A/N This is a continuation of my Ian and Dawn series (the Seraph, Hearts in Darkness, Through an Angel's Eyes and How Like a Fallen Angel). For those not familiar, it is not essential that you read any of the prior stories, but it would help with some of the details. To summarize, Ian is a Seraph (half human half Angel); he met Dawn at the end of Sunnydale and they fell in love, but he had to leave. The re-united after two years and started traveling together (think Highway to Heaven, only a bit more extreme). They were still in love and eventually got married. This story takes place approximately 9 years after Chosen, and is set around season 4 or 5 of Stargate SG1. Before anyone freaks, I don't care if the timelines don't mesh, it's my world, deal with it. Anything you recognize is either the property of Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon, or MGM Television and a bunch of corporate types who wouldn't know good television if it bit em on the bum. Alas and alack, I'm not making any money off of this, plus I'm poor to begin with, so suing me wont get you beans. I hope you enjoy my little tale, and all reviews are welcome, but please try and keep them coherent. Thanks
GATE CRASHER'S – CHAPTER 1
Daniel Jackson never thought he'd end up here. He had been to some remarkable places in the last few years, but never in his wildest dreams did he think this would be one of them. What made it truly surprising was that it was a location on his own planet, and not some exotic local at the far end of the universe. He glanced about him, amazed at the sheer volume of information all around him, information that was guarded tighter than any other such repository on earth. Getting into Fort Knox would be a cake walk compared to getting in here. "Come along Dr. Jackson" the voice ahead of him said "time to gawk like a tourist later." Daniel focused back on his guide and tried to ignore the glory that was the Vatican Archives.
His guide was a strange duck, he was a Cardinal, and Daniel had thought that just meant the man would be nicer or holier than usual. A gruff old man who berated him like an addled schoolboy was not the kind of person that he had expected. But an invitation to see the Vatican Archives is not a usual request.
It had come three weeks ago, just after he and SG-1 had returned from a training mission on P4X-W63, playing hares to SG-4 and SG-6's hounds. He was feeling grimy and sweaty and wanting a shower more than anything else on earth. He had staggered to his room and managed to drop all of his equipment and get out of his clothes in under ten seconds when the words 'Dr. Jackson report to General Hammonds office, immediately' came over the com system. He sagged against the door of his bathroom and rubbed his eyes under his glasses 'why me' he thought, I could be at some university right now giving out assignments and researching things I'm interested in, but no, I've got to voluntarily work for the military. He slapped on some de-odorant and put on some fresh clothes and headed out to see what Hammond wanted. Once he got to the General's office, he took Daniel topside to the meeting room reserved for people who didn't know about the Stargate program. Waiting for them there was a man dressed all in red, including a skull cap. "What is this about sir" Daniel asked, while eyeing the other man in the room.
"Doctor Jackson, I'd like to introduce you to Cardinal Husakos, and envoy from the Pope, he's here from Rome to speak to you. Eminence, this is Dr. Daniel Jackson, a member of one of our teams."
"Yes" the old man added "and one of the foremost Egyptologists in the world; a master of linguistics, and a man who now works for the U.S. government."
"So what can I do for you, Eminence?"
"Quite simply, we need your help Dr. Jackson."
"A scroll that we have found in the archives, it is in an ancient Hebrew, which we can read, however it also has some Egyptian style markings on it, which we can barely read. We at the Vatican were hoping you would be able to help us understand it."
"I can try, where is it?"
"It is back in Rome, of course. In this instance, Mohammed is going to have to come to the mountain." The old man gave a predatory smile; Daniel suddenly didn't feel comfortable with the situation."
Turning to Hammond he said "I don't have any free time coming for a bit, do I General?"
"I'm sorry Eminence" Hammond said, turning to the Cardinal "Dr. Jackson is going to be busy here for a bit."
"But of course" the Cardinal answered "I did not intend for him to leave immediately. It is an open invitation, simply give us twenty four hours notice before your arrival, and we shall have everything ready for you."
Now Daniel was backed into a bit of a corner, his sense of duty warring with his curiosity at what had been found. "Well, it may be as much as a month, but I'll be there, with your permission of course General."
"Of course Dr. Jackson." Hammond turned back to the Cardinal "was there anything else Eminence?"
