Written by: Lonie
Summary: Daniel's life dramatically changes when he gets an unexpected surprise
Spoilers: The Curse, with references to Absolute Power and Stargate the movie
Series/Sequel: #1 in the Footsteps series
Category: Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Warning: Mild Language
Rated: PG to PG-13
Author's Notes: This fic (which was once a one shot, but due to popular demand, is now a series) has undergone a slight revision in order to be continued. ;)
Stargate Sg-1 and it's characters, back story, dialog, and images contained within these pages are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, Showtime/Viacom, and The SciFi Channel. I ask that you please respect the legal ownership rights of the companies involved. These stories are for entertainment purposes only and absolutely no money was earned nor distributed. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and stories are the property of the author. These stories may not be posted else where without the consent or agreement of the author. I ask that you please respect and abide by my wishes. Thank You!
Daniel stood near the parks entrance with a piece of white paper flapping slightly in his hands, while Jack leaned against a tree with his hands buried deep in the pockets of his leather jacket. Motioning for Jack to remain were he was, Daniel hastily folded the piece of paper and stuffed it into his pants pocket. Slowly, he made his way over to two figures sitting and talking on a lone bench between two tall thick trees, whose branches intertwined with one another. The two figures quiet conversation ended as the crushing of dried fallen leaves and twigs alerted them to Daniel's presence.
Smiling shyly as two pairs of eyes stared at him, Daniel quickened his pace and stopped near the end of the bench just as the pair stood up. Taking a finger to push his sunglasses back up his face, he buried his hands in his pants pockets, tilted his head curiously and said, "Hello Stephen."
Stephen nodded his head as he lifted up his tan colored sports coat from the bench, "Hello Daniel." He motioned for Daniel to take a seat next to him as he sat back down, tossing the sports coat over his thighs. "I see you made good timing."
"Your message said that it was urgent," he answered, removing his sunglasses and placing them in his jackets inner pocket. He stole a glance at the silent figure staring at him warily from the other side of Stephen.
"Yes, it is an urgent matter," Stephen stated, sounding weary as he leaned against the back of the bench and readjusted the sports coat. He looked at the silent nervous figure sitting to his right briefly, before turning his gaze to Daniel. "I just don't get it."
Daniel furrowed his brow in confusion as he looked at Stephen, "What don't you get?"
Bowing his head and closing his eyes, Stephen used his index finger and thumb to pinch the bridge of his nose while emitting a heavy frustrated sigh. "What it is that you have that I don't?"
"I'm sorry Stephen but... I'm not following."
Stephen turned angry eyes on Daniel and snapped out, "Why is it, that everything I do seems to lead to me attempting to fill your shoes, and failing miserably?"
"Look Stephen," Daniel said while standing up. "I came here because I thought you had something urgent to say to me, not have you vent your frustration out on me about Professor..." pausing to take a deep breath as sorrow filled him, he shook his head sadly and turned to walk away, only to stop as a nervous quiet voice said, "Don't go." Turning around, Daniel stared curiously at the figure now standing near the bench. Tilting his head, he asked," And who might you be?" When his only answer was the lowering of a head and twiddling thumbs, he turned his gaze to Stephen. "Stephen?"
"You were my family you know," Stephen stated tiredly, ignoring Daniel's inquiry while staring off in the distance, the earlier anger gone from his voice. "You weren't just my best friend, but..." he paused, turning his gaze to Daniel. "...but, you were also like my older brother." He bowed his head as he leaned forward to rest his elbows on his thighs. "I looked up to you. I envied you. Everything I did back then was so I could one day become just like you. I wanted to be just like you," he stopped as his throat caught suddenly. Taking a moment to breathe deeply, he lifted slightly watery angry eyes to Daniel and snarled, "And when what happen to you happened, I willingly stepped up to the plate."
He dropped his gaze to the ground and clasped his hands together, "It just wasn't enough. Everything I did, everything I worked so hard to accomplish, everything..." he paused to take a deep breath. "I wasn't you. I could never be you." He turned sad pain filled eyes to Daniel, "And no matter how good I was, how well I could do the tasks presented to me after you disappeared, I could never... never be who everyone wanted. I could never be Dr. Daniel Jackson."
