VARIEGATED GREY BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
Angst. Drama. Episode Tag.
A Major re-telling of 'Shades of Grey'.
Grey from the perspective of one of the members
of SG-1 who was left in the dark.
I haven't been able to track down an original Part
0 for this one (it's old!) but it was written
some time in early 2001. I think.
of Grey' from another perspective
I've only got myself to blame for this, but I swear, if
ONE more person says 'Hey Tarzan, where's Jane?' to me….
delivers his 'oh so original' jibe and then goes snickering
off with his fellows. Yuck it up, Jar Head. Enjoy it
while it lasts. I'm willing to put up with it, it's for
a good cause, after all.
one is so busy having a go at the newly visible and vulnerable
Doctor Jackson they're quite forgetting about the recent
unpleasantness with Jack O'Neill.
any way I can run interference for Jack and take some of
the heat off is aggravation well earned. I keep them nicely
focussed on hating my guts it will be just that much easier
for Jack to make the transition when he returns.
end I've been making myself uncharacteristically conspicuous
during the past week. Highly visible. Spending my time
hanging out in high traffic areas like the comissary instead
of hiding in my office or down at Sam's or in some other
more solitary place of customary refuge. Not holding back
when it comes to attitude or voicing certain opinions.
Doing my best to look like the affronted jerk with an axe
reactions I've been getting I seem to be doing a fair job.
Which is a good thing on one hand, and a terribly unfortunate
one on the other.
not knowing whom to trust thing. In order to be convincing
on one front, I have to be convincing on ALL fronts. Including
the interactions I have with my teammates. Because there's
simply no way of knowing who's watching. Or listening.
let the act slip. Not for a second. Not even with Sam and
Teal'c. I can't take the risk with Jack's safety. Not
that I think for a minute either one of them are in any
way involved, or they wouldn't be capable of keeping the
secret, but I can't afford to take the chance. I know
myself how hard it's been to act like I suspect nothing.
To maintain the fiction of my belief in Jack's guilt.
The more people involved, the greater the chance one of us
could inadvertently slip, no matter how good our intentions.
not willing to risk it. I'd rather they hated me and thought
I was a disloyal scumbag than set them straight for the
sake of my ego. It can take a little bruising for Jack's
sake. Besides, keeping them in the dark will not only
keep Jack safe, it will protect them, as well. They can't
tell what they don't know. Or be made to suffer for it,
struggling. We had a bad moment on our last mission.
Yesterday. Another rousing afternoon of daisy picking,
only this time, it was soil samples. As expected.
she wanted to talk. I guess what happened on P7B-489 got
her feeling more confident we could still trust each other
in spite of what's happened. Whatever Jack has done,
we're still who we are. She hasn't been saying much to
anyone about her feelings around what's happened with Jack,
and there she was, coming to me finally, opening up.
had to shut her down.
have a choice. Makepeace was there, listening to every
word. Now, while I might trust Sam, I SURE don't trust
him. As a matter of fact, due to who he is and the interesting
tenor of a few of the comments he's let slip he's rapidly
rising to the top of my list of prime suspects for the
mole. With a bullet. So, there was no way I could play
it any way than I did.
to shut down her attempt to try and make sense of everything
and maintain some faith in Jack despite appearances. She
was looking to me to tell her she still could, and I had
to come right back and tell her she was kidding herself.
Jack believed everything he'd said. He really believed
what he did was right and justified. What's more, he'd
do it again, if he had the chance. I should know. I talked
to him. Heard it from the man himself. No one knows Jack
better than me - right? So, she could take it from me,
it wasn't doing her any good to hold out false faith.
knows Jack better than me. That's why she was asking,
looking to me to give her hope and I had to take it all
away from her.
knows Jack better than me...that's why she believed me.
no choice. Not simply because Makepeace was listening,
but because I don't want her doing the same thing I did.
Connecting the dots. Safer for both her and Jack if she
proud of it, but I did it. She'll be hurt and confused
for a little while. I sure know how that feels, and I'm
really sorry she has go through it as well, but it won't
be for long. I'll make it up to her. Honestly, I will.
in the meantime, she's not too happy with me. Again.
isn't talking at all. Not that that's anything unusual.
I haven't got a clue what's going on behind those all-seeing
eyes, but he continues to be the absolute epitome of inscrutable,
unswerving, albeit tacit support. Whatever he's thinking
he's keeping it to himself, being exactly what he always
know whether to be worried, or relieved.
is pretty deserted this time of night. Now the comedians
have cleared out there's only me and a couple of technicians
sitting here, burning the midnight oil over a cup of coffee.
Ugh. It's gotten cold while I've been sitting here contemplating
the latest state of my universe.
little shocked at how hard this isolation is hitting me.
How difficult going it alone is proving to be. It's not
like I've never had to do this before. Not like I've
never been in a situation where I'm the only one watching my
own back. Being on the outside, being the object of
scrutiny and contempt.
familiar territory. This whole thing should be water off
a duck's back. Second nature. No sweat.
case. I feel way too exposed, and far too vulnerable.
For once, being on my own feels painful, unnatural, even.
whole, 'part of something' has come to mean more to me
than I realized. It snuck in and made itself at home in
my psyche when I wasn't looking. I've come to rely on
their support. More than that, it's become part of what
I consider to be 'normal'. Accepting it without questioning
it, it's just the way things are. The way - the way they
part of them has become part of being me, and I don't even
know when it happened. I haven't got a clue when me and
me against the world became me and them, but there it is.
I've grown accustomed to having them in my space. Come
to need them in my life as a requirement for it being worth
living. Needing them. Needing…..needing…..him.
do this right now. Things are hard enough to deal with
already without...complicating them. So... I won't.
Think, think of something else.
feeling like this, alone, cut off, a stranger to my friends
what must - what must HE be feeling...
else, something else. The situation. Okay, that's safe
enough. Where are we now, where do we go from here?
everything seems to be going the way it's supposed to.
