Father Knows Best
by Winter S. Jameson
Spoilers: Children of the Gods, Enigma, The Gamekeeper, Seth, Crystal Skull, Divide and Conquer, Ascension, 2001, Summit/Last Stand, Meridian, Orpheus
Season: 7, after Orpheus but before Evolution
Summary: Daniel and Jacob are confined together during off-world trade negotiation, leading to a little heart-to-heart that just might have a positive influence on a certain special twosome.
Notes: I wanted to write a Father's Day fic, a fic where Jacob was a major character, and something to add to the Sam-Daniel Rebellion mailing list's gift to Carmen Argenziano (Jacob Carter) for his statements supporting a Sam/Daniel pairing. Pulled it all off in one... g
Daniel Jackson sighed as he watched Jacob Carter pace by him for the seventh time since they'd been tossed into the single-roomed hut. "You're just going to wear yourself out," he said wearily from his seat on the floor against the wall across from the lone entrance.
Jacob gave a small snort. "Not with Selmac on my side," he retorted.
The younger man rolled his eyes. "Fine, it'll just take you longer. In the meantime, you're going to wear me out."
That stopped the agitated man in his tracks. "Sorry, Daniel." He sat down next to his companion. "So have you been able to figure out why they tossed us in here after claiming to be so willing to negotiate with us?"
Jacob had requested SG-1 come to an out-of-the-way planet, a long-forgotten refuge of Heru'er from before his rise to System Lord, to help negotiate a three-way deal between the natives, the Tok'ra, and the Tau'ri. It seemed they spoke an obscure off-shoot of Latin, different from Ancient but similar to something Daniel had run into early in his career with SG-1, and that Selmac was only passingly familiar with. But when the former Air Force general and the four-person team of explorers arrived at the pre-designated meeting place and were asked to send their diplomatic pair forward, the party accompanying the natives grew angry, driving Jack, Sam, and Teal'c back and taking Daniel and Jacob into custody.
"Not really, no," Daniel offered in response to Jacob's question. "They watched us for quite a while before asking us to come forward. Nothing in their stance or tone suggested any displeasure."
"Until you and I had separated ourselves from the group," Jacob finished.
"Exactly. Which tells me this particular pair," Daniel waved his hand back and forth between them, "isn't who they had in mind."
Jacob's expression became confused. "But we're the only ones who really speak the language."
Daniel held up his right hand, index finger raised. "Ah, but they couldn't have known that. We communicated through runners. You or I were always the first one to respond. That's all they'd know."
Jacob shook his head. "You have a point."
Suddenly there were voices near the hut, and the two of them quickly rose to listen. After a short while the owners of those voices walked away. "Did you learn anything, Doctor Jackson?" the slightly echoing timbre of Selmac asked once they were again alone.
"I am afraid not. Much time has passed since I have needed to decipher this language, and the villagers' speech was quite rapid."
Daniel frowned slightly in thought. "I get the feeling that these people are under the impression that you're my father." He glanced at the Tok'ra. "Well, that Jacob is my father." He shrugged.
The other man's head lowered for a brief moment. "Where did they get that idea?" Jacob asked. "There's not really any resemblance."
"They wouldn't have had time to look for one. It must be something else."
"I have no idea."
Several hours passed. They'd heard other conversations in passing, although surprisingly not when meals and water were delivered. It seemed the natives didn't really want their captives to get information, but were unaware of how much attention was being paid to the casual gossip going on around the hut. Unfortunately, important information was slow in coming.
"You know, there's only so long Jack's going to wait before bringing in the cavalry," Daniel commented once the sun had gone down.
"But he knows how important these negotiations are. There are enough natural resources on this planet for both you guys and the Tok'ra," Jacob protested.
Daniel gave him a pointed look in the limited torch light that filtered in through the uneven edges of the material covering the three windows of the building. "We're talking about Jack O'Neill here, remember? Although he would be more likely to attempt to break us out himself before calling home for reinforcements. Which means we can expect something any time now."
Jacob nodded. "Because of nightfall."
"Right. Although I'm not sure the negotiations aren't salvageable."
"What do you mean?"
Daniel glanced up at the window on the wall to his right. "We haven't been beaten, we've been fed and given a constant fresh water supply... We haven't been mistreated. And I think I heard something about them waiting for the others to do something soon the last time a couple of guards went by."
"What do you mean by something?"
"I don't know. But I'm sure it's not a rescue attempt."
Jacob sighed and leaned his head back against the rough stone wall of the hut. "We should be ready for one, though. Like you said, we're dealing with Jack O'Neill."
When the next morning came, both occupants of the stone hut were surprised to find themselves still in the rough hewn building. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Daniel made his way to one of the windows to check the status of the village they were in. "Hear anything?" Jacob asked through a yawn.
"Nothing clearly. The people I do hear are obviously tired, so I'm guessing we haven't had the changing of the guard yet. I might be able to catch something then."
"From what I can tell the sun's barely over the horizon. It shouldn't be too much longer."
In fact, it was only another half hour before the familiar commotion of a shift change for the guards watching over the involuntary visitors. The new guards used the opportunity to give Daniel and Jacob their breakfast, then went back to their circuits. The trapped companions sighed at the continued lack of communication then ate the meal provided.
A short while after the fruit and bread they'd been given was gone, an excited buzz could be heard traveling around the village outside. "I wonder what's going on," Daniel said as he moved over to a window.
"I believe they are speaking of something that has been found in the trees," Selmac commented from another of the three windows.