Lowering his head again, he let out a half laugh half sigh, "He thought of you as his son, you know. Yeah, he had children of his own, but it was you who understood him and his world of archaeology better than anyone. Including me and Sarah. He loved you, he loved you so much that he nearly killed himself worrying about you when you disappeared after that disastrous speech of yours. He wouldn't eat, sleep, and nearly spent all his savings trying to locate you. It took me months to finally get through to him. And even though he was grateful that I sat up at night to watch over him and take care of him, I knew deep down in his heart he wished that it was you."
"Sarah was the same way you know," Stephen continued, sitting up to lean against the back of the bench again. "Yeah, you two had your problems and had broken up long before your disgraceful exit from the science world..."
Daniel cringed slightly at the harsh comment, but didn't respond to it.
"...But she still loved you. So much so that when I attempted to step in and fill your shoes, yet again, she kindly turned me down. She told me, that even though I reminded her of you, I could never be you. I could never be 'the' Daniel that stole her heart one minute and walked out on her the next."
"I didn't walk out on her," Daniel snapped, matching Stephen glare for glare. "The problems we had stemmed fro..."
"I know why you two split up Daniel," Stephen spat out, continuing to glare at Daniel. "I know that it had to do with the same reasons you got kicked out of the scientific community. I know, that Sarah tried desperately to persuade you to pursue other avenues when you refused to. I know, that like me, she entertained the idea that you may be right. But when no evidence was produced to prove your theories, and she saw the slow downward spiral of your career, she did everything in her power to get you back on track."
Turning his gaze to the silent figure continuing to stand near him, he asked Daniel, "I bet you never even wondered why she worked so hard to keep you from ruining your career, did you Dr. Jackson? You never even gave it a second thought, did you? You never considered the possibility that Sarah may have had other factors pushing her to talk some sense into that thick skull of yours, did you?"
"Other factors?" Daniel asked curiously, turning his gaze to the silent figure now staring back at him with wary wide eyes. "Stephen, what is it that you are trying to tell me?" he asked, an uncomfortable feeling beginning to form in the pit of his stomach as the wide wary eyes continued to stare at him.
Stephen stood up and pulled on his sports coat. "Even after Sarah's sudden unexplained disappearance..."
"I told you what happened Stephen," Daniel interrupted, turning his gaze to his once close friend.
"Yeah, you did," Stephen stated sarcastically. "But since my memory isn't too clear as to what 'really' happened after I was attacked, I'll keep yours and your friends story in mind."
Emitting a tired sigh, he turned his gaze back to the figure standing next to him, "Even so, after Sarah disappeared, I was forced to fill your shoes, yet again... and again, I failed. Even to someone who has never met you, only heard stories of you." He gave another half laugh half sigh as he said sadly, "I couldn't even compete with an imaginary ghost of you."
"Dr. Daniel Jackson," Stephen said quietly, burying his hands deep within his pants pockets. "I'd like you to meet, Daniel Christopher Jackson. Sarah's and...," he paused, watching Daniel closely. "...'Your' four year old son."
Daniel eyes widened in shock, nearly popping out of his head. He stared, mouth hanging open, at the little boy staring up at him warily. Tearing his eyes away with a shake of his head, he turned his attention back to Stephen and fumbled with coherent words. "Wha... wha... what did you say?"
"I said, this little guy here is your son," Stephen stated, a small smirk curving his lips as he took in Daniel's unnerved behavior, only to have it turn into a slight scowl. "He's the reason why Sarah tried desperately to make you see things differently. Knowing the type of negative publicity you were starting to receive with your unproved theories, she didn't want your child to grow up in the midst of all of that. She wanted..." he paused, furrowing his brow and glaring at Daniel angrily.
At that moment, all Stephen wanted to do was take Sarah's son and run away, leaving Daniel alone to suffer in the sorrow and guilt he could clearly see on his once friend's face. He wanted to take the boy, raise him as his own, especially now that Daniel knew who he was. In order to witness, just once, Daniel go through some of what he's gone through. He wanted to see if Daniel could fill 'his' shoes as to who the boy felt was his 'real' daddy, regardless of who the biological father was.
Looking down at the mop of curly blond hair in front of him, he felt his anger slip away. No matter how much he wanted to see Daniel suffer, he couldn't do it. Of course, it had nothing to do with the legal papers Sarah had drawn up, stating that if something were to happen to her, the custody, as well as all of her assets, would go to the biological father. No, it had nothing to do with that at all. It was the boys' request to go live with the man that his mother and 'the old wrinkly man that worked with my mother' told stories about. At least, that's what Stephen told himself. Stifling a tired sigh, he lifted his gaze back to the man standing a few paces in front of him.