The SGC is getting on with it, SG-1 is getting on with it,
Jack O'Neill is rapidly becoming history and Daniel Jackson is
a loud-mouthed jerk.
keeping a close eye on Makepeace. Which hasn't been hard,
seeing as how he's rapidly developing a new taste for my
company. As a matter of fact I'm rather surprised I've
managed to give him the slip for as long as I have. Hopefully
he finally went home or something. I guess I should be
doing the same.
our new leader has managed to work a few things out. He
wants to settle in for the long term as the brightest star
of SG-1, and even he isn't so arrogant as to not be able
to notice a large part of getting the team to play ball
with him has everything to do with how he treats the civilian
component. Hammond has been painfully solicitous of us
over the past week. Of SG-1 in general, and me in particular.
It's been masterfully subtle, but in his own way he's ever
so effectively made it crystal clear I have not only his
ear but also his unqualified support. Not that he's come
out and hit Makepeace over the head with it or anything,
but he's nevertheless made the 'mess with the boy and you'll
deal with me' message plain.
is more than getting if it comes down to a matter of George
having to chose which one of us gets taken off the team
due to any 'irreconcilable differences', it won't be ME.
of a sudden the colonel seems to be seized with this burning
desire to be my new best friend.
I liked it better when he was picking on me. Take a hike.
The position is already filled. As is the other one you're
again, I have to put aside my natural inclination to tell
him to go intercourse himself, not just for the sake of
the smooth functioning of the team, but for the opportunity
his change of attitude will give me to find out a bit more
about how the man's mind works. Discover what he really
thinks and feels about certain matters touching on the recent
actions of Jack O'Neill.
making nice with him turns my stomach.
a week now. A week since I last saw Jack - and spoke to
him. A week since the bad guys looked him up. Something's
up. I don't know how I know this, but I just do. The
same way as I know something's up with Makepeace as well.
The inordinately cheerful mood he's been in today, as well
as his determined overtures towards being my buddy are
all telling me he knows something I don't making him feel
mighty happy and secure.
it's got something to do with Jack, but I don't know how
going to happen. Soon.
This has to be the stupidest idea
in the entire history of stupid ideas. Me. In a bar. With
Makepeace. With alcohol. Alone.
as alone as you can be in a noisy, dark, smoke-filled room
packed with a bunch of rowdy, horny and inebriated men.
Most of whom are looking at you because the star attraction just
happens to be sitting in your lap.
They're - they're lovely. Worth every penny you paid for
them. Now, if you wouldn't mind, would you please get them
out of my face and show them to some other deserving soul.
not be possible to actually DIE from embarrassment, but if
it were, it would be a mercy right about now.
shakes her tawny mane at me, coincidentally setting everything
else aquiver before leaning over in a painfully theatrical
flourish and planting a loud kiss on my flaming cheek. Then
she pinches it, pushes her long, lithe and extremely unclad
body up from my lap. After blowing me a kiss she bounces
back to the stage and……resumes.
still rings with the masculine hoots and hollers accompanying
her every move. I feel so 'special' I wish the ground would
open up and swallow me. I can honestly say this is one particular
'male bonding' ritual Jack and I have never shared, nor have
I ever felt my life was somehow lacking for not having experienced
it with him.
is thumping me on the back, laughing with the unbridled enthusiasm
only booze brings. "Hey GENIUS!" he chortles. "Book Boy!
I think she LIKES you, you lucky dog! Look at his face!
Blushing like a virgin. What's the matter, Doc, don't like
them just fine," I grumble, crossing my arms across my chest
and trying to move away from the hand settling on my shoulder.
"It's just if I happen to find one naked on my lap I'd rather
it be at least partly my idea. And as a rule I don't work
with an audience."
Makepeace thinks this is just the funniest thing he has ever
heard. He roars and thumps me on the back again, so hard
I'm almost sent sprawling onto the table. Ah, I see we've
passed drunken companionable and moved onto sotted, friendly
work with an audience!" he howls. "Yeah, I'll bet you don't!"
He hooks an arm around my shoulder, hauling me abruptly back
until I'm caught in the crook of his arm, staring into his
flushed, leering face.
do you say, Doc?" he jeers. "Do you do 'good work'? Do
getting…….weird. Also not going anywhere near where I want
the conversation to go. I'm here for one reason and one
reason only and it isn't for getting rubbed by the Queen
of the Jungle. Or pawed by one of her fans.
know what made me say that. Not - not like that. It sounds
like I said - but that's not what I meant, because, of course,
it's never been like THAT - I meant WORK, but that's not
what it sounds like because Makepeace wasn't talking about WORK
but - shit!
a little too much to drink myself. That's it. Been trying
to pace myself, but I've overdone it. That's all. Gotta
be more careful.
Makepeace seems to have latched onto the 'Jack' part of my
statement and is oblivious to the context. He's let me go,
gone suddenly somber, is muttering something about heroes
and bleeding hearts.
we're GETTING somewhere!
forward, grasping his beer bottle, then swings it around
as he turns back to me, his fist describing a drunken arc
that nearly takes the bottle accidentally into my face.
Sorry!" he grins. "Guess I've had a little bit too much
Jack's voice in my head giving the ritual response but I
takes a long pull on the bottle, then it's back to me. The
hand on the shoulder is back as well.
sweat it, Doc," he begins in a lower, conspiratorial tone
as he draws me closer. "You'll see. The whole damned bunch
of them are gonna see, one day. Jack's a hero. He's not
afraid to do whatever it takes. He understands we can't let
anyone stop us from protecting ourselves! No one! This is
war, dammit! He knows that! You'll thank him one day. They
all will. You'll see. Ya gotta trust me, I know what I'm
you do. Was pretty positive you did, but now, I know. Thanks.
okay, ya know," he continues to burble, a crafty expression
on his face. "Hammond's letting him go. To 'Eudora.' "
He snorts extravagantly with the smugness of knowing more
than he's saying. "Eudora. Yeah, right. Jack O'Neill is
going to retire off world and spend the rest of his life
porking the natives and going to seed. Jack O'Neill. That's
rich. But Hammond bought it. He's letting Jack go. Tomorrow."
glad Makepeace is as drunk as he is because he's completely
missed how hard that little piece of information has just
hit me. I'm here fishing for minnows and I've just landed
exhilarated and utterly terrified. Eudora clinches it.