"No General that was my soul purpose for being here." Looking at Daniel he said "I appreciate this Dr. Jackson, and I eagerly await your call." With that he bowed to both men and Hammond escorted him to the door, where a security team waited to take the old churchman off of the base.
At the door General Hammond turned back to Daniel "what do you make of that?"
"I don't know sir, but it's something big."
"How can you tell?"
"An invitation to the Vatican Archives, that's incredibly rare, especially for someone who is a non-Catholic. Not to mention the fact that I didn't have to petition to get an invite, that and they send a Cardinal to personally invite me, why not just call. No, they want me there and for something that has them rattled."
"Well, just let me know when you're ready to go."
"Thank you sir, but right now I can't think much past the shower I need."
"I've been there Dr. Jackson, dismissed" Hammond said with a chuckle.
The next day he had told his team-mates of the Cardinal's visit. Sam was wishing she could go just to see the original works of Galileo and Copernicus, Teal'C seemed indifferent as usual and Jack was worried.
"It could be a trap Daniel."
"Jack, you've had too many Fruit Loops, why would they want to capture me?"
"Maybe they have just a smidgen of information and want the whole pie."
"We're talking about the Catholic Church here, what would they do, preach at me."
"I don't know" Sam chimed in "maybe they need practice; it has been a while since the inquisition after all."
"Come on" Daniel said "now you're being paranoid."
"Maybe" Jack said, looking thoughtful "but when you do go, I think you'll need an escort."
Daniel started to protest, but Jack just glared at him for a second "humor me Daniel" he said; and Daniel Jackson just nodded in agreement.
Three weeks later, Daniel Jackson made the call that he was free, but that a friend would be coming with him. In less than thirty seconds, two tickets and confirmations were printing out on his office printer, in his and Jack's names. Maybe Jack wasn't being that paranoid after all.
They got off the excruciatingly long flight, and looked for whoever was supposed to meet them. What they didn't expect was that the person would be a very young woman, not the type of person you expect when you're dealing with the Vatican. She was of medium height and willowy with brown hair and sky blue eyes; she was wearing what looked to be a chauffeurs uniform with the cap perched jauntily on her head. Daniel walked up to the young woman "I'm Dr. Jackson" he said, extending his hand.
"Please to meet you" the girl replied and then turning to Jack said "and this must be Colonel O'Neill", she extended her hand again.
"I hope so" Jack replied "I'm wearing his underwear. And you are?"
"Dawn" she said with a bit of a giggle at his joke "follow me gentlemen and we'll collect your things". She headed off through the labyrinth that was Leonardo DaVinci airport. The two men were finding it difficult to keep up with her, despite the fact that both men were significantly larger than her. They finally caught up to her in baggage claim, a little out of breath; she seemed slightly amused at their state.
"I'm sorry" Jack said, sounding a bit perturbed "we didn't catch your name".
She regarded him for a moment and said "my name is Dawn; I had forgotten that the hearing goes as you get older Colonel, I would have spoken up more if I had."
O'Neill's eyes lit up with annoyance 'old, this little twit had just called him old', it was all Daniel could do to keep from laughing out loud at Jack being reprimanded by a girl young enough to be his daughter. "I caught that part, what I didn't catch is your last name."
"That's because I didn't give it" the girl replied promptly "sorry but you know how the whole cloak and dagger crap works."
Both Daniel and Jack nodded. "So what's the plan for the rest of our stay" Daniel asked the girl.
"Well I take you to the your hotel tonight, then tomorrow morning I pick you both up and drop Daniel off at the archives. Then the Colonel and I do the tourist thing until noon, when we get back together for lunch. After that, it's up to you."
"Sounds good" Jack said "where are we staying."
"The hotel Garibaldi, it's a nice local out of the spotlight kind of place. Trust me, it's got a pretty nice location on the Piazza Navona, and it has a great view of the Fountain of the Four Rivers. It's one of the greatest examples of Bernini's work."
"Who the heck's Bernini" Jack asked with a bit of annoyance.
"A sculptor and painter" Dawn answered "better known as Botticeli."
"Still not ringin' any bells" Jack replied, enjoying their guides discomfort at his supposed ignorance. Dawn just shook her head and turned away. Jack was grinning because he had finally rattled their annoying host.
