hand in his clasped atop the wooden surface. He remembered holding Kianna on the sofa as they laughed and talked; as they drank wine and kissed; tasting the tart sweetness on her lips. He could remember stumbling after Kianna as she led him to the bedroom through the door to the left; loving her for the first time. He leaned against a wall and lowered his head, hiding his expression from the others.

Terra wandered over to the window and closed the blinds; shutting out the sun and potential assassins. Jonas switched on the light when it appeared Kianna was too involved in exploring to bother.

Terra cleared her throat. 'I'll leave you both alone. Please don't go near the windows.'

'Thank you.' Jonas said appreciatively; he heard her close the door behind him. He watched as Kianna's hand brushed over the sofa and across the surface of a side table. It was as though she was rediscovering her home.

'She didn't change anything.' Kianna said suddenly into the silence. 'She kept everything the way that I had decorated before…'

Jonas waved at the table. 'We should sit.'

Kianna's head jerked towards him with the same tilt and questing expression he'd seen in the gate room. 'Yes. Would you like a drink?'

'Water will be fine.' Jonas said.

Kianna moved to retrieve glasses from a cupboard and Jonas suddenly realised that the bright pink glass made much more sense to him as a choice for her now than it had on his previous visits. He almost collapsed into the wooden seat at the thought.

She set down two glasses of water and took the seat opposite him. 'You have questions.'

Jonas sighed and sat forward. 'I don't know…I don't want to make this harder on you than it's already been.'

'Please ask your questions, Jonas.' Kianna said firmly. She took a sip of her water and Jonas noted how her hands trembled as she placed it down on the table again.

'Maybe we should start at the beginning.' Jonas said, trying to organise his own ragged thinking into some kind of order, and pushing away his hurt and pain to focus on Kianna. 'How did you…how did she take you as a host?'

'It was the morning I had been called to meet with you. A dark haired woman stopped me on the road on my way there…' Kianna frowned, biting her lip. 'I remember thinking she was beautiful; being envious of her. She clasped my upper arm,' her hand moved to the spot automatically, 'there was a sharp pain and then…nothing. I was drugged I think. When I was conscious again, I was being introduced to you and I wasn't in control anymore. It was like a nightmare.'

'So, she was telling the truth that…' he swallowed around the lump in his throat, 'that it was her all along and not you.'

Kianna looked away from his searching gaze but gave a sharp nod. 'Yes.'

Jonas felt bile rise in his gut as the last lingering hope that the Goa'uld had lied burnt away into nothing. 'I don't know what to say.' What could he say? His relationship had never been with Kianna; it had been with the Goa'uld. He had taken her as a lover; he had unwittingly helped the Goa'uld rape her. His stomach churned; sweat breaking out over his skin as he fought the nausea.

'Jonas.'

'Sorry. Give me a minute.' Jonas demanded roughly. 'I just…' he rubbed his lips with the back of his hand, closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths.

He washed the sour taste in his mouth away, gulping back the water. When he glanced at Kianna, he found her watching him with concern.

'How can you even bear to look at me?' Jonas asked bluntly. 'I don't think I can even bear to be me right now.'

Kianna reached across the table but in much the same way he had hesitated to touch her previously, she stopped just shy of his arm. 'I don't…it's all mixed up in my head, Jonas.' She confessed tiredly. 'Perhaps if I explain more?'

Jonas nodded jerkily at her.

'Her name was Anat.' Kianna moved back, her gaze dropping to the table again as one hand traced over the wood. 'That first day, she warned me to stop fighting her, demonstrated why it was a good idea to comply by mentally inflicting pain on my mind, and then ignored me for days except to rifle through my memories for information.'

Jonas pursed his lips. 'You were aware of everything?'

'Then, yes.' Kianna said carefully. 'But I couldn't…' she sighed and pushed a hand through her hair, 'it's difficult to explain.'

'Take your time.' Jonas encouraged.

Kianna shifted in her chair. She licked her lips and took a deep breath. 'She would randomly think about…things.' She made a circular gesture. 'Her past; her future.' She shuddered. 'There were images in her head of…horrible, horrible things. She had destroyed worlds, Jonas and to see her imagining ruling Langara…' she shook her head, 'I couldn't bear it.'

'I can't imagine how anyone could.' Jonas repressed the urge to physically comfort her. He leaned back and folded his arms over his chest. 'You retreated mentally?'

'I let myself get lost I think?' Kianna shrugged. 'I don't know exactly but there is a huge swathe of time that I can't remember as though I went to sleep for weeks.' She took another deep breath and pierced him with a sharp look. 'The next thing I can recall is when Anat realised she had feelings for you.'

Jonas felt heat storm into face and he broke her gaze, looking down at the table.

