Daniel Jackson walked around the devastated site of the Ancient device that had almost destroyed Earth. He kneeled in the dust and dirt, unaware that he had mentally clothed himself in the uniform of the SGC. Before his Ascension, he would have been thrilled to have discovered such an artefact; it was an archaeologist's dream. The monument was a symbol of some kind, he mused, although not much was left. Teal'c's son, Rya'c, had done a thorough job of blasting it into smithereens.
Daniel's attention was drawn to the partially intact foundation stone. His incorporeal fingers traced over the words that flowed over the surface. Before his Ascension it would have taken him weeks, potentially months, to translate the writing but his new form afforded him the knowledge that allowed him to read it as easily as English. He rubbed his chin as he looked up and glanced around the crater again. The Ancients hadn't intended the device to be a weapon. It had been a tool to fix defunct Stargates; to renew their energy sources. Samantha Carter would have loved to have examined it or rather to have taken it apart, he mused, missing her presence as he brushed more dust away from the stone.
He remained kneeling in the dirt and continued to check out the markings, keeping one metaphorical ear cocked for trouble. Not that anyone could see him. Daniel was hidden from the eyes of those on the physical plane, and more than that, the planet had been deserted in the wake of the weapon's demise; Daniel was the only living being for miles.
The solitude, and surprisingly the lack of interruption, eventually intruded on his study. He glanced up, almost expecting to see Jack O'Neill about to complain that Daniel was taking too long, or Teal'c standing guard. Daniel shrugged away the lonely shiver, unwilling to acknowledge how much he had come to rely on the companionship of his team-mates, and kept working.
Another hour passed before he stopped.
He sat cross-legged at the edge of the crater and looked into the ruined remains. His findings prompted questions. How had Anubis known about the device? And how had he known it could be used as a weapon to destroy Earth? How had the Goa'uld fixed it? Because the ruins gave clear evidence that the device had been broken and fixed.
A sigh escaped him. For all the knowledge he had gained, there were some things that remained a mystery. The machinations of a power hungry, evil Goa'uld was one of them. Perhaps that was a good thing, Daniel mused with a smile. Still, he couldn't deny that understanding Anubis was probably the first step in...in what?
Daniel frowned deeply.
His new existence had rules and he was just finding his way around them but he didn't think turning up at the SGC every time to warn his friends of the Goa'uld's next move would be in the spirit of non-interference. Frustration filled him for a long moment.
He took a breath and expelled the air in a long whoosh that dispelled the dissatisfaction tensing his being. It was early days he reminded himself. And there were ways around the non-interference rule. He grimaced. He had 'nudged' Bra'tac into remembering the address for the planet. The Jaffa had known it but it had been buried in the recesses of his mind.
Not that his nudge had really done anything to save Earth in the end. Rya'c's action had been too late to save the Earth Stargate but thankfully, Earth had already been saved. Between Jack, Sam, Rodney McKay and Jonas Quinn, they had come up with a plan that had worked. He was pleased about that; he was.
Daniel rolled his eyes.
OK, so maybe he was a little irked to realise that what everyone said was true; no-one was indispensable. He snorted. He had chosen to walk away from his previous life. Of course, at the time, he had believed he could help them as an Ascended being. It hadn't been easy to watch while Earth had hovered at the brink of a disaster with the power to save it within his grasp and yet unable to do anything.
'It's never easy.'
Daniel froze at the voice and turned his head slowly to look at the man who had suddenly appeared beside him. He appeared to be a thirty-something, with blond-streaked hair and kind eyes. Daniel's forehead wrinkled with recognition. He had seen him somewhere before but where? The memory came to him sharp and swift; a surveillance photo of Sam and an alien who had once been an Ascended being when she had been investigated by the NID for hiding said alien in her house.
'Yes.' Orlin smiled at him. 'And you are Daniel.'
Daniel nodded. 'It's, uh, nice to meet you.' He gestured toward Orlin. 'We never got the chance while you were on Earth.' He cleared his throat. 'I want to thank you for what you did.'
Orlin looked at him questioningly.
'Saving Earth; Sam.' Daniel said. 'She would have died without your help.' He pulled a face. It probably wasn't prudent to mention that Sam wouldn't have been in danger either if Orlin hadn't fixated on Sam and had the SGC believing she was nuts.