What was until now speculation has just been confirmed as
fact. Jack's not going to Eudora to retire. Never in a
million years. When he told me about Laira he said he'd
promised to go back one day. Meant to keep the promise,
but not in the way she'd probably be hoping.
to go back, just to see how she was. How 'they' were, if
there was indeed a 'they'. He owed her that much. And
he wanted me to go with him. I wasn't too sure about that
part, about why, but he was insistent. WE were going back
to Eudora. To see if there was a little Jack O'Neill. Or
I told him I'd go with him. Go anywhere he asked me to go.
Goes without saying. Beats me why he wants me to go with
him THERE, but then the 'why' isn't really important. Jack
wants me to go, I'll go.
why I know if Jack was REALLY going back to 'Eudora' it wouldn't
be without me, and it wouldn't be……to stay.
means he's on his way. Bought his ticket to ride right into
the nest of thieves. He's not going to 'retire'; he's walking
into the lion's den. Tomorrow.
has just set me completely free from one kind of worry and
plunged me knee deep into yet another. Now I don't need
to trouble myself wondering whether or not Jack really is
a thief and a traitor, I only have to worry about him staying
this is much better. Real load off my shoulders, here.
brandishes his bottle at me, indicating I should pick mine
up as well. I comply; he grins foolishly and clanks his
beer loudly against mine.
to Jack O'Neill!" he announces resoundingly, and quite sincerely.
"A fucking Hero! A real American! God bless him!"
something I can certainly drink to. Without reservation
truth, Makepeace. Truer than you know.
him, indeed. And while you're at it, keep him safe.
information was right on the money. Jack's here. He's here.
but not for long. He arrived at the mountain less than ten
minutes ago. Conducted straight to the gateroom by an armed
escort. No stops, no detours, no chats along the way.
to the gate and be gone with you.
are a whole lot less people in the gateroom for his last,
ignominious send off then there have been in the past, welcoming
him back. When he was the returning valiant warrior and
not disgraced and disavowed, walking away into oblivion.
to return. Never allowed to return.
Janet and Hammond are down there with him. No sign of Makepeace.
Still sleeping last night off, I expect. Just as well.
The way I'm feeling about that two-bit traitor I don't even
want him on the same PLANET as Jack. Not fit to breathe
the same air Jack does.
well Makepeace isn't here. Not sure if I could stand to
see him taking bows in the face of Jack's disgrace. Not
sure I could stop myself from…..from…….
It's not hard to make it look like I'm upset. No acting
happening here at all. I'm furious. Seething. Almost homicidal.
I'm not normally given to settling things with my fists but
right now I seriously want to punch something. I'm hugging
myself so tightly I might crack a rib or two, trying to keep
my hands under control. Everyone in the control room is giving
me a wide berth. Not looking at me. Definitely not talking
angry at everything making this whole unjust charade necessary
I'm having a hard time seeing. Watching Jack take that slow,
lone walk up the ramp. Head held high. Shoulders squarely
set in a 'screw you' stance. His friends and comrades in
arms form a line behind him, watching him sorrowfully as
he travels those last few feet up to the gate and out of
their lives - probably forever - and suddenly, achingly,
I wish I could be there as well.
Not just for the sake of the 'act'. But I couldn't be that
close to him and still be able to let him go out there alone.
If I was down there right now I'd blow the whole thing by
doing something stupid like flinging myself into the event
horizon after him, and after everything we've both been through
to get him this far, having the geek screw it up for him
at the last minute 'cause he doesn't want his friend to have
to go out there alone…..
it would be stupid. So I'm not taking any chances. That's
the only reason why I'm not down at the bottom of that ramp
right now. It's got nothing at all to do with the fact I
know there's no way I could look at him and not have him
He'd see nothing. Forget it. Moot point, anyway. He's
all but gone.
him. They're saluting him. He doesn't look back, but somehow
he knows. He pauses, for just a second, but still doesn't
a sudden I have to look away. I can't watch the gate shut
down. The sound of it snapping to silence is bad enough.
I can still hear it ringing inside me as I bolt from the
know where I'm going, but I know it won't be far enough.
There isn't anywhere I can go to escape the terror. The agony
of uncertainty, knowing he's out there, on his way, not bound
for safety as Sam and Teal'c believe, but going alone into
God knows what.
wait. We pray. Sounds like a good idea. Couldn't hurt.
I believe I'll start with the celestial pantheon of the Azani
of P6G-581. Forty-three of them. Not counting Zod, who's
considered a demi-god but who's been picking up in popularity
in the last decade with the merchant class.
see. Azadal, V-nya, Keltiki, Thant. Then comes...Darami.
That's the one. I can work with this. This will keep me
busy. Just have to get the prayers straight, now.
is for Keltiki. The Shirapa...Thant. No, I'm seeking protection.
I should start with the Auvaya. Go straight to Dyrma. The
Guardian. The Auvaya. The petition for protection and intercession
for those in peril afar...
let's make this quick. Carter, Doctor Jackson, run your
tests. Let's see if the intel was right about Naquadah deposits
day, another planet. The intrepid members of SG-1 follow
their fearless leader out into the unknown on their endless
quest for...stuff to put in little bags and bottles. Woo
and dirt and now rocks, oh my. Hate to say it, but I'm getting
a pastoral setting the gate is sitting in. Picturesque.
Prosaic. Pretty. Pleasant.
monotonous, insipid, repetitious, never-ending...
thought I'd ever find myself wishing for a few Jaffa to come
springing up out of the bushes simply to give me something
to do. Something that didn't involve having way too much
time with nothing to do but think. Cerebrate. Cogitate.
Deliberate. Ratiocinate. Ruminate. One, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight….
Sorry, Sam, sorry. Just….never mind, let me get that."
gotten a reading and she nods we should head off to the right.