'She was fascinated by you, by your mind and intellect; at least she told herself that was all it was.' Kianna explained in a gentle tone Jonas was certain he didn't deserve. 'But the more time you spent with her, the more she…she fell truly in love with you.'

Jonas flinched bodily at the declaration.

'She…she wanted to impress you so she used her Goa'uld knowledge even though she knew she risked detection.' Kianna continued. 'She began to lie to Ba'al about Langara, switching her loyalty from him to you. At first, she simply altered her plans; you would rule Langara together with you as her Consort.'

Jonas gave a snort.

Kianna smiled. 'Yes. When you told her about the offer Nirrti had made to you and how you had turned her down, Anat realised you would never accept a place at her side; that you would never accept her if you knew she was a Goa'uld.' She sighed. 'She was so certain of the Goa'uld's superiority; of their right to Godhood and ruling over us. But the thought of never having you willingly disturbed her. She talked with me for the first time that night, shook me mentally and tried to tell me it was my fault. We argued for hours.'

'You argued?' Jonas was stunned.

Kianna ignored his assertion and continued. 'She thought if she committed herself to being a woman you could be proud of; a woman you would fall in love with in return, that she could hide what she was and still rule Langara as your Consort. She believed that if you ever knew what she was that you would hate her.'

Jonas swallowed hard. Anat had been right; he had hated her; had hated the Goa'uld who had taken an innocent woman as an unwilling host.

'Her loving you made it easier to endure her possession.' Kianna said kindly. 'She began to treat me better. She wouldn't allow me control but she listened to me about our work. She began to eat and drink things that she knew I liked. She even built mental walls between us so I wouldn't be subjected to her memories. She did all of that because of you, Jonas.'

'I'm not sure what to say.' Jonas admitted gruffly.

'Because of her actions, we found that we had achieved a blending of a kind. Anat once wondered if it was the same as a Tok'ra blending but I don't believe it was anything like that. I never gave her permission to use me; she never allowed me control.' Kianna spread her hands out wide on the wood. 'But her feelings became my feelings to some extent.' Her eyes glimmered with so much emotion. 'I felt her love for you as though it were my own. She would have laid waste to all the System Lords to keep you and Langara safe, Jonas. Her commitment and loyalty to you were absolute.'

'So, it was you who spoke when she was discovered?' Jonas blurted the question out and immediately felt selfish. But he had to know.

'No, it was a ruse.' Kianna confirmed. 'But she was…desperate. She didn't want to lose you. She helped with the drilling operation and sacrificed her life because despite herself she wanted you to love her back.'

'I could never have…' Jonas shoved his chair back and got to his feet. He paced away from the table and over to the hearth. He stared at a photo of Kianna with her parents before their death.

Kianna followed him but hovered a few feet away by the sofa. 'If she had survived the mission, she had intended to request sanctuary with the Tok'ra. She would have been prepared to have offered herself to them as a spy; to have left me and gone to a willing host. All in the hope that you might have found it within you to love her.'

Jonas grimaced and placed a hand over his chest as though it could ease the emotional ache in his heart. He had loved her very much. Despite dismissing their relationship as in the developmental stage to Sam, if Anat had never been discovered Jonas knew he would have asked the woman he had thought was Kianna to have married him before the year was out. He closed his eyes. 'You must hate me.'

'I could never hate you, Jonas.'

Jonas started at the feel of her hand on his shoulder.

'You didn't know. You believed me willing when you took me to bed.' Kianna said, removing her hand when he opened his eyes to look at her with shock. 'And you were a generous, careful lover. You never hurt me.'

'It doesn't change that what happened between us physically wasn't your choice and I don't…I can't ever make that up to you.' Jonas said guiltily. The nausea rushed back and he turned away from her again.

'It helped – helps that a part of me…I do love you, Jonas.'

Jonas's head snapped up swiftly.

'She loved you and I came to love you too.' Kianna wouldn't look at him. She stared at the floor. 'I was helpless against it and you were…' she raised her eyes and met his with a sincerity that took his breath away, 'you are a good man, Jonas.'

'I wasn't…' Jonas cleared his throat and tried again. 'I wasn't expecting that.'

'No, I know.' Kianna moved away to sit on the arm of the sofa. She crossed her arms tightly over her chest. 'But our relationship was never my choice.'

Jonas nodded.

'And you…' Kianna gave a sad smile, 'you love her; not me. You may know me physically but you don't know me at all.'

He went red with shame and embarrassment but he nodded again.

'I can't…I can't be around you.' Kianna said. 'And I think you find it difficult to be around me.'

'What do you need?' Jonas asked, not denying her words. He shoved his hands into the pockets of the pants' he wore. He regarded her seriously.