'I was happy to save her.' Orlin said simply. 'She is very special to me.'
'Right.' It was said with all the wariness of a suspicious brother.
Orlin sighed. 'You must miss her.'
'Very much.' Daniel admitted.
There was silence for a while as they both thought of her.
'Why aren't you watching over Sam?' Daniel asked, giving into his curiosity.
'I would be tempted to interfere to save her.' Orlin admitted. 'And if I did...I fear the next time they will punish Samantha for my transgression.'
Daniel shivered. He hadn't really given Oma's warnings of punishments too much thought but sitting with Orlin, Daniel was reminded that the Others had destroyed Velona as a punishment for Orlin's interference. Would they do the same to Earth, Daniel wondered, if he were to step in one time to save it? It was probably best if he kept his distance from his team-mates for a while. 'So,' he said finally, determined to move the conversation on from Sam, 'you survived the explosion.'
Orlin inclined his head. 'We are difficult to destroy.'
'But you didn't return to mortal form again?' Daniel commented.
'It would have been too difficult to return.' Orlin said, a hint of sadness creeping into his tone. 'It takes years before the power you possess as an Ascended being can be harnessed to revert your energy back into matter.'
'Ah.' Daniel frowned. 'I guess I thought you could do anything once...' he waved at himself, 'you know.'
'In time that is true.' Orlin said. 'I will be able to retake my mortal form again in a few years. I remember what I once was enough to regain my abilities quickly. It will take you longer but one day you will have the knowledge and the power.'
'But until then I can't go back.' Daniel didn't know why it disturbed him that he didn't have the option given he knew he was committed to his Ascension.
'Not without the help of one of the Others.' Orlin qualified.
'The Others.' Daniel's lips twisted. 'Oma mentioned them too.'
'Many will not recognise you.' Orlin confirmed, guessing his question.
'Because I was helped.'
'Many do not recognise me this time for the same reason even though I once achieved it alone.' Orlin smiled at Daniel's faint air of disgust. 'I think you will find many will want to make your acquaintance. You are intriguing, Daniel Jackson.'
Daniel didn't know how to respond to that. It sounded too much like he was the latest freak show on the Ascended plane. He tensed as Orlin suddenly seemed to peer at Daniel intently.
Orlin's gaze shifted to the crater in front of them and the ruins. 'You were studying the device for a long time.'
Daniel caught the hidden question of why and his lips twitched. 'I like studying the past.'
'You learn from it.'
'Yes,' Daniel agreed enthusiastically, 'and that shapes the future.'
'So what did you learn?' Orlin asked, waving across the crater to the ruins.
'That the Ancients never intended for the device to be a weapon.' Daniel murmured. 'Anubis misused it for his own purpose and now the possibility of ever recharging a gate through this device is gone.' He sighed. 'And I learned Anubis knows a lot about Ancient technology. He repaired it before he used it.'
'It worries you.'
'Yes.' Daniel admitted without hesitation. 'It does. He has a mastery of this technology that surpasses the rest of the Goa'uld system lords. If he gets his hands on the right artefacts he could become the most powerful Goa'uld in the galaxy.'
'And Earth would be in danger.'
'Earth is already in danger and we...they do pretty well at saving themselves.' Daniel countered passionately. 'I was thinking of the rest of the galaxy.'
Orlin stared at him again.
'What?' Daniel asked, wondering if he had dirt smudged on his nose.
'I understand now why Oma helped you.' Orlin said, shifting his gaze back to the crater. 'You have a purity of spirit, Daniel.'
'Thank you. I think.' Daniel wondered whether that was better than intriguing.
'It is conceivable that you would have Ascended on your own given time.' Orlin continued, oblivious to Daniel's startled reaction. 'Perhaps that explains...'
'Explains?' prompted Daniel.
Orlin shook his head. 'It is not for me to tell you but for you to learn in your own time.'
Daniel sighed. 'Is this one of those if you instantly know the candlelight is fire the meal was cooked a long time ago things?'
Orlin grinned. 'Exactly.' He looked up at the blue sky. 'Your destiny is in your hands.'
Daniel found himself smiling. 'That sounds so much better than fate even though they essentially mean the same thing.'
'Yet you and I know they really don't. Both have their place.' Orlin noted with a shrug. 'I am glad Oma Ascended you, Daniel.'