Hey, why not, it's why we're here. I pick up my end of
the big, black box and trundle off after her like a good
boy. I really could care less what Makepeace says to me
today. He can chew me a new one all he wants, I've quite
lost my taste for the conflict.
come near me since Jack left. Neither, for that matter, have
Sam and Teal'c. We're three walking sacks of raw, seething
grief and there doesn't seem to be any immediate remedy for
what ails us.
put a stop to all of it with a few choice words, but now,
more than ever, my lips have to be sealed. Can't put their
minds at ease, can't share my own worries. Just have to
hold on and wait until this whole thing plays itself out.
is lingering in the clearing. Giving the place a thorough
visual once-over. No reason to suspect he needs to, but,
making sure, that's just what he does. No way anything or
anyone is going to take us unawares, even on a day as seemingly
innocuous and unthreatening as this.
wish him somewhere else right now. Watching someone else's
back. Someone who might need him much, more than we do.
startled by a hand dropping firmly on my shoulder. Makepeace.
Damn, didn't even hear him coming.
what NOW? Doesn't he EVER get tired of being the last thing
anyone wants to see coming at them?
on, Major," he says brusquely to Sam as he begins to haul
me after him. "Doctor Jackson, a word, if you wouldn't mind."
let go of me until he's taken us both out of earshot and
Sam's line of sight. His release is as indelicate as his
invitation to this little tete a tete, and from the way he's
glowering and pacing, he's got something on his mind.
be an interesting change.
not up for another confrontation with him. My cup of woe
just about runneth over, and if he pisses in it one more
time I'm going to drown.
I might have myself a little problem, Doc," he says finally
as he comes to a stop in front of me. Uncomfortably close.
Definitely violating the personal space barrier. I try to
take a step back and find myself up against the trunk of
the tree he's put between us and the others. Here we go
he nods his head slowly, deliberately as he closes the gap
once again. "Big problem."
sorry to hear that." I'm keeping my voice calm, but non-confrontational.
Holding his eye. The menace in his stance and tone is unmistakable.
I'm not going to give him any grief. I just want to get
through this as painlessly as possible. Just want it to
the whole thing to be over.
be a lot sorrier than you know. Depending on what you know."
He grips the trigger guard of his MP-5 and hefts the weapon
between us. So the barrel is resting against my chest.
No mistaking the meaning there.
DO you know, Doc?" he asks softly.
I shake my head and shrug. "Not a damned thing. Clueless,
here. I haven't the foggiest what you're talking about."
were true. Colonel Loose Lips Sink Ships here has worked
out he might have run his mouth a bit indiscreetly while
he was in his cups the other night. Figured out I just might
have guessed he's not exactly what he seems to be.
he's trying to decide whether or not he needs to put a bullet
in my brain in order to protect his cover. Not that he'd
do it here, this very minute, but we both know he won't even
think twice about doing it as soon as he safely could, if
he feels he has to.
getting paranoid and going homicidal on me is the very last
thing I need right now. Enough. Enough. It's just - enough.
I can't deal with this.
can. I can. I can, I can, I'm the frigging little red engine
of I damned well can. Besides, what choice do I have? I'm
the one who had to play Secret Agent Man and get the goods
on the bad guy, can't lay this at anyone's door but mine.
So I guess I'd better stop whining and start dealing with
the consequences of my own stupidity. No damned wonder Jack
didn't want to let me in on what he was planning. I'm doing
such a FINE job of things here on this end. Moron.
how shall we deal with this? What would someone like Makepeace
understand? Got it. Go for the 'I can be bought' option.
What the hell, if Jack can be a thief for the cause, I can
be a whore. It'll make Makepeace happy, it's what he expects.
Just reach down there in the stamina bag and go for it.
One more time, for Jack.
rough universe out here, Doc," Makepeace continues, obviously
not convinced by my heart-felt attempt at feigning ignorance.
"Mighty rough. Things can happen. Accidents…..can happen.
I'd really HATE to see one happen to you."
that makes two of us," I smile at him. "That's why I'm VERY
careful to stay away from places where I don't belong. I
don't need trouble, don't go looking for it, and don't do
or say anything that'll make it come to my house."
me a crooked grin of contempt. "Mr Lilly-Livered Pacifist,
I force myself to smile smugly at him as I continue, "I
don't really know what you're on about and between you and
me, I don't really GIVE a shit, either. What you get up to
is nothing to do with me. I've got my own interests to protect.
I don’t believe in biting the hand that feeds me. Not any
more. I did the 'rebel without a clue thing' four years
ago. Stood up for my 'principles,' and where did it get
me? Out on the street, ruined, disgraced - a laughing stock.
Well, guess who's got the last laugh now? I've got a sweeter
deal now than any of those narrow-minded, self-important
assholes will ever see in their entire lives. Security, respect,
clout, no competition, unlimited budget and manpower, the
ear of a sympathetic general.”
one scores a few points, I see. The geek likes power, does
he? And people who have it? Well, doesn't EVERYONE? This
is almost too easy.
let him know I can be bought in other ways as well.
take home more than you do." I add provocatively.
widen, just a bit. Evidently something he didn't know.
I let it sink in before continuing.
to make trouble - for ANY reason whatsoever - and risk losing
all this? For what? The opportunity to go back out into
the 'real world', to be welcomed back into the loving embrace
of my peers? After the way I left, I turn up after four years
of deadly silence without so much as a paper to my name and
no more proof of my crackpot theories then I had when I left
and they're going to be rolling out the red carpet for me?
I don't see it happening. Do you?”
there, he's almost convinced. I affix him with an earnest
expression, giving it my all.
it. I've developed a taste for Chateubriand. Somehow, the
thought of going back to Kraft Dinner doesn't appeal to me.
If you know what I mean."