Daniel's brow creased as he concentrated on the snatches of conversations he could catch. It took some time before he could gather enough fragments to even guess at the whole. "If I'm understanding correctly, Jack and the others have been spotted in the forest. Now they're waiting for their next move."
The Tok'ra gave him a confused look. "It's not like Colonel O'Neill to be discovered so easily," the echoing voice replied. "Perhaps one or more of them have been injured."
Blue eyes snapped shut. "I've been trying not to think about that."
"I'm sorry, Daniel," Jacob said, his own worry shining through as he took back control. "I don't like it any more than you do, but it's something we have to keep in mind."
"I know, I know." Daniel opened his eyes and gave his friend a rueful look. "I guess we're stuck waiting again, huh?"
Jacob smiled. "Yeah. But just remember, my kid's tough. And so are Jack and Teal'c. They'll be fine." Daniel just nodded in response.
Daniel and Jacob were surprised when the usual hubbub didn't spring back to life after their lunch had been delivered. No amount of straining to hear produced any answers. "What the hell is going on?" Jacob asked, frustrated.
"I'm guessing something important is happening on the other side of the village. What few noises there are besides the shifting of our guards seem to be coming from that direction." Daniel looked at his companion. "Do you think it has anything to do with Jack, Sam, and Teal'c?"
"Possibly," Jacob conceded, considering it.
They ate their meal in contemplative silence, sitting and staring off into space once they were finished. "I hate not being able to do anything," Daniel muttered finally.
"I can relate," Jacob agreed with a sigh.
"The worst part is that I could if anyone would actually listen to me." Daniel frowned.
"It's worse than having two headstrong kids," the other man added with a small smile.
The brown-haired man looked over at his companion. "I can only imagine Sam was a handful. Mark was too?"
Jacob gave a short laugh. "Sam learned from the best. And when they weren't fighting amongst themselves they were the toughest twosome you could imagine. You could have put their picture next to the definition of 'unified front'."
Daniel smiled. "That's been a useful skill she's managed to hold onto," he commented.
"I bet it has. You know, it was like a feeling of deja vu watching her with you guys."
"Three times over on top of it, I'm sure."
Jacob gave another short laugh. "Try a factor of ten or so. The main difference I've seen is that I watched loss and grief tear those two apart. The only thing I've seen loss and grief do for the four of you is bind you closer together."
Daniel's gaze dropped to his lap. "I suppose so," he said softly.
"I'm not trying to be morbid or anything with that comment; it's just true." Jacob's expression grew soft. "And I'm more than happy to know my daughter is part of something so special."
"She means a lot to all of us."
"I know," Jacob said in a tone that matched his features. "I know." With that the two of them grew quiet once more, their ears primed to catch any piece of news that might float by.
Six hours later there had been no change. Both captives' anxiety and worry had grown by leaps and bounds, and the silence in the hut had been raised to a suffocating level. The only thing that stopped Daniel from insisting on talking to one of the guards was that he couldn't be sure the act wouldn't end up having negative consequences for his three teammates. The misunderstanding born of a lack of knowledge of the culture they were attempting to negotiate with that had put them in their current situation was bad enough without possibly doing something else to make it worse.
"You're feeling guilty again."
Daniel turned his head sharply to face the source of the unexpected words. "What?" he asked, confused.
Jacob raised his eyebrows. "You're feeling guilty. It's in the look on your face. It's also come and gone more times than I want to count since we were tossed in here. There's nothing for you to feel guilty for." He sighed. "If anyone should feel guilty, it's me."
Brown brows furrowed. "Why?"
"None of you would even be here if I hadn't asked you to come. Considering the lack of intel on these natives, the only reason you came was because I was the one who was doing the asking. Had it been any other Tok'ra Jack in particular would have said no before the question would have been finished being asked. Of course there's my friendship with George on top of everything else. And now, here we are." Jacob shook his head. "There are times I hate what I have to do to get the job done. And I always hate how it's put my daughter and her friends - my friends now, too - in the kinds of danger we've found ourselves in over the years."
"You know, you just made the argument for why you're wrong about things being your fault," Daniel said wryly, a corner of his mouth twitching upward.
Now it was Jacob's turn to be confused. "What do you mean?"
"You asked. We said yes. We wouldn't be here if we didn't want to be. You said you didn't know any specifics about the native people, but that from other operatives' observations they seemed peaceful enough and would most likely be willing to trade. Based on that information we chose to come." Daniel shrugged.
"You can't tell me the fact that it was me doing the asking wasn't a factor," Jacob refuted, disbelief coloring his tone.
"I'm not saying that. Jack trusts you the most out of all the Tok'ra we've ever encountered. And yes, your friendship with General Hammond counts for a lot. But more importantly, you were honest with us. You told us from the get-go that you mainly needed my linguistic skills and that you didn't know a whole lot about who we'd be dealing with. Any other Tok'ra would have most likely waltzed through the gate and demanded that SG-1 come to the planet without a lot of explanation, citing the treaty the second we made one ounce of protest or demand for information. It all adds up."
Jacob couldn't help but give the younger man a small smile. "It couldn't hurt that the Pentagon is constantly breathing down your neck about getting new sources of trinium and naquadah."
Daniel chuckled. "Oh, it could be that, too."
The Tok'ra's smile grew a bit wider. "So, are we agreed then that neither of us is at fault here?"
Blue eyes narrowed. "You're a sneaky guy, Jacob."