'I'd like to be transferred to the artefacts project. I can report to Harrod; he is the most likely to accept working with me.' Kianna suggested. 'Anat gifted me with her intellectual knowledge before she died so I can be of use there. I think it would be best if we didn't have contact with each other again. It will be difficult for both of us to come to terms with our dealings with Anat as it is without the constant reminder that we each represent for the other.'

Jonas winced but he understood her reasoning. 'I'll process the transfer first thing in the morning.' He promised. He rocked back on his heels. 'I should go.'

Kianna rubbed her upper arms and nodded. She walked with him to the door.

'I'm sorry.' Jonas blurted out. His hand tightened on the door handle. 'I'm just so damned sorry.'

Kianna shook her head, tears suddenly threatening to fall from her eyes. 'Jonas,' she reached up and cupped his cheek, 'her love for you…it saved my life. She saved me because she wanted you to think kindly of her. I owe you my life.'

Jonas reached up and took a gentle hold of her hand. He squeezed it tentatively. 'You don't owe me anything and if there is ever anything you need…'

Kianna withdrew her hand. 'Be well, Jonas.'

'You too.' Jonas allowed himself one final glance and walked away.

Terra fell into position by side as soon as he cleared the door. 'Where to now, sir?'

'The lab.' Jonas said. 'I want to check on the latest data.'

Terra frowned but she followed his order. Within minutes he was transported back to the government building. He dismissed Terra once he was safely inside his lab. It was located in the basement and secure; he didn't need a guard in the room. He knew she would post a guard at the end of the corridor despite that but he was otherwise left alone.

Jonas turned on a small lamp and looked around the space tiredly. The debris of the drilling mission – blueprints, geological information, naquadria information and more – littered the space. He needed to tidy up; get his work environment ordered again…his eyes fell on a small figurine of solid naquadah. Kianna – Anat, he corrected resentfully – had given it to him, claiming she had discovered it in the artefact warehouse. He picked it up again and turned it over in his shaking hands. He had loved it because she had given it to him; now he could barely stand it.

He set it down with a loud thump and lowered his head into his hands. Loneliness shot through him. He missed the SGC; missed the comforting smell of Daniel's books. More, he missed SG1, missed his team so much he physically ached with it. He longed for someone to talk to; someone to comfort him.

How did he even begin to reconcile what had happened with Kianna? How did he forgive himself for his part in her ordeal? He couldn't believe that she had been so forgiving of him. He shook his head and blinked back the sting of tears.

But that wasn't the worst of it, Jonas considered sadly. How did he forgive himself for falling in love with the enemy?

o-O-o

Sam gazed at the grey metal of her locker unseeingly, her mind turned inward to the past. She wasn't aware that someone had entered until she heard the door slam shut behind them and familiar heels clip-clopping across the linoleum.

'Sam.' Janet Fraiser acknowledged her cheerfully. 'You heading home already?'

'I was.' Sam checked her watch and grimaced. She should call and cancel; she wasn't in the mood for a date let alone a blind one with a man she didn't know.

'Was?' Janet questioned, pulling off her white lab coat and systematically rooting through the pockets. Her dark eyes flickered to Sam questioningly.

'I just…' Sam sighed heavily. 'The whole thing with Kianna…' she let her voice trail away rather than explain.

Janet paused. 'It brought back your own experience with Jolinar.'

Sam nodded briskly. 'It's stupid to be upset about it, I know, it's just…I didn't expect it to hit me this hard.'

Janet dropped her lab coat and hurried over. She sat beside Sam and put an arm around her. Sam allowed the comfort. She leaned into her friend with a sigh.

'You're allowed to be upset by this,' Janet began crisply, 'what happened to you wasn't dissimilar to what happened with Kianna.'

'I had hours with Jolinar and for all she took me without permission she didn't abuse me.' Sam pointed out. 'Kianna's had to endure months of possession at the mercy of a Goa'uld.' She shook her head minutely. 'She said the Goa'uld treated her better after falling in love with Jonas.'

'Poor Jonas.' Janet murmured sympathetically.

'I know.' Sam sighed again. 'I told General Hammond we needed to go to Langara to negotiate access to all the new data on the naquadah to naquadria transformation. He's authorised a mission for tomorrow.' She didn't think she was fooling the SGC commander but he was fond of Jonas himself and the naquadria data was valuable.

'Jonas will appreciate that.' Janet tightened her hold a little. 'He's the type to feel immense guilt about what happened with Kianna even if it wasn't his fault.'

'He was already beating himself up about it.' Sam noted. She'd seen it in his eyes before he'd walked through the wormhole back to Langara. 'I think Kianna knew it too; she tried to pretend she didn't remember much.'