'Me too.' Daniel leaned back on his hands and felt the sunlight bathe him in a warm glow. 'Me too.'
He hated Nevada.
How had he forgotten that, Rodney McKay thought crossly. It was too hot and dry and...and hot, damn it. At least Russia had been cold. He shifted nervously in the passenger seat of the jeep and tried to ignore the trickle of sweat traversing its way down his spine. The air conditioning was up high but it didn't seem to be working. His t-shirt was going to be drenched by the time they reached wherever the hell it was that they were heading towards. His underarms were swimming; so much for the all day freshness promised by his deodorant.
McKay frowned and moved position again, easing the seatbelt away from his shoulder. He should have known it had been too good to be true. He had been thrilled in the wake of saving Earth the week before to be offered a new role at Area 51 especially with the programme back up and running. It seemed his efforts had ended his assignment in Russia – something that delighted him. It was only fair that he was recognised, McKay thought with pride. He had helped make the plan work even if it had been a crazy and insane plan.
He almost snorted out loud and only managed to catch himself. Crazy and insane; that seemed to describe Samantha Carter perfectly. Beautiful, crazy and insane, McKay corrected. And she liked him. He didn't stop the self-satisfied smirk that emerged at that thought. Of course, she had also said that she had been more attracted to him when she had disliked him.
His mind was already zipping ahead, formulating the calculation that described her reaction in mathematical terms. There had to be a point at which her like and attraction met, McKay mused. He thought about it for another second and rubbed out the mental equations as though he was wiping chalk off a blackboard. If he was to have any chance with her, attraction was more important than like, McKay thought determinedly, so he didn't need her to like him.
A small voice inside him that protested that he wanted her to like him and he resolutely ignored on it. He figured he could get her to hate him again easily enough. The small voice snippily told him that all he had to do was be himself and he shifted in his seat, uncomfortable this time with his musings rather than the stifling heat.
His inner voice was sounding far too like his sister. That was creepy. He felt a stirring of conscience. He hadn't spoken to Jeannie since he'd called her to let her know he was back in the US and she had told him she was pregnant. Pregnant. What the hell was she thinking? Well, clearly she hadn't been thinking. And what was worse was that she had dropped out of academia intent on having it.
'I want to be a Mom.'
A stay-at-home Mom; McKay shuddered. It was a phase. She'd come to her senses once the morning sickness kicked in. Or was she already having morning sickness; he'd forgotten to ask but then he had been too busy yelling at her. His pesky conscience poked at him again. Maybe shouting hadn't helped but, damn it, she was his sister and some idiot had knocked her up and her life was over. He was entitled to be upset.
It was such a waste.
She was brilliant.
Better than him, the small voice whispered again. His jaw tensed. Not better, just...different. Like him and Sam. She'd expect him to apologise, McKay mused; Jeannie not Sam. Jeannie was like that. Well, not this time. He had been perfectly right calling her stupid and, maybe the word dumb had been used once or twice, in between deriding her life choices. He squirmed on the seat. So, he had been a little harsh but she'd get over it once she came to her senses.
He sighed and glanced out at the scenery before turning back to look at his driver. What was his name again...Murton...Murry...ah, Murphy. The Captain in charge of ground control during the flights of the X302. Murphy seemed completely oblivious to the surrounding desert and the building heat in the car.
McKay looked at the exposed skin on his own forearms – he had worn a t-shirt proclaiming his genius that morning – and frowned.
Were they pink?
Was he burning?
Of course he was burning. He had very sensitive skin and they were being boiled alive. Why hadn't he remembered his homemade sun-cream? He needed to get out of the sun; how much longer was it going to be? He opened his mouth.
'Don't worry, Doctor McKay,' Murphy said almost as though he'd anticipated the question, 'we're almost there.'
'You said that half an hour ago.' McKay muttered. He subsided though, gazing out at the unrelenting view.
He had been excited when he'd reported for duty at Area 51. He was going to get to play with the naquadria and possibly the X302 glider, not to mention half a dozen other alien technologies that the Stargate programme had just uncovered. More, he was back in the US where he didn't have to struggle to speak Russian or suffer the cuisine or deal with the incompetence of his Russian lab assistants. He would miss sparring with Svetlana Markov but he figured he could do that equally well separated by a continent and especially now he could crow about technology she wouldn't have access to at all. So, although he didn't really want to admit it, he had been looking forward to starting work that morning. Only he had arrived to find he had no lab at all; no lab assistants; no assignments. It had been a relief when Murphy had shown up and offered to take him to see something with the fatal words 'Major Carter thought you might want to take a look at this project.'