"So I've been told. What's your answer?"
"Fine," Daniel shot back, fighting back a grin. "We're both faultless - this time."
Jacob laughed. "I'm sure we have plenty of blame to look forward to in the future."
"Well, then, I'll just wait for that with baited breath." Daniel watched as his friend's smile faded to be replaced with a pensive expression tinged with guilt and sorrow. "Jacob? What's wrong?"
The other man shook his head. "Nothing really. Just... caught up in some old memories, that's all."
Daniel's gaze grew a bit sharper. "If you feel the need to share, I'm more than willing to listen."
A weak chuckle preceded the response. "It must be something about being locked up that makes me maudlin. I can't help but remember the other times these kinds of things have happened to me, and... how I've disappointed people in the process." He shook his head. "I won't bother you with this stuff, Daniel. You don't need to hear about an old man's regrets."
"Maybe you need to say it though. Like I said, I'm willing to listen."
Jacob sighed then was quiet for a long time, obviously involved in an inner debate. Just when Daniel was sure he wouldn't say anything, he cleared his throat and began. "There are so many things I wish I could have seen, that I wish I could have been there for. I tried, I always tried. And when I was home, I got to be the disciplinarian. From what I understand the old cliche of 'just wait until your father gets home' was quite common around my house.
"Mark was my little soldier for the longest time. Saluted me when I came in the house, literally marched wherever I told him to go. You should have seen his collection of toy planes. He was going to be the greatest fighter pilot the world had ever seen. Sammy was fascinated by space. She was so little when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, but she always remembered watching it happen. She wanted to do it too. So she followed her brother's example, because he told her that all the astronauts were fighter pilots first."
Jacob chuckled. "For all of her mother's attempts to make a ladylike young woman out of her, Sam refused to completely give up her dream. I have to admit I helped feed that obsession by getting her the Matt Mason action figure when I was told a little girl should have some dolls to play with instead of all the planes and guns her brother ran around with. Elizabeth didn't think it was funny, but Sam fell in love. The only time Elizabeth could get her to put the thing away was when she asked for help with the baking. My little girl has always been addicted to chocolate, and my wife's specialty was chocolate walnut cookies."
"Those are my favorites," Daniel said with a fond smile, remembering all the times Sam had brought him a bagful, usually when she thought he needed cheering up.
"So she's told me." Jacob gave him a speculative look, then shook his head slightly and continued. "Sam was baking when I came home the day of the accident. She was taking her cookies off the baking sheet when I had to tell her..." His jaw clenched and he squeezed his eyes shut for a brief moment. "I take it Sam told you about her mother's accident?"
Daniel nodded, sad sympathy in his eyes. "We had a long heart to heart about it after our run-in with the virtual reality machines on the Keeper's planet. She said it was only fair to even the score."
The older man made eye contact to acknowledge the comment. "I heard about that." He looked away as he took a deep breath and released it. "Well, that's when I lost my little soldier. Mark... blamed me. I blamed myself. But from that point on, my son didn't want to have anything to do with what he perceived as the reason his mother was gone. It was my job that kept me from picking her up, so he hated that job, the Air Force. I understood at first. They were both angry, not that I could blame them. But things got hateful, things were said, things that now I would do anything to take back.
"Sam eventually managed to forgive me, I don't know how. I was just grateful I hadn't lost both of my children when I lost my wife. It was strained between us, though, even with her forgiveness. I'd always been a bit of a hard-ass, but I got cold after..." He took another deep breath. "It took Selmac for me to finally have the relationship with Sam that I've always wanted, and it took both Sam and Selmac to get me to mend fences with my son. I couldn't have gone to San Diego without her; I wouldn't have had the guts."
"That was right after we dealt with Seth, wasn't it?"
Jacob nodded, a smile beginning to tug at the corners of his mouth. "Who would have thought that my little girl's big secret - that I thoroughly resented not being told about, by the way; I still kick myself for the way I treated her for following orders - would lead to the greatest adventure of my life, the oddest soulmate I could imagine, pretty much complete reconciliation with both of my kids, the opportunity to work periodically with one of my oldest friends, and a handful of extra kids that mean just as much to me as the ones my wife gave birth to? Even if Teal'c is more than old enough to be my father." The smile fully formed and turned somewhat tender as he looked at Daniel once again. "I think I'm feeling better now. Thanks for listening."
Daniel returned the smile. "What are friends for, Jacob? Besides, I got the added benefit of extra understanding of your daughter in the process."
Jacob laughed. "I knew there had to be something in it for you!"
Daniel joined in the laughter, and after their supper had been delivered, the two of them spoke of lighter things before dropping off to sleep.
The sound of tossing and turning intermingled with light moans pulled Jacob from a light sleep early the next morning. A quick glance confirmed Daniel was apparently dreaming about something unpleasant. The former general crawled over and laid a gentle hand on the younger man's shoulder, speaking soft reassurances until Daniel slipped back into undisturbed slumber.
That was close, Jacob thought to his symbiote once he'd returned to his place beneath the window across from the door of the hut. I'd hate to see him suffer through a nightmare.
I am surprised he hasn't before now, Selmac returned. I remember what happened in the teltac on our way to the System Lord summit.
Jacob cringed at the memory. That wasn't pretty. I'm glad he didn't realize we'd overheard. The Tau'ri host paused for a moment. Would you mind explaining why you were so insistent on me spilling my guts yesterday? Especially to Daniel?