'She was protecting him?' Janet questioned curiously. 'I would have thought she wouldn't want anything to do with him.'

'As much as I don't want to admit it, the Goa'uld loved Jonas,' Sam murmured, understanding more than she wanted to thanks to her experience with Jolinar, 'so Kianna loves Jonas too after a fashion.'

'Ah,' Janet said, 'like you and Martouf?' She rubbed Sam's shoulder comfortingly. 'I can see why this has hit you so hard. It's brought back a lot of stuff.'

'Yeah,' Sam said wryly, 'just when I think it's all dealt with and…' she sighed again, 'I haven't had any flashbacks for a long while; haven't dreamed about her or her life since Martouf's death.' She dragged her mind back to the present. 'But I still remember loving Martouf; feeling love for Martouf as though it was my own.'

'So Kianna thinks she loves Jonas.'

'She does in a way.' Sam knew it was difficult to explain and impossible for anyone who had never had a symbiote to understand. 'Mostly I think Kianna is grateful to Jonas.'

'Grateful?' Janet's voice was full of her surprise.

'From what little she told me, the Goa'uld began to change when she fell in love with Jonas.' Sam said simply. 'It was because she loved Jonas that she sacrificed her life and saved Kianna.'

'You know I still can't believe a Goa'uld did that. I mean, a Tok'ra, yes…' Janet cut herself off abruptly.

Sam patted her knee understanding that Janet had probably silenced herself because it brought up Jolinar's sacrifice again. It was a sweet thought. Sam shifted and Janet dropped her arm. 'Thanks for the hug.'

'What are friends for?' Janet said, waving away her gratitude as she walked back over to where she had dumped her lab coat and started changing again. 'Hey, why don't you come back to mine?' She offered. 'I could use the company.'

'You're missing Cassie.' Sam stated with absolute certainty as she opened the locker and began to strip out of her uniform. Cassie had graduated high school a couple of months before. Luckily she'd chosen a local university and was busily settling into college life. It was hard to think of Cassie as being in college; the little girl they'd rescued from Hanka was growing up fast.

'I know she's only down the road but,' Janet sighed heavily, 'house isn't the same without her.' She pulled on a fresh top and gestured toward Sam. 'So, what do you say? Chinese and a bottle of wine?'

Sam bit her lip and took advantage of pulling on her own top to think over her plans for the evening. 'I, uh, have a coffee date in thirty minutes but I could come by after?'

Janet froze in the middle of doing up her pants. She stared at Sam. 'You have a date?'

'Kind of.' Sam wished that she wasn't as fair-skinned as she was; she couldn't hide the blush creeping over her cheeks. She fastened the top button on her jeans and smoothed her hands over her legs to remove the stiffness. 'It's a friend of my brother's. I'm just meeting him to say hi.'

'Oh, a blind date.' Janet crowed gleefully.

Sam slammed her locker door shut and glared at her friend.

'Sorry.' Janet held up her hand and smiled apologetically. 'I promise not to tease you about it too much since you've had a bad day.'

'Actually I was thinking of cancelling.' Sam admitted, shrugging into her denim jacket.

'Oh, no.' Janet wagged a finger at her as she snagged her coat. 'I can't remember the last time you had a date. You don't get to back out of this one.'

Sam sighed and pushed her hands into her pockets. 'I'm not sure I'm in the right frame of mind to do this.'

Janet shut her locker and regarded Sam with a serious expression. 'Look, there's never going to be a perfect time to go on a date, not with everything that happens around here. Go. Have some fun. It's about time you did.'

Sam nodded slowly. Hadn't she told herself the same thing? That it had been too long since she'd dated; too long because she'd allowed herself to be fixated on loving Jack O'Neill, a man she couldn't be with since he was her CO.

She had considered changing that, considered seriously talking with him to see if his feelings for her were simply friendship as she feared, but she'd been unable to follow through. Risking the future of SG1, of the mission, for her own personal desire seemed selfish. She ignored the hard truth that flickered through her head that she was scared; scared to challenge the status quo in case Jack did love her and want to be with her; scared to challenge the status quo in case Jack didn't love her and she would have to learn to live with that.

But she'd realised after her experience on the Prometheus that she wanted to be loved; to have something for herself outside of her work as satisfying as it was. And she'd recently come to the decision that if she couldn't have something attainable with Jack, maybe she could try with someone else.

She felt a little guilty about her decision. She was essentially agreeing to date someone knowing she loved somebody else.

It was just a date though. Nothing serious. Nobody was proposing. She should do what Janet said; have fun. Let herself enjoy a man's company without any expectations and see what happened.

Janet grinned. 'You're going, right?'

'Right.' Sam gave in.