They finally collected their things and headed out to the car with a minimum of talking; but soon both Daniel and Jack were scared for their lives as their young guide negotiated the streets of Rome, where most of the drivers were actually worse than Dawn. After their arrival at the Piazza Navona (Jack considered calling it a miracle), Dawn took the men into the hotel and saw to all the formalities, then turning to the two guests said "you've got reservations at Luciano's a restaurant across the piazza for seven thirty tonight, and the bill has already been taken care of. Good evening gentlemen." Before they could say anything she scooted out the door and was away. Daniel and Jack just looked at each other, neither really sure what to do until the Bellman cleared his throat, signaling that at least he wanted to get the two men to their room. "So what do you think of our guide" Daniel asked once they were alone.
"She's too young."
"What do you mean too young, she seems nice enough, and she is rather pretty."
"I'm just not comfortable around kids."
"You're not comfortable around most people Jack, why should this girl be any different."
"I was never that young" Jack said, almost to himself.
"No" Daniel replied with a smirk "you were younger."
When the colonel turned and gave him 'the look' Daniel just smirked all the more, finally Jack turned away in defeat; "hey Jack you want to go look around before we eat, or just stay in?"
"I'm not much of a tourist; you can go out if you want."
"Nah, I've got some reports to read."
The two men went to dinner and in the morning found their guide waiting for them in the lobby. "Did you have a pleasant evening, gentlemen?"
"It beats the barracks" was all Jack would say.
Without another word, the three of them walked to the car, and soon the two men were being terrified by Roman drivers again. Fifteen minutes later, Daniel had been dropped off at the archives. Dawn turned to Colonel O'Neill "so, what part of Rome do you want to see?"
Jack looked thoughtful for a moment "the Coliseum I suppose and we'll see from there."
"Good choice" Dawn said, and they were off.
Now that it was just the two of them Jack decided to ask a few questions; unfortunately the traffic situation in Rome meant that the questions would have to wait until they were no longer in peril of their lives. When the car finally came to a stop, Jack started to speak, but Dawn beat him to it. "You want to know how a nice girl like me ended up working for the Vatican, aren't you."
"Well I probably wouldn't have put it quite that way, but yeah."
"My husband works for them, so I kinda got pulled in by default."
"So you do what, field work, muscle, spec ops, what's the term you guys use; and you're mercs right."
"We prefer trouble shooters ourselves, but we weren't hired from the outside, we offered our services and they just cover the expenses. So in the sense that you mean it, we're not mercenaries."
"Aren't you a little young to be doing something like this with your life."
"All I can say is I grew up fast, you had to where I'm from, or you end up dead."
"And what little slice of paradise is that."
"A little town in California, I got out just in time; I met my husband and now I'm here, making a difference."
"Sounds like a plan, now don't you want to know about me."
"Well, the way I figure it, if you want me to know anything beyond what's in your military file, you'll tell me."
"You've read my file!"
"Of course, you've got to remember Colonel, the Vatican has the longest continually operating intelligence unit in the world, just because we work for the pope doesn't mean we can't be sneaky."
"I'll remember that" he said. "Now, show me the Coliseum." And with that, they were off and doing the tourist thing. But Jack kept shooting curious glances at his guide. If the girl was a day over twenty five he'd eat his boots, there was no way anyone that young should be in the position that she was, but the feeling he got from her was one of utmost confidence, almost arrogance. The kind you found in young special forces soldiers, the ones that knew they were the best. Not sure what to make of her, he listened as she talked and tried to riddle out exactly who she was.
Daniel kept rushing to keep up with the elderly Cardinal because something was always catching his eye and making him pause. He still was having trouble believing that he was here in the Vatican archives, the holy of holies for a historian. "I expected you sooner" a voice said from up ahead.
"Ian" the Cardinal replied "I did not know you would be joining us. We probably would have been here sooner, but it was Dawn that picked up Dr. Jackson."
Ian gave a bit of a chuckle "in that case I'll consider him lucky that he made it here in one piece and I'm sorry about the notification eminence, but I didn't know either until just a bit ago."
Daniel was surprised to see the Cardinal talking to a young man. He looked to be in his mid twenties, was blond haired and slightly built, Daniel was a more imposing physical specimen. But what really surprised Daniel was the deference being paid to this young man by the Cardinal. Obviously the kid had influence, Daniel just wondered how. As he came up to the duo the Cardinal turned and said "Ian, this is Dr. Daniel Jackson, he is here to help us. Dr. Jackson, this is Ian, he's here to keep an eye on us."