There was a mental shrug. I believe you have needed to take such an action for a very long time. You know Doctor Jackson to be a very good, sympathetic listener, and he offered. Besides, is there really anyone else you could have shared those things with?
Jacob blinked. No, I guess not. Except maybe my kid.
But Samantha was not here. And I believe you needed more of a release than the kind of discussion you would have had with your daughter. You know I'm right.
"Damn smug symbiote," Jacob muttered aloud, rolling his brown eyes.
Just then Daniel's head thrashed quickly back and forth. Before Jacob could get to him, he sat bolt upright, shouting, "Mom, Dad, no!" What the heck do I do now? Jacob asked Selmac as he watched Daniel try to catch his breath, unaware of the other man's scrutiny.
Turnabout is fair play, Jacob.
"Daniel," Jacob said gently, flinching at the start of surprise from the brown-haired man.
"Oh, God, Jacob. I forgot you were here for a minute. I hope I didn't wake you." He gave his companion a self-conscious look out of the corner of his eye.
"No, I was awake," Jacob assured him. "Sounded like a doozy of a dream though."
Daniel shrugged as he sat back against the wall behind him and stared up at the ceiling. "More of a memory, really."
Brown eyes softened as they watched him. "Want to talk about it?"
"Not really. It happened a long time ago."
"When you lost your parents." Daniel closed his eyes and sighed, giving a short nod. "I'm just as willing to listen as someone else I know."
Daniel couldn't help but smile at the comment. "Are you trying to tell me that I need to talk about it?"
Jacob cocked his head to the side. "Might help. But it's your choice."
A soft sigh followed a brief beat of silence. "How much do you already know?"
"Sam mentioned it happened when you were a child, and that you'd witnessed the accident. She said she was horrified when she realized that after the Keeper's virtual reality."
"I know. She had nightmares about it for a couple of weeks afterward. That's why we had that heart-to-heart I mentioned yesterday. I couldn't let her keep suffering like that, not on my account." Daniel brought his head down and gazed at Jacob. "I was eight. My parents were setting up an exhibit at the New York Museum of Art, a tomb chamber from their most recent dig actually brought over from Egypt. They were standing under the coverstone as it was being lowered onto the stone pillars, making sure it was placed correctly, when a weak link of the chain connecting it to the pulley snapped. First one end then the other fell, sending it and most of the pillars tumbling onto my parents. My father tried to shield my mother, and she gave one last shriek before..." The bright blue eyes squeezed shut and Daniel shook his head.
"I get it," Jacob said quickly. "Where were you?"
Daniel took a few deep breaths and got himself back under control. "I was looking at some of the other items that had been set up as part of the rest of the exhibit. They were supposed to take me out to lunch as soon as they were finished. I was getting impatient." He gave a weak chuckle. "The folly of youth. I screamed... something - it seems I only remember exactly what in dreams - then just stood there in shock. One of the workers picked me up and moved me to a corner of the room, but I could still see everything. After that I was ignored, at least until after the police were finished interviewing people. For whatever reason, no one put it together that I'd seen what happened. They thought I only saw the aftermath. You wouldn't believe the kinds of lies they told me about what happened."
Jacob searched the other man's face. "You'd be surprised."
Daniel nodded. "Maybe. From there I was placed temporarily into an orphanage to wait until my grandfather came for the funeral. When it was over he took me to a nearby diner for a late breakfast. I had waffles." There was a bit of a pause, then the younger man shook his head. "Nick told me he couldn't take me with him, that he was doing important work and wouldn't be able to give me the care I needed. And then he left, making me a ward of the state of New York."
Jacob put a hand up, his expression one of barely controlled anger. "Hold it just a second. Are you telling me that your grandfather - his name is Nick? - walked away from you when you needed him the most? You were eight and had just lost both your parents in one fell swoop... and he left?"
"Nicholas Ballard. He's an archaeologist. And yes, he left. He was obsessed with something he had found in Belize. Maybe three and a half years ago or so, SG-1 found out that he had been right all along about his find. The crystal skull he'd found in the pyramid in Belize really had transported him to a cavern on another planet, where he communicated with aliens. We took him back, and he volunteered to stay and trade cultural information with them. I haven't heard from him since then." Daniel sighed. "He apologized before we took him to his giant aliens. Told me he was proud of me. And then he was gone."
"I'm not sure it's that big of a loss."
"No matter what he was still my grandfather, my mother's father. My family. Don't get me wrong, I don't think he was that wonderful a person," Daniel said quickly, cutting off Jacob's retort. "He took advantage of my situation to get back to that planet in the first place, even after apologizing. But he doesn't deserve to be condemned for acting according to his nature, not when it wasn't meant to be malicious."
It was Jacob's turn to take a few deep breaths to control himself. Heaven help Nicholas Ballard if he ever crossed Jacob Carter's path. "I bet it still felt pretty good when he said he was proud of you, didn't it?" he asked, inspired by a whispered thought from Selmac.
Daniel smiled sadly. "Yeah, it did. I'd waited a long time to hear that from him. I've had to wait for things like that a lot over the years."
"I can't imagine Jack's always that good about expressing himself in that regard," Jacob commented, deliberately probing. "He's a lot like me, actually. I'm just better at watching my mouth."
Daniel couldn't help but give a short laugh at that. "If you say so."
Jacob smirked. "I do." The smile faded. "But that's not the point here. I'm guessing our little talk yesterday brought up these bad memories of yours. Sorry about that."