It was probably something dull. Something she had turned down because it was in the middle of Nowhere, USA. She had probably thought of it to punish him for coming back from Russia. Or burning her hand. Not that he had burned her hand exactly but it had been his plan that had resulted in her burning her hand. She had said she liked him – OK, not in those words – but she had kissed him – on the cheek – but a kiss was a kiss and...and the point was that if she liked him, it couldn't be bad, could it?
His eyes narrowed on a spot in the distance. Was that a building? Please let it be a building, he begged silently.
'That's our destination.' Murphy confirmed. 'It should only take ten more minutes and we'll be there.' He tapped the steering wheel. 'Of course, we're still technically in Area 51.'
'We are?' McKay frowned. 'We've been driving for hours.'
'Forty minutes.' Murphy corrected.
'Really?' McKay stared at the clock on the dash. It felt like he'd been locked in the jeep for an eternity. He put a hand up to the air vent and sulked when only a thin puff of cold hit his fingers.
'Sorry. The AC must be out.'
Murphy sounded far too cheerful, McKay thought grumpily. He was obviously inhuman. How he could sit there in his uniform and not sweat? The thought kept McKay's fertile mind occupied until they reached a chain link fence guarded by an armed soldier. They were waved through and McKay gave a sigh of relief as they pulled up in front of the building.
Murphy indicated for him to get out and McKay struggled for a moment with the door before he got his feet on the ground. He adjusted his satchel on his shoulder and followed the Captain through the door and into...an elevator?
'We're going down?' McKay asked sharply.
'Yes.' Murphy nodded. 'Several hundred feet.'
Why did the Air Force have to build everything underground? Didn't they worry about things collapsing on top of them? And wasn't it weird given they were the Air Force? McKay's nose wrinkled as a sudden whiff of stale sweat hit his nostrils. Was that him? He looked up at the ceiling and pretended he hadn't noticed anything unusual. The elevator slid to a halt and Murphy led the way out onto a metal walkway. McKay looked up and stopped.
Holy crap. The words resounded loudly through his head as his jaw literally dropped. McKay snapped his mouth shut.
It was a spaceship.
They were building a spaceship.
A real one.
'Wow.' McKay couldn't take it in. His insides were doing some kind of jumpy thing which had him all but vibrating with repressed energy. 'This is incredible.' He pointed a shaking finger at Murphy. 'This is insane but incredible.'
Murphy smiled smugly. 'Doctor McKay, this is Project Prometheus.'
'Prometheus?' McKay managed to stutter out.
'Otherwise known as the X303.' Murphy began to lead the way onto the vessel. 'It's designed to be Earth's primary interstellar space craft.'
Craft? What happened to ship? Air Force, McKay reminded himself. His head was whipping side to side so fast he was certain he was going to have whiplash. It was just too much to take in.
'Major Carter did the initial design...'
Of course she had, McKay thought grumpily.
'...but we like to think we've added to it.' Murphy grinned over his shoulder as they stepped onto the craft. He kept a solid pace as he led the way to the engine room, describing various systems and design points as he went. McKay only half-listened to him, too in awe of what he was seeing to pay attention.
'...and we're hoping to get some additional technology from the Goa'uld mothership.'
McKay snapped back to Murphy. 'What Goa'uld mothership?'
'Deep space picked it up yesterday.' Murphy informed him briskly.
McKay halted forcing Murphy to stop. 'You're telling me there is a Goa'uld mothership on its way here? As in to Earth here? Now?'
Murphy nodded, a wary note entering his gaze.
'And you're not worried?' McKay was barely aware of his voice becoming something of a squeak. 'Shouldn't you be doing something?' He demanded, gesturing wildly, 'like, I don't know, planning a counter-attack?'
'SG1 are already en route to take a look.' Murphy said calmly. 'Until then we don't really have any other information and all preparations for a counter-attack should one be required are in hand. In the meantime, we have a job to do.'