That did it. He's starting to chuckle, backing away. He thinks
he's got my number. And it's written in big green letters
on the wall of the men's room. Geek for sale. Daniel Jackson,
whore. Will look the other way for cash and keeping his
high-powered gig. He’s probably checked out my personnel
file, seen enough there of where I came from to make him
wonder if I wouldn't be too keen to go back. Jack once said
a little truth helps a big lie go a very long way.
just told Makepeace everything he's suspected all along about
me is true. Daniel Jackson the so-called 'do the right thing'
guy is really just as much up for grabs as everyone else
at me, moving in again. I try not to flinch as he pats me
lightly on the cheek.
to hear it, pretty boy," he breathes.
that's me. Pretty, all right. Pretty contemptible. Slip
a twenty in my shorts and I'm yours. Like any other good,
hardworking 'professional.' Looks like I do my best work
with an audience after all.
got a mighty pretty face," he continues, still making with
the 'come hither' voice and the hand on the cheek. I'm thinking
I might have just offered him more than I realized. " I'd
hate to have to mess it up. Hate to have to mess YOU up.
I think we might be able to find a reason or two to keep
you around after all. What say we get together later and
- talk...about it?"
a definite 'ten' on the 'omigawd' meter. Fabulous. I've
just gone from the frying pan to the fire. Makepeace is
no longer planning to cut short my dear, young life. No worries
on that score. He doesn't want to KILL me, he wants to...
to hell, now I've saved my neck I've got to worry about saving
my ass. Why don't I EVER see this shit coming before I'm
knee deep in it?
lose your head now, calm down, Daniel, maybe it's not so
bad. At least you know you're not going to be dodging bullets
anymore. As for dodging other things, what are we really
talking here? A couple of days. That's probably it. I
just need to keep him off my back for a couple of days.
Pretty sure it won't be any longer than a few days. Now
Jack's one of the 'Merry Men' he won't waste any time busting
for sure, I definitely want to be there to see the look on
Makepeace's face when Jack O'Neill comes home.
a problem here, DanielJackson?"
low, deep voice booms so abruptly at my side I almost jump
out of my skin. He's rounded the tree and come upon both
of us so unexpectedly. Thank you, Teal'c! Your timing,
as always, is impeccable.
is taken equally unawares. He leaps away from me as if he's
been scalded by my proximity. There's a hint of fear in his
eye, for just a fraction of a second.
Possibly ANOTHER problem, Colonel? How long has Teal'c been
there? How much has he heard? How much does HE know? Whatchaya
gonna do about it? Off him too? See if he comes as cheap?
This day just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it,
hey, I'll cut him some slack. Let's just wrap this up and
go home. Then I'll stick like glue to my buddy the Jaffa
until Jack comes home. I'm…..tired. Who am I kidding?
I passed tired days ago. Running on caffeine and nervous
tension tends to wear after a bit.
no problem at all," I smile at him as I reach out and clasp
his shoulder. Trying NOT to looks as if I'm holding on for
dear life. Which I am. God, I SO am……… "The colonel and
I were just catching up about the other night. He didn't
realize civilians couldn't hold their liquor."
eyebrow shoots so swiftly up his forehead it nearly achieves
escape velocity. Makepeace appears equally surprised.
well," my friend says softly. "If you are sure. I also came
to inform you Major Carter requires your assistance." He
shoots a glance at Makepeace as if daring the man to challenge
means, Doc," Makepeace gestures back toward the clearing.
"If Carter needs help, get going. The sooner we get this
over with, the better. We're pretty much done here, anyway."
go along with that. Definitely done.
through the event horizon to a gateroom filled with marines.
With guns. Lots of guns. Definitely striking an incongruent
note. Not that this isn't a sight which hasn't greeted our
return many times before, but hardly under these circumstances.
It's just - us - coming back on schedule, from doing nothing
more dangerous than getting a concussion from falling over
is waiting for us as we reach the bottom of the ramp. He's
got a strange expression on his face, something hovering
between anticipation and - disappointment. Warning bells
starting to sound rather stringently.
stopped at the bottom of the ramp and quickly, efficiently
relieved of our weapons and equipment. Okay, now I KNOW
home, SG-1," the general says finally. "I apologize for
the rather unorthodox greeting, but if you wouldn't mind,"
he pauses, gesturing toward a group of marines standing in
front of the blast doors, "please join those gentlemen over
at Sam and Teal'c as we walk toward the spot the general
has indicated. They haven't got any more of a clue what's
going on than I do.
is interesting. Teal'c has subtly steered us away from Makepeace.
Bringing us to a stop a noticeable distance from our ersatz
leader before moving to stand behind us like a long, dark,
silent sentinel. Glaring fixedly at the man who has been
clearly designated not 'one' of us, as if daring him to approach.
takes the hint and doesn't chance it. He's looking mighty
worried. Can't imagine why.
had time to recover from the strangeness when the gate begins
to whine with life. Incoming wormhole. Incoming traveler.
horizon explodes into existence before us then settles meekly
back into the soothing pool of blue. I've lost count how
many times I've seen this sight in the last three years.
It's never seemed more beautiful than it does right now.
Hope casts it in an entirely different light. No matter
how irrational that hope might be.
glances up to the technician in the control room, who nods
in lieu of announcing the identity of the impending visitor.
The iris stays open. Whoever's coming, they're anticipated.
Expected. Probably the reason for the way we were received,
and why we've been made to stay here to await the arrival.
Hope gets stronger, and just that much more justified.
No one speaks. All eyes are upon the glowing circle and
the shifting, lambent mysteries it describes.
comes bounding in from the blue. Like he's just burst into
being the second he came through. Incandescent with accomplishment
he skids to a stop, takes in the room in a glance and grins
his satisfaction wider than a mile.
a package for General Hammond," he booms at the commander
in chief of the SGC. "Several, actually." He makes a wide,
sweeping gesture toward the event horizon before stepping
back to slip his arm into the murmuring pool. "When it
absolutely, positively has to get there, O'Neill delivers.
I believe this is exactly what the general ordered, Sir."
there grinning, so full of what he's done he's fairly bursting.