"Don't be sorry. You needed to get that stuff off your chest. I'm glad I could be there for you when you needed someone. But yeah, I guess that's probably what sparked the nightmare. It's been a while since I had it. Now I'm just suffering the usual aftereffects. I'll be fine."
"Old insecurities and regrets. The foster care system isn't always the most nurturing environment to grow up in." Daniel shrugged.
The older man flinched. "I can imagine. But things got better once you were out of there, didn't they?"
Daniel let loose an explosive breath. "I wouldn't say that. They were different, but then, so was I. Still am different, if it comes down to that. But by the time I went to college, I had a good grasp on who I was. My teachers have always said I was mature for my age. One art teacher said my soul was eternally older than my body. It all added up to a confidence the psychologist Social Services had examine me before I was emancipated was at a loss to explain. There was always a little kid inside that wanted everyone's approval, though. Fortunately, I really only sought that approval from people I cared for and respected. Dr. Jordan, Sarah," Daniel flinched at the thought of the Goa'uld Osiris' current host, "a few other professors here and there.
"And then I met Jack. Once I'd deciphered the symbols on the coverstone and found the point of origin on the Stargate, we left for the first mission to Abydos. I don't think I have to go into details there. Needless to say, the year I spent there was incredibly happy. I was accepted and loved, all I'd ever really wanted. Then came Apophis, and it all crumbled to dust. But Jack was still there. And SG-1 came into being. We rode the roller coaster of the program until the war with the Goa'uld and the changes it made in us began to tear us apart, both as a team and individually, at least in my case. By the time Kelowna came around, I was convinced I wasn't making a difference, that my friends and colleagues - especially my friends - would be better off without me as an albatross around their necks."
"Do you know how much it killed them to lose you, Daniel?" Jacob said in reply, his concern for the younger man's emotional well-being boiling over. "I held Sam for hours as she cried. Jack alternated between freezing everyone out and blasting them with his red-hot temper. And I thought Teal'c had been quiet before but that was nothing compared to after you'd ascended. I know you care just as much for all of them, but I get the feeling you don't understand that it goes both ways."
"I heard what they said as they sat with me as I..." Daniel took a deep breath and impatiently waved off the memory. "I couldn't accept the truth of what they meant at the time, but since I descended I've come to see it. After helping rescue Bra'tac and Rya'c from Erebus, I finally realized where I belonged, and with that came acceptance of everything that goes with it. Jack, Sam, and Teal'c - and even Janet, General Hammond, Bra'tac, Rya'c, and you - have become the family I haven't had since I lived on Abydos and before that since my parents died. You guys have been my family almost since the beginning of this whole..." he gestured with his hands as he tried to find the right word, "experience. I can never thank any of you enough for that."
Jacob smiled. "No thanks needed, Danny. You're family to all of us, and that's payment enough."
A slight blush formed on Daniel's cheeks and his eyes dropped to his lap for a moment. "That means a lot." He brought his gaze back up. "It's that sense of family that's driven home the feeling of peace. With my self, my place here, my path... I'm relatively at peace with it all."
"Nothing's perfect, Jacob. But I can accept that."
Jacob regarded Daniel for a long moment, an idea niggling in the back of his mind that Selmac did nothing to dissuade. "I wish my daughter could find that kind of peace," he said finally.
Daniel blinked. "Sam? What do you mean? I'd say she's relatively satisfied with her life."
The woman's father smiled. "In general I agree with you. I'd even go so far as to say that Sam thinks she's satisfied. But her mother planted a seed a long time ago that has since proven to have deep roots."
"What do you mean?"
"I know my little girl, Daniel. She wants someone to share this life she's so satisfied with. The only problem is that she's never been all that good at listening to her heart. Look at Jonas Hanson." Jacob rolled his eyes. "I always wondered what she saw in him. She doesn't know this, but I threw a party when she told me she gave him back the ring."
"What does that have to do with not listening to her heart?" Daniel was totally thrown by the change in subject.
"She debated with herself for a lot longer than she should have about that decision, and I think she only made it because he scared her one night when he showed up at her apartment completely drunk - almost violently so. Getting the story out of her was like pulling teeth, but she finally admitted she was scared he was going to beat her that night. She doesn't like to be scared, Daniel. I'm sure you've noticed."
Daniel nodded. "More than once," he confirmed.
Jacob's responding smile was a flash in the pan. "That's when she took her posting at the Pentagon, leading to her working on the Stargate Project," he continued, serious once more. "George filled me in on that little tidbit later, of course. Jonas was totally wrong for her. He and all the military types like him tend to attract her, though. I've got a friend that told me women in general either look for a man like their father or one totally opposite. Apparently Sam goes for the former."
The younger man shook his head. "That's not completely true," he disagreed. "I've seen her show interest in other kinds of guys."
"Like who?" Jacob asked skeptically.
"Well, there was Narim, one of the Tollan. I, uh, walked in on the middle of a kiss during our first encounter with the Tollan." He cleared his throat and tried to stop blushing. "He was definitely not a military type by any stretch of the imagination. Then there was Martouf. I'm sure at first Sam was influenced by Jolinar's memories, but I think she came to care for him on her own terms. And I don't have to describe his personality for you."
Jacob shook his head sadly. "No. No, you don't."
Daniel's expression was sympathetic. "I'll... keep going. Um, there was Joe Faxon, the ambassador that was supposed to negotiate with the Ashen before we figured out their ulterior motive. He seemed like a decent guy, eager, intelligent, interested in what Sam had to say even if he didn't always understand. He'd asked her out to dinner before everything fell apart and she'd accepted."