'Right.' McKay followed as Murphy continued down the corridor. How could anyone work when the world might end at any moment, McKay mused desperately. How could they just ignore it and...Sam. Sam was part of SG1. God, she was going to take a look at the Goa'uld mothership! She would probably infiltrate it with some nutty plan and SG1 would save the world again. So nothing to worry about it.
He wasn't jealous.
OK, so maybe a little. It was a Goa'uld mothership with lots of cool stuff inside it.
'They really should have taken a scientist.' McKay said out loud. 'I mean, apart from Major Carter.'
McKay's eyebrows shot up. 'Who?' He demanded. And why the hell hadn't he been chosen? Not that he wanted to risk his life on foolish plans to save the world, or risk his life at all, but he was the foremost expert on Goa'uld technology – except for Sam.
McKay snorted and ignored the questioning look Murphy sent him. Friesen was a tool. An incompetent tool who wouldn't be able to find his own...they entered the engine room for the second time that day McKay's mouth fell open.
Murphy nodded proudly as though he was a house owner showing a prospective buyer. 'Major Carter thought you might want to work on this.'
McKay almost clapped his hands together. Who cared about crappy little gliders when this was around? It was a perfect assignment for him – if the world didn't get blown to bits in the near future by the Goa'uld mothership.
Sam really did like him, McKay thought gleefully.
'I'd like you to meet Sergeants Toby and Patel. They head the engineering team you'll be working with.' Murphy introduced the two men in matching green jumpsuits working at what McKay assumed would be the engine controls.
McKay barely nodded an acknowledgement, branding them Number One and Two respectively.
Toby approached Murphy and handed him a bulky folder.
'Thank you, Sergeant.' Murphy offered it to McKay. 'I had the team pull together all the relevant documentation to date; designs, tests, etc.'
McKay all but snatched the folder out of Murphy's hands and began to flip through it. 'No,' he muttered as he ripped a page out, screwed it up and tossed it aside, 'this is wrong; all wrong.' His eyes skipped over equations and calculations. 'This could work but...no.' Another page was tossed to the floor.
Murphy cleared his throat. 'So I'll leave you to it?'
McKay heard noise and not actual words. 'Hnmph.' He was oblivious to the exchange of looks between the Air Force personnel as Murphy departed and the Sergeants resumed their work. His mind was too busy building the engine to the X303.
His first SG1 mission.
The smile that Jonas Quinn had managed to contain as he had stepped into the wormhole on Earth bubbled up and broke free as he stepped out onto an alien planet. His gaze travelled over the desert environment before they settled on his team greeting Jacob Carter.
It seemed incredible to Jonas that his dream had actually come true. He was a member of SG1. He had thought his impassioned plea to Colonel O'Neill to give him a chance had been summarily dismissed; the closing elevator doors symbolic. It had been a shock when he'd gone to see General Hammond and been told by the SGC commander, and the Colonel who had been present, that he was being reassigned to SG1 effective immediately.
The past few days had been a blur of training; self-defence and fighting with Teal'c, and shooting practice with Sam. The Colonel had kept a low profile but he had always been there in the background watching Jonas's performance. He figured he still had a lot to prove to Jack O'Neill. He had enjoyed it but he had been thrilled when his latest session had been cut short because of the approaching Goa'uld mothership.
Everyone was worried. He could tell that beneath the facade of professionalism and bravado. They had just narrowly escaped Anubis's last attempt to destroy Earth, and another attempt so soon after the last seemed too much to contemplate especially as the programme had almost ended almost a week before. It had only been an incredibly ambitious plan and the Colonel's bravery in flying the X302 glider that had saved the planet.
'...and this is Jonas Quinn.'
The Colonel's voice intruded on Jonas's daydreaming and he quickly turned back to realise he was being introduced to Sam's father.
'Jonas,' Jack waved at Jacob, 'Jacob Carter and Selmak.'
'It's an honour.' Jonas said formally. He held out a hand and Jacob shook it firmly. He really hoped he'd get a chance to talk to Selmak at some point. A Tok'ra symbiote who'd lived thousands of years? Fascinating.
Jacob looked over at the Colonel. 'We'd better get moving if we're to get there any time before that ship gets to Earth.' He jerked his head toward the cargo ship. 'Major Davis and Doctor Friesen are already aboard.'
Jack gestured at him and smirked. 'Lead on.'