Daniel stared wide eyed at the boy in front of him. After his brain decided to function again, he took a moment to study the child. Now that he was looking, he could clearly see that what Stephen said was no doubt the truth. There was no mistaking that the child was his and Sarah's.
He could see Sarah's influence in the boys thick short blond unruly curly hair and his own influence in the boys facial features. The child was a spitting image of him when he was younger. Not to mention the wide deep blue eyes that held too much intelligence for one so young. A small pleased smiled graced his face momentarily, before being quickly replaced by a pain filled look of sorrow. Thoughts of the truth of the boys mother's disappearance running rampant in his head.
Unwillingly, thoughts of Shifu, the son of his deceased wife Sha're joined in the jumbled mess. Feeling himself about to lose control of his emotions, he shook his head and turned his gaze to Stephen. "Why? Why didn't she tell me?"
"At the time, she thought it was the best thing... for everyone," Stephen said quietly, pulling his sports coat closed as a brief gust of chilly wind ruffled the leaves around them, and their hair.
Daniel waited to see if Stephen would continue, but when he didn't, he turned his gaze back to the boy, no, his son. Licking suddenly dry lips, he walked back over to the bench and sat down, making sure to position himself close to the boy, but not too close so as not to invade the boys personal space. He wiped his sweaty hands on his pants legs, a nervous habit he'd picked up over the last few years, and opened his mouth to say something when the word 'Daddy' was shouted, followed by a small bundle of limbs colliding into his chest. Hard sobs racked the body clinging to him as a broken British accent hiccupped and gulped out words of 'Daddy please don't leave me,' 'take me with you,' 'don't leave me like mommy did,' and so on.
Daniel wrapped his arms around the child and pulled him into his lap. He slowly began to rock the child back and forth, whispering soothing words into his ear. The sound of rustling leaves brought his attention back to Stephen.
"No matter what I did or how well I did it," he said, throwing a sad longing glance at the boy clinging for dear life to the man he once thought of as a best friend, and older brother. "I could never be you." Turning away, as he could no longer hold the tears he'd been fighting back, he adjusted his sports coat and began buttoning it up. He gave a sad laugh while bowing his head and began walking away.
Daniel continued to cradle the sobbing bundle in his arms as he stood up to take two steps in Stephen's direction. "Stephen... wait..." He took another step in Stephen's direction and re-adjusted his hold on his son. "Stephen... where are you going?"
"I'm leaving Daniel," Stephen stated, continuing to walk. "My job here is done. Everything you need to know is in the boys' book bag on the side of the bench."
"Wait... Stephen... wait," Daniel called out again.
Stephen turned around, continuing to walk away backwards. "Let's face it Daniel, you are the better man," he said, letting the tears fall freely down his face in plain view. "The old man knew it, Sarah knew it, I know it, and even a child whose never met you before knows it," he said, motioning his hands wildly in Daniel's direction. Opening his mouth to say more, he shook his head no, laughing as he lowered his head. Turning away from Daniel while burying his hands deep in his pants pockets, he walked away, choosing to ignore the scared confused desperate sounding voice calling out to him from behind.
Daniel called out to Stephen one last time before he watched him disappear behind a large thicket of bushes. Standing there stunned, he didn't realize that someone was standing next to him until the person spoke. "So, who's the kid?"
Daniel turned wary eyes to Jack and stumbled backwards, collapsing down onto the bench, still cradling the sobbing boy to his chest. "He's..." he licked his lips and cleared his suddenly dry throat. "...He's my son."
"Come again," Jack said, staring down at Daniel with a little disbelief flitting across his face.
"I said," Daniel said, locking gazes with Jack, "He's my son... mine and Sarah's."
When Jack didn't respond, due to his jaw pretty much scraping the ground, Daniel turned his gaze back to the bundle in his arms and quietly asked, "What am I going to do? The SGC... I can't..." he paused as his throat caught. "God Jack, what am I going to do?"
... to be continued ...
Footsteps: Ripples in the Sand
#2 in the Footsteps series
ETA -- Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003
(no later than Friday, Jan. 31st)