The Tok'ra's brows furrowed. "Anyone else?" This was all news to him.
"Let me think. Um, I guess you can count Orlin, the Ancient that had been banished by the Others and followed Sam home from Velona. I didn't get to meet him personally, but from what Sam told me about him, he was kind, intelligent, and gentle."
"So how do you explain Jack?"
"What about him?"
"Come on, Daniel, you had to have noticed the attraction between those two."
Daniel frowned slightly as he considered it. "Okay, I'll admit I've seen some sparks from time to time. But I don't think it's anything that would actually turn into a romantic relationship. It's like watching a roller coaster in action to be honest, and it all hinges on Jack's moods. On an average day, all I see are two colleagues and friends interacting. On days when Jack is feeling particularly... up, the sparks fly. Although I must say that I always interpreted it as innocent flirting before you said anything different. When Jack's extra grouchy, he's lucky Sam doesn't kill him. You'd probably have to talk to Janet for specifics, but I've seen how frustrated Sam gets when Jack cuts her off in the middle of a technical explanation, even when he's pretty much asked for one. He's tuned her out, walked away, gently belittled her when she wants to spend her free time working on a science project instead of going fishing. I really don't see any kind of serious long-term relationship forming between the two of them. You don't have anything to worry about, Jacob. Besides, they both love their careers too much to throw them away on something that's just as likely to turn out to be a short-term fling." He smiled at the shock on Jacob's face. "Yeah, I know about the regulations. When Teal'c told me about what was said during the second Zatarc testing right before the Tok'ra/Tau'ri treaty was signed, I was curious as to why they were so determined to keep it so closely under wraps. I looked it up."
Jacob smiled wryly. "You're full of surprises sometimes, Daniel."
"It's my job, listed under 'keeping Jack on his toes.'"
"Well, um," Jacob said slowly with a grin, trying to get back on track, "I have to say that I'm happy to hear about this little change." He rose to his feet, Daniel following suit soon after. "Gives me hope that someday soon she'll find the right man for her." He clapped the younger man on the shoulder as he finished his statement, smiling mischievously.
Daniel gave him a strange look at that, but before he could respond footsteps were heard approaching the hut, and it sounded like a large crowd. "I think something big is about to happen. I'd almost think the whole village is out there."
Jacob nodded. "Sounds like. One last thing, Daniel," he said as someone began to release the barricade on the door. "No matter why those people think you're my son, I have to say that I couldn't be prouder of everything you've accomplished during the time I've known you than if you had been. You're someone special, Danny, and I'm glad to know you."
The door opened then, but not all of Daniel's blinking could be attributed to the stream of sunlight entering the building. "We would be pleased if you would now join us," the man the two captives had guessed was the leader of the village said once he'd stepped inside. "All requirements have been fulfilled to continue negotiations."
Daniel shared a look with Jacob, who gestured for the younger man to precede him outside. "After you, Doctor Jackson," Selmac's echoing timbre said politely, a smile twitching at his lips.
"Uh, yeah. Right."
Daniel's eyes were squeezed nearly shut when he walked out into in the bright light of early day, but they sprang open at the sound of an unexpected voice.
The next thing the archaeologist knew his arms were filled with the form of one Samantha Carter. "Sam! Are you all right?" he replied as he returned the embrace.
He could feel her smile against his neck. "We're fine, Daniel. They never hurt us. But I was so worried about you. How are you? What about Dad?"
"It's good to see you, too, kiddo," Jacob's amused voice came from behind them.
"Dad!" Sam gave Daniel one last squeeze then transferred her affection to her father.
"Hey, Daniel, you sure you're all right?" Jack asked as he stepped forward and clapped his friend on the shoulder.
"We were quite concerned for your welfare, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said from Daniel's other side.
Daniel smiled at both men. "And I was worried about you. Jacob and I figured you would have attempted a rescue. What happened?"
Jack shot a look at Teal'c before responding. "Actually, we were in the middle of that when Teal'c caught a few phrases he thought he understood. So we decided to listen for a while, maybe hear what happened to you, where you were, stuff like that. He and I caught maybe one word in ten, but managed to put enough together to figure out they were waiting for us approach them."
"What?" Daniel asked, surprised. "What for?"
"Apparently sending two males to negotiate a peaceful agreement went against the Laricians' customs. Major Carter was expected to accompany Jacob Carter," Teal'c explained. "When we did not retaliate with violence, they awaited the traditional approach to formally apologize and explain the deviation from the usual custom."
Daniel looked back and forth between his two teammates. "I take it your knowledge of Latin came in handy."
Jack grimaced. "Barely. And Carter didn't even know that much. Guess who they expected to do the talking?"
Daniel started slightly. "Sam? They wanted Sam to do the negotiating? Did they realize she couldn't speak the language?"
"Indeed they did. Communication was extremely limited, O'Neill and myself translating to the best of our abilities."
"That's putting it lightly," Jack added with a scowl. "And don't forget time-consuming. We spent all day and night talking to these people."
Concern shaped the linguist's features. "Didn't you get any sleep?"
Jack met his gaze, the adrenalin that seeing the two missing members of his party safe and sound had engendered beginning to fade. "No," he said simply.
"So what happens now?" Daniel asked quietly.
"Now you and Dad do the job you came here to do," Sam said as she and Jacob rejoined the trio. "We explained that only you two would be able to communicate effectively, and they've accepted that."