'Security' Daniel thought, that made sense, and the kid must be some higher ups, little brother or nephew or something. "A pleasure to meet you" Daniel said, extending his hand.
"Likewise" Ian said, returning his grip. "Now to business, eminence; if you would explain to our guest why he is here."
"Certainly" the Cardinal said "we were doing some routine restoration on a cache of scrolls when we discovered a hidden compartment in their container. We prefer to keep what we find in the original holder, so that we can gain contextual clues if necessary. We found this hidden scroll and translated it, however, there were some aspects of it that we were not familiar with, and consequently we had to look outside for help. Your name was at the top of our list. We would like for you to translate this scroll yourself in order to confirm what we already know and enlighten us about what we don't."
"Here and now?"
"If you please" the Cardinal replied indicating a table chairs that had been set up nearby "it is short and the language should present no problem."
"Well" Daniel said "let's get started."
Ian unrolled the scroll on a table, and Daniel got started.
After about an hour and a half that was in no way dull, Daniel felt that he had the translation done, but some of the questions that the scroll raised were troubling. "OK" Daniel said "from what I gather, some priests and warriors that survived the sacking of Solomon's Temple followed the victorious Egyptian army, and then stole one of the artifacts that they had removed. Then they took it through 'the heathen god's eye' and none that took it returned."
"That is what we understand as well, were you able to determine what artifact they wanted back so badly?"
"It was simply identified as 'The vessel of God's word', whatever that is."
"Could you make a guess at what that might be?"
"Off hand, I'd say it's most likely the 'Ark of the Covenant'."
"That was our conclusion as well, and the 'heathen god's eye', any ideas?"
"One or two, but I want to talk to a couple of people first."
"That is acceptable, and what do you make of these five markings on the scroll, they seem to be of Egyptian origin, even though the scroll is written in an ancient form of Hebrew."
Daniel could tell that they had come to the crux of the matter. Of course he recognized them they were the same markings found on the Stargate. His problem was twofold, one, he couldn't tell these men about the Stargate, two there were only five markings, you needed six for an address, so the markings were tantalizing, but at the moment, useless. "They are a bit familiar" he finally said.
"Very much like the ones found on a certain artifact that may or may not allow people to travel about the universe" the Cardinal asked with a predatory smile. "It is my understanding; however, that six symbols are needed to travel, and there are only five here."
Daniel recoiled in surprise, they knew, they knew about the Stargate, but how was that possible. "Uhh, not sure what you're talking about" he managed to stammer out.
"Don't worry Dr. Jackson" Ian swiftly cut in "you must remember that the Vatican has the oldest operational intelligence bureau in the world. We know some of the basics, but no specifics, and we aren't about to question you about them."
Daniel calmed down a bit at the youth's words, but he certainly didn't relax entirely. "So what now?"
"We have made a copy of the scroll" the Cardinal said "you can return to Colorado and allow your superiors to decide what is to be done, meanwhile if you could work on possibly determining what the last symbol is, that would be appreciated. After all, you are much more familiar with them than we are."
"And assuming your intelligence is correct, and such a device exists, what would you want to do?"
"Once the last symbol is determined, they we would like you to go retrieve it, with two of our people of course."
Daniel winced, he could think of about two thousand people who would directly be against something like that, not to mention going off world just to retrieve a religious artifact, even if it was a bit famous. "Well you've certainly made my life just a bit more complicated. I make no promises about the trip, but I will definitely work on finding the last symbol."
"That is all we can ask" the Cardinal said with another of his predatory smiles. "Now Ian will escort you to the entrance and see that you receive the copy before you leave."
"Thank you sir" Daniel said, and with that he turned and followed the young man out of the archives, it had been quite a visit.
Dawn picked up Daniel and Ian, the two SG1 members were surprised when the two young people kissed, but both men knew what it was like to love someone you worked with.
