Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate Sg-1 or any of these characters.
the ship, the members of the Natu expedition sat with eyes averted from each
other. Sam was leaning against her father, but she didn't dare look at
him for fear of resurgent memories popping out. She kept remembering the
horrible days that had followed her mother's death and the accusations she had
thrown at her father, blaming him. She also turned her eyes from Martouf
and Jack as recalled Jolinar's love for the former and her own feelings of
having betrayed the latter because of the dead Tok'ra's feelings that felt like
Jack wouldn't face anyone, even though he hadn't seen any of them in his manipulated memories. Charlie's face haunted him, however, and he still didn't like sharing his feelings with anyone more than the barest minimum, which this was not. Though his head knew that technically his son's death was not his fault, he could not absolve himself for having kept a gun in the house. Daniel was the only one present who knew fully the depth of his feelings, but his glimpse of the archeologist's face told him that now was definitely not the time for such a discussion.
Daniel certainly had no plans of speaking with Jack anytime in the near future. Having seen Jack during Apophis's memory control, he wasn't sure what to think anymore. He knew that the colonel was his best friend, despite their rocky beginning, but everything had seemed so real. How could he hold a normal conversation now that Jack had asked him to betray Sha're's son and destroy their world and all their allies by doing so? No, not Jack, he reminded himself. A Goa'uld, a projection of lies. So what did Jack see? But he could not bring himself to ask or even look for signs in Jack's expression or lack thereof.
Martouf was dealing with ghosts of the past in the form of Sam. Apophis had used a Tok'ra device against all of them. And in his case, he had brought in Sam and superimposed a memory of Jolinar. Though he had not betrayed his people, he still saw the look on Sam/Jolinar's face when he had named a planet. She had felt betrayed because of his seeming surrender when she hadn't known the truth. She had sincerely thought he would turn over his people to spare her pain, and she had not been pleased. Sam was a soldier who would rather be tortured or die than reveal a secret that could hurt her people.
Teal'c, Jacob, and Aldwin had problems of their own. Jacob felt guilty that his daughter and the others had been captured and tortured coming to free him. Teal'c had to deal with having had to abandon his friends to Apophis and then the very close call to rescue them which had had to be done very precisely or they would have all died. Aldwin was contemplating friendship which caused these people he was dealing with to get in horrible situations and their trust in each other for rescue, which he had almost prevented.
To everyone's surprise, it was Jack who broke the silence first with a quickly suppressed sob. He jerked his face away when everyone looked up, but could not hide the lone tear running down his cheek. And Daniel knew. As the one Jack had confided in, he knew that the only thing that could bring him to tears was a memory of Charlie, who had accidentally shot himself with his father's gun. In that moment, Daniel completely forgot about Jack/Apophis asking him where the Harcisis was. His friend was hurting and it was up to him to fix it.
All of these thoughts flashed through his head in an instant and then he was moving, shielding Jack from the others with his body and wrapping him in as strong an embrace as his aching body could bear.
"Shh, Jack, remember the good times, remember Christmas, remember fishing at the lake and camping out." Daniel patted his friend's back and searched for more words. Before anymore could come, he heard Jack's hoarse whisper.
"He wanted me to play catch. But I scolded him for playing with a toy gun." He broke off and tried again, "No, I wanted him to play catch but he was mad at me for being late and then I told him not to play with the toy gun. But he said he'd play catch with me if I told him how to contact the Asgaard or what planet had the device to download the knowledge of the Ancients. But I didn't, I wouldn't. Oh, Charlie!"
He broke down completely then, as Daniel pieced together what Jack was talking about. He was near tears himself, seeing his usually stoic friend collapse into tears so completely and publicly. He understood though. "I saw you and you asked where Sha're's child had been sent saying you'd forgotten. You seemed so normal but I couldn't tell you and then I was so mad at you for asking, for being the one who asked." Daniel found himself crying too.
The strain of the past hours and Jack's tale and his own weighed heavily on him all at once and the two friends leaned against each other, needing the support. Sam looked on, struggling to control herself long enough to speak, to purge the hurt.
"I saw you, Dad. Early on when we were trying to figure out how Jolinar escaped I saw the day Mom died and then later on Natu it morphed into you saying you were dying and needed to know Earth's gatecode." She leaned into her father's embrace and broke down, her tears mingling with his. Then she felt more arms around her as Jack and Daniel surrounded her, their cheeks still tearstained. "I-I also saw and felt Jolinar's memories. She was tortured so badly and I could feel it and, and..." She couldn't say anymore but she didn't need to either. They understood; it was enough. Teal'c joined them long enough to lay a comforting hand on her head before returning to driving the ship.
Then they turned as one to the last members of the group. One of the Tok'ra they did not know, and he ducked his head as they eyed him, and mumbled something indiscernible. They ignored him, though, in favor of Martouf, who sighed and then said, "He had Samantha dragged before me but made me see Jolinar. Then he threatened her while asking me where the Tok'ra resistance was located. She begged me not to tell and I lied but she thought I told the truth, as did he. Watching her threatened with Jolinar's face was bad enough but the look in her eyes cut much deeper."
Sam reached a hand out of the pile of family that surrounded her, and Martouf took it. Grasping it tightly like a lifeline, she dragged him into the group hug, which opened to welcome him. Her eyes invited the other as well but he hung back with an ashamed expression.
Taking up his old tone of voice, Jack asked, "What's the problem with you?"
With a sigh, Aldwin capitulated. "Teal'c went back to find help for you. I was sent back with a bomb, which I sent to Natu without letting him warn you. Then I tried to get him to leave and give up on you. He refused and shut me up in here while he evaded enemy fire and then got into position to pick you up."
"Yeah, I got that. But what has you so riled? I'll tell you straight, I would do just about anything to save SG-1--except betray earth. I'll also have you know that I get pretty upset when they do the same for me. But that's how families operate. Maybe we aren't related by blood, but our blood has mingled often enough to make us closer than biology. So I understand your orders and priorities and Teal'c's and I figure there's no real point in griping at either of you for following your natures. So get over here before the mush-fest ends." He smiled as he said it and the other man finally smiled back and joined the group hug.
Jacob spoke up at last. "Family? I can see that you've been a better one for Sam than I've been. But do you think there's room for a biological member in this heart-joined group?"
Jack gave a rare smile. "I think we can make an exception."