I can't take my eyes off him as his gaze roves restlessly
around us. My chest is burning, aching with a strange tightness
perplexing me until I realize the cause. I'm holding my
breath, unable to draw the next one my body requires as I
wait to see what he seems to be looking for.
afire eyes light on mine, sparking with new intensity at
finding me. For the briefest of instants something utterly
tangible and yet unmistakably nascent arcs between us, but
before it has time to take form or meaning a body hurtles
through the event horizon.
is followed by a rapidly running horde whose entrance into
our midst is the cue to motion for the soldiers who have
until now seemed superfluous. One by one the breathless,
frightened and angry interlopers are intercepted, seized
and efficiently apprehended.
one small band of really un-merry men has been not only located
and relocated, but will be finding precious little to laugh
about for a very long time.
of Jack O'Neill.
standing there, holding the door open as a few more confused
and disoriented stragglers stumble through. He's looking
away from me now, toward the small knot of manacled ex-bandits
he's befriended into their current fate. The elation is
gone from his aspect and manner. Now he seems shuttered,
sad, weary. It's an unguarded moment of weakness he's allowing
himself. Just a split second of letting the mask of bravado
he usually hides behind falter. Not long, but long enough
for one who has eyes to see to understand just how much what
he's had to do has cost him.
second a resonant pang of sympathy aches within me. I hurt
with the same secret pain of knowing, like the man before
me, what was truly paid in sorrow, risk, and regret for what was
gained today. The true scope of the personal cost of the prize.
moment I'm suddenly unsure of whether it's all been worth
it. And I'm wondering if he's thinking the same thing.
arms of authority embrace the last of the bandits; Jack rakes
his arm across the event horizon with a final, defiant flourish
before withdrawing it, thereby at last allowing the gate
to shut down.
can't seem to stop watching him as he begins to walk down
the ramp, a deceptively neutral expression on his face.
His demeanor might be bland, but hie eyes are snapping and
furious; I follow them to the object of his ire.
Still pretending to be one of the good guys. Lending a hand
putting the cuffs on the one of the last souls to come through
the gate. Someone he's supposedly never laid eyes on before
today, and, no, he couldn't REALLY be that stupid, but it
seems he is. He's said the man's name. Called him by name,
for crying out loud.
really IS a Jar Head.
it casual all the way as he comes up behind him. This is
going to be good. "Uh, good job, kids," he comments to the
marines who have rounded up the other 'rustlers.' "Gimme
one of those, will ya?"
Makepeace. Who obligingly, serenely, hands him the requested
pair of plastic manacles. The resulting look of outraged
shock and indignation he wears as Jack uses them on him brings
quite a thrill of savage satisfaction to my soul.
Jack, I needed that.
do you think you're doing? Makepeace blusters. He still
hasn't worked it out. Hope he manages to clue in before
they sentence him.
would be - my job," Jack dryly informs him. After throwing
him a contemptuous look that would have brought shame to
the face of a man three times as guilty, he turns his back
on one who rightly deserves to be so censured and walks over
to join the general.
Sam looking at me, needing to know she has an ally in her
confusion. I'm sure my urgent need for the rest of the picture
will be interpreted as a reciprocation of her bewilderment.
know WHAT has been going on, but now I need to know WHY.
Why and if it was truly necessary for this ending to have
been authored with so much deceit, danger, risk and pain.
If there really was no other way to get from there - to here.
to know if the ends really and truly justified the means.
and gentleman," Hammond intones solemnly, "I am pleased
to announce that you are all under arrest for high crimes
against the United States and its allies."
glance around me at the stunned and furious faces of the
recipients of this piece of information tells me they don't
share Hammond's sentiments. Especially Makepeace. He's
glaring at Jack, his face twisted in a cruel mask of brutality
by an angry, hate-driven snarl. His eyes are as dangerous
as I've ever seen them, and carry in them the implacable
promise Jack's a walking dead man if he has anything to say
on. Your days of being everybody's worst nightmare are now
on the periphery of my awareness I heard the blast doors
opening, but caught up as I am by the display of mutual hatred
flashing between Jack and Makepeace I don't realize the significance
of the sound until she's standing just ahead of me.
High Chancellor Trevel and her aide. Here? Why? Why should
THEY be here? Now? What have the Tollan got to do with
me sharply. I see! I don't know what's going on any more
than you do. However, a quick glance at both Jack and the
general tells me THEY do. Jack in particular seems not at
all surprised to see Trevel. But - how could that be - he'd
have no way of knowing she'd be here, no reason to expect...unless...
piece of the puzzle slides into place with a wrench that
leaves me feeling sick, cold and furious. As I finally understand
what Her Eminence was trying to tell me with her cryptic,
to have to put such a nice guy like you through the wringer
but when you make an omelet, you first have to break a few
eggs. Nothing personal. Cost of doing business.
in on it from the start. Playing me for a sucker on Tollana
before I even opened my mouth. The council chamber, her visit
to the SGC, all that cold, righteous indignation in Hammond's
office, all of it an act. For my benefit. Trevel, Hammond,
Jack, all giving performances worthy of a nod from the Academy.
The leading lady in particular, playing her part to perfection
to an unsuspecting audience of one. Well, isn't that special?
Your Eminence I'll give your tenders of respect the due consideration
they deserve. I'd hate to see how you treat people you DON'T
be given a choice as to whether or not you want to be involved
in subterfuge and double-dealing before you're shoved head
first into the snake pit anyway. Or to be in effect told
you couldn't be trusted to handle yourself properly, so safer
to keep you in the dark.
be too ignorant and naïve to be relied upon to keep a secret
but apparently I'm good enough to be used.
appreciate being a pawn in ANYONE'S game, no matter what
the stakes are. Don't appreciate it at all. Not impressed
with having to treat others the same way because I haven't
stayed conveniently STUPID. Given no choice but to play
by the rules of a game I haven't agreed to.
to get a little angry but my swift rise to boil is aborted
by an explosive comment from Makepeace.
blew it, O'Neill," he snarls. I didn't think it was possible
for him to get any uglier but the raw power of his fury has
stripped away all his defenses, letting everything he truly
is shine through.
a pretty sight.
righteousness personified in the face of his hatred.
think it came off quite nicely, don't you, General?" he says
lightly, with a small smile to the man at his side.