"Let's head to Piazza San Marco for lunch" Ian instructed and Dawn took off into Rome's abysmal traffic. They stopped at an outdoor café, and Jack told Daniel about what he had seen that morning. Daniel nodded automatically, his mind a million miles away from the conversation. Jack noticed his colleague's distance, so he started talking to Ian. It turned out that the kid was a Carolina Hurricanes fan; hey, kid or not the guy liked the right sport. The talk drifted around hockey, who was the best of all time at different positions and the like. Even Dawn was able to add a bit to the conversation, since she had grown up following the LA Kings, and had watched a lot of their games with both Spike and Xander; it was one of the only things the two seemed to agree on. As the waiter finally brought lunch, Jack noticed Ian tense for a moment and then relax, but with a cynical little grin on his face.
"Something the matter there kiddo?"
"You two are quite popular; you've got two different groups shadowing you. One's Russian and the other American. The Russian doesn't surprise me, but an American surveillance team, did one of you piss off a girlfriend or something at home?"
"Not that I'm aware of" Jack answered "and how do you know it's an American anyway?"
"I recognize the guy" Ian answered "his name is Steve Boyle; we don't worry about him much because he's an idiot. He's got a camera, but I'd be willing to bet that there's no film in it. The Russian is a guy named Dragunov, he's their varsity here, so you've got some high level attention."
"Nice to be popular I guess" Daniel said with a grimace.
Dawn looked at the two men "how do you want to play this, let em follow or give em the brush off?"
Jack got a bit of a sadistic gleam in his eye "could we have a chat with Mr. Boyle and find out who's so interested in us?"
Ian and Dawn exchanged looks for a second, then turning to the two SG1 men she said "sure, just sit tight and we'll be back in a bit." The two young people got up and headed out of the piazza, away from the two that were shadowing them.
"Daniel spoke up, looking confused "I'm no expert, but aren't they supposed to go the other way?"
Jack just shrugged, almost as confused as the linguist.
He became even more confused when Ian suddenly appeared in the crowd behind the guy they had identified as Boyle. He then noticed that Dawn was already whispering in the Russian's ear. He looked back to see Ian 'persuade' Mr. Boyle to come over for a chat. How the heck had they gotten there in that small amount of time? Dawn joined them while watching the Russian head off, blending quickly into the crowd. Jack noted the rather grim looks on the two youngster's faces.
"So Steve" Ian said with a false smile "what brings you out on a day like this?"
"Just enjoying the lunch and the scenery when you landed on me."
"Really" Dawn said "and the fact that you followed me all morning was sheer coincidence?"
"Would you believe me if I said yes?"
The two operatives shook their heads. "I didn't think so" Steve replied.
Steve Boyle sighed and weighed his options, despite the fact that he wasn't the brightest light in the marquee, he wasn't an idiot either. He recognized the pair of Vatican operatives and knew that they had a reputation for both efficiency and honesty. The latter was something very unusual in his line of work. He knew that if he was straight with them that he'd probably learn as much of the truth as he was likely to get, and with a lot less hassle. He also knew that the pair had made a name for themselves as people it was unwise to piss off, and he knew that lying to them was a quick way to do that. With that in mind, he laid a few of his cards out.
"Some Senator has some real wood for your two guests and wanted them tailed while they were here. Apparently he has a few trust issues to work out and when they were flown out here by the Vatican he kinda went ape-shit wanting to know what they were up to." Turning to Jack and Daniel he said "best guess is he's looking for a reason to shut down whatever it is you're working on or he's looking for some leverage to use on you. Either way, the guy's an asshole, so no one at the shop is gonna be pissed at me for sicking up the info; I know I wont loose any sleep over it."
Jack looked like he was contemplating the pros and cons of going postal, while Daniel looked a bit less likely to break things, it was clear that he was just as angry. Swiftly Ian jumped in, before things could break down.
"No big deal there" Ian said "we found a scroll that had been hidden for a while and needed Dr. Jackson's help with some tricky translation. I mean we've got the best there are in Latin and Greek and nearly top of the mark in Hebrew, but we're pretty weak in Egyptian, which is Dr. Jackson's specialty."
"So what was this scroll about" Steve asked, curiosity being a common trait in intelligence operatives.
"Commentary on the sacking of Solomon's Temple by a Pharaoh, pretty neat stuff actually. Now they spend the rest of the day with us seeing Rome, then they fly home tomorrow; end of story."
Steve just nodded and started to get up, when Dawn chimed in.
"And please tell Senator Kinsey that snooping around the Vatican is not the wisest of choices."