'And then you're coming to mine for dinner so you can tell me about it.' Janet ordered. 'You can cancel whoever was your safety call.'

Sam wasn't quick enough to hide her wince.

Janet glowered at her. 'Tell me you had a safety call set up?'

'He's my brother's friend!' Sam said defensively.

'Who you don't know.' Janet pointed out furiously. 'If it were Cassie…'

'I know, I know.' Sam waved at her, trying to distract her from the lecture she was sure she was about to receive. 'Can we leave? He'll think I'm not turning up if I'm late.'

'Just tell me you are meeting in a public place?' Janet pressed, blocking the door.

'We're meeting at the café down the road from my house.' Sam informed her. 'Now, can we go?'

'We can go.' Janet agreed briskly. 'But you're getting the Mom lecture when we have dinner.'

Sam rolled her eyes but didn't argue. They left the base without any issues, separating to head to their own cars. Thankfully the traffic back into the Springs was light. Sam didn't have to speed much to regain the time she had lost in second guessing herself. She parked the car, checked her light make-up in the rear view mirror and wondered if maybe she should have changed into something a bit sexier. She got out of the car, exasperated by her dithering.

She checked her watch. She was actually five minutes early. She ordered a coffee and took it to an empty window table with two seats. She took out her phone and texted Cassie, reminding her to call Janet and check-in. Sam had barely pressed send on the message when she felt the presence of someone beside her. She looked up.

A man smiled tentatively back at her; blond hair trimmed short, kind eyes and a fair complexion similar to her own. He wasn't Jack, her body didn't shiver at the sight of him, but he was attractive.

'Samantha Carter?' He stuck out his hand. 'Pete Shanahan.'

She shook his hand firmly, remaining seated. 'I take it Mark sent you a photo too?'

Pete's smile shifted into an easy grin. 'Nope; I just headed for the most beautiful woman in the room.'

Sam flushed at the cheesy compliment but smirked back at him. 'Does that line ever work?'

'I figure it's got to one day, right?'

She laughed appreciatively.

Pete's shoulders dropped another inch and he pointed at her coffee. 'You need anything?'

She shook her head.

Pete pointed his thumb at the counter. 'I'll just grab something; be right back.'

Sam watched as he walked away and let out a slow breath. So, OK. He was a little bit goofy but she was kind of charmed. She hid her smile by taking a sip of her coffee. The date might actually be fun. And that was all she was looking for, Sam mused; something fun.

Jack's image darted into her head and she resolutely pushed it out again. She couldn't have him and she couldn't keep pretending that what she did have with him, their friendship, was enough to sustain her need to be loved. She deserved more. Maybe Pete would turn out to be someone she could have that with; maybe he wouldn't, Sam mused, watching her date get his coffee, but she would find out either way.

o-O-o

Daniel watched the three representatives of Langara with amusement. Dreylock, the First Minister of Kelowna, was the most relaxed; Vin Eremal, the Tiranian representative looked nervous as did Lucia Tarthus, the Andori representative. They regarded Jack with apprehension. Jack regarded them back with open dislike.

Daniel wondered absently why Jack was in such a bad mood and immediately answered his own question by glancing at the Langaran Council. He had to admit to some trepidation himself. The last time he had visited he had ended up with dying of severe radiation poisoning, being blamed by the Kelownans for the deaths of their scientists, and ultimately Ascending. It wasn't a comfortable thought.

'Please sit.' Dreylock invited, waving at the opposite end of the long polished conference table.

Daniel pointedly stared at the seat at the head of the table until Jack took it with a disgruntled expression that had Sam ducking her head to hide a smile as she took the seat on Jack's left. Daniel took the one on the right and Teal'c sat beside him.

'You have come to formally propose resuming our treaty negotiations?' Dreylock asked politely.

Jack looked at Daniel pointedly.

'Uh, yes,' Daniel replied, equally polite, although he softened the formality with a smile.

'Given our treatment on your planet, I am not certain such a treaty will be possible.' Tathus said, staring at Jack.

'Hey, we did help save your planet.' Jack retorted, stabbing his finger at her.

'I'm sure,' Daniel jumped in, 'that we would agree that it was a stressful time for everyone, that things were said on both sides that weren't appropriate, and that it would be best to move on?'

'I think we can agree to that.' Dreylock answered before either of the other Langaran Council members could say anything.

'We would also like to ask for access to the data on the naquadah to naquadria transformation process.' Sam leaned forward eagerly.

'Absolutely not.' Emerel declared with a huff.

'I'm sure we can discuss it during negotiation.' Dreylock corrected with a sharp look at the man.

'Excellent.' Jack drawled. 'I'm glad we had this little talk.'

Daniel shot him a look. 'We have a proposal for a schedule of meetings.' He took a folder from his rucksack and handed it to Teal'c.