I do." Hammond nods and favours Makepeace with a stony stare
of unending disgust which doesn't even begin to register
on the man still focussed and furious on Jack. Straining
and struggling against the hands holding him fast as he spits
his threats at my friend.
no idea how high up this goes!" he roars. "You've pissed
off the wrong people."
the Tollan, Tok'ra, Asgard, Nox? Those folks?" Jack counters
with a shrug.
have waved off this comment as being not worthy of his concern,
but I haven't. Not that it isn't important to keep our allies
happy, but they're safely out of reach and insulated from
the consequences of what was done to appease them. If there
is hell to pay for what has happened today - they aren't
the ones who will suffer.
than they've had to bear the cost of what it's taken to make
isn't finished. He's still got something to say. I don't
want to hear any more from him. I've already heard too much.
I want to know why it was necessary for Jack to have done
all of this alone.
refuse to give us the things we need to defend ourselves
against the Goa'uld." Makepeace yells. Words I've heard
before. Just as obscene out of his mouth as they were out
need their stuff, Makepeace. But we do need them."
do, Jack, but at what price? At what point do the methods
cease justifying the results? White hats, black hats, if
we all do business the same way, use the same cutthroat tricks
and same 'whatever it takes to get the job done' rules and
the only difference between us is the reason...ideology....
out of here." Hammond says with a disgusted grunt. Couldn't
I've seen and heard has been deeply disturbing. I've got
far more questions than I'm getting answers for. Looks like
I'm not going to get them until I ask a few questions myself.
this to me! Now!
to, ah, clarify this whole past week," I begin, stepping
it. Explain it to me. Admit to all of it. Not just to
me, but to Sam and Teal'c as well.
with the appeal we made on Tollana in which I did a lot of
hard work, by the way,"
it's a very small point and a petty one at that, but it's
still true. Moreover I hope Trevel chokes on it.
it that was all a scam."
it was. You know it was. Tell THEM, now. And most importantly,
tell us WHY.
answers me. This can't be an easy moment for him. He's
done his duty and our side has won the day and he should
be able to feel proud of that fact. While he's glad of the
result he's hardly proud of what it's required him to do and
I can see he wishes he could tell us this. But the put-upon
members of SG-1 aren't the only ones watching him as he does
his best to answer to all of us. Whatever amends he might
wish to make to the three people who've been caught in the
crossfire have be deferred to political correctness and the
rendering of proper respect to the High Chancellor.
break it to them not so gently, this time.
the last two weeks the Asgard and the Tollan approached us
independently of each other with evidence that we were stealing
technology from them."
to the point. Let's hear the rest of it.
The SGC?" Sam says softly in bewilderment.
Sam, the SGC. That's what he's saying. Nice to know your
allies think so highly of you they'd believe you capable
of being thieves. Wouldn't take your WORD you were blameless
of any wrongdoing. Insisted you had to PROVE you were innocent.
getting better and better.
Hammond continues in the same tone, not acknowledging the
disbelief in her voice. "The Asgard, the Tollan and the
Nox were going to sever all ties with us. But we convinced
them the thefts must be the action of a rogue group from
outside the SGC."
them. Again, implying it was not simply a matter of saying
'we didn't do it' and being believed. 'Convinced' means
they originally believed the opposite. Believed the SGC
was a front for interplanetary burglary.
have to wonder why they bothered having dealings with such
a pack of unprincipled felons in the first place. Guess
saving their whole damned planet for them in spite of their
determined attempts to prevent us from doing so wasn't a
good enough character reference. Or a sufficient demonstration
of the nature of our sincerity for a foundation of trust.
a hard time hiding my disappointment in learning how little
our 'friends' really thought of us when Trevel speaks. I
can't see her face but her voice resounds with warm maternal
friendliness as if we are a bunch of wayward children come
lately back into the fold who've just earned a pat on the
head for being good.
that you apprehend them yourselves. You have now regained
We have regained YOUR trust. How can you regain something
you clearly never had in the first place? And while we're
talking trust here, what do you propose to do to regain ours?
set that whole thing up on Tollana in the hopes the mole
would think you were one of them and approach you."
talking to Jack. Still thinking like this was his idea,
and he had some choice about what he was forced to do.
be looking at Jack, but I'm talking to Hammond. And Trevel.
didn't think you could trust us to help."
set this up. He didn't make the conditions. It's not his
fault. But he's the one who's going to get all the blame.
And take all the consequences.
No trust. None in us. All thrown on Jack. Forcing him
to hurt us. Abandon us. Making us BELIEVE he had. Trust
betrayed for the sake of earning trust which should have
already existed. And obviously never did.
have to be like this. Didn't have to be like this at all.
They should have TRUSTED us……
us can hide the signs of our distress any longer. Especially
Jack. Bad enough to have to inflict the wounds the first
time, and now, after everything he's had to do alone he's
standing there having to look into the faces of his friends
and see the pain and confusion he helped put there.
for a job well done.
to assure that your reaction to the colonel's behaviour was
as it should be. And the Asgard insisted that Colonel O'Neill
be the only one involved."
I REALLY wish you hadn't said that. I can almost forgive
being used if it was for the sake of the SGC but the ASGARD!
How DARE they deliberately place him in such danger! Who
the hell do they think they ARE, anyway? Haven't they done
enough to him already?
like me," Jack grins and shrugs extravagantly. Trying to
pass it off as a joke.
funny, Jack. It isn't funny at all. They like you, huh?
Well, they've got a funny way of showing it. Friends like
those, you don't need. All their 'esteem' has gotten you
is a whole bunch more new enemies.
you so much they've put this all on you. When those people
you've 'pissed' off come calling, you're the only one they'll
be looking to settle accounts with. We're in the clear.
Lucky us. Not so lucky you.
ticked off at that whole bunch of little grey 'think they're
better than us we've got more important things to do than
wasting our time helping you out when you've got a problem
but stay by the phone, if we need you, you'll be hearing from
us' bunch of sawed off hypocrites I want to boot them all the
way back to their own galaxy.
there! Who NEEDS you!
will you come with me, Your Eminence?"
