Series: Five Things
Prompt: Five Conversations Murray Had
Author's Note: Mentions of Teal'c/Drey'auc, Teal'c/Ishta, implied Sam/Jack. Originally written for sg1-five-things.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.
When O'Neill names him 'Murray' Teal'c understands. They think it's a civilian situation; Teal'c is a not an Earth name and Murray is. He can forgive suddenly being renamed and his father's choice discarded.
When he continues to be called Murray in civilian situations, he asks Daniel Jackson the meaning. After a lengthy explanation only some of which Teal'c manages to follow, he understands one thing; that Murray is the name of a Scottish clan of warriors. He decides Murray is an acceptable pseudonym. Except the next time he is called Murray it is at Daniel Jackson's civilian memorial after his team-mate's unexpected Ascension.
O'Neill calls it a waste of time, Samantha Carter looks heartbroken all over again, and Teal'c hates wearing a false name at an event meant to honour the memory of his Ascended friend.
The service is difficult but the wake afterwards worse. He settles at the bar with a club soda. He's brooding enough that he almost gets taken by surprise when a middle-aged woman with greying brown hair and gold-rimmed glasses sits down next to him.
"I'm Helen Mason." She holds out her hand and Teal'c shakes it. "I'm Daniel's foster mother."
"I am aware," Teal'c confirms, "Daniel Jackson often talks of you." He knows the Masons are the one thing that Daniel regretted leaving behind when he went to Abydos. "I am…Murray."
"They were great. They would have adopted me but Nick never signed off on it."
"I didn't want to worry them when my career imploded and when I got back it got harder to just call and say hi."
But Daniel Jackson had called and Teal'c knows his friend writes, if irregularly, to his foster family, sends them Christmas cards and belated birthday presents.
"You're Murray? Of course you are!" Her face lights up. "He kept calling you T in his letters for a while – he said you had asylum issues that were still being resolved? But then he said someone had nicknamed you Murray and it had stuck so he was going to call you that. And oh, you're just exactly as he described you…"
Teal'c finds it surprising that Daniel Jackson and Helen Mason do not share a blood connection because clearly the ability to talk at length without taking a breath is a family trait.
The bartender slides the glass of wine Helen Mason has ordered across the polished surface before she stops.
"Oh I'm so sorry!" Helen says contritely. "Listen to me go on! Well, you've had to listen, haven't you? I didn't really give you a choice about it. It's just Daniel's told me so much about you, Murray, and…"
"All is well, Helen Mason." Teal'c said, calming her by placing his hand over hers on the bar.
She takes a breath and nods. She picks up her wine and slides off the bar stool to head back into the main room where the wake was situated. "He's going to come back you know. He went missing on a dig before in Egypt and they said he was dead…"
Teal'c vaguely recognises the cover story that had explained Daniel Jackson's absence the year he had spent on Abydos.
"…but he came back. He'll come back this time too." She reaches out and pats his hand, with a sweet smile. "It's been a pleasure meeting you, Murray."
Teal'c nods respectfully. "And you, Helen Mason."
And suddenly it seems appropriate that he is here as Murray; using the name that Daniel Jackson has evidently used to share his friendship with Teal'c with those he cherishes outside of the SGC. He picks up his club soda and follows Helen Mason into the wake.
Teal'c enjoys the rare missions they have on Earth. He revels in the opportunity to see more of the world he has chosen to stand with than simply the base and its immediate environs of Colorado Springs. He particularly enjoys how on this occasion, General Hammond has seen fit to send himself and Jonas Quinn alone to find the missing scientist critical to their attempt to clear O'Neill of shooting Senator Kinsey.
They're flying commercial and his fellow team-mate is agog and enthusiastic. The young girl in the seat across the aisle drops her teddy and Teal'c hands it back to the mother with a small bow.
"Thanks!" The mother is harried but she has a warm smile. "It's never easy travelling with kids. They never seem to stop."
"My son was much the same when he was your daughter's age." Teal'c admits, although he and Drey'auc had always had others around them to help since Teal'c had been First Prime.
"I'm Chelsea." She holds out her hand and Teal'c shakes it gently.
"Murray." He replies.
They chat about children and the perils of parenthood – a universal constant – until the flight is over.
As they disembark the plane and make for their hire car, Jonas sidles up to Teal'c. "So, Murray…"
"It is a name I use in civilian situations."
"Like Clark Kent, right?" Jonas nods. "I get that. Secret identity." He waggles his eyebrows. "Should I…"
"No." Teal'c states firmly.
Teal'c will one day return to Chulak and Murray will not be required any further. Jonas Quinn will stay and make his home on Earth. Jonas needs to use his own name to do that.
Cassandra Fraiser has always unofficially belonged to SG1. Janet Fraiser had loved her, adopted her and raised her; no-one on SG1 would deny that…but Cassandra is also SG1's. She is their reminder that sometimes they do make a difference; that the fight is worth it.
Janet's death has hit all of them hard but unsurprisingly no-one has been hit worse than Cassandra. She's furiously angry with SG1 for not saving her mother; furiously angry with O'Neill for surviving when Janet hasn't; with Samantha Carter for not being in the immediate vicinity to help Janet; with Daniel Jackson for being right there and still not being enough, and with Teal'c…for everything to do with the Goa'uld and the Jaffa that had taken her mother's life.
They've all camped out at Janet's trying to get Cassandra through the worst of her grief. Teal'c thinks they have been failing more than they have been helping. Teal'c sets out to collect her from a local café where she has caught up with her college friends. When she isn't outside waiting, he parks and goes searching for her.