The Jaffa pushed it down the polished surface and it came to rest in front of Dreylock with a precision Daniel never could have achieved.

Dreylock flipped open the folder and extracted the letter from Hammond. She nodded. 'This is acceptable.' She placed the letter back and closed the folder again. She stood up and everyone hastened to follow her. 'If you'll wait here, I will compose a formal response to send back with you.'

'Actually,' Sam said hurriedly, 'we were hoping to visit with Jonas if it's at all possible?'

Dreylock smiled warmly at her. 'Of course. He's in his lab. Senior Officer Alak will show you the way.'

Sam didn't protest the escort even though Daniel figured she had to know the way to Jonas's lab given how much time she had spent there during the mission to save Langara.

Daniel hoisted his backpack onto his shoulder and followed Sam and Jack out of the formal conference room, Teal'c taking up position behind him. Daniel let his eyes wander around the building as they made their way down a flight of stairs. The upper levels where they had been greeted by the Council were clearly decked out in finery; Stargate operations itself was spartan; the basement was similarly functional.

Alak pointed at a closed door. 'Councillor Quinn is there.'

Sam smiled politely. 'Thank you.' She hurried over to the door and knocked briskly. She entered without waiting for a response.

Jonas looked up from his workbench at their entry, surprise written clearly over his expressive face. 'Hey! I didn't realise you guys were visiting today.'

'Surprise visit.' Jack replied, accepting Jonas's hand and moving into the one-armed man hug that Daniel knew felt as awkward as it looked.

But it didn't stop Daniel from doing the same when it was his turn. Teal'c settled for a forearm clasp.

Sam simply put both arms around Jonas and hugged him tightly for a brief moment before letting go and shifting to stand beside his workstation. 'We wanted to stop by and see how you're doing.'

Jonas attempted a smile but it slid quickly off his face and he gave a helpless shrug. 'Honestly, I don't know.' He slumped back onto his stool. 'I mean, we stopped the planet from exploding which is good, right?'

'I've always thought so.' Jack commented dryly, sprawling over a nearby table, his upper body lowered until it was almost horizontal with the surface.

'Me too.' Daniel offered in agreement, careful to keep his tone light and cheerful.

'How is Kianna Seer, Jonas Quinn?' Teal'c asked, getting straight to the point with a Jaffa directness that had everybody else in the room wincing.

Jonas dropped his gaze and crossed his arms. 'She's OK. She's transferred to another department.'

Sam's face crumpled into sympathetic pity. 'I'm sorry, Jonas.' She placed a hand on his shoulder.

Jonas shook his head. 'She confirmed it was the Goa'uld who I…that I…' he raised his gaze to the ceiling and shook his head again, an embarrassed flush suffusing his face.

'You did not know, Jonas Quinn.' Teal'c murmured in a low voice. He stood beside his friend; hands behind his back, solemnity settling his heavy features into grim lines. 'You have done nothing to dishonour your name.'

'Haven't I?' Jonas squirmed under their regard. 'I fell…I was falling in love with a Goa'uld.'

'So?' Jack shot back almost immediately. 'Daniel had a fling with the Destroyer of Worlds.'

Daniel glared at him but sighed when Jack raised his eyebrows pointedly. 'He's right. I mean, I was messed up because Sha're had just died but I did, kind of, have feelings for…Linea thinking she was someone else.' He gestured out toward Jonas with one hand. 'You can't blame yourself.'

'Before my marriage to Drey'auc I too once dallied with a female slave who I later learned was a spy for Cronus.' Teal'c added.

They all stared at him.

'Really?' Jack asked. He pointed at the Jaffa. 'Why are we only hearing about this now?'

Teal'c lifted his eyebrow. 'My time with Lilliana bore no relevance to our previous discussions, O'Neill.'

Jonas cleared his throat. 'Look, not that I don't appreciate what you're trying to do here…'

'Jonas, it wasn't your fault.' Jack said firmly.

The Kelownan flinched as though he'd been hit but Daniel could see Jonas accept the words, the lines easing out around his mouth. He'd heard from Sam and Teal'c how much Jack's approval and regard meant to Jonas and he knew Jonas believed Jack.

'I genuinely do think she cared about you in her own way.' Sam added quietly.

'Kianna said she loved me.' Jonas sighed heavily and shifted again as though uncomfortable. 'I don't know whether that makes it better or worse.'

'Better, maybe?' Sam offered. 'I think she saved Kianna and helped save Langara because of how she felt for you.'

Jonas lifted a shoulder. 'Maybe, but I'm never going to know for certain, am I?'

'Does it matter?' Jack asked bluntly.