Catch you later. Don't forget not to write. And say 'hi'
to the Nox for us, while you're at it.
the Tok'ra kiss us before they fuck us over.
that be make their way toward the exit and then they're gone.
The gateroom is empty of everyone but us. It's just the
four of us.
again. Three extremely honked off people and one recently
rehabilitated hero who is suddenly looking as if he wishes
he were dead.
room, huh, Jack? You don't know the half of it.
to go straight for brazen. Like I ever had any doubt. No
denying the facts, no begging for forgiveness, meet all obstacles
and resistance head on and wrestle it to the ground through
the sheer force of your dynamic personality and bottomless
capacity for bucking the bullshit. Jack O'Neill all the
he says with a light voice, a slightly teasing grin and his
arms open wide as he strides confidently toward us.
stay mad at that? No matter what he's said and done. Bastard,
you knew from the start we all loved you. So confident in
the impeccability of our affection you knew you could afford
to make us hate you.
we should all wring your neck for scaring us like this.
We should. But we won't. And don't you just know that,
glad you're safe, Jack. Whatever else has happened, that's
all that matters. I'll - I'll hold that thought. Focus on
what is, not what's been, or could have been. I'll just
calm down and try to let this go. Sam and Teal'c are doing
it. And they've got far more cause to be angry than I do.
they'll be plenty pissed at me as well, when I tell them
about MY part in all of this.
reaches Sam's side and beams those brown eyes right at her.
She resists for a second, trying to hold her indignation
up as a shield against the O'Neill charm, but she hasn't
a prayer. Within a couple of seconds she's caving, smiling
at him ruefully.
good to have you back, sir," she says with soft, almost shy
Teal'c rumbles deeply from behind me.
you." His gratitude is quiet, the words barely audible.
Deeply relieved. He's missed us more than he will say.
Especially to himself.
at me, waiting for me to proffer my verbal endorsement.
Or at least to acknowledge the fact he's here.
dare say a word because all of a sudden I'm terrified of
what will come out of me. I can barely meet his eyes, which
makes him think I'm angry at him. Not much of a stretch for
him to make that leap in logic; he knows what he said the
last time he spoke to me. Knows how it must have hit me
when I left him. I can't hide a thing from him. Couldn't
then - haven't got a hope now.
angry at him but I have to look away. I can't let him see
what's going on inside until I've had a chance to figure
it out for myself.
him to go away, to let me alone. Just for a little while,
just to give me time to…..
he's calling to me, summoning me with beckoning voice and
gestures. I've moved to his side, feel his hand on the small
of my back drawing me close, moving me forward, walking me
down the hall to a place I'm not ready to go yet.
what he's saying, what he's trying to do and I make noises
of agreement as I only half hear what I'm agreeing to.
want to do this right now. Not here, not with Sam and Teal'c
right there behind us.
stuff I was talking about at my house……. The place was bugged…..I
had to keep up the act."
rapidly, words rough, tone awkward, self-conscious, not wanting
a moment of misunderstanding to exist any longer between
us than is absolutely necessary and yet because our friends
are here he's no more able to say what he really wants to
than I am.
I do. I know you didn't mean it. I know you had no choice.
We don't have to do this right now. It can wait. I'm fine.
Don't worry about it.
worry about me.
the whole friendship thing, the foundation, it's all solid."
- don't say those words right now. Not THOSE ones.
don't worry about it."
Jack. Leave it alone. I mean it.
no I feel kinda……. I do appreciate that you were the one
that came to see if I was okay - that….that means something."
did. Of course it did. You KNOW it did. That's why all of
this worked. You knew that, they knew that, the whole damned
WORLD knew it. Your willingness to cast what it 'meant'
aside was all the proof those bastards needed you were one
of them. When you rejected me, you rejected everything I
stood for. Handed yourself over to them. And I helped you
have gotten you killed, Jack.
clear, so simple, so awful, all at the same time. But there
what I have to do.
no it doesn't."
in his tracks. Astounded. Can't believe what he's heard.
Sure of me, he's SO sure of me, never even entered his mind
to question why I came to him. That there could have been
any other POSSIBLE reason for me to have come to him except
because I cared.
be used to imperil him by anyone ever again. Not even him.
himself on the line for something he believed in. Risked
losing everyone he cared about because people who should
have known better didn't believe in him. Or us.
believe in something. I believe in him. I always have.
I'm just as prepared to pay the price, to fight for what
I believe in, too. Any way I have to.
doubt I can do this. Had a few hard lessons in the last
few days about how to get the job done no matter how down
and dirty you have to get. If I've leaned ANYTHING from
this experience it's this - it doesn't matter HOW you do
it, as long as you do it. By whatever means necessary.
No matter who you hurt.
you have to hurt them in order to keep them safe.
it for me. My turn to return the favour.
HAVE to do this has never been clearer than it is right now.
Now, even after everything he's been through, his first order
of business, the very FIRST thing he has to make sure is
right - is….us. Me. He won't let me go until he knows I'm
okay. It's important to him. I'm important to him.
chink in his armour. His vulnerable spot. That which can
be used against him. The one who matters more to him - than
have that. So I'm going to have to do something about it.
For his sake.
as that. No second thoughts. No matter what it takes, or
what it's going to do to us.
the price I'm paying for him.
ah, we drew straws. I lost."
on his face…..What do you know about that, Jack, this experience
hasn't been a total waste after all. I've picked up a new
learned how to lie well enough to fool even you.
it and turn my back on him. Walk away without a backward
glance. I don't know what Sam and Teal'c have made of what
I've said or how they've decided to play the hand I've just
dealt them. I don't care. I've done what I had to in order
to protect him from the danger I pose to him.
of doing business.
away, passing by a world suddenly leeched bare of colour.
Moving blindly forward through shifting, varying shades of
grey. The colours of unrelenting ambiguity and losses without
gain. I'm painfully aware of the piece of me I've left behind
with him; it keeps pulling at the empty spot inside me, trying
to draw me back. I can't let it. I keep walking.
someday I'll be able to see colours again, too.
to Part Two / On to