Jonas wondered at the hesitant look Jacob shot his daughter before the Tok'ra liaison moved, walking swiftly toward the ship. They followed after him, Jonas gazing goggle-eyed at the vast red cliffs around them. It looked as though they had been chiselled out by some kind of technology than natural phenomenon. It was amazing. He entered the cargo ship backwards, turned around and mouthed the word 'wow.' He didn't catch the indulgent smile that curved Sam's lips nor at the way the Colonel rolled his eyes at him. Jacob and Teal'c took the front seats; they would fly the ship and Jonas hovered uncertainly.
'We're settling in the back here.' Sam nudged him in the right direction, pointing out the bathroom just off to the side.
Jonas took in the pallets already laid out as Davis and Friesen waved an acknowledgement at him. They had claimed two of the pallets, the Colonel sat down on another and Sam took the one beside him, leaving Jonas the remaining pallet beside her. Jonas dumped his rucksack on top of it and stood, glancing back at the open doorway to the cockpit. Maybe he could just...
'Get some sleep, Jonas.' The Colonel's order drifted sharply across the cargo hold. 'It's going to be a long journey.'
He nodded, trying to hide his disappointment and sat down. He followed the others and laid flat on the pallet. He closed his eyes. Beneath him he could feel the steady vibrations of the ship's engines and felt an almost unnoticeable tug as it entered hyperspace. It was unlikely that he was going to sleep, Jonas thought wryly; he felt like it was the evening before his barvha – the Kelownan ceremony that marked the passage of a boy to a man. It was all just too new; too exciting. Still, he kept silent with his body relaxed on the pallet so he wouldn't disturb the others.
Jonas wondered again why the Colonel had acquiesced to his joining the team. There was a rumour that he had only been chosen to prevent the Colonel from being forced to accept a Russian as the fourth member. Jonas's mouth firmed into a thin line. It wasn't the reason he wanted but in the end what mattered was that he had got his chance. He had to make the most of it and prove to the Colonel that he could make a difference...
Voices startled Jonas back into awareness, his head jerking up before he got his bearings and relaxed. He must have dozed off after all, he realised with some amusement. He settled back and tried to regain the drowsy oblivion, tried to block out the murmur of conversation drifting through the doorway. He stopped when he caught his own name and shifted instead to gain a better position to listen.
'...I'm just surprised at Jack's choice.' Jacob said to Teal'c. 'It's not as though the Air Force doesn't have plenty candidates.'
'Do you believe Jonas Quinn should be disqualified because he is an alien?' Teal'c asked.
'That's not what I'm saying, Teal'c, but I struggle to understand what he brings to the table.'
'He reminds me of Daniel Jackson,' Teal'c replied, 'perhaps the same is true for O'Neill.'
'He doesn't have the same skills as Daniel or any of the same knowledge.' Jacob argued.
'Jonas Quinn may not be Daniel Jackson but he has many skills of his own that may prove useful.' The rebuke was mild but firm.
'I would have thought he would have reminded you all of what happened to Daniel too much.' Jacob said finally.
The observation had Jonas flinching inwardly. He did remind them. He knew it. He could see it in the shadow in Sam's eyes; the wary mask that guarded the Colonel's when they looked at him. Perhaps he shouldn't have pushed so hard to be part of the team if it caused them so much pain.
'Jonas Quinn is not responsible for Daniel Jackson's Ascension.' Teal'c said. 'I believe he deserves the opportunity to fight the Goa'uld as he desires. Major Carter informed me she expressed a similar sentiment to O'Neill.'
His friend's support of him and the surprising comment about Sam warmed Jonas from the inside. He hadn't realised the Major had spoken up in support of him. During his one conversation with her, she had been embarrassingly blunt about his chances being close to non-existent. In truth he had known it already but it had stung even if he had tried to cover it up. Jacob was right; it really made no sense that the Colonel had chosen him. It looked as though the rumours were true. Jonas closed his eyes again.
'How's Sam doing?'
The question was delivered casually but the underlying tension gave away that Jacob was anxious for the answer.
'She continues to mourn Daniel Jackson's loss deeply.' Teal'c replied. 'As do we all.'
'I should have stayed with her.' Jacob sighed.
Jonas knew he should stop listening. Clearly Jacob was confiding in the Jaffa and he probably would be less than impressed to know Jonas had eavesdropped. But the comment explained the frisson of tension, the slight chill, between father and daughter.