'Jack.' Daniel said, irritated because anyone with eyes could see that Jonas was hurting.

'Daniel.' Jack snapped back at him.

'He's right, Daniel.' Jonas asserted before Daniel could speak again. 'I guess it really doesn't matter how Anat felt about me…'

Anat; Goddess of War, Sister of Ba'al. Daniel made the historical connections instantly.

'…Langara is safe, Kianna is alive.' Jonas's arms tightened around himself. 'It doesn't matter if everything she and I…what I thought we had together was a lie.'

The bitterness had Teal'c glaring at Jack in a way only Teal'c could. But it was Sam's sharp look toward their team leader that had Jack pushing himself up from the table to stand, defensively.

'Jolinar loved Martouf,' Sam said to Jonas quietly, 'and I felt that love even though I was her host for a very short time.'

There was a brief moment of stunned silence. Sam rarely spoke about Martouf.

'Kanan loved Shallen.' Jack said tersely.

They all stared at him in shock. If Sam was reticent, Jack was more so; he never spoke about his time as a Tok'ra host.

'I…I might have felt it too. You know…when I had the snake so…' Jack looked pointedly back at Sam.

'What the Colonel and I are saying is that the symbiotes are capable of love.' Sam gave Jack an approving look before turning back to Jonas. 'If Kianna said Anat loved you; she did.'

Jonas threw Jack another shocked look before he turned to Sam. 'But they were Tok'ra, right?'

'A snake is a snake.' Jack insisted.

Daniel rolled his eyes at that.

Sam sighed with exasperation. 'The difference is a philosophical one more than a biological one, Jonas. They are still the same species. They're just as similar to each other as the Langarans are to humans from Earth.'

'The Goa'uld are capable of love.' Teal'c added. He looked over at Daniel apologetically. 'Apophis was a False God but he was devoted to his Queen.'

Daniel grimaced and pushed his glasses up his nose. 'Teal'c's right.' Daniel might have hated that Apophis had selected Sha're as Ammonet's host but he couldn't deny Teal'c's assertion. 'And Egeria, the founder of the Tok'ra, was a Goa'uld.' He frowned. 'Actually, you know there's never been an explanation for why she rebelled against Ra and took up the cause for willing hosts. I asked Selmak once and he admitted that exact reasons aren't in their genetic memory. He believed that Egeria had erased those memories along with the genetic memory of the Goa'uld she carried when she, uh, literally, spawned the Tok'ra.'

'You think Egeria fell in love.' Jonas realised, gesturing at him. 'You think that's why she rebelled.' He tilted his head and raised his eyebrows as he considered the idea. 'Kianna said that Anat transferred her loyalty from Ba'al to me so I guess it's possible that Egeria went through something similar.'

'It's a thought.' Jack muttered.

'Speaking of Ba'al,' Sam broke in, 'have there been any further transmissions from him?'

Jonas shook his head. 'General Garratt is concerned that Ba'al will come to Langara to find out why Anat hasn't contacted him.'

'I think I may have a solution to that.' Sam offered. 'I think if Kianna is willing, we could record another transmission indicating that Langara is going to worthless, that's she's in danger of being discovered and that she intends to leave.'

'And Ba'al will accept that?' Jonas said sceptically.

'Well, we're also going to tell him through a Tok'ra operative that they caught Anat fleeing Langara and freed her host.' Sam said.

'Ba'al may send another spy but you can use the time to instigate health checks on all scientists and governmental officials.' Daniel suggested. 'We could make giving you the medical equipment you need to do it part of the treaty.'

'Sounds good. I don't think the Council would disagree.' Jonas looked at them all, his gaze sweeping around the room and shook his head again. 'I can't believe you're here. It's been…' he stopped and gestured awkwardly.

Sam rubbed his shoulder comfortingly and Jonas leaned into the touch.

Jack cleared his throat nosily. 'You know you can come back.'

Daniel's eyebrows shot up at the offer as did Teal'c's. They exchanged a surprised look but both quickly hid it from the others.

'That's…' Jonas stopped and cleared his throat, 'I don't even know what to say to that.'

'I believe 'thank you' is traditional, Jonas Quinn.' Teal'c said softly.

The Jaffa's words lightened the mood in the room.

'Thank you.' Jonas obediently parroted with a smile.

'But?' prompted Jack.

'But they need me here right now and I owe them.' Jonas admitted with a grimace. He pushed a hand through his hair. 'Maybe one day in the future?'

'Any time.' Jack confirmed with a hand wave.

There was a sharp rap on the door and Alak poked his head inside. 'The First Minister has her response ready for you.'

'I'll walk with you.' Jonas offered. They stopped by Dreylock's office.