Jacob looked at Daniel. "Then let's get to it." Daniel nodded.
The two of them stepped forward to where the native party had waited for the reunion to conclude. "Shall we begin?" the leader asked solicitously, a small smile on his face.
"All yours, Danny," Jacob said to Daniel, grinning.
Daniel noticed the knowing looks the natives gave them at the comment. "May I ask you what the reason is for these expressions?" he asked in the native tongue.
The leader nodded. "It is good to see the good relations between you and the father of your mate," he explained with an even wider smile.
Both off-worlders' jaws dropped. "Mate?" Daniel squeaked out.
Jacob managed to hold back for a couple beats, then broke into gales of laughter. "Well, can't say I'd mind if that were true!" he choked out in English.
"What!" Daniel said at an even higher octave, shooting a red-faced look over his shoulder at the bewildered rest of his team.
"You heard me loud and clear, Daniel," Jacob said, beginning to calm down. "And you've already made your own case. So if you want to, you have my blessing." He winked.
Daniel looked between the two Carters, his expression turning contemplative before he finally pulled himself together. "I'll think about it," he finally said. "Now I believe we have negotiations to enter into?" he said in the Laricians' language, giving Sam one last, soft look - that was returned with a surprised one from Sam, her cheeks flushing - before focusing on the matter at hand.
"That's my boy," Jacob said, patting Daniel on the shoulder, then let Selmac take charge.
Sam sat in her lab a few days later, the negotiations with the Laricians even more successful than anyone had hoped for, working on a small project she had put aside when her father had originally come to ask them for help. As she gazed at a circuit board through one of her magnifying lenses, a shuffling sound at her door caught her attention. "Hey, Sam," Daniel's voice called out from the open doorway. "You busy?"
The blonde raised her head and smiled at her visitor. "Not really. Just a little project I have going to kill time until SG-14 brings back those strange devices from P9C-528. What do you need?"
Daniel shrugged as he stepped into the room proper. "Nothing really. Just thought I'd come by and talk."
"You're always welcome. Got anything particular in mind?"
"Not exactly. What have you been up to the past couple of days? I haven't seen you since we saw Jacob off."
Sam gestured at the circuitry poking out from the open panel in front of her. "You're looking at it." She stopped and thought for a moment. "Actually, there's something I've been wondering."
Daniel shifted his hip and settled part of his weight onto the lab table. "What's that?"
"When you and Dad were stuck in that hut, what did you do? You spent a day and a half alone together - and didn't kill each other. I can't say I would have accomplished that." She grinned.
"It wasn't that bad," the archaeologist replied with a laugh. "Your dad and I actually get along pretty well."
"I know. He calls you Danny."
"He likes me." Daniel shrugged.
Sam shook her head. "So what happened?"
The linguist ducked his head slightly, his cheeks flushing. "We talked, had a bit of a heart to heart to keep our spirits up."
"What about?" The astrophysicist couldn't help but wonder what her father and her best friend would say in that situation. She never had found out what went on between them when Daniel had agreed to pose as Yu's lotar at the System Lord summit, and she had tried numerous times.
"Lots of things. He talked about you a few times."
Sam blinked. "And what did he say?" she asked suspiciously.
"He said that you tended to attract and be attracted to military types, much to his chagrin. I guess a friend of his told him that girls either look for a partner like their father or totally opposite, and he figured you leaned toward his side of that equation. I refuted that by telling him about the guys I've seen you show interest in since I've known you. He seemed quite interested." Daniel's small smile was filled with mischief.
"He would," Sam said with a scowl. "He always wants to know what's going on in my love life." She rolled her eyes and sighed. "So you told him about Narim. Did you mention the kiss you walked in on?"
"The little scene with Martouf?"
Sam's eyes widened slightly. "Really? Well, there was Joe. What did you say about him?"
Daniel shrugged. "I told him about the dinner invitation."
"Just how you described him. I don't really know much more than that."
Sam glanced away from Daniel, a contemplative smile shaping her features. "Well, what do you know?"
Daniel leaned forward a bit, trying to see her expression. "What?"
She chuckled. "Turns out I picked a different person to compare potential boyfriends against. I never saw it before, but it makes sense."
"Who are you talking about, Sam?"
"I'll show you. I'm sure I can find an image of him around here somewhere." She grabbed his wrist and pulled him over to the small sink toward the back of the lab. "There. That's him." She pointed at the mirror on the wall.
"Uh, Sam, that's me."
"Yeah, it is."
Daniel turned his head to look at Sam incredulously. "You've been looking for guys like me?"
She grinned. "I didn't realize it until now, but yeah. You're intelligent, kind, devoted, caring, passionate... not to mention one of the most handsome men I've ever laid eyes on. Who wouldn't want someone like that?"
"I don't understand."
The grin faded to a more serious expression. "On Abydos, when Colonel O'Neill got my attention away from the DHD and I looked up and met your gaze, I felt something click deep inside of me. I noticed your looks immediately, and then we connected so thoroughly in the cartouche room on an intellectual level. I could have fallen so quickly. But then I saw you after Apophis' attack, the way you were willing to go off alone to get your wife back, knowing what you were up against, and I knew that your heart completely belonged to your wife. You didn't need me fawning all over you, making doe eyes at you; you needed a friend. So I pushed aside everything extra and was determined to be that friend for you."
Daniel gave her a small smile. "You've been that and more, Sam. It's meant so very much to me."