'It is not always easy to make the right decision as a parent.' Teal'c murmured in response to Jacob's comment.
Jacob gave a huff of laughter. 'That's too true, Teal'c.'
'Yet even in anger, a child continues to desire their parent's love and approval.' Teal'c continued. 'I have recently learned the truth of this.'
'I heard what Rya'c did.' Jacob replied. 'You must be very proud.'
'Indeed.' Teal'c's pride coated the single word and brought another smile to Jonas's face.
'Selmak and I would like to offer our condolences on the loss of Drey'auc.' Jacob said solemnly.
'She died with honour.' Grief coloured the words and tone, Jonas realised. He hadn't even known Teal'c had been married or that he'd had a child before Teal'c's departure on the news of Drey'auc's illness. It reminded him that he still had a lot to learn about his new friend.
The silence stretched on. Jonas opened his eyes and moved slowly into a sitting position. He checked the others were sleeping and reached into his rucksack. He pulled out an empty notebook, opened it to the blank first page and began to write.
'What are you doing?' Sam's voice whispered across the short space between their pallets.
'Sorry.' Jonas said quickly, keeping his voice low. 'I didn't mean to wake you.'
'I was awake.' Sam waved away his apology and he wondered for a moment how much of Teal'c's and Jacob's conversation she had overheard. She gestured again at the notebook.
Jonas lifted it an inch. 'I, uh, I thought I'd keep a journal like Doctor Jackson. Keep up the tradition.' He didn't miss the gleam of pain in her blue eyes as she nodded in understanding.
'I'm going to check on the engines.' Sam murmured, getting off the pallet in a move that was swift and silent.
He hesitated to follow her as she left despite his innate curiosity about the engines screaming at him to do so.
She probably wanted some space.
Jonas tapped the top of the notebook thoughtfully and set it aside as he got to his feet, unaware of the wary brown eyes of his CO that watched him traverse the hold.
Sam was already bent over the glowing crystals as he approached. She glanced up at him quizzically. 'Jonas.' She frowned. 'Was there something you needed?'
'No, not exactly.' Jonas crossed his arms and struggled to begin. 'I wanted to thank you.' He gestured at her. 'For speaking with the Colonel.'
Her eyes widened at his words before she shrugged. 'The Colonel came to his decision on his own, Jonas.'
'But I know he values your opinion.' Jonas countered. He leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the open crystal tray to Sam. 'I'll be pleased if he comes to value mine half as much as he does yours.' He winced as the words came out a lot more wistful than he had intended.
'It just takes time to win his trust.' Sam comforted him as she adjusted a crystal.
'Maybe you could just tell me how I start.' Jonas rejoined with a hesitant smile.
Sam smiled back at him sympathetically but didn't answer the question. Jonas gave a nod; apparently it was something he was going to have to work out for himself.
'Do you know why he agreed to let me join?' Jonas asked impulsively. He took in her startled expression and hurried to explain. 'It's just I heard rumours...'
'Jonas,' Sam reached across the crystals and touched his arm, 'I don't know why the Colonel assigned you but I do know you shouldn't listen to rumours.'
Jonas nodded but he knew it was easier said than done. 'I know my being part of the team can't be easy for you and...'
'Jonas.' Sam said sharply. She removed her hand, her gaze dropping to the crystals. 'It wasn't your fault Daniel left.'
'He'll be back.' Jonas said without thinking.
Sam's head snapped up. 'You really believe that?'
Jonas nodded. 'Sure. I mean, I read all of his journals, and if I cared for anyone back on Kelowna the way he cared for you guys, I'm not sure I would have ever left.'
Her fingers traced over a crystal delicately. 'You're the first person to even acknowledge that he might come back one day.' She gave a sad grimace. 'Everyone else thinks he's gone for good.'
'Maybe that's what they think but not what they hope.' Jonas suggested. A quiet descended between them; it wasn't quite peaceful and companionable but it hinted at what could be if they became friends one day.
Jonas pushed off the wall and gestured awkwardly back towards the main hold. 'I should, uh, go and...' he took a couple of steps away.
He looked back at her.
Sam lifted a hand from the crystal tray and smiled softly, her features lit up with the glow of the crystals. 'Welcome to SG1.'
Jonas didn't even try to stop the grin that spread across his face.