Boyle jumped liked he'd been goosed when Dawn indicated she'd known who had made the request, but he really couldn't ask how she knew that, so he took another tack "are you threatening a US Senator?"
"Nope" Dawn answered "but the Senator needs to think about what kind of afterlife he wants, screwing around with the folks wired to the big guy isn't the best way to ensure a happy one."
Boyle knew that there was a serious threat behind all the sweet talk, he would advise the Senator on the consequences of pissing off the Vatican. He nodded at the smiling young girl and headed off to make his report.
"How did you know it was Senator Kinsey" Jack asked once the man was well and truly away.
"It's our job to keep tabs on threats, both to us and to the people with us, the Senator is a threat to you and your colleagues, so we did a little digging." She said the last with a note of finality, cutting off any more questions that Jack might have had. "Now what do you two want to see next?"
"Just a second" Jack said "how the heck did you get behind them so fast?"
"Tunnels" Dawn answered "as Dr. Jackson could tell you, Rome is riddled with tunnels, knowing where the entrances and exits are is the tricky part, but if you do then you can sneak up on practically anyone anywhere."
"Oh" Jack said "that actually makes sense."
The four of them left the café and did the tourist thing for the rest of the day. They ended up seeing the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's as well as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. It was a pleasant day and even Jack seemed impressed, but through it all, Daniel had this growing conviction that he had seen these two people before. It was a ridiculous notion, but one he couldn't seem to shake.
Finally at dinner he broke down and asked the pair if they had met before.
"Not that I recall Daniel" Dawn answered him.
"What kind of music do you listen to" Ian asked, seemingly out of the blue.
"A little bit of everything" Daniel answered, wondering where this was going.
"You ever hear of a group called the 'Faithful Remnants'?"
"Yeah, as a matter of fact I've got their first album."
"That's probably it" Dawn replied "Take a good look at the back and you'll see the both of us."
"What, you posed for the cover or something?"
"No, we played on the album, and every one since then; but I gotta say, the first was my favorite."
"Even cutting 'Anne' at three AM" Ian said with a grin.
"Well, that part did suck" Dawn said with a pout "but the result was incredible."
"True enough" Ian conceded.
"So how do you go from being musicians to working security for the Vatican" Jack asked.
At the same time Daniel asked "why three AM"?
Ian answered Daniel's question first "well, you've heard the song, Faith just couldn't seem to get the right sound, so she woke everyone up in the middle of the night so we'd be more emotional and less cerebral, whatever she did worked because that was the greatest take we ever did, except the live version of course."
Dawn looked at Jack "we just happened to know most of the band and they needed our help for a while. So we took some time and helped them out, now we're back at our first and primary job."
"I see, so working on a Grammy award winning album was just a lark?"
"Like I said, working on the album was just part of helping out a friend, we had no idea it was gonna be as big as it was."
The conversation drifted after that, and after a nice quiet dinner, the two Vatican operatives escorted the SG1 men back to the hotel Garibaldi. Then they drove off into the night. When they got back to their room Jack turned to Daniel and asked "so what's really up with this scroll thing?"
Daniel thought for a second and whispered "how about I tell you when I'm sure that no one else is listening."
Jack wasn't the most patient man in the world, but he did know good sense when he heard it; reluctantly he nodded and the two went to sleep.
As Dawn snuggled into his chest, Ian said "he almost remembered, didn't he?"
"Yeah, but you sidetracked him nicely."
"He was getting close, so I took a shot, I'm just glad it worked.
The December after Xander's wedding, they had been in Colorado, helping a slayer recover from the murder of her watcher and the discomfort of breaking in a new one. The two of them had been patrolling with Dierdra, when they had noticed a group of three vamps stalking a single man. The three of them had jumped the three vamps and were making short work of them when the victim, came back to help. He took a heavy shot to the jaw from a vamp and slumped down, right before Dierdra's stake slammed home and dusted his assailant. Ian and Dawn had faded into the background, hanging back as Dierdra woke him up and escorted him home. The two had hoped that Dr. Jackson wouldn't remember the encounter, but now it was clear that he had. Ian hoped that if they worked together again that any remaining feelings of recognition would be written off to the album, but he knew that they were dealing with a very intelligent man. Realizing that he was needlessly borrowing trouble, he drifted off to sleep.