She nodded. "Good. I'm glad." She gave a soft little laugh. "I guess that initial reaction stayed with me on a subconscious level, leading me to seek out men more like you in personality than the men I used to date. I was looking for a substitute for the man I knew I could never have."
"What?" Daniel's confusion returned full force.
"Oh, Daniel, I know Sha're will always have your heart. I wondered for a while if things would be different after you descended, but then I saw how all those returning memories of Sha're affected you. And I'm okay with that." She gave him a serene smile.
Daniel pursed his lips for a moment before responding. "I will admit that Sha're will always have a place in my heart, that a part of me will always love her. But ever since I descended something's been different. Once I managed to put all the memories and emotions that went with them into perspective, I found that I was finally at peace with them. And then a few other emotions I guess I've been feeling for a while made themselves known." He paused, looking directly into the blue-grey eyes next to him. "What would you say if I told you you didn't have to look for a substitute anymore?" he asked quietly.
Sam gasped. "What are you saying, Daniel?"
He began to smile. "I've been thinking, Sam. I came down here to ask you if you could see your way clear to accompanying me to dinner, maybe a show. Do you think it's possible?"
Sam stared at him for a long moment, her mouth hanging slightly open in shock. "Is... is this what that look back on the planet was all about, that soft, gentle look that made my insides quiver? Is that when you started thinking about this?"
"About my feelings for you? No. About actually asking you out, yes." His smile grew wider. "I made your insides quiver?"
"That's not the only time," Sam answered, beginning to form a smile of her own. It transformed into a look of minor confusion. "Wait a minute, what exactly got said before you looked at me like that? The village leader answered a question you asked, you repeated one of the words which I couldn't understand since it was in the Laricians' language, and Dad started laughing and said something about not minding if that were true. What was that all about?"
Daniel choked back a burst of laughter. "Remember how they sat on the other side of the clearing we arranged to meet them in before everything blew up?" He waited for her nod then continued. "That on top of what their runners told them showed them that Jacob was your father. We'd been sitting close during that time as well."
Sam nodded again. "You wanted to make sure you knew exactly which minerals to ask about for Earth."
"Right. Then, when Jacob and I were about to step forward, you gave us both a hug. They were under the impression that you and I were married, in their eyes making Jacob and I father and son. Which is how the whole misunderstanding happened in the first place. In the Laricians' society, when negotiating matters of war, the elder of the proposing clan and his son are the diplomats. But in matters of peace, such as trade agreements, the elder will approach with his daughter."
"And because they thought we were married, they saw you - my father's 'son' - stepping forward as us being interested in war."
Daniel nodded. "But to really answer your question, after we'd had our reunion and were ready to start the talks, I noticed the Laricians give your dad and I these strange knowing looks when he called me Danny. When I asked them about it, they said it was good to see the good relations between myself and the father of my mate." He blushed slightly. "I had just thought they considered Jacob my father, not my father-in-law."
"They actually used the word 'mate'?" Sam asked incredulously.
"Oh, yeah. That's what I parroted back at him. I was a bit surprised."
"I can imagine." Sam frowned. "This was all in your official report, wasn't it?" Daniel nodded again, struggling to keep his grin under control. "And what you told General Hammond in your debriefing?"
"Why don't I remember hearing this?"
Daniel couldn't help a brief snort of laughter. "Um, you and Jack passed out during your post-mission physical, remember? By the time Jacob and I were done pounding out a preliminary agreement, even though it only took about six hours, you, Jack, and Teal'c had been up for two days straight under pretty stressful conditions. General Hammond handled Jacob and my debriefings while you guys slept, since we'd been separated most of the time anyway. Now why you haven't read my report yet only you can answer." He gave her a pointed look.
She blushed. "Oh, yeah," she said quietly.
The archaeologist's expression softened, and he reached out to gently cup her cheek. "I don't think you've answered my question yet. Would you go out with me, Sam?"
She met his brilliant blue eyes with shining ones of her own. "Yes," she whispered. "I'd be honored."
"The honor's mine." Daniel then closed the distance between them and passionately caressed her lips with his own.
The need for oxygen finally separated them, both of them looking a little dazed. "That was incredible," Sam gasped.
"You can say that again," Daniel agreed.
"Too much effort." The blonde's eyes twinkled with merriment, then narrowed as a thought occurred to her. "Oh, crap," she said, resignation dripping from the mild curse.
"What? What's wrong?" Daniel asked quickly, his arms tightening around Sam's waist.
She let her head fall onto his shoulder. "Dad gave you his blessing. That means he saw this coming before either one of us. When I tell him what's happened, he's going to give his usual spiel about father knowing best - his way of saying I told you so. Even if he never actually said anything to begin with."
Daniel grinned, relaxing as Sam shook her head moodily without lifting it. It felt so good to have her snuggle into his embrace. "Well, I think this time it's true. Father did know best. He really is a sneaky guy." He chuckled and drew back slightly to look Sam in the eye once again. "I think this is one time I can live with an 'I told you so', wouldn't you agree?"
Sam's breath caught once again as she saw the depths of Daniel's emotions in the blue orbs behind his glasses. "Definitely. And this might be the only time I'll ever tell him so." She tilted her head up slightly in response to the unspoken question from the man holding her so gently both body and soul. The complete connection on every level overwhelmed them as their lips met once again, two mental expressions of gratitude to the paternal inspiration for it all making their way to the heavens. And they wouldn't have wanted it any other way.