Dreylock smiled at them all and solemnly handed Jack an envelope. 'I hope our two worlds can work together as allies for many years to come, Colonel.'

Jack threw another look at Daniel that he had no problems interpreting.

'I'm sure we will, First Minister.' Daniel said, plucking the letter from Jack's hands with a knowing smile.

'I'm sure Jonas will escort you to the Stargate.' Dreylock turned to Jonas. 'We've called a Council meeting for this afternoon. We'll need you to attend and update us on the drilling mission.'

Jonas nodded but his smile didn't reach his eyes. Daniel didn't blame him, he mused as they made the walk to the Langaran gate room. Dreylock wasn't too bad but the other representatives of the Langaran Council were difficult and it didn't look like Jack facing them with the way they alienated people had had any long term effect now that the danger to their planet had been averted.

The Stargate was dialled quickly and efficiently.

Teal'c clasped Jonas's arm tightly. 'Take care of yourself, Jonas Quinn.'

Jack stepped up to take Teal'c's place. 'Remember; any time.' He reminded Jonas as he moved back.

Daniel shook hands with Jonas warmly. 'Good luck with the Council.'

'I'll need it.' Jonas agreed with a genuine smile.

Sam opened her arms to Jonas and the Kelownan moved into them. Daniel could see the instant Jonas faltered, his control shattering under Sam's comfort; his eyes closed tightly, his body shook and his hands fisted themselves into the back of Sam's jacket. All three of the SG1 men turned away as Sam soothed him, with quiet low words that nobody else could hear. Eventually, Jonas took a deep breath and pulled away from her.

Sam caught his hand in hers. 'Call us if you need anything.'

'I will.' Jonas promised.

'We'll even accept the charges.' Jack quipped.

Jonas smiled, squeezed Sam's hand and stepped back.

Daniel fell into step beside Sam as they walked up to the Stargate and into the waiting wormhole.

General Hammond waited for them at the bottom of the ramp. He always reminded Daniel of the way his foster father would look when he'd waited up for his kids to return after a night out; all fatherly concern and caring.

Daniel handed him the envelope. 'Langara's response to our proposal for the treaty negotiations.'

'Thank you, Doctor Jackson.' Hammond turned to Jack. 'How's Mister Quinn doing?'

Jack glanced at Sam who lifted her eyebrows at him. 'As well as can be expected?' He suggested.

Sam nodded.

'Very well.' Hammond said. 'It's late, people. Head home and we'll debrief properly in the morning, oh-eight-hundred.'

Daniel tried not to groan. He'd always hated the early morning debriefings. He followed the rest of his team to the elevator.

'Your offer to Jonas Quinn was most generous, O'Neill.' Teal'c stated as they all clambered into the elevator.

'He deserves better than that Council.' Jack said defensively, punching the floor button for the infirmary so they could all get their post-mission checks done with.

'I guess I'll be going to Langara to do the negotiations alone?' Daniel asked pointedly. It still smarted that Teal'c and Jack had walked out on the evacuation negotiations.

'No.' Jack's response was immediate. He poked a finger into Daniel's chest. 'You don't get to go anywhere on Langara alone.'

Daniel flushed as he took in the grim determination on all his team-mates' faces. 'You know I'm pretty sure I won't end up…you know, dead again.'

'I'm not taking any chances.' Jack said firmly. 'You go,' he made a moue of distaste, 'we all go.'

'It'll give us an excuse to check in with Jonas anyway.' Sam murmured. She started humming under her breath.

Daniel raised his eyebrows at the humming. The only other times he'd known Sam hum he was certain she'd been kissed the previous day. He darted a look at Teal'c who was regarding Sam with concern. Daniel sneaked a look at Jack and immediately looked away again. Jack looked like he'd been punched in the face.

So it wasn't Jack she'd kissed, Daniel mused with some regret. Sam must have finally decided to stop waiting for something with Jack and to move on with someone else. He couldn't blame her but he guessed it was going to be difficult for Jack regardless of the decisions Sam and Jack had both made not to pursue the feelings they had for each other.

He shot Jack another look as the elevator slid to a halt. His friend wore a mask of indifference that Daniel recognised from the field; it was Jack's first defence. He shook his head sadly as the others walked out silently. God knew Sam deserved someone in her life beyond the team – Daniel could remember the joy of being loved by someone and he wouldn't want Sam to deny herself that. But as he caught sight of Jack's unhappy frown, Daniel only hoped whoever Sam had found was worth who Sam was letting go.

fin
 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
wupospot
Apr. 16th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
Great writing! I want you to follow up to this topic!?!

rachel500
Apr. 18th, 2011 10:25 am (UTC)
Aftershocks is ongoing (there's a series' index on the right hand side) - so there will be a follow up!) Glad you liked it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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