Cassandra is at a table with two other girls, they're laughing and giggly and it takes Teal'c less than a minute to realise they have spiked their tea with something alcoholic. His heart sinks because Cassandra has promised Samantha Carter that she would no longer sneak alcohol and she has broken her promise.
The girl in question squeals and launches herself at Teal'c, hugging him hard before turning back to the redhead and blue-haired girl she's with. "Girls! This is my awesome buddy…"
"Murray," interrupts Teal'c without haste but firmly cutting off Cassandra's indiscretion.
"Murray!" Cassandra beams at him. "Right!"
He takes the girls back to their dorm and Cassandra curls up in the passenger seat as they drive back to the house.
"Murray," Cassandra drawls sleepily, "have you ever wanted to be someone else?"
"I have not." Teal'c says firmly.
Cassandra huffs. "Then, why are you Murray when you're really Teal'c?"
Teal'c has to think about his reply, and surprises himself that he has to think because should not the answer be obvious?
But before he can answer, Cassandra snores and a quick glance confirms that she's asleep. He is left with the unanswered question echoing in his head.
They call him Teal'c of the Tau'ri.
Teal'c stands in the ruins of Dakara and contemplates the truth that Bra'tac has spoken to him; Teal'c is needed to help rebuild the Jaffa; Teal'c is Jaffa.
Or is he?
He knows too well the tension of being pulled between his team and his culture. And he does miss Chulak; the familiarity of his home planet; the surety of knowing how the Jaffa around him are trained, the way of life that he was raised with.
But he is no longer Teal'c of Chulak. Teal'c is beginning to understand that that Teal'c, the First Prime of Apophis, died the day he had saved O'Neill and the others. He's just not certain that Teal'c of the Tau'ri actually exists either. He has tried and failed to live among the Tau'ri as himself. It hadn't been as easy to be Teal'c among the Tau'ri as it was to be Murray.
The thought stays with him all the way back to Earth, through Daniel Jackson once again returning against the odds, through the funeral of Jacob Carter as his ashes are interred at Arlington.
O'Neill immediately absconds with Samantha Carter to Minnesota but Teal'c is content to wait and travel with Daniel Jackson a day later. As a thank you, Daniel Jackson takes Teal'c on a guided tour of Washington, explaining the history and the relevance of the monuments they visit. Teal'c very much enjoys it. It's late when they end up in the Constitution Gardens. Daniel Jackson receives a call, and Teal'c wanders alone to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
A lone man stands in front of it, older than O'Neill, eyes pinned to a certain section further up from where Teal'c's eyes are drawn to one name: Captain James Murray O'Neill.
Teal'c frowns. O'Neill has told him the story of how he had joined the Air Force to honour his late brother's memory after he had been killed in action. He recalls that Jack O'Neill usually likens his lost older brother to Daniel Jackson, not to Teal'c. But there in the full name of the Jimmy talked about so fondly is the truth that O'Neill also considers Teal'c his brother.
Teal'c is truly touched and honoured. He never asked O'Neill the origin of his name; he should have.
"It's something this Wall, isn't it?" The man beside him says.
"It is." Teal'c solemnly agrees.
"I'm Archie. I come every year. I could have been on this Wall." He nods. "There but for the Grace of God."
"I am Murray." Teal'c says.
"Good to meet you, Murray." Archie holds out his hand and Teal'c automatically shakes it, bowing his head a little in respect. "You got family up on there?" He gestures towards the monument.
Teal'c opens his mouth to say no but his dark eyes catch again on the etched name of O'Neill's much loved brother. He thinks of O'Neill, of SG1.
"Yes." He replies instead.
Daniel Jackson's return from the Ori is somewhat anti-climactic once they get home. O'Neill, Samantha Carter and Cameron Mitchell transport down to Washington for meetings with the Pentagon over whether the Ori are dead (unknown), the status of the Orici (unknown) and the additional Ori forces that have come through the Supergate (too many). The rest of them return to the SGC.
Teal'c is the one that drives his friend home once all the tests and checks have been done. Daniel Jackson is grateful that the Air Force has not sold his apartment for once. Teal'c calls in the pizza order on the way and as Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran argue about their choice of toppings, he gets out of the car to pick the order up.
The tomato, garlic and basil scent of the small family pizzeria brightens Teal'c's mood completely and he smiles warmly at Giovanni, the wrinkled old man who owns the shop.
"Murray!" Giovanni gestures for him to wait and goes in the back. A second later he emerges with a large pizza box and a smaller one for Daniel Jackson. "I put extra olives on yours just the way you like it, anchovies on Doctor Jackson's, and more toppings then you know what to do with as requested on the last. Guess they found the Doc again? Miss Cassie said he'd gone missing when she stopped by the other week. That boy goes missing more than he stays still." The old man beams at him. "Guess some of us just have a better sense of where our home is, right, Murray?"
Teal'c thinks of all the times he has questioned where his home is, all of the times he has questioned who he is. He remembers the days when he had returned to the Jaffa, the heat of Dakara and the ways he did not fit. He remembers his return and being enfolded back into the heart of his family; of O'Neill's quiet 'you can come home any time.' He thinks of how he is going to leave the warmth of the pizzeria and climb back into the car Samantha Carter helped him buy; how he will drive the familiar route to Daniel Jackson's apartment; how he will tell Daniel Jackson of Rya'c's latest news, and talk of Bra'tac and Ishta to him but also of Cassandra Fraiser, Jonas Quinn and the Masons.
He smiles again softly as he realises Giovanni is waiting for a reply.
"Indeed," Teal'c confirms.
He is home.
And he is happy to be both Teal'c and Murray.